After joint practices with the Falcons Friday and Saturday in front of the Green & White faithful, the Jets will play their second preseason game against Atlanta Monday night at MetLife Stadium.
"It was just great to be able to go through the mental aspect of it and get ourselves into it," HC Robert Saleh said. "It thought it was clean, we came out healthy. Good competitive practices. And I feel like we all got a lot out of it."
For the players, it was refreshing to line up and battle new faces. Tempers flared on a few occasions, but the Jets got valuable reps against players that had not become accustomed to their strengths and weaknesses.
"It was a very productive practice," Saleh said Saturday. "Seeing different coverages for our offense, seeing a much more different offensive tempo and shifting a lot of movement from their guys and a lot of personnel, so it's good for us to get lined up. So, again, it's exactly what you want it to be. It was very productive, and I would assume it was productive for them too, but we got a lot out of it."
Following the second session, Saleh told reporters he could sit his starters Monday.
"I'm torn on it," Saleh said. "I'm still going. I wake up one day and I'm like 'okay, they're going to play' and then the next day, I wake up and they're not going to play. I think there's tremendous value in this one, I think this one is different because it is Monday Night Football."
The opportunity for players to play in a "heightened environment" is a factor for Saleh, but he may opt to err on the side of caution.
"You never want to make a game bigger than it needs to be," he said. "But there's still that human aspect in terms of how they grew up and how they how people view Monday night. … The biggest thing for me is thinking that it's a great opportunity to give our guys to go through the mental aspect."
Flacco With the First Team
Veteran QB Joe Flacco did not play in the Jets' 24-21 win over the Eagles last Friday. After Zach Wilson sustained a knee injury in the game, Flacco led the first-team offense throughout the week and had strong showings against the Falcons over the weekend.
"[Practice] is obviously to get yourself better and hone your skills," Flacco said. "But part of that is going out there and doing what you expect yourself to do and proving it to yourself day in and day out."
If Flacco doesn't play, Mike White would probably start and be followed by Chris Streveler. Flacco has earned the praise of all of his teammates including young playmakers Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore.
"There is a lot more experience there with Flacco," Wilson said. "He can take pace off the ball, he can put some pace on, he does a good job of making the passes receiver friendly. His passes are pretty easy to catch."
Moore added: "He is very controlled and calm," Moore said. "I feel like when he speaks in the huddle, we are going to get a first down or touchdown. …Having him, he has a swag to him."
See the top images from the two days of joint practice with the Atlanta Falcons held at 1 Jets Drive.
The O-Line Shuffle
Following a season-ending avulsion fracture to RT Mekhi Becton's right knee cap and the signing of the soon-to-be 38-year-old Pro Bowl LT Duane Brown, George Fant has moved to right tackle.
It remains unclear if Fant will see action against Atlanta, but the Jets have steadily increased his team reps in practice. Fant played 14 games at RT for the Jets in 2020.
"I can only control what I can control," Fant said. "I am trying to be the best right tackle I can be. … Go out there every day, work on my game and get acclimated to the right side. That is pretty much all I can do."
Brown signed Tuesday and has been participating in conditioning and position drills. Saleh expects Brown to take team reps next week and wants the line to build chemistry.
"We are expecting Duane to be back next week to make sure he's going to get some team reps," Saleh said. "He's in the meetings, he's going through all the walk-throughs and it's just a matter of getting those team reps and going live."
After starting Chuma Edoga and rookie Max Mitchell at LT and RT against the Eagles, it will be interesting to see if Fant gets his first game reps of the summer.
Jets Receivers vs Falcons Secondary
During Friday's first of two joint practices, Moore caught a pass on the sideline during a move-the-ball period. He took a hard jab step toward the inside that caused S Richie Grant to do a 360-degree spin and allowed Moore to pick up a chunk of yardage. Moore also made two critical grabs on Casey Hayward in a two-minute situation and followed that up with some good work on Saturday.
"It was very competitive, and I feel like we took it one play at a time," Moore said after Friday. "I feel like we executed, and we got to be ready to do it again."
Moore and Co. were matched up with All-Pro CB A.J. Terrell and Hayward Jr. Moore, who got the best of Terrell Saturday with a touchdown grab, is coming off his best practice week of the summer. The Jets have dynamic young weapons on the outside with Moore and rookie Garrett Wilson joined by crafty veterans in Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios.
"I feel this group is going to go as far we take it," Moore said. "We are getting better one day at a time, that is why we are out here practicing. …Whatever is coming my way I am ready for it I feel the whole team will be ready for it."
If the Jets elect to sit their starters, then guys like Jeff Smith, Denzel Mims and rookies Irvin Charles and Calvin Jackson will have a lot of opportunities to flash.
"It is a young group," Saleh said. "I know Corey (Davis) is there and I know Braxton (Berrios) and then they're sandwiched with two young guys with Elijah (Moore) and Garrett (Wilson) and they're still trying to find their way. Then, you have (Denzel) Mims coming along, Jeff Smith and so, it is a really good group. It's a young group that has to learn how to play with one another and really elevate their game."