New York Jets beat New York Giants 12-7 in First Preseason Game | Recap and takeaways

new york jets, zach wilson

The New York Giants and New York Jets faced off tonight in Week One of the 2021 NFL preseason. The New York Jets came out victorious. FINAL SCORE: 12-7.

Key stats and takeaways

New York Jets

  • QB Zach Wilson: 6/9, 63 yards
  • WR Denzel Mims: 3 receptions, 51 yards
  • DE Bryce Huff: 2 sacks, 2 TFL

2021 second-overall draft pick Zach Wilson had a solid debut in his first NFL action. While he did not light up the scoreboard, Wilson was smart with the football. He was accurate, had some impressive plays, and avoided any major mistakes. An all-around good performance by a rookie quarterback.

Many felt as though the Jets got a steal in the second round of last year’s draft when they selected wide receiver, Denzel Mims. Tonight, Mims looked like an impressive wide receiver, totaling 51 yards. Denzel Mims had a nice highlight, converting a 3rd and 18 while showing off some skills after the catch.

The New York Jets’ defense took advantage of the New York Giants’ thin offensive line. The Giants lack depth upfront and this allowed the Jets to total 5 sacks in the contest. Bryce Huff contributed two sacks on the night.

The Jets also seem to have some solid quarterback depth. Mike White threw for 127 yards on 13 completions. James Morgan gained 45 yards on 5 completions. No turnovers for any of the Jets’ quarterbacks.

New York Giants

  • QB Clayton Thorson: 5/16, 72 yards, 1 TD
  • WR David Sills V: 3 receptions, 49 yards
  • LB Carter Coughlin: 5 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL

The New York Giants’ starting offensive linemen did participate in tonight’s matchup. For the most part, the unit was impressive. Andrew Thomas looked good in both pass protection and run-blocking, including a dominant pass set in the first quarter. RG Will Hernandez also looked like an improved version of himself. Hernandez moved very nicely as a lead/pulling blocker and had a couple of key blocks in the running game. However, it was not a perfect outing for the starters as RT Matt Peart let up a sack on a third down.

Once the starting offensive linemen went out and the reserves went in, Giants fans were reminded just how poor this team’s depth on the offensive line truly is. The Giants let up 5 sacks, losing 34 yards and allowing a safety. The reserve linemen struggled mightily and also lost OG Kyle Murphy with an ankle injury.

Quarterback Clayton Thorson struggled throughout the game. He did throw a nice touchdown pass after evading pressure late in the game, though the majority of the game was relatively unimpressive.

Training camp standouts WR David Sills V and CB Rodarius Williams were on the field for the majority of the game. Sills lived up to the hype, beating cornerbacks with great releases off the line of scrimmage and making a few sound receptions for 49 yards (he also drew a DPI on a deep target). Williams had a rough night, letting up plenty of yards in receptions. But he did recover a fumble in the fourth quarter and nearly took it back to the end zone.

LB Carter Coughlin also stood out defensively for the Giants. The second-year player transitioned to off-ball linebacker this offseason after playing EDGE in his rookie year. Coughlin looked like he had been playing inside linebacker for years, putting together an impressive 5 tackle, 1 sack, 1 TFL performance. Carter was all over the place making plays.

New York Jets sign Alijah Vera-Tucker to rookie deal

alijah vera-tucker, jets

The New York Jets have finally signed Alijah Vera-Tucker to his rookie deal, making him the first of their top-three picks to do so. It’s a four-year deal, with a fifth-year option, fully guaranteed for $15.8 million. He also has a signing bonus of $8.9 million.

Vera-Tucker is expected to be the starting guard alongside Mekhi Becton on the left side of the line from the get-go. The former USC guard has high expectations coming in as a rookie and now the contract talk can finally be pushed into the rearview mirror.

The Jets, who traded up to draft Vera-Tucker with the 14th overall pick, made acquiring him a priority in April.

