Was comedian Larry David calling plays for the New York Jets on Friday night? They looked pretty, pretty bad, especially with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith at quarterback. They had no pulse until Bryce Petty entered the game.
Yes, it’s time to re-examine the quarterback depth chart.
Petty was the story of the Jets’ 22-18 loss to the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, as he threw two touchdown passes and rallied his team to 16 unanswered points before the defense blew it in the final seconds. Coach Todd Bowles said last week that Smith is the clear-cut No. 2 quarterback. He should reconsider and give Petty a shot because he deserves it. The kid has moxie; he creates a spark. Anybody can see it.
The second-year quarterback, who no longer has to worry about his roster spot, completed 16 of 26 passes for 242 yards, often under heavy pressure behind a backup offensive line. He hasn’t done enough to overtake Smith, but it should be an open competition over the final two games.
Smith (6-for-13, 47 yards) showed absolutely nothing, throwing a mind-boggling interception into triple coverage. It was Geno being Geno. He also made a mental error, taking an intentional-grounding penalty. The Jets know what they have in Smith; they should invest the time to see what Petty can be.
This much appears certain: Petty has earned a spot on the 53-man roster.
QB depth chart: Fitzpatrick (4-for-9, 35 yards) played only three series and generated only three first downs, failing to cross midfield. Clearly, the highlight of his week occurred on Wednesday, when David — the “Seinfeld” creator — visited practice and made Fitzpatrick laugh. Look, we don’t want to make too much out of the preseason, but Fitzpatrick is only 7-for-13 with 107 yards and no touchdown passes in two games. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker have combined for only three receptions. The struggling Smith gave way to Petty, who played the rest of the game. Rookie Christian Hackenberg, whom Bowles had hoped to play, didn’t get into the game.
When it was starters vs. starters, the Jets looked …: Awful. No, check that. They looked really awful. They were outgained in the first quarter, 127 yards to 2, and that pretty much says it all. The starting offense, minus three starters, had no cohesiveness whatsoever. Defensively, the Jets got shredded by QB Kirk Cousin’s understudy, Colt McCoy, who started the game and played like Joe Theismann. There were missed tackles (rookie Jordan Jenkins got juked by McCoy in the backfield) and too many coverage mistakes. No. 3 cornerback Marcus Williams had a rough night, surrendering at least four receptions, including a touchdown.
Who got hurt? Yep, Dee Milliner got hurt — again. The oft-injured cornerback left in the first quarter with an injury to his left arm/elbow, which was heavily wrapped. The 2013 first-round pick, who has missed 24 of the last 32 games, is projected as the No. 4 corner. A significant injury probably would mean a promotion for rookie Juston Burris, who got burned on two touchdown passes. Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (possible concussion) and linebacker Erin Henderson (shoulder) also suffered injuries and didn’t return.
Maybe that player could start: After Henderson was sidelined, first-round pick Darron Lee played with the starters and displayed his sideline-to-sideline tackling ability. He’s not a thumper like Henderson, but Lee can play an east-west game. They complement each other well, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they rotate during the season.
Welcome back, Revis Island: In his preseason debut, Darrelle Revis made one of the biggest plays of the night, an end zone interception on a horrible throw by McCoy. Revis wasn’t targeted, but he made a heads-up play with the ball in the air. It was one of a few nice red zone plays by the defense. Leonard Williams continued his strong preseason with a third-down sack, and backup nose tackle Deon Simon drew a penalty in the end zone, resulting in a safety. At least the defense did something right.
One reason to be concerned: Everybody knows the Jets aren’t overflowing with talent at tight end, but you expect them to make routine plays. Kellen Davis and Zach Sudfeld lost fumbles and Jace Amaro, trying to prove he can play with the big boys, dropped two passes, reminiscent of his rookie year (2014). Amaro got a chance to play with the starters, replacing Enunwa in the H-back role. Let’s just say Amaro failed to seize the opportunity. Sudfeld caught a 19-yard touchdown but tarnished his night by fumbling deep in Washington territory late in the game.
A surprise player who impressed: Very few players shined, but let’s give a shoutout to Robby Anderson, who outplayed his fellow rookie wide receivers, Charone Peake and Jalin Marshall. Anderson showed his deep speed with 42- and 50-yard receptions, finishing with six catches for 131 yards. Peake and Marshall each dropped a pass and took a step back.
Sitting out: Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and center Nick Mangold were held out. Mangold’s absence was a surprise, even though he sat out two days of practice because of what Bowles described as rest days. This is a curiously long rest, don’t you think? The Jets were just being cautious with Wilkerson, who has had only two full practices after returning from a broken leg. Running back Matt Forte (hamstring) was in uniform, but he didn’t play — no surprise. It was a good call; the risk/reward wasn’t worth it.