Saints at Jets: In-depth analysis - Offense

Last night's game was tough to watch at times with all the penalties and mistakes but the teams did manage to rack up over 700 net yards between them. We're therefore going to start today's analysis with a look at the offense:

Quarterbacks - Well wild Webb

Sam Darnold wrapped up a solid preseason with perhaps his least convincing performance so far. Overall, however, in around three quarters of work, he passed for 211 yards and two scores, posting a quarterback rating of over 120. Not bad.

As a sign of how far Darnold has come, he threw 20 more passes last year in preseason, but only had 244 yards and a rating of 83.9. That included more work against back-ups too.

To be fair, the bulk of his work last night came against back-ups as well although he did pick up a few first downs with the starters still on the field. His first series against the starters had ended prematurely as the Jets fumbled the ball away on the second snap.

Darnold misfired on one short pass and forced a couple into traffic. He also had an intentional grounding penalty. Also, his biggest completion of the day on a long 41-yard bomb was underthrown and arguably could have been a touchdown instead of a contested catch.

However, Darnold was under more pressure in this game and took some clean hits which is good preparation for the season. There was a reminder that he's perhaps not all the way there in terms of setting pre-snap adjustments when the left side of the line blocked down and a rusher came free off the edge, though.

Darnold made one other nice downfield throw and showed good touch on his short pass for the Jets' only touchdown. The next time we see him should be on opening day.

The back-ups were statistically pretty efficient, combining to go 15-for-20 for 119 yards. However, the only points they put up were on two field goal drives with Trevor Siemian at the helm, during which he completed just three passes for 25 yards.

Siemian completed one nice downfield pass under pressure but he had a possible interception dropped and misfired on a wide throw.

Luke Falk moved ahead of Davis Webb in the rotation and completed all three of his passes. However, he was also guilty of missing an opportunity as the Saints blew a coverage on the tight end on a 3rd-and-short but he saw it too late.


Webb completed 7-of-10 passes but they were all basically dump-offs and his three incompletions were two overthrows and a risky throw into traffic. He continues to look out of his depth at this level.

Running Backs - You Cann do it

We now know that Le'Veon Bell won't play in preseason but Ty Montgomery has done a solid job as the starter. However, he worryingly lost a fumble on his first carry and was ruled down as he again allowed the ball to be stripped away from him later on.

Montgomery battles for yardage well, but has to do a better job of guarding against having that happen during the regular season.

He had some good moments too as he generated 45 yards on his 12 touches, albeit mostly in the passing game. He broke a tackle on a short pass for 15, showed slick hands to snag a pass out in the flat and scored the Jets' only touchdown on Darnold's touch pass over the linebacker.

Bilal Powell did nothing to help his chances as his only carry saw him blown up for a loss and he was unsuccessfully targeted twice, including one which could go down as a drop. It doesn't seem like there's room for a veteran like Powell with everyone else healthy but maybe the Jets will be able to keep him on speed-dial during the season.

One player who absolutely helped himself was Trenton Cannon, who racked up 79 yards on nine dynamic touches. He might have produced more too, had the Jets not needlessly committed penalties at the end of three of those plays to negate two first downs and a nine-yard run.

This was his nicest play of the night, showing the confidence he was playing with all night:


With his added special teams value, Cannon looks likely to make the 53-man roster, which could mean that both Powell and Elijah McGuire won't. McGuire made a bit of a case for himself though, bouncing outside for 13, showing burst up the middle on a draw play and drawing a hold on a screen pass for another first down. He also had a good blitz pick-up.

Valentine Holmes played just two snaps and didn't get any offensive touches this week.

Wide Receivers - White noise

Robby Anderson was one of the main bright spots from the starting offense as he went deep for a 41-yard catch that might have been a touchdown if Darnold put more air under the ball and ran a superb route to get open for a third-down conversion:


For Anderson, that's five catches on five targets for 92 yards in preseason. If the Jets can keep feeding him targets, he should have a productive season.

Jamison Crowder flashed briefly as he showed strong hands to clutch a quick slant as the defensive back came up fast to jump the route, then span off the hit for an extra few yards. His only other target was broken up though.

It was a quiet game for Quincy Enunwa who ended up without a catch. Darnold looked for him on a deep ball down the middle into double coverage and on a high end-zone throw where it looked like Enunwa was held as he made his break. As it turns out, someone else was called for defensive holding on that play.

Off the bench, Tim White finally made some contributions this week after a slow start to preseason. He caught three passes for 28 yards, with gains of nine and 16 yards on screen passes. His other catch was shy of the marker on third down. White also had a holding penalty and was unsuccessfully targeted downfield on a play where the Jets tried to get the replay booth to make a pass interference call.

Deontay Burnett also had three catches, but all underneath. He has nine catches in preseason, but for just 52 yards. While he still seems the most likely candidate to be the fourth receiver, the fact that the Jets offered a contract to Dontrell Inman this week suggests that Burnett is not 100 percent safe.

