After eight months without football, the regular season is less than three weeks away. Even though there's an eagerness to finally kick off the Jets' 2019 campaign, there's still work to be done in the final two preseason contests.
"We're still getting better," safety Jamal Adams said following Sunday's Green & White practice. "Obviously we have the Saints coming in and that's going to be a hell of a matchup. They're a well-talented group and we're looking forward to that matchup. We're still working to get to our goal. We're not there yet as a defense, but in three weeks, we'll be ready."
The defense, which has already been battling a number of injuries at cornerback, will be without linebacker Avery Williamson for the year as he was placed on injured reserve after hurting his knee against the Falcons.
"It's tough, man. He's not only a great football player but a hell of a dude," Adams said of his teammate. "I feel bad for him, but it's the nature of the business. Things happen. It's hard to replace a guy like that, but we have guys that will step up and learn the role and hopefully leave off where he left off. At the end of the day, it is tough. We're praying for him and he'll be back better than ever."
In place of Williamson, head coach Adam Gase said the team will work in a number of different players that could include Neville Hewitt, Anthony Wint, rookie Blake Cashman and newly signed Albert McClellan. In Sunday's practice, Hewitt, who started the final four games of the 2018 season for the Jets, lined up with the first team.
While the defense is working to tighten its screws before Sept. 8, Adams has been impressed with the Jets' first-team offense in the preseason. Against both the Giants and Falcons, the unit marched down the field and scored as Sam Darnold looked sharp, distributing the ball to his weapons that have yet to include RB Le'Veon Bell.
"It's always great to see the offense moving the ball," Adams said. "They love when we get stops. Any time we can do that, we feed off each other. But at the end of the day, we always talk about situational football and when we can do that as a group, we'll be outstanding."
Bell won't play in the preseason and another one of Darnold's shiny new toys has caught the eyes of his teammates — slot receiver Jamison Crowder. The 5'9", 177-pound Crowder has quickly developed a chemistry with his new signal-caller and in Sunday's practice, he caught a slant and took it 35 yards in the overtime period that eventually set up a Taylor Bertolet field goal.
"He's a monster. I think he's very underrated," Adams said. "He's not the loud one on the offensive side of the group, he's not flashy, he's just going to get the job done and he's a work horse. We're excited to have him and I think he's going to shock a lot of people."