Even though fans may look at the preseason through a skeptical lens, two Jets starters — C Ryan Kalil and S Marcus Maye — are expected to receive invaluable game reps against the Saints in their season debuts.
"We're targeting to see if we can kind of get him rolling there for about a quarter," Jets head coach Adam Gase said of Kalil, who participated in team periods Sunday for the first time since joining the team. Aug. 1. "I really want Jonotthan (Harrison) to be with Sam (Darnold) as well. We'll probably split that time."
Maye ditched his red non-contact pinnie Sunday for the team's Green & White practice at MetLife Stadium and has been pushing himself in practice this week so he could be available for this week's preseason matchup.
"Once that red jersey came off we're rolling," Gase said. "He's in dynamic shape. I mean that's all he's been doing, almost to the point where I think he's kind of tired of it. He's in great shape. He plays a different position, it's different with a lineman compared to a guy in the back end, his livelihood is running. He's ready to go."
Largely regarded as the final dress rehearsal for the regular season, the starters will be ready to play for a half and a series Saturday as the Jets host a talented Saints team that was one play away from representing the NFC in the Super Bowl LIII.
"I'm just excited about this week, going up against such a high-powered offense and team in general," defensive lineman Leonard Williams said. "What better team to face in the third preseason game than the Saints? I'm really excited about it."
See the Best Photos from Thursday's Practice at 1 Jets Drive
Expecting the Unexpected
The Jets had a short practice Thursday that wrapped up with a situational period. The offense was set up with fourth-and-goal from the 6-yard line and needed a touchdown as they were down 31-27 with four seconds remaining. For a split second, it appeared the offense emerged victorious as Sam Darnold hit a streaking Quincy Enunwa across the back of the end zone. But DL Henry Anderson was held.
"I just worked a little 1-on-1 pass rush, a little up-and-under and got through," Anderson said. "I think I would've gotten the sack if it was a live drill and we could touch Sam, but obviously I don't want to get close to him, so they called a holding."
Both sides lined up again, this time from the 16-yard line, and CB Darryl Roberts came down with the interception on a desperation heave, which resulted in pushups for the offense.
"Sometimes, certain situations you never see and then you get into a game and not everybody is on the same page," Anderson said. "That's when you see things happen like giving up a Hail Mary and losing a tight ballgame. Coach Gase been really good putting us in weird situations and last-play situations."
LG Kelechi Osemele (pectoral) and RG Brian Winters (shoulder) participated in individual drills, but will not play for the remainder of the preseason. Both are expected to return for Week 1 vs. Buffalo. Alex Lewis and Tom Compton will fill in at the guard spots for a second consecutive week … CB Trumaine Johnson is still nursing a hamstring injury, but began working with the strength and conditioning staff during practice. "He's trying, he's pushing to try to get back as soon as he can," Gase said. … OLB Brandon Copeland, who was recently suspended for the first four games of the regular season, is being evaluated for a thumb injury. With Copeland out, LB Harvey Langi took first-team reps… The Jets worked predominantly with playcards in Thursday's practice …Trevor Siemian hit Charone Peake with a beautiful TD pass down the sideline … Darnold had a nice day against the scout team, throwing TD passes to Quincy Enunwa, Jamison Crowder, Robby Anderson and Ty Montgomery.