“We felt we had a unique opportunity to get a top-10 player in our minds as our board was stacked,” General Manager Joe Douglas said after making the trade to move up in the draft. “To go up and get a guy like Alijah Vera-Tucker, a player that has started at tackle, has started at guard and has been highly productive at both, that versatility and that production is something we really value.”

The Jets will now move their focus to signing their other top-two picks: Zach Wilson and Elijah Moore.

Did the New York Jets ‘finally’ solve their offensive line woes?

alijah vera-tucker, jets

Just one spot ahead of the New York Giants, the Jets ranked 31st in pass blocking efficiency last season, per PFF. In run blocking, they landed at 20th, thanks to a surprisingly successful performance by right tackle George Fant. Hopefully, with the insertion of UNC stand-out running back Michael Carter, the Jets will finally have a more committed running approach. With head coach Robert Saleh coming from the Kyle Shanahan system in San Francisco, it is possible they utilize a rotation of backs, exposing mismatches and running lanes.

However, the success of the Jets’ offense heavily relies on the protection of Zack Wilson in pass blocking. Considering how poorly they performed last year, the organization realizes it was a priority to upgrade the blocking personnel as much as possible. They brought in multiple new players, including USC versatile lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, veteran Morgan Moses, and a few depth pieces to help mitigate fatigue and supplement injuries.

Offensive line coach John Benton attested to the scheme fits in the trenches and the new faces the team has brought in:

“I get the feeling that everyone’s pretty excited about it [the wide-zone scheme]. It seems to be a good buy-in at this point across the board. The guys fit the scheme real well. I think they’re excited to see where it can go.”

Projected starting offensive line for the Jets:

LT: Mekhi Becton

LG: Alijah Vera-Tucker

C: Connor McGovern

RG: Alex Lewis

RT: Morgan Moses

Depth:

OT: George Fant

OG: Dan Feeney

OG/OT: Conor McDermott

OL: Chuma Edoga

OG: Greg Van Roten

Simply looking at the expected starting group, it is with confidence we can say Wilson’s protection should be improved. Considering what Sam Darnold had to deal with last year, being sacked 35 times over just 12 games, it was about time the team allocated significant resources toward the bolstering of the unit.

Tucker has shades of Quenton Nelson embodied in his style of play, and Becton is a big left tackle with the ability to maul pass rushers at the point of attack. A veteran like Moses should provide substantial experience and an upgrade at right tackle, despite Fant having a solid 2020 season. However, having adequate depth shouldn’t be overlooked; Fant will return to his swing tackle role, which he played with the Seattle Seahawks before joining Gang Green.

Ultimately, with the injection of new talent, players who have performed well in the past, like Conner McGovern, should return to form with more consistency around him. If the line can hold up and develop chemistry as the season progresses, Wilson could find himself exceeding expectations in his rookie season, which would be a sign of optimism for the future.

2 players the New York Jets absolutely struck gold with in the 2021 NFL Draft

elijah moore, jets

There is no question the New York Jets had one of the best draft classes in the NFL this year on paper, and now it’s time for them to display their talents during training camp and hopefully come the regular season. Of course, the drafting of Zach Wilson will plaster the headlines, but they have two more players capable of achieving greatness at the next level.

Two players the New York Jets struck gold with in the 2021 NFL Draft:

WR: Elijah Moore

Elijah Moore is the ideal slot receiver, standing at 5’9″ and 178 pounds. As a shifty pass catcher, he posted 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns last year with Ole Miss, presenting a fantastic athlete in the open field and consistent hands.

Falling to the second round, the Jets couldn’t believe their luck, as Moore fits multiple offensive systems, whether it be a West Coast style or Air Raid. He has the versatility to align outside and in the interior, representing a dynamic athlete with sudden quickness and sky-high potential. While his route running is still a bit raw, the right coaching should do the trick regarding his development at the next level. As a tough and gritty player, more has the ability to create after the catch and offer home-run capabilities.

