Life of the Party

Well, things have certainly calmed down the last two weeks, haven't they? I mean, since the Jets lost Mekhi Becton for the entire season for essentially the second year in a row, did anything major happen? Other than a preseason opener against the Eagles and a scrimmage and game against the Falcons?

Oh, right, Zach Wilson's knee injury.

I was this close to having yet another post about how terrible the luck for this team has forced them into yet another situation where they would have to abandon another former first round pick, even more consequential than the first. I was going to title it "Death March," because that was how I was feeling that Friday night when our prospective quarterback of the future went down in a heap clutching his knee and the immediate (and incorrect) diagnosis was a torn ACL. It looked like we'd be in for a season of watching Joe Flacco helm a team of slowly-dying players who we previously thought were going to be long-term building blocks for this team, yet it would have only made me more furious had they tried to avert that with a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo.

Trust me; I'm much happier canceling that post than the one I'd canceled to replace with the one about the injury to Becton. The announcement that the injury was nowhere near as significant as what was initially stated was such a relief to me, as non-contact injuries like the one we witnessed that day tend to be pretty significant. My initial fear was a torn hamstring, in the vein of the one suffered by Cowboys LT Tyron Smith this past week where it is feared that his season could be over (earliest return date is believed to be mid-December) if not his playing career as well. When the Jets said it was a knee injury and the fear was ACL damage, my hope shifted to just another PCL injury that- even if torn- wasn't necessarily a season-ending injury.

The official diagnosis was a partial meniscus tear and a bone bruise. That's a lot less significant that it could have been, but it's still something that the team absolutely must take seriously. The meniscus will almost certainly be healed by kickoff Week 1, but the bone bruise is an injury that needs to be handled with care. If not, it could be an injury that affects his play all season, and if they're extremely unfortunate, it could be an injury that he would have to manage the rest of his career. Some quarterbacks in this league manage permanent and/or lingering injuries (Jared Goff, Matt Stafford, Tom Brady and Baker Mayfield all played through significant injuries last season and seem likely to do so again this year), but those guys are all more proven NFL starters than Wilson; if that bone bruise doesn't heal properly and we're talking about a young quarterback needing to protect the health of his knee next year, he will have a lot to prove in 2022 in order to have it make sense for the Jets to give him a third year as a starting quarterback.

Anyway, I don't want to linger too much on that knee injury. I won't deny that it was perhaps the most important happening with this team of the time since my last post, but given that it is considered unlikely that he misses any games beyond September due to this injury, it's less important in the grand scheme of this season and the non-death march leading up to it.

Instead, in this post, I want to focus up on some last minute thoughts I have about this team before the preseason comes to an end and they have to pare down their roster. There's no singular theme here other than upholding the life of the party before the music stops and the spotlight shines on them for the season opener. I'll probably have one more post that is a bit more focused before kickoff on September 11th, but for now, this is just me trying to put together some thoughts about what I think of the team right now.

Feel free to leave your feedback or suggestions below this post.

What's Wrong With The Jets (and me)

No, I'm not doing a redraft of my first post for this forum. This is just me... being me... I guess.

So, a day after my post reacting to Becton's injury, I received a call from the New York Jets. No, they weren't calling m about that post, or apologizing for the general suffering of the fanbase for the last few years, or offering me the job of chief pulipteer because that isn't even a word and it wouldn't make sense of them to offer that position to me.

The reason I was called was because the Jets were offering me season tickets to purchase without the need for a license that would require a long term commitment. I was surprised that the offer was coming so late in the process; the season only a month away, the Jets were selling season tickets? Who would want them if they were being held out so late?

Well, me, obviously.

That's right. For some reason, I agreed to purchase season tickets to watch a team that had five wins or fewer in five of its last six seasons play a sport called football this year. What compelled me to do this? I'm not sure there is a simple answer I could give other than the fact that- for better or worse- this is my team and I want to see them play given the opportunity. The opportunity presented itself where I could buy in now without having to commit to anything later but still would have the option to do so should I decide to continue with my season ticket sponsorship.

At the time, it felt like a (relatively) low-risk investment. If the team reverted to its sucking ways and cleaned house following the 2022 season, I could just decline my option the following season. If they clear the very low bar that would keep them from doing that, and I decide that the season tickets are worth my while (I doubt I'll be going to the TNF game, but all seven others at home are definitely on table), I could also go for another season, especially if they offer the option to do so without a license again.

