The two green and white NFL teams met at MetLife Stadium tonight for their annual preseason finale, and it was a little different in that the first three quarterbacks on the Jets' roster didn't register one snap on the night.
Instead, head coach Rex Ryan and coordinator Marty Mornhinweg turned the controls over to
"As a coach, you want to keep everybody," said Ryan. "There are a lot of guys we're going to let go that can be contributors for us. That's the tough part for any coach to go through. We'd like to keep everybody, but quite honestly we can't do that."
We'll formalize the winners of most of those position fights with Ryan's announcement of final cuts some time Friday or Saturday, but below are how a few of those battles shaped up after tonight's win, which gave our Green & White their first 3-1 preseason since 2008.
Bell — Who will be the Jets' third running back behind
"Anytime you get a chance to go out and play, whether it's preseason or regular season, when you get your number called, you want to try to do the best you can," Bell said. "I felt like there are a lot of things I still could have done better, pass-blocking in particular, but we got the win. I did everything I could, so I'm just leaving it in the hands of God."
Jarrett and Allen — One of the few potential starters to be starting for the Jets in this game, Jarrett got the start this time over Allen and was all over the field in the first half. He blitzed twice, forcing Nick Foles into a strip sack on the first and an incompletion on the second, and finished with six tackles and a pass defense.
But Allen, who also started as a member of the nickel that opened the game, flashed late, jumping the route, snaring Matt Barkley's out throw and taking it 20 yards for the Jets' key finishing TD.
"I think it's maybe a little too close to call," Ryan said of the competition for the starting job alongside S
Sapp — All over the field also describes Sapp — "I try, I try," he said with a smile — who is fighting for work as a pass rusher and a spot in the outside LB rotation at least until
Spadola and Campbell — Spadola appeared to have moved into the pole position for a spot among the wideouts behind
Simms — Due to the injuries to
"I was a little rattled at first," the modest Simms said. "But I got it figured out."
And how. It wasn't perfect but it was prolific. His 33 completions were the most by a Jets QB in the preseason since at least 1975 and the most in the NFL preseason since at least 1992. His 285 yards were the second-most by a Jets QB in the preseason since 1975, trailing on Ray Lucas' 286-yard effort, against the Giants in 2000.
Did Simms pass McElroy? Did he at least force Ryan to consider keeping four QBs active for the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Darrelle Revis at MetLife on Sept. 8? Maybe and probably. But not knowing for sure is part of the hidden allure of this fourth and last game of the summer season.