While the drafting of Moore created the narrative that Jamison Crowder’s time in green might be coming to an end, the two sides settled on an agreement, slashing Crowder‘s salary by about 50%.

So far this off-season, Elijah has been a massive stand-out, impressing Robert Saleh as he shifts alignments. He checks all the right boxes when it comes to progression and fundamentals coming out of college. He is already making stellar improvements with the team, and gaining chemistry with Wilson could curate one of the most exciting QB-WR duos the Jets have seen in years.

OL: Alijah Vera-Tucker

Aside from Moore, the Jets also landed USC stand-out offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker. A unit the  New York Jets desperately needed to upgrade, Tucker has the versatility to play offensive tackle and guard, contributing toward his value.

In fact, Hall of Fame OT Anthony Munoz has already become a big fan of Tucker, who not only impressed him on the field but also with his intellectual nature.

“The first thing I knew about Vera-Tucker was that he played guard, he opted out because of Covid, then when the Pac-12 decided to play, he played left tackle and he played extremely well. I knew he was versatile, to move from inside to outside and to be effective. … I knew he was a pretty good offensive lineman, but the thing I noticed right away was how genuine and down to earth he is. At the same time, he’s focused and eager to get to work. He wanted to learn. That’s the sign of a guy who’s going to be a great, great player. He wants to learn and he’s not satisfied with his performance at the college level.”

Munoz detailed one specific factor that should excite fans about Alijah, his transition from the inside at guard to starting at left tackle, where he played well. That type of transition is not simple or smooth, and he held his own with ease, elevating his draft stock considerably. Per PFF, AVT played 975 total snaps during his career at USC, allowing 5.0 sacks, 3 QB hits, and 8 quarterback hurries.

Consider this, Greg Van Rotan, who the Jets signed last year to help supplement weaknesses in the interior, allowed three sacks, two QB hits, and 19 hurries in 752 snaps last season. AVT should offer an instant upgrade at guard but also has the versatility to swing outside if injuries arise. His development will be exciting to watch, and adding potentially elite players on offense is exactly what the Jets needed to build around Wilson.

Report: Jets ink OT Morgan Moses to one-year deal, add more competition to OL

morgan moses, new york jets

The New York Jets have been contemplating the idea of signing former Washington offensive tackle Morgan Moses to a one-year contract. Well, on Friday, they finalized the deal to bring Moses to New York, having started 97 games in his career for Washington.

The Jets, who have Mekhi Becton, George Fant, and rookie Alijah Vera-Tucker capable of playing offensive tackle, now have added competition from a solid veteran.

In 2020, Moses played the majority of his snaps at right tackle, featuring at left tackle in Weeks 11 and 12. He’s capable of playing on both sides but was far better in pass blocking when featuring on the right side of the OL. He allowed five total sacks, 14 QB hits, and 22 hurries.

Overall, Moses has been a consistent option for Washington for the past seven seasons. At 6’6″ and 335 pounds, rookie quarterback Zach Wilson now has himself a consistent OT on the right side who can provide support due to injury and will likely push Fant for the starting job.

Moses is coming off a five-year, $38.5 million deal, so the Jets signing him to a one-year contract should land in the $5-8 million range for the 2021 campaign. Fortunately, Moses hasn’t missed a game in six seasons, showcasing his reliability, and was mainly cut due to financial reasons and not performance-based factors.

Did the Jets stumble upon a stud in mid-round running back selection?

jets, michael carter

The New York Jets don’t have a clear-cut starting running back, but rookie Michael Carter out of UNC already has the advantage to be the opening day option for Zach Wilson in the backfield. Last year in 2020, Carter posted 1,245 yards and nine rushing touchdowns, including 267 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.

As one of the most productive running backs in the country, nobody anticipated Carter falling to the 4th round. Jets management waited patiently for Carter to fall as they sat with their eyes glued to the screen as every team passed him by.

