If Chris Streveler needs a glowing reference after Tuesday's final cutdown day, his head coach can provide it.
"Streveler," Jets HC Robert Saleh said after the Jets' 31-27 win over the Giants on Sunday afternoon, "had probably one of the greatest preseasons in the history of football. He's been awesome."
Hyperbole? Maybe, maybe not. Consider that Streveler, the Jets' backup QB to the backup QB to starter Zach Wilson, for the third straight preseason game came on in the second half — with 11:49 to play, to be exact — and executed his fourth and fifth game-tying/come-from-behind drives to nail down his and the Jets' third consecutive comeback, two of the winning TDs coming in the final 30 seconds of Games 1 and 3.
Yes, it was against the Eagles' and Falcons' and Giants' third- and fourth-teamers. Of course the Jets had their threes and fours around Streveler as well. It's preseason, and the Jets' exciting 3-0 summer now disappears and turns into 0-0 for the Sept. 11 season opener against the Ravens.
Still, how is that possible?
"It's not just me," Streveler said. "It's everyone going out in the fourth quarter, everyone fighting for roster spots, being locked in and ready to execute in clutch moments. A lot of guys contributed to that last drive. And it's just fun to win football games."
Before that last drive, Streveler and his offense needed to even the score at 24-24, which they did with the QB's seven-play, 80-yard drive capped by his superb throw and WR Denzel Mims' outstanding diving end zone sideline catch for a 29-yard TD with 7:19 to play.
But the Giants then moved to a 27-24 lead on a go-ahead field goal, so Streveler's day was hardly done. So all he and his offense had to do was take over with 1:40 to play and three timeouts left and score again. Facing fourth-and-goal at the Giants 5, Streveler knew exactly what to do — he threw a fade to the left corner of the end zone for rookie free agent WR Calvin Jackson, who easily beat CB Khalil Dorsey to the ball for the game-winner with 22 seconds left.
"The guys just executed, put the ball in play, the offensive line did a great job up front," the QB ticked off. Then turning to the final play, he said, "That was cover-zero on the fourth-and-5 score, and it was on the same play that we scored on against Philadelphia."
Indeed, it was déjà vu all over again as, against the Eagles on Aug. 12, Jackson caught the 5-yard Streveler pass with 16 seconds to play for the 24-21 win in the preseason opener.
"That made it easy to go for it on fourth down at the end," Saleh said of the ice water in Streveler's veins and the steadiness in his nerves. "I'm really pumped for him. All those discussions about the QB room will happen tomorrow."
See the Jets on the field following the preseason finale against the Giants.
And when you put aside the undefeated preseason and his crisp summer passing stats — 24-of-33 for 277 yards, five TDs, one INT, no sacks, a 124.6 passer rating, and oh yeah, a team-leading 71 rushing yards on nine carries — that's what it's all about:
Is there room for Streveler on the Jets' 53-man roster when final cuts are made? In a four-man QB depth chart, probably not. Can he clear waivers to be re-signed by the Jets, this time to the 16-player practice squad? That's the big question.
But Streveler, who's been part of a winning Grey Cup team in 2019 but also been on four NFL rosters in the past nine months, has no quarrel at all with whatever the Jets decide and whatever happens to him from Tuesday forward. Another reason to fall in love with the potential of this bearded dude who cut his teeth on the game in the Great White North of Minnesota and South Dakota and in the CFL.
"I'm at peace with everything," he said. "I prepared the best I could every single day. That stuff's out of my hands. I've come to accept that from my years in the league. I'm just happy for the opportunities I've gotten, and I've never taken anything for granted."