The New York Jets faced the Philadelphia Eagles in their first preseason game on Friday evening. While preseason typically doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme, it is still interesting to watch how young players play. The Jets had several young players to be focused on in the game. While the 2022 first-round rookies were a key focus, the 2021 class continued to be evaluated
Though the Eagles are a better team than the Jets, did the starters reflect that on Friday night? Let’s take a look at it.
Jets Struggle in 1st Half
In the first half, it was all Eagles. From the start, New York looked like the team they have been for the past decade, which is sluggish and pitful. The offense wasn’t in sync, and the defense was even worse at certain times. While trying to juke out a defender down 14-0, Jets quarterback Zach Wilson suffered an injury. While at first it was feared to be an ACL tear, it was luckily just a bone bruise. It will require surgery, and the timeline for his return is 2-4 weeks.
Before his injury, Zach Wilson did not look promising. Despite only throwing five passes, Wilson looked inaccurate and had a preventable interception that landed in the hands of Eagles linebacker Kyzir White. Though just preseason, it is essential to note that Wilson had these same struggles last season. Additionally, he’s had a whole off-season to watch the film on his mistakes. Hopefully, it is something he can fix. New York’s defense was also getting torched early.
Philadelphia was up 14-0 when the starters were in and took a 14-3 lead into halftime.
The second half was the opposite of the first half. While Philly dominated the Jets early on, New York’s backups outplayed Philly’s. Even though he may not make the team’s roster, Jets quarterback Chris Strevler was impressive. He was accurate and led the team’s comeback.
Additionally, the Jets run game was very solid during the comeback. Breece Hall had a very solid debut, and Zonovan Knight and La’Mical Perine also had good games. Even if Zach Wilson isn’t at his best, a strong run game will do Gang Green wonders in 2022.
With less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter, Chris Strevler came in clutch. He delivered a nice pass to receiver Calvin Jackson for a game-winning touchdown. New York would win 24-21.
Though it is just preseason, the Jets defense looked no different from a year ago. They couldn’t defend screens at all. If the team wants to be decent this season, they must improve.
Sauce Gardner will do wonders for this secondary, which was among the league’s worst in 2021. Additionally, first-round rookie receiver Garrett Wilson had a solid debut. If he can be as productive as a receiver similar to Amari Cooper in 2022, New York is in good hands.
Next Monday, the Jets take on the Atlanta Falcons back home for their second preseason game.