With a second week of real NFL football in the books we’ll take a look at which Jets players are trending up after the historic come back against the Browns, and who is on the slide.
The game against the Browns was a huge deal for the team in terms of starting to see results on the field that match with the expectations that have built up around them during the off-season. The team and the coaching staff were clearly rankled by the reaction from the media to the opening week loss to Baltimore, and putting up this type of gritty performance will help silence some of that noise at least for this week.
Sunday was also a big night for fans. It’s been a minute since something that exciting and momentous has happened involving the Jets and it felt good to feel the Green & White blood pumping through our veins again.
Some of the performances we saw on Sunday were the kind that give you hope that this could be a different kind of season for the Jets; the team in general has been far more competitive than it was the last two seasons. Just as there were positives to take away from the loss in week one though, there are negatives to take away from the win against the Brown. So let’s take a look at the players you should be buying stock in, those you should think about selling at this early point in the season, and a few players you should keep your eye on.
Easy one to start with. Wilson is living up to his status as the 10th overall pick in the draft. A selection that many thought went under the radar in terms of hype this off-season, Wilson had his breakout game in just his second start for the Jets. Over 100 yards, 2 TDs, and a league topping average separation of 2.96 yards; it’s hard to argue that there shouldn’t be high expectation for Wilson going forward
Trading up for AVT was apparently a terrible idea that would haunt Joe Douglas and the Jets for years to come. In other news, AVT is currently the 3rd highest rated Guard in the NFL, according to PFF, that rating being driven by an 84.2 run blocking grade that leads all guards by a comfortable margin. This should be a pro-bowl year for AVT if nothing else; the flawless technique he showed in college is coming through in his second year.
Alijah Vera-Tucker is making it clear why the Jets traded up for him in the 2021 NFL Draft – Image Courtesy of USA Today
Reed may be the best signing Joe Douglas made this off-season. This was another one that went under the radar a bit, with most of the attention going to the signings of Laken Tomlinson and Jordan Whitehead. Reed has been impressive on the field so far this season both in terms of his performance and also watching the energy he brings to the team. Although week two didn’t reach the same heights as week one, Reed was solid, and his biggest mistake of the game was a missed tackle that led to Chubb’s rushing TD that in all likelihood gave the Jets the opportunity to win the game.
You have to go back to 2016 to get to Tomlinson’s lowest rated season in the NFL, and even that doesn’t come close to how poorly he’s performed so far for the Jets. If you watched any film reviews of Tomlinson in week one against the Ravens you’d have seen someone who got pushed back in the pocket and ended up in Flacco’s lap on more than one occasion. Although he improved in week two what is really shocking is how bad Tomlinson has been in the run game. PFF has given him a 35 … 35 so far this year in the run game. I’m by no means out on Tomlinson; he has too many years of success to think he won’t bounce back.
When your stock is this low it’s hard to see how it could fall any further but Joyner is making it happen. Credited with 4 missed tackles against Cleveland and a PFF grade of 38.6, Joyner is the liability that everyone feared he was going to be after a four year gap since he last played the position. The rest of the secondary is performing to a high level but it’s hard to have any confidence in a unit that has this clear of an achilles heel. Now back on the roster, Will Parks should be given the opportunity against Cincinnati to start as he simply cannot be worse than Joyner.
Although it hurts to be typing these words, Tyler Conklin has been a liability so far this season. A critical fumble in both games this season is too much for any other stat to make up for. If it weren’t for Max Mitchell falling on his fumble against the Browns we’d probably be commiserating for another loss instead of celebrating. What made fans so excited about Conklin is there to see: he’s getting open on his routes and making his presence felt in the blocking schemes. The truth is though that until the mistakes stop none of it will matter.
Tyler Conklin has struggled so far this season – Image Courtesy of USA Today
Players to Watch
The 4th round draft pick hasn’t done anything spectacular, but coming in and being okay is more than any of us could have hoped for. Especially when you consider the level of competition he’s been up against, Mitchell’s performance has been even more impressive. Top prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft Ikem Ekwonu had an absolute nightmare going up against the Browns’ edge rushers in week one, but outside of a strip sack Mitchell held his own and has performed at least as well if not marginally better than George Fant.
After a quiet first week against Baltimore we started to see some of the explosive ability that Breece Hall possesses this week against Cleveland. Hall went for an impressive 7.1 yards per attempt against the Browns, and made up for his mistakes in week one with a wide open catch that he brought in for a TD. Hall’s snap count will be interesting to watch as the weeks go on, particularly after the bye week. As we sit today Carter is performing better so Hall needs to keep stacking performances like this to flip the carries percentage.
21 years and 2,229 games since a team won after being down by 13+ points with less than two minutes to go. Then yesterday happened. pic.twitter.com/0IL5jKyzI2 — New York Jets (@nyjets) September 19, 2022