The Jets continue their four-game preseason slate with a road matchup against the Panthers Saturday.
Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers won’t play, because why should he? Zach Wilson will start for a second straight game.
Here are four reasons to tune into the Jets’ second of four exhibition matchups.
Zach Wilson’s play. The former No. 2 overall pick will look to impress again after doing so in the Hall of Fame Game — Wilson completed a 57-yard bomb to receiver Malik Taylor in his first game action since getting demoted late last season.
Every preseason rep is crucial for Wilson as he looks to restart his career after a disastrous first two seasons. If he’s able to dial it up against Carolina’s defense, it could increase the confidence the coaching staff has in its backup quarterback situation.
Maybe another highlight-reel play is on the way for the young signal-caller?
Offensive tackle play. Presumed starting left tackle Duane Brown (shoulder) is still not activated from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. So Mekhi Becton, Max Mitchell, and veteran Billy Turner have earned practice snaps on the blindside, with Mitchell and Turner also earning right tackle reps.
Mitchell and Turner haven’t exactly impressed in camp, per The Athletic. Becton is still working his way back from multiple knee injuries and doesn’t seem ready to assume a full game’s worth of reps. Something’s gotta give at some point.
With Brown not back and question marks all around the position group, someone has to step up and separate themselves from the pack.
Sherwood’s time? 2021 fifth-round linebacker Jamien Sherwood has mainly been a special teamer for the Jets but could see an expanded defensive role this season. That’s if he continues to impress, of course.
Sherwood finished the Hall of Fame Game with four total tackles and a forced fumble. He’s on track to assume a notable role alongside expected starters, C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams.
All Sherwood needs to do is outplay the likes of Zaire Barnes and Chazz Surratt. If he does, then the job is essentially his to lose.
Bryce Huff’s trade value watch. Bryce Huff is a talented pass rusher, statistically speaking. But he might not have a role within a stacked Jets’ defensive end group. With Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, rookie first-rounder Will McDonald, 2022 first-rounder Jermaine Johnson, and Micheal Clemons on the roster, there might not be a regular-season role available for Huff.
So, the Jets will likely need to trade the former undrafted free agent. His continued preseason production (he had a sack against the Browns) will only increase his value.
General manager Joe Douglas could probably swing a mid-round pick for Huff now. But with a good performance against Carolina and further production over the course of the preseason, the Jets could eventually earn an even bigger return for his services.