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New York Jets Preseason Week 4 Preview: Players To Watch

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Jets

I’m gonna do things a little differently here than the other preseason game previews because Week 4 is probably the hardest game of the preseason to get through if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Week 3 is traditionally used as a dress rehearsal for the starters, while Week 4 is the coaching staff’s final opportunity to evaluate the guys who will eventually make up the back end of the 53-man roster.

For those of you who missed it, my 53-man roster projection dropped earlier today.

Building off that, I’m gonna use this preview as an opportunity to focus in on some of the guys I see as on the “bubble” and have the most to either prove or lose tonight when we face off with the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles @ 7pm ET.

Players To Watch On Offense

Atlanta Falcons v New York Jets

Running Back

The only RB worth mentioning who I expect to see the field for a meaningful chunk of time tonight is Trenton Cannon. His roster spot is pretty secure, however a big game on the ground and on special teams would definitely help him sleep a lot easier headed into the weekend. Guys like Thomas Rawls, Charcandrick West, and George Atkinson III should play as well, but none of them serve a role at this point other than allowing us to keep the real RBs healthy for Week 1.

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Wide Receiver

There’s a handful of WRs who are undoubtedly looking at tonight’s game as their last chance to lock down a spot on the final roster. We’re essentially looking at 4 guys competing for 1 or MAYBE 2 spots at WR in Charone Peake, Tre McBride, Chad Hansen, Ardarius Stewart

I went with Peake and McBride in my 53-man projection, but it’s worth considering the fact that the Jets might feel obligated to hold onto a guy like Chad Hansen or Ardarius Stewart as two of their recent mid-round draft picks. Tre McBride has outplayed the rest of the group this preseason, and Charone Peake has flashed a ton of talent as well while maintaining a role on special teams that should have him feeling a bit more comfortable than some of the others.

No matter how you look at it, a big game from Hansen or Stewart would definitely make the final decision a heck of a lot harder.

Tight End

Another position here that’s pretty much figured out. I think the Jets end up carrying 4 TEs anyway so they can use someone as a fullback when need be, but keep an eye on the two young guys in Jordan Leggett and Chris Herndon.

Herndon seems safe at this point as a rookie with a ton of potential. However given his health struggles in the preseason I think he should see the field a bit tonight as the Jets try to get him more comfortable in the offense.

Leggett is definitely the guy who gets cut if the Jets choose to leave it at 3 TEs. He’s another guy who’s finally getting healthy and must understand at this point how important it is for him to perform in any of the opportunities he’s given. A bad game could be curtains, while an impressive performance would not only lock up his roster spot but also give the Jets another intriguing option at TE headed towards the regular season.

Offensive Line

I’m at the point with most of these idiots where I don’t even wanna mention names. You can check out who I think makes the team as a backup if you want, but all in all I just want to see them not suck as much tonight. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?

Players To Watch On Defense

Cincinnati Bengals v New York Jets

Outside Linebacker

Frankie Luvu and Brandon Copeland have locked up the backup spots, but both might see some time early on tonight. Any production from edge rushers is welcomed.

After that, I’ll have my eyes on Dylan Donahue and Lorenzo Mauldin. Mauldin is a guy who has started some games for us in the past but has since struggled to stay on the field and been unimpressive throughout the preseason. It’s definitely an uphill battle for him, though a sack or two and maybe some TFLs would certainly at least put him back on the radar.

Same thing goes for Donahue. I think he’s got a better shot of sticking around than Mauldin, and although he’s been outperformed by guys like Luvu and Copeland, he’s another recent draft pick who could definitely change the narrative tonight by showing some dominance against the Eagles’ backups.

Cornerback

Our top 3 is set. I think Daryl Roberts is just about a lock as well given his experience, though I’ve seen some other projections who have him out, so he might get some burn tonight early on.

After that, it’s Parry Nickerson, Juston Burris, Derrick Jones, and the soon to be suspended Rashard Robinson fighting what is likely 2 jobs on the depth chart.

Nickerson is seemingly safe as a rookie 6th rounder with a ton of athleticism and potential, though he should be on the field a bit tonight after some recent injuries that kept him out of practice and games.

Derrick Jones and Juston Burris both have the most to prove tonight out of the whole position group. It all really depends on how many CBs the Jets decide to carry and what they want to do with Rashard Robinson (cut his ass), but a solid showing from either of them could ultimately be the deciding factor as to who snags the final CB spot come Saturday.

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Safety

J.J. Wilcox, Terrence Brooks, and Doug Middleton have all had their moments over the duration of the preseason. With Rontez Miles set to start the year on IR, it’s possible we decide to keep all 3. That being said, all of them should see a good chunk of playing time tonight and I don’t expect any of them to slow down or stop competing.

I think Wilcox is the most likely to get cut, especially if the Jets choose to carry 4 safeties until the return of Miles.

Players To Watch On Special Teams

Kicker

Right now we’ve got Taylor Bertolet and Jason Myers on the roster. The Jets could decide to let Bertolet do it all tonight and see how he responds, or they could give them both some opportunities. My gut says we either stick with Bertolet or find a more experienced option in between Saturday and the first game of the regular season. However, if Bertolet shits the bed in Philly tonight, the search for at least an average kicker should get a lot more urgent.

NFL: AUG 10 Preseason - Falcons at Jets

Prediction

I understand the Jets are gonna be trotting out former Wake Forest star John Wolford at QB for the most of the game. I understand that to expect him to be productive in any sense of the word would be a silly decision. That being said, the Eagles are doing the same type of back-end roster evaluation tonight, so they’re gonna suck too.

There’s always one guy who steps up in this game and snags a roster spot with a big performance. I have no idea who that’s gonna be tonight.

Here’s to hoping that Trenton Cannon finally breaks through and busts off a 70+ yard TD or a kick return or something, and the Jets get to head into the regular season with a good taste in their mouth.

23-20 Jets

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