Takeaways from Jets-Giants preseason opener, including Zach Wilson's simple but effective debut

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Zach Wilson wasn’t asked to do a whole lot in his preseason debut, but he did it mostly well.

And that’s a pretty good look at how the Jets expect things will go with their offense when the games begin for real.

Wilson, the Jets’ 22-year-old starter, completed six of his nine passes for 63 yards on Saturday night, playing two series in his preseason NFL debut against the Giants. Playing against a Giants defense that rested just about all of their regulars, Wilson led the Jets to a field goal and left with a 3-0 lead in the second quarter of what became a 12-7 Jets win.

He was efficient in what was a very run-heavy offensive attack for the Jets — which is exactly what the 49ers offense that they’re running is built to be. Wilson’s passes were mostly short — none longer than 16 yards. They included an array of play-action passes and rollouts to make good use of his ability to create outside of the pocket. And he showed some poise completing three passes on third downs.

His best throw came on his second drive, on 3rd and 9 from the Jets own 20. He threw a laser over the middle for 16 yards to receiver Keelan Cole.

And while offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur obviously didn’t unveil everything in his playbook, this was as good a look as any at what the Jets’ offensive philosophy will be. They will run, run and run some more behind what they hope is a dominant, powerful offensive line. And they will protect their rookie quarterback, not asking him to do too much — especially early — and putting a premium on protecting the ball.

Surely at some point Wilson will have to unveil his arm and show he can get the ball farther downfield. But that’s for later. For now, the Jets aren’t going to ask Wilson to do more than they know he can do.

Here are a few other observations from both the Giants and Jets in their preseason opener …

  • The Giants basically played their entire second-team defense, so take this for what it’s worth, but the Jets’ offensive line was pretty dominant. Probably more so on runs than passes, but Wilson mostly had a clean pocket to work in. On runs, there were some huge holes, even on the left side where Dan Feeney was filling in for injured left guard Alijah Vera-Tucker.

  • In a bit of a surprise, Ty Johnson was the starting running back for the Jets and got most of the work with the starters. Rookie Michael Carter was worked in a bit. Tevin Coleman didn’t dress for the game. Johnson, who has excellent speed, had some good runs, finishing with nine carries for 33 yards.

  • The Giants played their starting offensive line, with the exception of Kenny Wiggins subbing for Shane Lemieux (knee) at left guard, and they held up OK against what is expected to be a very good Jets defensive front. The one exception was when Jets defensive end Bryce Huff burned Giants RT Matt Peart for the first of his two sacks.

  • Jets TE Chris Herndon clearly has an uphill battle, maybe even to make the roster. He didn’t play with the first-team offense and finished with just one catch for nine yards. Tyler Kroft (one catch, 13 yards) did play with the first team, along with Ryan Griffin. And Trevon Wesco lined up as a fullback, where he threw a few very good blocks to spring the Jets’ running backs.

  • Giants RB Corey Clement (five carries, 32 yards) has out-played Devontae Booker (3-12) during camp, but this won’t help his cause to start if Saquon Barkley isn’t ready for the opener: He fumbled on a run up the middle on 1st and goal from the 7. It looked like he was held up by rookie Jets linebacker Jamien Sherwood, and then Hamsah Nasirildeen, the Jets’ other rookie linebacker, came in and dislodged the ball.

  • Jets WR Denzel Mims, still working his way back into shape (and into the lineup) after losing 20 pounds during a bout with food poisoning this spring, didn’t get on the field on offense until late in the second quarter. But he finished with three catches for 51 yards, including a 20-yard catch where he turned a short pass into a bigger gain by breaking a couple of tackles and carrying a few Giants defenders the last couple of yards.

  • The performance of Giants backup QB Mike Glennon wasn’t comforting. Granted, he didn’t have Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay, Evan Engram or Barkley, but he was still only 3 of 7 for 20 yards while playing behind the Giants’ starting offensive line.

  • David Sills V, a second-year receiver, is making a strong bid to make the Giants’ roster this summer. The 6-foot-3, 211-pounder had a strong game against the Jets, catching 3 passes for 49 yards, including a 37-yarder down the sidelines from third-string quarterback Clayton Thorson late in the first half.

  • The highlight of the game for the Giants came in the fourth quarter. Backed up on their own 1, with only 98 yards of offense through the first 48 ½ minutes of the game, they handed the ball to Sandro Platzgummer, their Austrian running back, who took off for a 48-yard gain. This was Platzgummer’s first NFL game after spending all last year on the Giants’ practice squad as their international player, and that was just the second time he touched the ball.

  • Some of the luster was taken off this game before it even started with neither Kadarius Toney, the Giants’ first-round pick, nor Elijah Moore, the Jets’ second-round pick, playing. Moore suffered a quad injury in practice earlier in the week and Toney has gotten off to a real slow start to camp, which began with him on the Reserves/COVID-19 list. The two potentially electric receivers would’ve been two of the biggest reasons for anyone to watch this game.

Soruce: https://sports.yahoo.com/takeaways-jets-giants-preseason-opener-024856375.html?src=rss

By Malvi

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