Well folks, Week One of the 2021 NFL Preseason is over and have we learned anything yet about the New York Jets so far? The answer is an absolute yes and well, maybe so. Preseason games are just scrimmages for fans to watch but they are also showcase tools for players to show off how much they want to be on a team roster. Preseason games are good, organized practices to try out new offensive and defensive schemes and evaluate players coming off of injuries. Ultimately, the preseason is about who will be on that elusive 53 man roster come Opening Day and who might still have a chance by moving to a team’s practice squad.
Preseason Game One gave Jets fans some time to take a deep breath and pause because it’s the dang preseason and not time to hit panic buttons. The first takeaway from Saturday night’s game against the Giants is that simply winning or losing a preseason game doesn’t really matter. Ask the Detroit Lions who who were 4-0 in the 2008 preseason and then melted down and became the first NFL team to go 0-16 in the regular season. Rookie QB Zach Wilson looked much more poised and actually in control of the offense during his two offensive series and went 6 for 9 on passes for 63 yards and set up a field goal. That alone is nothing to brag about but at the same time a big positive for a rookie, albeit Zach Wilson was largely facing Giants backups on the defensive side of the ball. Give the kid some time and he will continue to grow in confidence.
The second takeaway from Saturday’s preseason game is that the life of a kicker in the NFL is a lonely, tough road. Undrafted free agent K Chris Naggar was released by the Jets and now as it stands only Matt Ammendola out of Oklahoma State remains on the roster. This certainly doesn’t mean that a marquee kicker won’t become available in the next couple of weeks and that this position will be an issue for the Jets as the regular season begins. All this means is that being a kicker in the NFL is a rough business and that the spotlight on you can be brutal and cruel. Chris Naggar may find another NFL team to go to and Matt Ammendola may or may not be the Opening Day kicker but that will be decided in a couple of weeks.
The third and what I find was the most impressive takeaway from Saturday night was the fire and passion that Denzel Mims showed on the field. Not only was he involved in the opening kickoff return where he was in on a tackle but his three receptions for 51 yards including a 20 yard catch (18 yards more after the catch) where Mims brought a portion of the Giants defense to finally stop him showed the Jets coaching staff that he belongs on the roster. Where have you been, Denzel Mims and welcome to the New York Jets! The preseason is designed to find players who are hungry to play and have a big chip on their shoulders. Players who are willing to go do whatever a coach asks and sacrifice themselves for their team is what football is all about and Denzel Mims got his few moments to show why he was a second round draft choice a year ago.