The preseason finale is a game that rarely sees starters play significant minutes, and the New York Jets chose to hold all of their key players out of last night’s contest with the Philadelphia Eagles. However, their second team defense was very impressive throughout the contest, despite being put in several bad situations by the offense.
The amount of quality play from the defense last night is a wonderful asset for the Jets, because it means that they will have reliable depth all over the field. On the line, Leger Douzable was absolutely fantastic, recording a sack and a tackle for loss while repeatedly pressuring the Eagles’ quarterbacks. He certainly guaranteed himself a roster spot with that performance.
The linebackers had a very solid game, and Ricky Sapp, Nick Bellore and Danny Lansanah all impressed. Sapp recorded a sack, a forced fumble, and hurried the quarterback on multiple occasions. If there were any doubts about him making the team, he erased them last night. Bellore and Lansanah were exactly what the team wants from its inside linebackers. They were very effective against the run, filling gaps and preventing anything from reaching the secondary. In coverage they were both solid, and neither allowed any big plays. Both of these players have a very good shot at making the final roster.
Finally, the secondary was on point for the majority of the night. Isaiah Trufant in particular had a very good game in coverage, but Mike Edwards and Royce Adams had their moments as well. Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett finally performed up to their abilities in a game situation, and continued strong play from them will ease many of the staff’s concerns.
All of these positive performances have certainly given the Jets something to think about as they prepare to make their final roster cuts. It is hard to pick out more than two or three defensive players who are straightforward cuts, and there will certainly be some solid players who miss out on the final roster. Ultimately, however, this is a good problem for the team to have.
The defense is going to have to be the strength of the Jets this season, as they figure to have more than their share of struggles offensively. The team knows what they have in their starters, but given the constant risk of injury, every team wants to be confident in its reserves. A well rounded performance like the one Thursday night gives the Jets great faith in their second unit, and the depth on defense will certainly be valuable over the course of a long season.