EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – In a defensive battle that saw little offensive action from both teams, the New York Jets etched out a 16-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in the preseason finale for both squads. With the Jets win, both teams finish their respective preseason games at 2-2.
In one of the most eyebrow-raising moves to date, Todd Bowles opted to start his entire #1 Offense and Defense to start the meaningless fourth preseason game. It was a move that surprised most, as Josh McCown went under center for the first two series. The move by Bowles showed to be costly as McCown was hit hard by a blitzing linebacker and had to leave the game for some time. McCown was able to come back, however, and finished the second series for New York which resulted in a field goal for the Jets.
McCown finished the day 6/8 passing for 57 yards against the third string defense that the Eagles brought out. By no means was this a solid day for the Jets offense as they struggled to move the ball against the Eagle backups.
Bryce Petty did not see any playing time in the game but Cristian Hackenberg played the entirety of the game once McCown had left. Hackenberg went 10/22 passing for 105 yards and the lone Jets Touchdown to Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The pass was a thing of beauty in the corner of the endzone as Seferian-Jenkins made a great catch to give the Jets the early 10-3 lead in the second quarter.
The drive highlighted the playmaking ability of Running back Elijah McGuire, who ran for 56 yards on only five carries including a 34-yard run which set up the Hackenberg TD.
Hackenberg later spoke to the media on his overall play tonight.
“It’s always good to get as many reps as I did. I think it definitely helped. I feel I learned a lot and its definitely a good starting point.”
The Jets defense would continue to stop Matt McGloin and the Eagles offense throughout the 1st half as New York took a 13-3 lead into the halftime break.
The Jets would add another field goal in the fourth quarter as most of the fourth string players on both squads saw ample amounts of playing time in the second half. The Jets defense would finally give up a TD in the early stages of the fourth quarter on a zone read pass from Dane Evans to Marcus Johnson.
The Eagles would eventually make a late comeback after a Jets fumble with under two minutes to go, but the Jets defense was able to preserve the victory on a goal line stand.
The win showcased the young potential a lot of these Jets have, while it showed that others just do not have what it takes to make it in the NFL. Here are the three main takeaways from tonight’s battle:
- The future New York Jets QB is not currently on this roster. Josh McCown could barely move the ball against the Eagles third string defense. While the stat sheet shows no turnovers, every pass seemed to be a checkdown that resulted in no gain. Cristian Hackenberg showed some flashes, especially on the 12 yard TD pass to ASJ, but ultimately the game showed his lack of awareness and accuracy in the pocket. With Petty not getting any playing time today, you have to wonder where the Jets see him in the long run as well. One thing is clear- the future of the New York Jets at QB is not on their current roster.
- Welcome to the Jets Kony Ealy. It seems so long ago that Kony Ealy racked up three sacks in Super Bowl 50. After being waived by the New England Patriots, it seemed that Ealy’s career was going down a steep slope. Since the Jets picked him up, however, Ealy has looked every bit the pass rushing menace he was in Carolina. He not only forced had a huge sack on Matt McGloin in the first quarter but also forced a fumble later on as well. Ealy lived in the Eagles backfield today and will make a nice addition to the Jets already stacked defensive line.
- Give Elijah McGuire the ball. I have loved what I have seen from McGuire not only in this game but in the preseason as a whole. I think he definitely deserves to see some carries in real games. Tonight, McGuire showed great patience and vision at the line of scrimmage and also displayed the rare ability to break off tackles whether it be through brute force or solid cutback moves. This kid is going to be very good. With Forte and Powell’s health in question, it could open the door for McGuire to show not only the Jets but the NFL as well that he can be a capable back.
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