Having sweated the entire third round in hopes Carter would be available, general manager Joe Douglas stated they would have had a serious discussion taking him in the 3rd, but thankfully, he fell right into their laps and is already penciled in as a potential starter come Week 1.

Projected running back room for the Jets:

RB1: Michael Carter

RB2: Tevin Coleman

RB3: Ty Johnson

RB4: La’Mical Perine

RB5: Josh Adams

Carter has already gained the majority of first-team reps during OTA‘s, but the anticipation is that Robert Saleh will execute a rotation of running backs this upcoming year, especially with the signing of Tevin Coleman.

A committee-based approach would help Carter find his sea-legs at the NFL level, easing him into a more physical and athletic league. Heading into the draft, Carter’s strengths included solid agility, vision of the field, and protecting the football efficiently. The UNC product hasn’t fumbled in two years, and most of his negatives include diagnosing running lanes and a lack of top-end speed.

Breakaway speed for running backs is more of a luxury than a necessity, as finding running lanes and picking up first downs is more beneficial than blowing the top off of defenses at the second level. Plenty of backs with average speed produce above-average play. Some examples include Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb, Aaron Jones, Chris Carson, etc.

Ultimately, if Carter can improve his vision and ability to hit holes with confidence, the Jets could have themselves a steal in the mid-rounds. He is a player to have a close eye on during training camp, gauging his snap count with the starters.

Jets: Alijah Vera-Tucker has ‘Quenton Nelson’ like versatility

alijah vera-tucker, jets

One of the priorities for the New York Jets this off-season was bolstering their offensive line, as they went out and utilized draft capital and free-agent money to upgrade the unit. They brought in Dan Feeney, who’s started 57 games in four seasons of play, and has experience at LG and C, and drafted Alijah Vera-Tucker out of USC to fill an interior position.

Vera-Tucker has experience playing at OT and OG, providing the Jets with versatility they didn’t have before on the OL. Having failed to make a significant splash in free agency, they walked away with one of the best drafts in the NFL, as the USC product was considered a top 10 player in the entire class. Considering they traded up to pick 14 to ensure they snagged the versatile offensive lineman, it gives you an idea of how much they valued his services.

Verta-Tucker’s former head coach, Clay Helton, had great reviews of the offensive lineman, generously comparing him to All-Pro OG Quenton Nelson in some ways:

“He played three years for us at an elite level and really didn’t give up a sack his junior year (at LG) in that entire year,” Helton said. “He has tremendous athleticism in all your run schemes. He’s a guy who can get out in space, can run outside zone, power on inside zone and be able to really get out in space on the second level and be able to connect with defenders and be able to lock on them and show those great feet that he has. You’re really getting a talented a player that I think can really fit into what the Jets want to do.”

When you have a player being compared to Quenton Nelson, your eyes must widen. With a combination of athleticism and technique, Tucker is ready to make an impact on day one. In addition, he has the flexibility to help supplement injuries, which could end up being an undervalued factor. Considering Mekhi Becton has been dealing with planters fasciitis and other issues, there is the potential that Alijah could end up starting some games on the outside, which he has significant experience doing.

However, the Jets envision him filling the left guard spot next to Becton, solidifying a duo for years to come that can protect their rookie quarterback, Zach Wilson.

At this point in time, the Jets have made significant changes across the board, but their offense has experienced a shift that not many other teams have experienced around the league. They have the personnel to take a dramatic step forward and 2021 — it all depends on the scheme/coaching moving forward.

The New York Jets still have time to bolster the secondary with one solid veteran

richard sherman, jets

The New York Jets seemingly had a fantastic draft and free agency class, but there is one unit they didn’t bolster sufficiently this off-season. Last year, one of the weaker points on defense for Gang Green was the secondary, and after the departure of Jamal Adams, the unit only got worse. The Jets ranked 28th in passing yards allowed per game, giving up 275.6 on average. They desperately need more support at cornerback after cutting Pierre Desir after just one season with the team.

