Jets’ Sauce Gardner Sends Message to NFL After ‘Elite’ Outing

Sauce Gardner

Getty New York Jets cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner during his rookie campaign.

Most of the immediate attention after the Week 4 victory surrounded Zach Wilson and the New York Jets offense considering it was the young quarterback’s first game back from injury.

Having said that, there were plenty of others that showed out in Pittsburgh against the Steelers and the good news for the Jets is — a lot of their best players right now are developing talents that are under the age of 25.

Chief among them is cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. The 2022 first-round pick has lived up to the billing in every way since being drafted in April and he had another tremendous performance this weekend.

D.J. Reed Calls Sauce Gardner ‘Elite,’ Rook Issues Statement

Pro Football Focus posted Gardner’s stats from Week 4 on October 3:

  • 7 targets.
  • 2 catches allowed (9 yards).
  • 1 forced incompletion.
  • 39.6 passer rating allowed.

Veteran teammate D.J. Reed Jr. even classified the outing as “elite,” with alien and locked-up emojis to describe him. By the way, the fellow CB is not one to dish out undeserved praise.

Gardner’s numbers really jump off the page considering he’s only four games in. He’s got four pass breakups and four forced incompletions already according to PFF, and he’s only allowed nine of 19 targets for 101 yards. Only 23 of those yards have come after the catch.

Take away one 45-yard long against Tee Higgins of the Cincinnati Bengals and those early-season results are even stronger.

The best part is, Gardner is doing all this and he hasn’t changed a bit personality wise since college. He’s still talking smack on the field and respecting his elders off it. After the Week 4 victory, Sauce sent a message about the 2022 New York Jets.

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH… LFG ROAD WARRIORS❕❕” Gardner proclaimed after the second win away from home — and what a rallying cry that can become for this young fearless group.

We don’t care where we’re playing, but we’re going to punish you in between the white lines. The next step is to earn one in front of the fans, perhaps in Week 5.

Safety Play Improved in Week 4

Reed and Gardner have been phenomenal to start the year and nickelback Michael Carter II has been more good than bad most weeks, so the secondary is a safety or two away from being really stout for Gang Green.

Unfortunately, Lamarcus Joyner and Jordan Whitehead were two of the Jets’ worst performers over the first three outings. Against the Steelers, that finally changed.

The safety pairing combined for three interceptions on Sunday and Joyner added two pass breakups and two forced incompletions to that total. In fact, the duo actually led the Jets in coverage grades in Week 4.

Whitehead was given a 74.7 and Joyner topped everyone with a 78.7. Between the two, there was only one catch allowed for 26 yards (Joyner).

If the two veterans can keep this hot streak going, the sky is truly the limit for this group and in turn, this defense. The D-line hasn’t been as strong as expected but it’ll never be a weakness, so the only question mark would be the linebacker corps if the secondary can come together as it did against Pittsburgh.

The hope is that Joyner and Whitehead have turned a corner but the ultimate test may come against the Miami Dolphins. With speed demons Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle on the field, reliable safety coverage will be more important than ever.

Read More