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Preseason Disclaimer

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Things are not always what they seem in the preseason.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

I've seen some concerns around about which players got time with which units in the New York Jets' first preseason game. It's important to remember that the first preseason game is not played to win. It is played to evaluate your roster. It's also important to remember that GM Mike Maccagnan and HC Todd Bowles have only recently arrived in New York and probably had very limited knowledge of most of the players they inherited prior to their arrival. Take the case of Jeremy Kerley and Quincy Enunwa as an example.

A lot of people are surprised that Enunwa saw time in the slot with the first team offense. Kerley has been billed as the #3 receiver, and although some have high hopes for Enunwa, it would definitely be a surprise to see him as the #3 receiver come week 1. So has Kerley regressed or has Enunwa emerged? It could be neither. The new staff has never seen Enunwa play in the NFL, and there is very little college and preseason tape available on him as well. They weren't around last year to evaluate him in training camp, so he's somewhat of a mystery. On the other hand, Kerley has mountains of tape with the Jets and is more or less an established player. We know what we have in Kerley, and we don't have a lot more to see. Enunwa might get more time in preseason in the first team offense to see if we have something there.

This could also be the case with OLs Dakota Dozier over Oday Aboushi. Dozier's college tape is more or less worthless coming from a Division II school and had almost no tape last year. Aboushi played the majority of the season after Brian Winters was injured. Winters is also returning after missing a season, meaning that he will also need ample snaps to evaluate what kind of player he is after missing a year and being seriously injured. This is less likely here because Aboushi's tape is not exactly multitudinous, but it's a very real possibly. If I'm a new coach in the preseason, I try to give more snaps to players I know less about. Frankly, I'd be shocked if Dozier and Winters beat out Aboushi because they both looked horrendous in the preseason opener. Still, you need to evaluate all your players properly.

I think one of the other concerns was that TE Jace Amaro didn't show up much and left with an injury. After being listed the 3rd string TE, it was concerning that he didn't play much. Bowles earlier stated that the reason for Amaro's 3rd string listing was due to being listed as the 1H tight end, which is more of a Move TE position than an inline position. His exact words were:

"Well, he’s the first-team tight end right now. Amaro is the H right now, he’s the first-team H," said the coach. "We play with two. When you have a down tight end on the ball, that’s more Cumberland’s thing, but when you have an H back or an F position, that’s more Amaro’s thing. It’s not the matter of fact that he’s the first-team tight end. He’s the first Y, Amaro is the first H.

Considering this, it makes sense that he wouldn't see a lot of time in a vanilla offense in preseason. I didn't count how many times the Jets used a 2TE formation, but I would imagine it was not all that many times. You typically don't break out a lot of H-back plays in preseason unless you want to evaluate a guy on the bubble. Amaro's injury might have limited his time as well, depending on the circumstances.

While it's easy to panic over depth chart listings and preseason playing time, remember that these are just evaluations. You don't always need to evaluate every player equally. Amaro will certainly have a role in the offense when healthy, and while it is likely that Aboushi is not the starting RG, it seems probable that he will beat out Dozier and Winters after last night. Kerley is a lock to make the roster with his contract, and I definitely saw no reason to believe he won't be getting considerable playing time as well.