Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comMany analysts have already written the Jets off before the season starts, but before we plunge into the first game of the season, I wanted to take one last look back at the preseason to see what players might surprise some of those same analysts before the season is over.
With the help of Pro Football Focus, here’s some things that might not be apparent on the Jets roster, based on the team’s preseason play.
Vlad Ducasse — Ducasse had a solid preseason, overall playing well against the run and the pass and being used in a number of locations on the line. His worst moments came in that fourth preseason game when he was playing next to Jason Smith, but I think we can all agree that had more to do with Smith’s play than Ducasse’s. Over the summer, we’ve seen a feisty, play-to-the-whistle lineman who has some power in his blocks and quick feet when in space. When placed between Brick & Nick, he’ll be fine.
Kellen Winslow Jr. — Winslow was out of the league last year, but his ability to make catches in the preseason helps me understand why the Jets only carried five receivers with a questionably healthy Santonio Holmes. Winslow has never been an excellent blocker, but Jeff Cumberland is more rounded in passing and blocking and if Winslow can stay on the field, we think the team has a pretty impressive 1-2 punch.
Tommy Bohanon — Bohanon might be panned as a John Idzik vanity pick, but the truth is that he was a capable player in the preseason, ranking 14th overall among fullbacks. Bohanon still needs to learn the nuances of the NFL game, but he seems to be starting at a solid base and should be useful as he learns on the job.
Ryan Spadola — It is hard to say how much time Spadola will see on the offensive side of the ball at the start of the season, but he might get worked into gameplans eventually. If Spadola is not used on offense at first, then look for his impact as a special teamer.
Ricky Sapp – While he generated some pass rush pressure, of all the Jets outside linebackers, Sapp graded out best against the run in the preseason. The Jets might look to use him in more run-stopping packages than folks might think after the first week or two.
Sheldon Richardson & Leger Douzable – While Douzable graded out against the run (6th) slightly better than Sheldon RIchardson (8th), what’s clear is that this unit not only contains a very talented playmaker in Muhammad Wilkerson, but also possesses excellent depth at stopping the run regardless of whether or not Quinton Coples can play right now.
Danny Lansanah — I know he was just signed back when the Jets cut Brady Quinn, but Lansanah was one of the best ILBs in the preseason in coverage and against the run. We’ll see if the Jets keep him on the active roster after this weekend.
Darrin Walls – It’s hard not to love the team’s depth at corner 1-6 and Walls is a good example of that. Walls was the top overall CB of the preseason, and while we know to be careful about over-analyzing the preseason, Walls play should be noted. Walls is currently listed on the team’s website as the second-stringer behind Cromartie if that helps to explain how good a preseason he’s had.
Jaiquawn Jarrett — Even if he’s not starting, expect to see Jarrett in some sort of “Big Nickel” package for the Jets over the course of the season.