Things definitely felt horrible when Wilson went down two days later. With the ongoing speculation that his season would be over before it began, the five stages of grief kept circulating through my mind for hours on end. Had I really just committed to watching a season of Flacco and the Green get slaughtered in a season that was going to end with the Jets players crying for their mothers (who may or may not have been babysitting for a certain quarterback)?

Again, thank goodness the injury wasn't so severe. It doesn't guarantee that the season won't be a painful one, but at least there would be a purpose for pain. I think Flacco is still capable of leading this team to some wins, but he's just as capable leading them to losses (the Jets lost his last primetime start in large part because of his awful interception), and there's so little chance that Flacco's time with this team will extend to next year that getting to watch him throw to other guys we hope are able to prove themselves might have been the most painful thing of all.

So, yes, my hope is that, even if the Jets send Flacco out there for a home game (or two, though hopefully it's just one), it won't be nearly as painful with Wilson on the way back. All I can recommend for the pain is a prescription for BiteDown, which is the thing you take when you need to keep yourself from screaming.

The Way It Goes

Something that I was originally going to write in the post about my scrimmage takeaways that held true for the remainder of the preseason: what is the real outlook for the Jets' receiving game? Something that I think most Jets fans have caught on to is the ascension of Tyler Conklin as this team's top tight end. At the scrimmage and in the preseason game against the Eagles (and the Giants, sort of), he definitely looked the part of a tight end you can rely on for an easy completion that can still go for yards. Officially, he caught 5 of his 7 targets for 50 yards in the preseason, good for an even 10 YPR and 91.37 passer rating when targeted.

I certainly didn't expect either Conklin or CJ Uzomah to run away with the starting gig as Conklin so clearly has. Not to take away from what the former Bengals has contributed- he will definitely have a role in this offense as the 2nd TE in a 12-heavy offense- but Conklin is going to be the guy they turn to as the top TE for this team. I've seen him line up pretty much everywhere except the backfield (and considering the fact that I saw Trevon Wesco line up out wide against the Falcons, I think I can expect Conklin to see some time out there). If he blossoms into a full-time TE in the ilk of what George Kittle was for the LaFleur offense in San Francisco (even if Conklin is not the same caliber of blocker), the Jets offense might not have much further to go to get back to respectability. We know they've got a really good backup in Uzomah.

In fact, they might have another really good backup in Lawrence Cager, a former UDFA WR the Jets had in their 2020 system that has now returned at a new playing weight looking to make the Jets' roster proper this time. I didn't really expect anyone to eclipse Jeremy Ruckert for the TE3 role this year since the Jets have him and the two veterans as roster locks, but Cager has put them in a position where they now need to consider carrying 4 TEs on the roster. I don't know how Ruckert is faring in practices, but I never saw him working with the first team in the scrimmage or games, and I only saw him get a snap or two with the second team against the Eagles. I'm not sure if something is going wrong with his development to the point where Yeboah and Wesco are getting more looks with the offense than him, or if it's just the Jets sardonically doing to him what they did to Sauce Gardner in making him earn his roster spot. (For what it's worth, multiple beat writers seem to think Wesco is making the 53-man roster as the fourth TE because he's got more offensive and special teams value than Ruckert, which is troubling.)

Whatever the case, the Jets' TE room looks pretty set right now. Maybe the Jets will attempt to sneak Cager onto the practice squad during the final round of cuts, though I'm not certain he would clear waivers and wouldn't want that risk. Among all the waiver-eligible players the Jets have, he's the one I most would not want to risk losing. Another year of stashing Yeboah on the practice squad should he make it makes more sense to me, as he can continue his development as a receiver and blocker there and serve as a first replacement in the event of an injury to one or two tight ends on the depth chart in front of him. Cager probably isn't too good of a blocker himself considering his background and limited opportunities to work inline, but he's shown himself to be more refined a route-runner than his former SEC rival counterpart.

The WR room has a similar unexpected shakeup to it, though that one is a bit more troubling considering the context. Corey Davis has looked pretty good in camp (not too good at the scrimmage with two drops) and in the preseason, and Elijah Moore looks like a budding star. The third starting receiver? I'm not sure who that might be.

When you're casting a top 10 pick, you have to have big expectations for that player. Sauce Gardner has definitely fit the mold of an impact player through the summer, but the other guy that they drafted in the top 10 has not had quite the same tales woven into his rookie tape. One of the things I was planning to discuss in the scrimmage recap post canceled by the Becton news was how surprised I was to see Braxton Berrios getting more work with the first team offense than Garrett Wilson. I wasn't quite sure what to make of it; Berrios certainly seemed effective when given the ball, though I don't have any specific stats to recall. He scored a touchdown on a great play against the Giants with the second-team offense while Wilson only had a single catch for 12 yards in that game.

