Three on O: Mitchell, Cook, Conklin

After each game, we'll be highlighting three defensive and three offensive players and looking in detail at their performance. We'll wrap up today with the offense:

Mitch Pickings

One player who deserves special credit after Sunday's win is Max Mitchell. Stepping in for the injured Alijah Vera-Tucker at right tackle, Mitchell held up well and the line as a unit didn't miss a beat. In fact they had even more success running the ball with Mitchell in the game.

A big part of that was of course Breece Hall's long touchdown run but Mitchell played his part on this, climbing to the second level to seal his man off cleanly.

On the whole, Mitchell did an excellent job in the running game, displaying strength at the point of attack and good footwork to angle his man off in the trenches. Here's an excellent block where he drove his man off the line on 2nd-and-short to set up a first down conversion.

Mitchell played 38 snaps in all and, while his run blocking contributions were positive, he had to battle to avoid allowing pressure. There was a quite clear pattern of Mitchell getting half-beaten but moving his feet to slow down his man as best he could and allowing Zach Wilson to get his throw out. The concern would be that in a full game a team like the Eagles will find ways to exploit him, but he did all that could have been asked for him at short notice in this game.

Mitchell's rookie year was de-railed by injuries and illness and once he was back in camp this year, he didn't make much of an impression and struggled in preseason action. Last year, he was similarly called into action earlier than expected and held up well then too. Could he just be one of those players who is better under the pressure of a game situation than in practice?

The Jets have lauded Mitchell's smarts and just by being someone who will understand blocking schemes and not blow assignments he's going to have an initial edge over any player they could potentially bring in off the street.

With that said, there's no guarantee he'll be anything more than a temporary starter. In preseason, the Jets clearly had Billy Turner ahead of Mitchell, but presumably have been practicing with Turner on the left and Mitchell on the right so that's why Mitchell's number was called. An outside addition with more experience is another option.

As far as Mitchell is concerned, the Jets have been high on him as a potential future starting tackle. This could be a great chance for him to prove he's still on that path.

Dalvin Cooked

Jets fans are losing confidence in Dalvin Cook, who doesn't seem to have much burst, is constantly running into a wall of defenders and can't seem to break a tackle.

However, his numbers have started to trend upwards since he's been in a reserve role and his 3.8 yards per carry on Sunday was actually his best so far.

Cook had two first downs on short yardage conversions and a nine-yard cutback run, his longest since the opener.

You can see on this run the difference between 2023 Cook and Cook from a few years ago. When he cut back like that a few years ago, he had the speed to cut all the way past that last defender and around the outside.

It's clear, therefore, that he's lost a step rather than suffering a sudden loss of vision as some have suggested. He's seeing the same things, but overestimating his ability to beat a defender to a spot. That's why he's not breaking tackles any more too. It's the difference between Cook at full speed and the defender making an arm tackle or at 90 percent and the defender can square him up and take him on in the hole.

Whether he will regain that step, which could just be a matter of it taking him longer to get into game shape due to not having camp, preseason and a full time regular season workload, remains to be seen.

Much like with Mecole Hardman, expectations for Cook have changed, mainly because Breece Hall is already seemingly back to 100 percent. Instead of someone who can split the workload with Hall or maybe even replace him if he has to miss time, Cook is currently just getting backup reps and whether he can motivate himself to earn a bigger role remains to be seen.

With Ace Carter holding down the third down back role, he's been the one getting those blitz pick-up reps and checkdowns we expected to see with Cook, who has just five catches for 18 yards since the opener.

On Sunday, Cook played 11 snaps and carried the ball on six of them. He wasn't targeted in the passing game and didn't stay in to pass protect. It will be interesting to see if he has more to offer and if his role evolves as a result. Otherwise he could be phased out soon.

Rob Conkowski

Tyler Conklin had a nice second half on Sunday, but it's interesting to note that he actually played a season-low 36 snaps. A big part of this was due to the Jets using Nick Bawden more than often (17 snaps) at the fullback position.

At halftime, he only had one seven yard catch on a quick dump-off in the two-minute drill but he had three catches for 60 yards in the second half. One was in the red zone on 3rd down as he was unable to break a tackle, but the other two were big third down conversions.

His 37-yard catch in the fourth quarter saw Zach Wilson survey the field before hitting him over the middle and then ended with Conklin driving defenders back for about another 20 yards in a scrum. His other third down conversion was equally impressive though, as he shook the linebacker with a nice route.

As a blocker, Conklin was a mixed bag but he's good enough never to be considered any kind of a liability in those situations.

Conklin's production has been modest, but every now and then he shows some tantalizing glimpses that he could potentially do more. Can Wilson unlock that though, or do we need to wait until we can see him catching passes from someone elite? Watch this space.

Previously: Three on D: Johnson, Mosley, Hall