The thought process behind this decision was that the coaching staff didn’t want opposing teams to have a free look at their offensive and defensive formations — a fair point. At the same time, many fans were robbed of seeing Zach Wilson, Carl Lawson and many others under the bright lights of MetLife Stadium.
Don’t you worry, Heavy On Jets has you covered. Below is your official Green & White highlight reel, courtesy of Jets Twitter.
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Practice Underway as Jets Chant Roars
Fans were back in the stands on August 7, and it was a beautiful sight to see — and hear. Take a listen as New York Daily News beat reporter DJ Bien-Aime had the scoop.
Before we get things rolling, a quick injury update. Quinnen Williams, Ashtyn Davis, Chuma Edoga, Kyle Phillips, Alex Lewis, Daniel Brown, Cameron Clark and Alijah Vera-Tucker were all expected to miss practice, and did. Dan Feeney started at left guard in place of ‘AVT’ and Lewis, but struggled throughout.
The surprises were Jabari Zuniga, who has yet to recover from his ‘minor’ training camp ailment, Del’Shawn Phillips and Isaiah Dunn. The cornerback Dunn was completely out of the blue, as New York Post beat reporter Brian Costello spotted him with a “sleeve on his right leg.”
The franchise started with 1-versus-1s, and the session ended up being a precursor for the entire night. Multiple beat reporters noted that the quarterbacks (mainly Mike White and James Morgan) only completed one or two passes during the session. Corey Davis was highlighted as the first catch, beating Lamar Jackson.
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Enough Drills, Bring on the Action
Fullback/tight end Trevon Wesco also dropped a nice deep shot from Wilson to set up the previous third and long. The Jets were forced to punt, but on the following drive, Brendan Carpenter provided some footage of a quick-hitter to Jamison Crowder.
Then came the defense, which was ferocious from that point on. The pass rush and run defense were particularly impressive (more on that throughout), but linebacker Camilo Eifler was highlighted for a sequence early on. The UDFA popped Michael Carter in a gap before holding his position in coverage on a play-action pass.
There were several Braden Mann punts in the first half, but only one major turnover early on. Although we never got the details on who coughed up the football, Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press had the recovery.
That theme continued, as the Jets defense only allowed one first down on the initial four drives.
Late in the first half, there was finally a breakthrough with Morgan at QB. The second-year pro hit Manasseh Bailey on two receptions before connecting with Carter (the RB) on a touchdown pass in the flats. Carpenter had the best viewpoint. It looked like Justin Hardee and Cashman that were exposed by the rookie in the zone-look.
Second Half Begins as Sloppy Offense Looks to Get Back on Track
The good news is that the rookie signal-caller finally bounced back in his next possession. One of the best passes was a laser to wide receiver Jeff Smith. Carpenter had the video clip, but it’s mislabeled as Vyncint Smith in the caption. The Jets beat confirmed that it was in fact Jeff Smith on the catch.
A fourth-down conversion from La’Mical Perine kept the drive alive in the red zone, but Wilson stalled out from there and almost threw a disastrous interception, courtesy of Lamarcus Joyner. LaQuan Jones had the visual this time.
New NYJ kicker Matt Ammendola did hit the field goal, which ended up being the only Wilson points of the scrimmage in what was a rough night for the rookie. Side note, Ammendola thoroughly outperformed UDFA Chris Naggar in the kicking competition, going 5-for-5 on field goals while missing an extra point. Earlier, Hughes mentioned that Naggar went 1-for-4 on field goals in the head-to-head kicking gauntlet.
It was finally starting to go well for Wilson, but the next play proved it just wasn’t his practice. He tried to hit Crowder over the middle as Joyner jumped the route and helped deflect the ball into the air. From there, C.J. Mosley took care of the rest with a diving INT (video credit: Nania).
That was it for the second-overall pick but the backups got a few more reps. As Braxton Berrios hauled in a deep ball along the sideline that was deemed out of bounds, offensive lineman Teton Saltes went down with an injury.
White then hit Denzel Mims on his only notable sighting of the night. Supposedly, it was a nice “high-point” snag from the athletic wide-out. He followed that up with a touchdown to Josh Malone on a perfectly timed corner route (video credit: Nania).
The Jets ended with a victory formation, but only for the sake of practice. It was undeniably clear that the defense rose to the occasion and dominated.
Hughes tallied Wilson’s final statistics at a miserable 45% completion percentage (11 of 24) with two interceptions and four punts. To be fair, his offensive line and receivers did not help him out. There was constant pressure, as well as multiple dropped passes and a non-existent run game.
In the end, it was a huge win for Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich’s defense — which was reminiscent of the HC’s former San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl unit — at the expense of Wilson and LaFleur. The greatest loss was probably optimism, as this promising offense sputtered in primetime.