Berrios didn't play at all against the Falcons when the Jets opted to rest the majority of their starters while Wilson was out there for the early stages of the game. Wilson's stat sheet shows the fairly limited impact he had in that game (3 receptions for 15 yards with no TDs), but it doesn't show that two of his catches were on contested targets. It also doesn't show his disappointing 0 broken tackles in that game, where I was looking for him to keep his feet on his last reception but he ultimately couldn't manage it. I'd much rather him underwhelm while remaining healthy through the preseason than hurt himself trying to stay upright in a game that ultimately does not matter, but again, I really didn't see much from Wilson that made me think that the Jets had made the right decision in drafting him.

Through camp, a lot of the reports I heard about him were of almosts. "Wilson almost managed to keep both feet in bounds on that terrific play. Wilson almost reeled that pass in away from his body. Wilson almost got in the endzone with the ball a little too far out of reach." I'm not saying there's been nothing of note with him- I know he's capable of making spectacular catches- but far more often I have seen reports about him dropping a pass or not making the play the Jets were looking for him to make. Until I see him making the plays on the field that he was said to be able to make, I'm afraid it's been something that you might want to keep in mind when he doesn't get on the field as much as the other receivers in this offense.

Yes, I do think that Braxton Berrios is set for a larger role in this offense than Wilson, at least during the early stages of the season when the Jets try to get Wilson used to game speed against top corners (the Ravens, Browns and Dolphins each have an arguable top-5 corner on their rosters). The way that the Jets have deployed their offensive personnel this preseason has led me to believe that Berrios is going to be doing a lot of work on offense in addition to his (fantastic) work on special teams. Unless Berrios is putting up top-end slot receiver numbers this season, however, him having a larger role on the offense than Wilson all year can't be viewed as anything other than a disappointment considering the investment that they made in Wilson to be an immediate impact contributor. There's no quota that needs to be met; this is about the offense as a whole performing with the two of them on the field, either at the same time or separately.

I want whatever alignment serves the offense the best, so if Berrios is in fact making the offense better than Wilson, I don't want the Jets to force him onto the field in Berrios's place. I do, however, want the Jets to be reasonably certain that this is the case and- if it is- what they can do to fix it before the end of his rookie season. Wilson is supposed to be a fixture of this offense for years to come; they cannot afford to let a slow rookie season impede his long-term development by unnecessarily limiting his snaps.

Finally, my discussion of the receiver room would be incomplete if I didn't speak about the incompletion master himself, Denzel Mims, who had a breakout performance against the Giants' third and fourth defense. Good for him, and good for the Jets' prospects of turning him into a trade piece for something of value.

No, I was not convinced by his play in this game, that featured both his first professional touchdown and his first 100-yard performance. I saw a receiver that got pretty wide open on the majority of his early receptions against corners playing pretty soft zone coverage. His touchdown catch was definitely impressive, but it feels far too little, far too late. Mims isn't going to be getting the snaps needed for him to get the numbers he had in this preseason game for this team, as he was the sixth receiver to get onto the field in both this game and the Eagles game. Just because the Jets consider him one of their best 53 players does not mean they consider him one of their best players; his usage seems to demonstrate that well enough.

I don't think that preseason game helped his value significantly enough to raise his trade value too far above what N'Keal Harry brought the Patriots when they traded him to the Bears for a 2024 7th round pick. Mims has slightly better numbers in a smaller sample size than Harry has, along with an extra year left on his contract compared to the former Patriot who has only the final year this season. Mims seems to have proved that he belongs in the NFL... though I doubt he proved that he "deserves" to be a starter based on everything we've seen. Maybe there's a team out there that would be willing to take the chance on him that he asked for when he requested a trade.

Fit For A King

Maybe us Jets fans have been so starved for heroes for the majority of this franchise's history that we've been quick to latch onto those that give their first glimmers of being heroes early on (see: White, Mike Effing). Tune in next time around for the next bit of psycho-analysis about Jets fans I'll provide about why we do this to ourselves.

