Earlier I gave you six players I will be watching on offense for the Jets in tonight’s preseason opener. Now let’s turn our attention to defense and special teams.
Vinny Curry: Curry has been battling some hamstring issues so it isn’t clear whether he will play. He did miss the full 2021 season, however, so if he does suit up we will get our first look at what the 34 year old has left in the tank.
Brandin Echols: Echos’ status for the game also isn’t clear, but I will have my eye on him if he does play. With all of the talk about Bryce Hall’s benching, it has flown under the radar that Echols has also been relegated to backup status. With plenty of experience, can Echols improve his game in year two? If he makes any sort of jump, the Jets will have one of the deepest cornerback groups in the league.
Jermaine Johnson: Johnson reportedly got off to a slow start in training camp, working quite a bit with the third team. He has come on lately. With solid depth at defensive end, the Jets don’t necessarily need a lot from Johnson this season, but an extra pass rusher is always welcome. We will get our first look at Johnson in this game.
Jason Pinnock: After spending some time at the position late last season, Pinnock is now listed as a safety on the Jets roster. This position is a major question mark for the team so a young player has a chance to earn playing time with a strong performance.
Quincy Williams: The Jets seem to love Williams. The linebacker is a big hitting highlight reel machine. Sometimes his aggression can become overaggression, though, as he runs himself out of plays trying to make the big hit. This will be a first chance to see whether Quincy has learned how to channel his energy better.
Jabari Zuniga: The selection of Michael Clemons felt ominous for Zuniga. There is a new mid round developmental lineman in town. After spending much of last season on the practice squad, it feels like the Jets have already have low expectations for the 2020 third round pick. Zuniga is, however, reportedly having a strong training camp. He will need to be at his best to secure a roster spot in a crowded defensive end room.
Greg Zuerlein/Eddy Pineiro: We can talk all we want about training camp performance, but a placekicker competition typically rides way more on preseason games than training camp practices.