The Jets got their 2021 preseason schedule underway with a 12-7 win over the Giants at MetLife Stadium on Saturday night. Head coach Robert Saleh and DC Jeff Ulbrich's defensive unit was stingy all night until late in the fourth quarter, and TD by second-year RB La'Mical Perine helped the Green & White to the "road" triumph.
D-Line Dudes Dominate in Short Stint
After ILB C.J. Mosley registered a pass defense on the first play from scrimmage, the Jets D-line got after Giants QB Mike Glennon. DT Sheldon Rankins collected a QB hit on second down as DE Carl Lawson closed in from the edge. Then on third down, Bryce Huff came raging on the outside to get Glennon before Lawson arrived.
"I think we're going to be a defense that is going to make you try to throw over the top," Mosley said. "We're going to make you try to run the ball on us because if you don't, it's going to be a long day for quarterbacks."
Lawson's night was over after one series and he was replaced by Huff with the ones. On the Giants' second possession, John Franklin-Myers rocked Glennon and was credited with a pass defense. They gave Saleh chaos and they're expected to get another important player back next week in DT Quinnen Williams. It was a short stint and the Giants' offensive line is challenged, but you couldn't have asked for more.
See Best Images from the First Preseason Game of 2021 at MetLife Stadium
Zach Wilson Gets an Assist
Rookie QB Zach Wilson had a good preseason start to his NFL career, connecting on 6 of 9 for 63 yards in two series of action. He led the team on a 12-play scoring drive on the opening possession, a march that took 6:06 off the clock and culminated on Chris Naggar's 30-yard field goal. Wilson was helped by an offensive line that got push early against the Giants starters as the Green & White averaged 4.4 yards on their 11 carries in the first quarter.
Head coach Robert Saleh said of Wilson: "He had a couple of third down completions there that I thought is the epitome of playing quarterback in this league" and added, "We have so much confidence in the young man. You want him to stack up as many good days as possible, but there is still youth. He's still a rookie. There are still a lot of things he's going to learn from, there's still a lot of opportunities for him to grow."
With Tevin Coleman held out of the lineup for personal reasons, Ty Johnson got the start at RB and cashed in on a nice hole on his first carry while picking up 11 yards along the left side. Johnson shared the load with Michael Carter, a fourth-round pick out of North Carolina, in the first as the former totaled 6 carries for 31 yards and the latter had 5 carries for 17 yards.
Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, who called plays from the field Saturday night and will call next week's game against the Packers upstairs in the coaches' booth, will lean on the run and the Jets had success on their first two drives despite missing rookie OL Alijah-Vera Tucker. Veteran Dan Feeney started in AVT's place and Morgan Moses, who is competing with George Fant at RT, got the start Saturday.
Rookie LB Hamsah Nasirildeen Pops
The Giants appeared poised to take a lead in the second quarter but rookie LB Hamsah Nasirildeen, a sixth-round pick from Florida State, converged with fellow rookie 'backer Jamien Sherwood, a fifth-round pick from Auburn, on RB Corey Clement. Nasirildeen got his helmet on the ball and it popped into the air and was recovered on the turf by DL Michael Dwumfour. Sherwood, the backup Mike linebacker, had 3 tackles in the opening half and Nasirildeen had a pair of stops on defense. After the forced fumble, Nasirildeen added a tackle in punt coverage moments later.
Rookie DT Jonathan Marshall, the third of the Jets' three picks in Round 6, shared a sack with Dwumfour in the second stanza. Marshall also shared a safety with undrafted free agent Hamilcar Rashed late in the fourth quarter that extended the Green & White's lead 12-7.
The following Jets did not dress Saturday: WR-KR Braxton Berrios, DL Ronnie Blair, RB Tevin Coleman, CB Isaiah Dunn, CB Justin Hardee, WR Elijah Moore (Saleh said Moore is day-to-day with a quad injury and the team hopes he'll be able to practice next week), LB Del'Shawn Phillips and OL Alijah Vera-Tucker.
While DE Vinny Curry and S Ashtyn Davis aren't expected back until Week 2 of the regular season, DT Quinnen Williams participated in a simulated practice Friday and is on track to return to practice next week. Rookie LB Michael Dwumfour sustained a calf injury in the first half and did not return. …Keelan Cole got the start at WR and handled early punt return duties in place of Berrios.
Fifteen different Jets had at least one reception. … The Jets had 3 sacks as rookie Hamilcar Rashed was unaccounted for and had a free shot on Clayton Thornson in the third quarter. … Shortly after La'Mical Perine had a 22-yard run, WR Denzel Mims had one of the best individual efforts of the night. He took a short Mike White pass on third-and-18 and exploded up the field before carrying tacklers inside the 10 for a 20-yard gain. That set up Perine's 4-yard TD and gave Saleh's crew a 10-point advantage. …Vyncint Smith not only tied Mims for the team in receptions (3), but he also pinned the Giants at their 1 in the fourth after batting a Braden Mann punt backward. Saturday night's final word goes to Wilson, the No. 2 overall selection in last April's draft: "It was a great experience. I really enjoyed having that game-like setting, the introduction to the NFL and that whole game. It's great for everybody. No matter how much football you've played, it was awesome."