More relevant to this bit of the story is Chris Streveler, a guy who was signed in the middle of camp shortly before the scrimmage as just another camp arm, intended to be held as a guy who would either work on the practice squad in the event of a Mike White trade or a COVID-19 resurgence among the team, or would just be brought in to learn the system to be brought back later in the event of an injury to a QB already on the roster. Then, in the Jets' first preseason game where he was slated to throw to the first time with the full team around him without having faced any kind of real defensive alignment, he led the Jets to an upset comeback win.

The legend grew when he repeated his heroics the following week, and as White's own stock dipped amid a pair of uninspiring performances, Streveler took advantage to unexpectedly put himself in the conversation for QB3. In the final game against the Giants, both men had decent performances, though Streveler once again led his team to a comeback win in the closing minute of the game. It's difficult to draw conclusions given the difference in opponent quality each of them faced when on the field (I don't think anyone is reasonably expecting either to develop into a franchise face for the Jets at this point), but the discussion over which one is the better QB is actually real.

For what it's worth, I'm still on Team White, and it's not just about the Bengals game last year. White has more experience in this system and Streveler feels more likely to clear waivers considering the fact that he was a free agent between his release from Miami in mid-May to the Jets signing him in late-July. It's not something that should be a holdup, though, considering that this is a pretty minor decision about who should be QB3 for this team.

If nothing else, I've come to the idea that there isn't enough of a difference between the two to justify Mike White making nearly three times Streveler's salary. I admit to erroneously believing back in the offseason that the tender the Jets gave him would fully guarantee his contract, which is good, because I think that it would probably be a good idea to waive White if a trading partner doesn't come along asking for his rights. I don't think his tender can be renegotiated at this point, so I think waiving him is the only recourse left to getting that salary down. If a team claims him, then the Jets would still have Streveler around to back up Flacco until Wilson is back. If he goes unclaimed and is willing to re-sign with the Jets at a reduced amount once cutdown has finished and the Jets are able to find room for him by then waiving Streveler, then he can be the backup to the backup. It's convoluted, I know, but I'm trying to pinch pennies here; the Jets are a little too low on cap space for the season right now for my liking, and getting White to drop around $1 million from his contract would definitely help.

No, I don't think the Jets will actually do this, but it's just my thoughts on how to do something to resolve the QB room while also saving money where possible. If the defining debate about what the Jets should be doing on cutdown day is just about who should be QB3, then I think the team is in good shape elsewhere.

Jacked Up

Something else I thought was noteworthy about the preseason was just how dominant the defensive line was. Compared to last year when Carl Lawson was the clear cut defensive MVP of the summer prior to his injury, this go around has featured a surplus of standouts on that DL. All due respect to Gardner- who has also been noted as having had an excellent camp- it's looking like the Jets will have the chance to predicate their defense around domination up front without having to worry about what's behind them.

It's difficult to say this with certainty, but if I had to pick a defensive MVP in camp this year, I'd probably say Quinnen Williams, who has certainly looked the part of the unstoppable force in both preseason appearances. He was great in both preseason appearances (the Eagles game was more noteworthy because he was playing against starting offensive linemen), and outside of a brief spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury, he's managed to stay healthy all the way through to the point where I can reasonably expect him to burst out onto the scene immediately. He'll be playing against a first round rookie (albeit one of the best prospects at the position in years) in Tyler Linderbaum and a fairly average (at best) guard in Ben Powers for much of his snaps Week 1; that sounds like a situation ripe for him to wreak havoc, so I'm hoping for big things from him as he enters Year 4.

Beyond Williams, there's been a rising darkness on the defense. Formerly known as Fear Itself, Micheal Clemons is out for blood after developing a taste for it against Reid Sinnett and Tyrod Taylor, along with several unfortunate runningbacks tasked with running the ball in his direction. I've taken to calling him our assassin ever since the photo of him arriving shirtless to camp was circulated, but I'm starting to think that it might not be helpful enough in describing who he is and what he does.

He finished the Giants game without recording any tackles or sacks, but just ask that poor Hokie Tyrod if he thought Clemons made an impact. He's legitimately a guy who looks like he could be the first backup for the Jets as a DPR, perhaps even on the interior should the Jets get into a position where Clemons shows himself to be as effective as John Franklin-Myers when rushing up the middle to keep in with their rotation-heavy philosophy.

Bryce Huff has also firmly established himself as the first backup to Carl Lawson with his play this preseason. When the Jets rested their starters save for Lamarcus Joyner (needed the reps) and Sauce (I guess they wanted him to get comfortable playing on MetLife turf) against the Falcons, they also chose to rest Huff as well, demonstrating that they view him as a definite role player for this team. Unless he gets traded (I wouldn't accept anything less than a 3rd for his services, and even then, it would have to be sweetened with something else if a contender was involved in the trade), I would expect to see a lot from him this year.