However, there is one free agent on the market that could make perfect sense for the Jets, especially with the hiring of Robert Salah from the San Francisco 49ers.

Currently, on the roster, the Jets have a plethora of inexperienced options which don’t represent immediate starters or impact players.

-Bless Austin

-Bryce Hall

-Justin Hardee

-Isaiah Dunn

-Corey Ballentine

Only one of these players has played more than two seasons in the NFL and an entire 16 game campaign. Justin Hardee, who the Jets signed as a free agent from the New Orleans Saints, has never started a game in the NFL but has played in 56 over four seasons. He has two passes defended to his name, so expecting him to be a starting-level player would be optimistic.

The player on the market who could make the most sense for Gang Green is Richard Sherman, who is coming off a three-year, $27.15 million deal. At 33 years old, there’s no question that Sherman is getting up there in age, but as an intelligent corner who is one of the best defensive backs in the last decade, he could offer them plenty of value as a veteran in the locker room.

Sherman recently played for Salah and his defense, featuring in just five games last year, but did partake in 15 regular-season games and three playoff contests in 2019. During his 2019 season, he recorded a 90.5 overall coverage grade, allowing 373 yards and one touchdown the entire season. As a historically lock-down man coverage corner, Sherman clearly has a bit of gas left in his tank, but after missing the majority of the 2020 campaign, the Jets might be able to snag him up on a cheaper deal.

Considering the connection between Sherman and Salah, this would be an easy signing to make for the Jets, inserting an immediate starter into the secondary who can help the young players gain their sea legs in the NFL.

Signing Sherman to a one or two-year deal in the $7 million range would make sense, given the lesser contracts signed this off-season. The Jets currently have about $32 million available and cap space, giving them plenty of money to work with prior to the start of the 2021 season.

Do the New York Jets have an underrated wide receiver core?

new york jets, jamison crowder

The New York Jets are headed into the 2021 season with an overturned roster, specifically at quarterback and wide receiver. Of course, expectations for second overall pick Zach Wilson are sky-high, as they should be based on his incredible attributes and capabilities on the run as a passer. Coming out of BYU, Wilson has the ability to throw on the move, deliver accurate passes downfield, and operate an offense adequately.

While the NFL presents an entirely different challenge, the Jets made sure to give Wilson plenty of weapons and resources for his rookie season. They went out and grabbed Corey Davis from the Tennessee Titans, who is considered a high-end WR2, if not a fringe WR1.

Compared to the wide receivers the Jets offered Sam Darnold last year, this is an entirely different group with far more capabilities. They traded away Sam’s best target in Robby Anderson, leaving him to fend for himself.

Nonetheless, the Jets have an underrated WR core this upcoming season, especially after drafting Ole Miss stand-out Elijah Moore.

New York Jets wide receiver core:

WR1: Corey Davis

Davis is an adequate player who signed a three-year, $37.5 million deal with the Jets, including $27 million guaranteed. While they spent big money on the receiver, he will offer Wilson a solid route runner who could also act as a possession option. The former first-round pick is only 26 years old and posted a career-high 984 yards and five touchdowns last year as a complement to AJ Brown.

While it is yet to be seen if Davis can handle the load himself, he was one of the most exciting college receivers coming out of the 2017 NFL draft, so there’s no question he can offer elite-level play, it’s just a matter of how consistency. Aside from posting career numbers in production, he also landed a 70.7% catch rate, showcasing quality hands and consistency, the key for Davis moving forward.

Giving Wilson an adequate receiver like Davis should do wonders for him and his adaptation to the NFL.

