The Jets won their second straight game of the preseason on Saturday, but the long-lasting impact of New York’s matchup with the Packers will go far beyond the final score.
Gang Green’s second preseason clash provided a glimpse at the many ongoing position battles at One Jets Drive. With numerous spots up for grabs on both sides of the ball, New York’s trip to Green Bay told the story of which players are currently winning those fights and which players have some ground to make up if they want to secure a place on the 53-man roster or a higher spot on the depth chart.
Here is the latest on the Jets’ position battles.
Mike White once again played relatively well in relief of Zach Wilson, going 7-9 for 39 yards through the air. James Morgan saw some playing time late in the fourth quarter, but went just 1-3 for five yards. With Josh Johnson having yet to appear in a preseason game and Morgan barely seeing any action, White is the heavy favorite to begin the regular season as Wilson’s backup — if he’s okay after leaving the gam with a rib injury.
Tevin Coleman’s return to the field resulted in a change in New York’s running back hierarchy. Coleman and Ty Johnson split first-team carries, while Michael Carter was relegated to second-team work. Carter outperformed Coleman and Johnson, rushing for 52 yards on 10 carries in the second half. All three backs should see plenty of time in the rotation once the regular season begins.
Braxton Berrios returned to the field for the Jets’ preseason Week 2 matchup, catching two of four targets for 17 yards. Vyncint Smith, meanwhile, caught his only target for eight yards. Jeff Smith also worked with New York’s first-team offense and caught one pass for six yards. This is a tight race between Berrios and Vyncint Smith right now, as both bring value to Gang Green’s wide receiver room.
Tyler Kroft all but locked down the starting tight end job with his performance against the Packers, catching two 18-yard touchdowns from Wilson. Kroft now has a sizeable advantage over Chris Herndon, who once again worked with the backups.
Bryce Huff, Ronald Blair and Hamilcar Rashed Jr. all rotated at right end in wake of Carl Lawson’s season-ending Achilles injury. Huff has the upper hand when it comes to beginning the regular season as New York’s starter at the position, but don’t be surprised if Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich opt to continue their rotational approach throughout the year.
Hamsah Nasirildeen and Jamien Sherwood spent another weekend rotating at weakside linebacker and playing alongside each other in certain sub-packages. Noah Dawkins also saw an interestingly high number of meaningful snaps, which adds a new element to this competition. Dawkins doesn’t have a real chance of winning the starting job over Nasirildeen, but he could potentially force Blake Cashman out as more of a natural weakside linebacker fit if he ends the preseason on a high note against the Eagles.
Michael Carter II got the start in the nickel with Javelin Guidry not suiting up, but it was once again Brandin Echols who impressed the most among New York’s rookie cornerbacks. Carter II is going to have a role in Jeff Ulbrich’s secondary, but the battle for the starting slot cornerback job might come down to Guidry and Echols, with Guidry holding the advantage over the rookie.
Matt Ammendola essentially locked up the Jets’ kicking job on Saturday, going a perfect 3-3 with a make from 54 yards out against the Packers. Barring a complete meltdown against the Eagles next weekend, New York won’t have a reason to add another kick to its roster. It’s Ammendola’s job to lose now.