New York Jets: Grading Week 2’s loss vs. New England

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Zach Wilson’s struggles prevented the New York Jets’ offense from moving forward, but Sunday served as another good showcase for the defense.

New York Jets 6 (0-2)

Top Offesnive Performer: RB Michael Carter (11 carries, 59 yards, 2 receptions 29 yards)
Top Defensive Performer: S Marcus Maye (6 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 pass breakup)
Top Specialist: KR Braxton Berrios (4 returns, 95 yards)
Up Next: Sunday @ Denver (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS)

New England Patriots 25 (1-1)

Top Offesnive Performer: RB James White (6 receptions, 45 yards, 5 carries, 20 yards, 1 touchdown)
Top Defensive Performer: DB J.C. Jackson (3 tackles, 2 interceptions)
Top Specialist: K Nick Folk (4-for-4 field goals, 1-for-2 extra points)
Up Next: Sunday vs. New Orleans (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

Offense: D+

Whether it’s fair or not, the state of the Jets’ offense is going to be judged by Zach Wilson’s progress. Even the most optimistic Wilson prophet had their faith shaken on Sunday, as none of his four interceptions could be excused by a baseball-style official scorer. A struggling offensive line missing the services of Mekhi Becton did little to help out: a metropolitan comeback effort was stymied by four sacks of Wilson, all coming in the second half.

The struggles of Wilson masked some encouraging offensive progress: Michael Carter flourished in expanded duties despite the loss of Becton, earning 88 yards (59 rushing) from scrimmage in his second NFL contest. Ty Johnson maintained consistency with 50 yards on a dozen attempts. Carter and Johnson united to obtain half of the Jets’ 18 first downs.

In terms of passes that landed in the hands of Jets receivers, Braxton Berrios continued his strong start, earning a career-best 73 yards on seven receptions while Corey Davis (2 receptions, 8 yards) was held in check. Elijah Moore (4 receptions, 47 yards) hinted at his greater powers while the Jets continued to struggle with generating momentum amongst the tight ends, particularly when they got deeper in New England territory. Ryan Griffin and Tyler Kroft united for a mere 18 yards on a trio of receptions.

In another positive development, the Jets did earn 336 yards of offense on Sunday, besting their totals from all but two games from last season.

Defense: C+

Considering the awkward position Wilson’s turnovers left them in, the defense did commendable work on Sunday. Highlight reels will immortalize Damien Harris’ touchdown run that took several defenders into the end zone with him, but the makeshift unit put forth a respectable effort in their first Mac Jones experience. The 15th overall pick from April’s draft proceedings was limited to mostly dink-and-dunk endeavors, picking up only 186 yards on 30 attempts.

Linebacker C.J. Mosley started to resemble his Baltimore self, limiting his assignments to 20 yards on four receptions while picking up a team-best 10 tackles. Safety Michael Carter II allowed only 17 yards on five grabs. Quincy Williams appears to be another Joe Douglas waiver wire gem, allowing only 13 yards and earning a tackle in the backfield.

New York’s pass rush also upped its game, tripling its sack total from Week 1. John Frankin-Myers is the only Jets on the sack ledger in each of the first two weeks, having also forced a recovered fumble of Jones. Marcus Maye and Sheldon Rankins earned the other quarterback takedowns, all of which came in the first half. The Jets also forced three New England three-and-outs, up from one against the Panthers.

The Jets were once again beaten by multi-talented running backs: in addition to Harris’ arduous but well-publicized run to glory, the Jets were beaten for 65 yards and a score by White. It’s certainly a few notches down from Christian McCaffrey’s wild ride in Carolina, but worth keeping an eye on moving forward.

Special Teams: C+

Matt Ammendola returned to his regularly scheduled kicking duties on Sunday with Thomas Morestead in tow. Ammendola wound up accounting for all of the metropolitan scoring; he converted from 21 and 35 yards out but missed a 53-yarder in the third quarter. Wilson’s de facto arm punts limited Morestead to a single 45-yard attempt.

In addition to his offensive breakout, Berrios further solidified his prescience on the Jets’ return game, averaging just under 24 yards per kick attempt. His 38-yard return in the late stages of the third quarter set up Ammendola’s first field goal of the day.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

4 running backs the New York Giants could consider in free agency

New York Giants, Mike Davis

When New York Giants‘ star running back Saquon Barkley went down with a torn ACL in Week 2, reserve back, Wayne Gallman was forced to take a larger role. This was after Devonta Freeman was signed off the street and picked up a few injuries that held him out for the remainder of the season.

For the most part, the Wayne Train took a few games to get going, but when he was on, he was on. Gallman had some help from Morris as well, but the former Clemson star was the lead back when Barkley and Freeman went down with injuries. They ripped off eight 100-yard performances over the next nine games. They even put together a four-game winning streak.

The Giants know now, Barkley is not immortal. They need to get more of a solid plan at the running back. Gallman, Morris, and Lewis are free agents come in March, and the Giants will be seeking some veteran running back help behind Barkley this offseason.

Here are four veterans the New York Giants should consider signing this offseason:

Mike Davis

With the Carolina Panthers’ star running back Christian McCaffrey dealing with injuries this past season, Mike Davis was the top back for Carolina this past season. The 27-year-old is a versatile back who can catch passes out of the backfield as well as running through the tackles. Davis ran for 642 yards and had 373 receiving yards on 59 catches. Davis could be a solid and cheap running back for Barkley next season.

Jamaal Williams

The Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams is strictly a complimentary back to Aaron Jones, that is exactly what the Giants need for Barkley. Williams is a reliable runner, averaging 4.2 yards per carry on the ground. He could also be used in the passing game as well if needed. With Green Bay drafting A.J Dillon in the second-round this past draft, they will have to part ways with Williams this offseason.

James White

Logan Ryan did he say he would try to recruit players to New York — could James White be one of them? White has been a productive back, through the air or on the ground. White would be the perfect third-down back and compliment Barkley really well. White could help New York in the red zone for the fact he is an excellent receiver. He would be a fine addition for whatever team he chooses to play for next season.

Malcolm Brown

Malcolm Brown reminds me of Jamaal Williams, a complimentary back to Cam Akers. Brown is a very effective runner through the tackles. This past season, he became more effective through the air, which he has not been through the years. That will expand his value this offseason, with teams knowing he can be used in the passing game.