Veteran Deonte Thompson had two catches, including a 19-yarder where he broke a tackle in the open field. Both White and Thompson were also called for a holding penalty.

Greg Dortch and Charone Peake each caught a short pass on their only target but Peake did impress with two good blocks on receiver screens.

Rookie Jeff Smith is still yet to play and Josh Bellamy was not targeted. New addition Quincy Adeboyejo also did not play.

Tight Ends - All hope is Trevon

The tight ends continue not to produce much this preseason, as they combined for just 11 yards on four targets.

Daniel Brown hasn't really done anything to impress this season and, while he caught one short pass, he hurt his chances by dropping a pass in traffic and giving up a sack in pass protection.

Ryan Griffin wasn't targeted, but did his job well on a couple of running plays. However, there were a couple of others where he missed his block.

Trevon Wesco wasn't targeted either - and doesn't have a catch all preseason, although one was negated by a penalty - but if there was any doubt as to why the Jets drafted him, he put that to rest with some excellent blocking in this game.

Wesco had at least three impact blocks, helping to spring Cannon for a couple of first downs. Although this play only went for a short gain, he shows some legitimate power against a defensive lineman at the point of attack.


Eric Tomlinson caught one short pass but that was negated by a hold. He might have had a big play if Falk had seen him leaking downfield on the play mentioned earlier, though. If the Jets opt to keep three tight ends while Chris Herndon is suspended, Tomlinson has shown he brings more to the table than Brown so far.

Herndon only had one short catch, but also drew two penalties for first downs and had one nice run block. He gave up two pressures in pass protection though. It will be interesting to see how much, if at all, the Jets use him on Thursday night with the suspension coming.

Offensive Linemen - Alex Whiff

The Jets reversed course on their plans to give Ryan Kalil some reps in this game. Are they really going to throw him out there on opening day with no preseason action to shake off the cobwebs? Maybe there's even still a chance Jonotthan Harrison begins the season as the starter.

Kelechi Osemele was also expected to play a few days ago but did not, which is perhaps just a sign the Jets were spooked by some of the injuries taking place around the league this weekend. Brian Winters didn't play either, although that was expected, so the Jets once again had their second-string interior line working with the starters on offense.

As a unit, the Jets didn't give up a sack in the first half - and, in fact, the two sacks in the second half were a coverage sack and caused by a tight end getting beaten. There was some pressure, though, mostly up the middle. The interior line had particular problems picking up stunts.

Kelvin Beachum had a holding penalty in pass protection but didn't give up any pressure. He had mixed results in the running game.

Brandon Shell made his return after having gone down in pre-game warm-ups last week and the only pressure he gave up was late in the play. He had one good run block at the second level.

Harrison got beaten for a pressure and called for a hold in the first quarter. He might have had a second penalty too, after he got away with making a pancake block in pass protection while facing his own end zone. Harrison didn't make much of an impact in the running game either, as he was stood up on one play and he and Alex Lewis allowed a man to split their double-team to blow up a run.

Lewis had a good run block early but gave up a big hit on a stunt and otherwise struggled in the running game, including one play where he badly whiffed on his block at the second level.

Tom Compton made fewer mistakes than Lewis but there was one play where he seemed unsure of who to block as Darnold was under heavy pressure and another where he seemed to get away with an obvious hold. The Jets tried to run behind him pulling left on a short yardage play as well, but that was ineffective.

Rookie Chuma Edoga seemed more comfortable working against backups this week and didn't make any obvious mistakes. He had one good downhill block in the running game and a good kick-out block on another run.

Ben Braden had a couple of nice run blocks this week, including one where he drove his man downhill. However, he got driven back on a bull rush in pass protection and allowed his man to shed his block on one run stop.

Backup center Jon Toth had three good run blocks this week as this was his most consistent game so far. He gave up one pressure and had a pointless block in the back at the end of a play to draw a flag, though.

Tackle Eric Smith and Guard Jordan Morgan worked with both the second and third units this week. Morgan gave up three pressures, while Smith gave up a pressure on a spin move and was called for holding in the end zone to give the Saints two points.

They each had a couple of good run blocks in the third quarter, but Morgan whiffed on a second level block and Smith got driven back into the runner during the fourth quarter.

Ryan Anderson, Wyatt Miller and Calvin Anderson once again got third unit reps. Calvin, who played left tackle last week, moved inside to guard this week but got blown up on a 3rd-and-short run. Ryan gave up two pressures and also got driven back into the backfield on a run that was blown up. Miller gave up one pressure but had an effective block on a screen.

Brent Qvale remains sidelined and might be a candidate for injured reserve with the possibility of returning in the middle of the season as potential cover.

Don't go away, because we'll have our defensive review for you later this morning!