With the first real Jets action all wrapped up, it’s time to start giving out helmet stickers. Or maybe stars. Star stickers? Okay, star stickers. But first, I’d like to sum up the Jets’ performance last night: WOW.
I can honestly say that I was optimistic that the Jets might beat a weaker-than-predicted Lions team, but this was something else. There are so many players that deserve recognition, but I’ve only got 3 stars to give, and they aren’t even adhesive. So to that give credit where it’s due, here are the guys who earned a mention (sort of in order):
Isaiah Crowell, Henry Anderson, Brandon Shell, Leonard Williams, Quincy Enunwa, Morris Claiborne and Sam Darnold.
These guys all had impressive games. Anderson and Enunwa impressed coming back from injuries, with Anderson shining especially brightly, owning the Lions backfield. Crowell averaged over 10 yards per carry for over 100 yards with 2 TDs, though this was mostly due to his garbage time 60 yard TD (he still looked very impressive in his Jets debut, don’t get me wrong.) Shell really surprised me by holding up quite well on the right side and the Big Cat continues to show up as a disruptive force that unfortunately doesn’t fill the stat sheet. I thought Claiborne held up extremely well as a CB2 and even added an INT for good measure. Enough has been said about Darnold, but it was pretty great to see a young QB play a solid game. Now to the crème de la crème:
Bronze Star: S Jamal Adams (6 tackles, 3 PDs, 1 INT)
Jamal Adams played a great game from wire to wire, looking disruptive both in the box and in coverage. He finally took off the concrete gloves and recorded an INT, but he impressed more in coverage and run support. He even provided some pass rush for a team that sorely needs help from the second and third level guys. His late pass breakup flashed gamechanger skills that I haven’t seen in a Jets safety
since... In my weeks, he’d have earned gold.
Silver Star: LB Darron Lee (7 tackles, 3 PDs, 2 INTs, 1 TD)
I’ll be fair here: I’ve been down on Lee for a while. I didn’t like the pick much and haven’t been impressed by what I’ve seen. After the first half, I was even less impressed. Then, suddenly, Lee dominated this game at every level. While his pick-6 was the flashiest play of the game, what really impressed were his coverage skills and instincts in the second half. He’s always been quick, but he also began to read the field with that same alacrity (almost as though he knew the play in advance), and once that happened, he was unstoppable. He even added another really impressive INT for good measure. If not for a slow first half, he would have easily waltzed away with the gold as well.
Gold Star: KR/PR Andre Roberts (1 rush for 2 yards, 2 KRs for 45 yards, 3 PRs for 137 yards and 1 TD)
I know, I know. He’s just a return man. But no player did his job better than Roberts: His kick returns were solid, putting him in the top half for average and top 10 for yardage. His punt returns were something else. Only Tyreek Hill averaged more yardage (by 1.8) on his returns, and all of the yardage was on his 91 yard touchdown (the only other punt return TD this week.) The next closest returner to Roberts was about 20 yards shy of his 45.7 average and the closest to do it on 3 or more kicks “only” averaged 15.7, or 30 fewer yards per return. He had two very impressive 40+ yard returns (only player to do it) and was the only player other than Ryan Switzer (who had 5 attempts) to even break off two returns over 20 yards. He even managed a perfect sideline tiptoe act. Special teams was the unit I worried the most about this weekend and man did they prove me wrong. Roberts’ returns were a gift for Darnold and helped the Jets develop the lead that would force the Lions to attempt 52 passes, leading to five interceptions. Odds are that he won’t be at the top of this list for long, but I have to hand it to him, he was the most surprising, and most dominant, player of the week.
So there you have it, one week in and the table begins:
Andre Roberts 3 points (1 gold)
Darron Lee 2 points (1 silver)
Jamal Adams 1 point (1 bronze)