WR2: Jamison Crowder

The Jets recently struck a deal with Jamison Crowder to stick with the Jets on a more team-friendly deal. The renegotiated contract will keep him on the team for the 2021 campaign, but he will be a free agent after the season at 28 years old, offering him an opportunity to cash in one last time. Crowder is currently on a three-year, $28.5 million deal with the Jets, but after the team drafted Moore, he simply doesn’t have an extended future with Gang Green.

Crowder is a solid slot receiver who uses his shifty style of play to make tacklers miss in the open field. Last season, he posted 699 yards and six scores over 12 games. Crowder has dealt with injuries at times, but when on the field, he can be an asset, especially for Wilson, who’ll be looking for a security blanket out of the slot if the offensive line struggles.

WR3: Denzel Mims

One player, the Jets, have high hopes for is Denzel Mims, who played in just nine games during his rookie season in 2020. He picked up 357 yards but failed to find the end-zone. He showed solid route running as a rookie out of Baylor.

As a 6’3”, 207-pound receiver, he can be a solid complement to Corey Davis on the outside. Ultimately, if Mims can step up and realize his potential, the Jets will have a solid duo of outside receivers, drawing attention to the deeper portions of the field and allowing the slot options like Moore and Crowder to operate with more space.

WR4: Elijah Moore

Moore is an extremely exciting receiver out of Mississippi, who posted 1193 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Moore was considered one of the most lethal after the catch receivers in college football, and he surprisingly fell to the second round for the Jets, an absolute steal.

The young receiver has already been showing flashes of excellence during practice, and I have a feeling that the connection between Moore and Wilson will be elite for the future. As a shifty player who can change direction on a dime, Moore also contains elite speed and can take a ball to the house at any moment. Add in solid hands, and the 5’9″, 178-pound slot option could end up being one of the best players on offense, which would really indicate a homerun draft for management.

Honorable mention – WR5-7: Keelan Cole, Braxton Berrios, Vyncint Smith

Do you think the Jets have an underrated wide receiver core? Comment below! 

Are the New York Jets playing a risky game at quarterback?

new york jets, zach wilson

There is no doubt that the New York Jets will roll into the 2021 season with Zach Wilson as their primary starter, but behind him, they have a dearth of inexperience and talent.

Ultimately, the Jets had Joe Flacco behind Sam Darnold last year to help supplement injuries, and while their offense struggled considerably no matter the quarterback, new head coach Robert Salah believes that they are just fine at the position.

The New York Jets don’t have any qualified QBs on the roster:

Currently, the team has two quarterbacks on the roster that have never played a regular-season NFL game: Mike White and James Morgan. White is a former fifth-round pick in 2018, and Morgan was drafted last year in the fourth round.

One could make the argument that the Jets are taking a risky approach without any veteran experience on the team to help Wilson adjust and adapt, kind of like what Josh McCown did for Darnold. Of course, if the front office had actually provided Sam with a decent offensive line and weapons to utilize, this current Jets team could look a lot different.

“To just think that just because they’re a veteran it’s going to help a quarterback, there’s a match that has to happen, there’s a scheme familiarity that has to happen,” Saleh said. “If you just bring in a veteran who doesn’t know your scheme, he’s learning just like the rookie is. Aside from helping him with rehab and [regeneration] and study habits, which I think Zach and that entire quarterback room is already ahead of the curve on how they handle their bodies and study, I don’t know if there’s much value aside from being comfortable that if the crap hits the fan you have a veteran who has played football. It’s more of a comforting feeling rather than working your ass off to develop the quarterbacks who are already in the building.”

I agree with Salah to a degree, as Wilson will be the immediate starter whether or not the team has an experienced veteran on the roster. However, I believe he could’ve benefited from having a mentor behind him.

It is clear that the Jets are looking to develop their backups to fit their scheme, but they must be thinking about Wilson and his progression first and foremost. Salah did mention that the team could add another quarterback for training camp, depending on how the three quarterbacks looked this spring. Wilson has had his ups and downs during practice, but that was to be expected as he adjusts to NFL practices and intensity.