I'm a little disappointed that Jermaine Johnson- the third of the Jets' three first round picks this year- has not been flashing the same way. He was decent against the Eagles, but he underwhelmed against the Falcons and Giants. He's probably fifth on the depth chart at the edge behind Lawson, Huff, JFM and Clemons at the moment, and there's also a chance that he's behind Jacob Martin depending on how the Jets want to use him. It's not too big of a deal if the Jets can't get him work early on in the season considering how awesome the others have looked, but this was not the arrival I was hoping for when they got him. His roster spot is secure, though I fear that his limited special teams value (had a penalty on a punt return against the Giants) might put him in the same position as Denzel Mims (i.e., being unable to play special teams at a good enough level will limit his opportunities to play, spiraling to the point where he's barely playing).

If there are six roster spots locked down at the edge and the Jets try to squeeze in a seventh for special teams value, that could mean good things for Bradlee Anae, who had a decent special teams role with the Cowboys in his rookie season before they cut him in his second season for underperforming. I don't know if that's the route they would go down, but Anae's chances of sticking with the active roster feel greater than Vinny Curry's (zero snaps in the preseason) and Jabari Zuniga's (no dead cap with a waiver).

I'm still a little concerned about their interior depth. Sheldon Rankins hasn't particularly impressed me this preseason (he was apparently having good practices), but his roster status is probably safe after he didn't play against the Falcons like most of their starters. Ditto for Solomon Thomas and Nathan Shepherd, neither of whom have done enough to nudge the other onto the practice squad behind someone still on their waiver-eligible contracts in my opinion. Maybe one of Tanzel Smart and Jonathan Marshall cracks the roster, but those are the four I'm expecting to make the roster, unless the Jets add someone externally from the remaining free agent pool or the waiver wire. Quinnen should help make up for the lack of impact from his fellow interior players, but he has yet to prove that he can hold it down on his own.

This should be a good DL, make no mistake. By 2022 cap, it is the NFL's second-most expensive defensive front. It would be borderline catastrophic if this wasn't a line that was in the top half of the league in sacks given the investment they put in it. For context, the Jets were tied for 25th in sacks last year (33.0), and the only line that is more expensive this season is the Chiefs' line (they were 29th in sacks with 31.0 last season, though their expenses could go down if they release Frank Clark). I'm not demanding to have the absolute best defense when it comes to pass-rushing, but they need to be at or just outside the top 10 to justify this kind of spending, or else they're going to have to refocus their priorities next year.

Getting A Green Card

If anyone wants to become a permanent resident with this team, I'm afraid that they've about run out of chances and it's up to the decisionmakers in the player personnel department. There's somewhere around 47 roster locks (maybe 46 depending on what the Jets do at OT; McDermott might get released with an injury settlement), so the final six or so spots are going to be decided tomorrow. There's some uncertainty at the QB, RB, WR, TE, CB and S positions, but with the exception of the latter, none of that uncertainty is about the starting players.

To tell you the truth (not that I'd ever lie to you except for those times I've lied to you), I think it's good that the roster bubble debates about the third-stringers are the predominant talk right now. Outside of their threadbare depth at OT and uncertainty of who is getting the top spot at FS on the depth chart, it's a good change from last year, where there were questions about who would be starting at:

  • QB (the Jets insisted it would be Wilson, but there was a reasonable debate about it)
  • RB (Michael Carter vs. Tevin Coleman, which feels funny now)
  • WR2 and WR3 (Jamison Crowder, Moore, Mims or Keelan Cole was the competition for that role behind Corey Davis)
  • TE (Griffin vs. Kroft after Herndon was shipped out, along with the Wesco-Daniel Brown-Yeboah crunch at the bottom of the depth chart)
  • RT (Fant vs Moses)
  • RG (Greg Van Roten pretty much won the job by default)
  • DE (after Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry went down, it was between Huff, Shaq Lawson, Shepherd and Zuniga before they ultimately moved JFM outside full time)
  • LB (Hamsah Nasirildeen was a starter in the preseason before he was quietly removed from the defense during the season, Jarrad Davis's injury put Jamien Sherwood in the starting lineup, and a late arrival in Quincy Williams ended up stealing the full-time gig)
  • CB (they chose to ride with the young corners at all three spots rather than find help from veterans)
  • S (with Marcus Maye taking one spot and Ashtyn Davis missing the start of the season with an injury, it was basically Joyner's job to lose in front of Sharrod Neasman and Sheldrick Redwine)

