Well, it’s official – the 2022 NFL season is off and running and for the Jets, the usual story line doesn’t start off with a win in this week’s first preseason game but with injuries.  Two steps forward, three steps back was the mantra for 2021 and I truly hope it’s not more of the same for this year.

Jets story lines from this week in training camp

The top story coming out of training camp this week has been the loss of OT Mekhi Becton to a dislocated, avulsed knee cap suffered in practice.  Becton was promising this training camp and with the addition of OT George Fant the two looked to shore up the O-line.  Again, Becton missed almost all of last season with an injury and he will be on the sidelines yet again for this year.  All we can do is hope he heals up and try again in 2023.

The second story line that came out of the first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday night wasn’t the 24-21 win but the loss of QB Zach Wilson to yet another injury.  As the late great Yogi Berra used to say “it’s deja vu all over again.”  Wilson spent a good amount of his rookie season on the sidelines after a knee injury and he tweaked his knee again while running and in a no-contact move he planted awkwardly and left the game in the first quarter.  The latest medical prognosis is that he will be having arthoscopic surgery to repair the meniscus tear and be out for possibly four weeks.  Wilson’s start against the Baltimore Ravens on September 11th is in question right now and Joe Flacco may have to start the season against his old team; we will know more details in the days to come.

Ironically, Wilson’s injury gave both Mike White and fourth string QB Chris Streveler a chance to show off their worth to the Jets organization again.  The presumed backup QB Joe Flacco didn’t dress for this game and Mike White came in to replace Wilson and threw ten passes out of 20 attempts for a total of 98 yards.  The real show stealer was none other than Chris Streveler who ended up throwing for two TD passes in the fourth quarter which sealed the win for the Jets.  Streveler is a journeyman QB having been on mutiple NFL rosters and also played in the CFL with the 2018 Grey Cup winning Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  Streveler showed his CFL scrambling and running moves on Friday night and for a QB who hadn’t received any reps in training camp and only a few walk-through reps last Thursday before the game, he looked impressive enough to argue a legitimate spot on the Jets roster.

What did we learn from Friday night’s game?

Jets fans can expect to see a lot more use of TE’s this season under a revamping of the offensive schemes by OC Mike LaFleur.  With an NFL-wide push to used tight ends more in a receiver role, LaFleur seized upon this innovation and used five different players in this role including rookie Lawrence Cager who hauled in a 40 yard pass on Friday night.  Expect more use of TE’s as the preseason unfolds and we head into the regular season on September 11th.

MIAMI, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 03: A detailed view of the New York Jets helmet on the bench during the game against the Miami Dolphins in the third quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on November 03, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

The D line performed admirably on Friday night and controlled the Eagles offensive attack throughout the game.  Four out of five of the Jets sacks came from the D Line with DT Tanzel Smart registering two sacks and three QB hits with Jabari Zuniga added another sack and two more QB hits.  Rookie Micheal Clemons added one more sack which was his first NFL statistic and the D Line looks to make a continued impact heading into the 2022 campaign down the road.

It’s only one preseason game and Jets fans shouldn’t be sending up warning flags or writing off the season yet. The injury to Zach Wilson, while upsetting, is not a season-ending injury and he should be back by Week One or Two if he heals up correctly.  The Jets have the talent to make an impact and improve on their 2021 season and if they stay healthy through the preseason, they should be ready to help erase memories of last year’s 4-13 overall record.

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