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Jets vs. Eagles: Five Jets Takeaways From Preseason Finale

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Jets Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The 2017 preseason is now in the books. The next time the Jets take the field a week from Sunday in Buffalo, it will count for real.

Before we turn our attention to the regular season, let’s look back at the preseason finale. Here are five takeaways.

  1. The Jets didn’t look like a team that planned out their quarterback snaps in preseason well.

Up until tonight I could piece together a possible explanation for the way the Jets handled the quarterback position. Perhaps they didn’t think Josh McCown needed reps to be ready to go. Perhaps they felt like the season was a lost cause no matter how many snaps they gave McCown so just wanted to get their young guys as many low pressure preseason snaps as possible.

Then they gave McCown two series tonight. If they felt he needed two more series after the preseason opener, couldn’t they have found them against the Lions and the Giants? Part of the reason starters tend to get their reps in early in the preseason is to hedge bets against injuries. Preseason helps players prepare for the regular season, but getting reps earlier in the exhibition season allows them more time to heal from bumps and bruises before Week 1. In the worst case scenario, they get two weeks or more to heal from an injury.

McCown actually did take a big hit that forced him to leave the game. Then the Jets put him back into the game. The whole thing left me puzzled.

In the grand scheme of things it probably going to make much of a difference. The quarterback situation won’t look good no matter what happens. It is just one of those little things that makes me question the approach this team takes.

2. Jamal Adams was impressive in limited snaps.

And the things about Adams that were impressive had little to do with the caliber of the competition. He just had a couple of plays where it was uncanny how he could diagnose where the ball was going presnap. Some people have suggested he had a quiet preseason. I’m not sure I entirely agree. A safety is frequently at his most effective when you don’t notice him. One thing I picked up through the preseason was how often Adams was in the right spot.

3. Elijah McGuire made a case for some playing time.

Unlike Adams, I think some of McGuire’s success does have to come with the caveat that he was not up against starting caliber players. Still, he showed good traits like balance and agility in breaking some big plays, carrying the ball 5 times for 56 yards. If there is something behind the rumors of Matt Forte leaving town, McGuire would be the biggest playing time beneficiary.

4. Christian Hackenberg went back to looking lost after a hot start.

Christian Hackenberg’s first few series actually were reason for optimism. Even if he was facing backups, he was at least looking capable of functioning. Actually, he was doing more than that. He threaded the needle on a few throws, including a really nice touchdown pass into a tight window. He looked decisive. Then in the second half, his pockets got less than pristine, and we saw the same shaky quarterback who had been around most of the preseason. Hackenberg averaged under 5 yards per attempt, and led 10 drives that ended in a punt.

5. The Jets might need to scan the waiver wire to find a returner.

Nobody stood out all preseason, and tonight was no exception. The Jets didn’t get a 30 yard kickoff return in this game, and their long punt return was 2.