A preseason cutdown could make us feel uneasy about some spots (the two spots where there are the most important questions along with LB), but overall, there's likely no big picture changes coming from it. The Jets will lose some waived players to other teams, as they've already done this summer. That kind of consequence is a good thing, though; the Jets- by my recollection- had only one player claimed in 2019 (do you know who it was? Do you? You're wrong. It was OT Eric Smith) and haven't had one claimed on cutdown day since. That should change this season, with potentially multiple DL, RB, WR and TE that could get claimed, possibly even a QB.

Again, this kind of roster crunch is a good thing, because good teams tend have a surplus at multiple positions. The players getting released and claimed might not be as good as the starters, obviously, but they are NFL players that are getting released because the team has those positions filled by guys who can play at the position better. In theory, that should give the Jets the edge at the position over the teams that claim them. In practice... we'll see.

Definitely feels different this time.

Scratching The Itch

Let me close out by sharing some things I'd like to see the Jets do between now and the start of the season. I don't think they're going to be finding new starters anywhere unless something goes horribly wrong with another major injury, but there are some minor moves I'd like to see the Jets perform.

The first and most important is finding another tackle. If McDermott can't play for the first few games of the season (or even if he can, since he's not particularly reliable anyway), we need someone else who can step in to prevent the untested Max Mitchell and the over-tested Chuma Edoga from having to charge out there to get bludgeoned. The Jets can do that with a waiver wire claim (the teams I'd look at for roster-worthy waivers are the Jaguars, Raiders., Buccaneers, Colts and Bears, should the guys I'm thinking of get released) or a remaining free agent signing (I've spoken before about still available options in my most recent posts).

The second is finding a veteran receiver who would be willing to work on the Jets' practice squad for at least the early stages of the season. I like the UDFA WRs I've seen play for the Jets this preseason, but I think they need another veteran to round them out. This unnamed receiver is probably going to be someone with a prior LaFleur connection (I doubt it will be Emmanuel Sanders, but if they could hypnotize him into joining the practice squad, that's about what I'm looking for). I don't think it will happen, but if the Raiders release Keelan Cole and don't intend to bring him back, he's probably the best-suited player for this role. Other suitable guys who are more likely to be released include Trent Sherfield and Mohamed Sanu with Miami, Marquise Goodwin with Seattle, Dante Pettis with Chicago and Trent Taylor with Cincinnati.

The third is to see if they can find a new special teams ace, even if they don't release Justin Hardee Sr. The top ST performers from last season (Yeboah, Brown, Nasirildeen and Wesco) are either already gone and/or are unlikely to be here next season. Maybe that's somebody already on the roster and is still under contract for next season (perhaps Lawrence Cager can be that guy). Maybe it's someone they will claim off waivers, or maybe it's someone we haven't yet heard of that will be joining the team later in the season. This isn't entirely about Hardee's play last year; it's about finding someone with more versatility, since he rarely gets looks on either offense or defense. If they can find a younger ace with cheaper control, it would help the team as a whole.

Finally, the last thing on my mind about what I'd like the Jets to do is to look into ways they can get their offensive line more prepared for the start of the season. It's not simple, but it's something they have to address before kickoff against the Ravens. PFF grades aren't everything, but I find them to be pretty good when looking to evaluate the linemen, and boy, those grades were not kind to the starting unit this preseason. Outside of Duane Brown (who only played against the Giants' backups in the preseason), all of the starters had fairly subpar grades brought down by really poor run-blocking (in Fant's case, it was poor pass-blocking too, though I don't think it was anywhere close to as bad this month as his pass-blocking grade of 4.1 states; that's just got to be a typo). This is something that bothered me about the Eagles game too when both starting tackles were out; the interior run-blocking was very poor with the starting three interior men playing together. What run-blocking we saw in the preseason was very concerning; the identity of this team was supposed to shift toward a greater emphasis on controlling the clock, and they really didn't do that at all when the starting units were on the field (all three games were second-half comeback wins, the first two by double digits).

Eyes on the Prize

All right. The preseason is now over, and we're going to have a 53-man roster and (probably) 16-man practice squad in a few days. This is it: the moment we've all been waiting for. Ladies and gentlemen...

The Hokies are going to crush ODU on Friday.

Don't argue with me. I know best.

Oh, and, don't forget; let's go Jets.

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