The Jets won their preseason opener last night.
In a game where so many players shuffled in and out, it’s difficult to put together a comprehensive list of winners, but here are six players I think helped their cause to varying degrees.
As always in preseason, the caveat exists that they don’t provide the all 22 film so this is very unofficial.
Lawrence Cager: I think Cager might be competing with Kenny Yeboah for one roster spot dedicated to a developmental pass catching tight end. The first round goes to Cager. He showed the ability to both catch the ball in traffic and run in the open field. Cager’s pair of catches went for 40 yards, and he had a 16 yarder wiped out by a penalty immaterial to his role on the play.
Michael Clemons: Clemons was a frequent presence in the backfield in the second half against Philadelphia’s backups. Even in the first half, though, Clemons was producing quality snaps and was a handful to block. This was a promising debut.
Zonovan Knight: If you look at Knight’s box score stats, you probably think I am crazy for mentioning him as a winner. How does somebody with 6 carries for 13 yards get into the positive group? Well half of his carries were in goal line situations, and he showed tough running ability. On top of that, he showed an extra gear on the 52 yard kickoff return that set up the winning touchdown drive. I’m not sure whether there is room for Knight on the roster in a crowded backfield, but he might be earning a practice squad spot between this game and a strong camp.
Max Mitchell: I am sure this will be a bit controversial since the one play where he was cleanly beaten is the play everybody has watched over and over like 20 times. Yes, Mitchell had an ugly rep which began the chain of events leading to Zach Wilson’s injury. Aside from that, I thought he looked very good when I keyed on him. He showed an ability to anchor in pass protection and displayed a nasty streak in the run game. The addition of Duane Brown will allow Mitchell to sit this year, but my first impression was actually pretty good.
Chris Streveler: If Zach Wilson’s injury isn’t serious, and the Jets hold onto Joe Flacco and Mike White there might not even be a practice squad spot for Streveler. At the very least he put a preseason game winning drive onto his resume for any team watching.
Rachad Wildgoose: The Jets are very thin at safety so a roster spot could be attainable for Wildgoose. He backed up a recent strong run of practices with a quality performance that saw him end with 5 tackles, a couple of which came in the open field.