The New York Jets had a few cut decisions that baffled different factions of the fanbase.
The loudest outcry has been about safety Ashtyn Davis, who the Jets chose to keep over Jason Pinnock, but there were a few other peculiar selections like Nathan Shepherd or Vinny Curry. A fourth borderline move was keeping running back Ty Johnson.
Not only did the franchise cut the more productive Tevin Coleman, but they also kept four running backs when most covering the team figured they might only roster three. It was a curious choice to some, but Heavy’s NFL insider Matt Lombardo shed some light on the situation just before the cutdown occurred.
Insider: ‘Ty Johnson Just Might Have Punched His Ticket’
On the morning of August 31, before most roster cuts were announced, Lombardo was hot on the scent of the impending Jets pivot.
“Ty Johnson just might have punched his ticket onto the 53-man roster when the Jets waived veteran Tevin Coleman on Tuesday, August 30,” he informed, “and plays like the one he made against the Giants in practice certainly helped his cause.”
Lombardo then detailed what stood out about the running back at the joint practice that he attended in person.
“Early in the workout, Johnson took a screen pass down the far sideline and showed a nice stutter-step to juke Giants cornerback Adoree’ Jackson before turning back into the field of play,” he recounted. “Johnson has some explosiveness, and really good vision, which could serve him well in a rotational role in the Jets’ backfield, and as a receiving option out of it.”
The working theory is that Johnson beat out Coleman for the third-down role, although that thought may cause fans to shudder in horror.
After all, Coleman is still currently available — and with zero fumbles and only four drops since 2018, that kind of reliability could cause the Jets to rethink their decision if Johnson starts coughing up the football again.
More Standouts From Lombardo
Lombardo’s other Jets standouts from Giants joint practice can be found here, but here’s a sneak peek that should excite fans.
“[Jermaine] Johnson plays like he’s shot out of a cannon,” the insider noted about the Jets rookie pass rusher. “The explosiveness Johnson played with at Florida State certainly translates. During a one-on-one drill against fellow rookie and Giants No. 7 overall pick, Evan Neal, Johnson held his own and pushed Neal back into what would have been the pocket.”
Even if it’s against another first-year prospect, it’s nice to hear that Johnson is catching the eye of the outside observer. Neal is a top-10 pick, not some stiff, and although the NYJ beat has highlighted the defensive end throughout the summer, his biggest moments have come away from the camera so far.
Johnson didn’t receive as many snaps during the preseason games and his impact was limited because of it. Jets fans have seen much more from fourth-round pick Micheal Clemons for similar reasons, but the ex-Seminole has quietly logged a really strong summer too.
By my count, he registered six reported (and cross-referenced) sacks during padded practices and games this August, an impressive total for any rookie.
“Johnson’s day was marred by a minor injury, but he looks like the kind of defensive playmaker the Jets can build around,” Lombardo concluded. Brick by brick, stone by stone.