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Summary from the Final Week of Camp
The Jets held Zach Wilson out of Friday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles after a downpour messed up the field. The coaches wouldn’t chance their quarterback getting hurt behind a shaky offensive line on a slick field, but he continued to improve over the course of last week. The game hasn’t looked overwhelming for him. He has worked hard to master the playbook and found ways to simplify things. Veteran Josh Johnson went 7-for-8 for 73 yards and a touchdown but Mike White won the backup role as Johnson and James Morgan were cut on Tuesday.
Michael Carter has had some encouraging moments but struggled against the Eagles, while Ty Johnson — who is competing for a role — showed enormous power in the game, hammering at Philadelphia’s front seven. Johnson got reps ahead of Carter while La’Mical Perine and Tevin Coleman sat out. The big question is how many backs New York keeps. Interestingly, Johnson’s performance potentially complicates Perine’s role, as both bring value as short-yardage backs. Regardless of who makes the 53-man roster, the coaches are set to ride the hot hand week to week.
As with most of the offense, starters Jamison Crowder, Corey Davis, and rookie Elijah Moore were off the field in shorts on Friday. Davis has had an exceptional summer, and his chemistry with Zach Wilson is undeniable. His body control, hands, and athleticism make him someone Wilson can count on to bail him out if need be. Denzel Mims was also a scratch, which could be a sign he will survive roster cuts. Jeff Smith and Keelan Cole have done well enough to stick around over Vyncint Smith.
The Jets are running an offensive scheme that will take advantage of a sharp tight end, but there is some question whether that tight end is on the roster or if there might be an addition after cutdowns on Tuesday. Chris Herndon’s hold on a roster spot was tenuous, at best, and the team moved him to the Vikings making Tyler Kroft the starter by default. Kroft has looked good in camp and preseason games but has an undeniably concerning injury history. Undrafted free agent Kenny Yeboah had a massive showing against the Philadelphia Eagles, catching four out of four passes for 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he didn’t make the 53-man roster either. Yeboah seems like a strong bet to land on the practice squad.
Out with one Lawson, in with another? Carl Lawson’s season-ending injury is hard to overcome, but the front office threw a hail mary by trading for Shaq Lawson from the Houston Texans. Lawson isn’t a direct replacement for Carl Lawson’s lost production, but in a thin market, general manager Joe Douglas moved to stop the bleeding. Shaq Lawson is a bit of an underachiever, a former first-round pick in 2016 who never lived up to his potential. He will start opposite John Franklin-Myers. Linebacker Jarrad Davis is still sidelined with an ankle injury, and safety Zane Lewis is done for the year after he tore his patella tendon and sprained his MCL. The Jets have moved rookies Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen from defensive back to linebacker. They are hoping that Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins can help press the quarterback from the line's interior.
In recent weeks, Corey Ballentine has had some big kickoff returns, which is important because he likely needs to secure the kickoff return job to make the final 53-man roster. Braxton Berrios will likely return punts, but if the Jets want to save a roster spot, he can field kickoffs, too. Rookie receiver Elijah Moore was an early candidate to field punts, as well, but after a strong preseason on offense, it's unclear whether he'll still get the opportunity on special teams.
Summary from Week 3 of Camp
Zach Wilson looked sharp in Saturday’s win over the Packers, and it should be no surprise that it was in part because the offensive line played better than it did in Week 1, though it is also worth noting the Packers rested their defensive starters. Wilson had also had two days of practices against the Packers to draw from, as the two teams worked together last week. Wilson had a chance to speak to his idol, Aaron Rodgers. “I’d say the biggest thing I picked up was the two-minute drill, just how calm and collected he is,” Wilson said. “He’s kind of just out there, almost like he’s just messing around, playing backyard football. He’s having a good time, and he makes it work.” As camp has progressed, Wilson has become more relaxed and poised, and while he still struggles at times, he has improved.
Rookie Michael Carter has garnered praise throughout the preseason, frequently working with the first-team offense. Although he led the Jets in rushing yards against Green Bay, it came with the backups. Tevin Coleman (10) and Ty Johnson (9) took all the first-team snaps. Even LaMical Perine played ahead of Carter. Coleman had missed the first game for undisclosed personal reasons but looked solid Saturday and has muddied the outlook after it seemed Ty Johnson was in line to start. Head coach Robert Saleh may favor a multi-back committee like his former boss Kyle Shanahan does in San Francisco.