3 Takeaways from Jets-Giants
Christian Hackenberg started for a second consecutive game. The Jets fell to the Giants 32-31 in the 49th annual preseason contest between the two crosstown teams.
The third preseason game, which is supposed to act as the so-called “final dress rehearsal” for most NFL teams, took place for the New York Jets on Saturday night. In traditional fashion, the Jets faced the New York Football Giants in the latest edition of what is now dubbed the MetLife Bowl. The Jets nearly erased a 29-3 deficit before ultimately falling 32-31 on a failed two-point conversion attempt in the final minute. Gang Green now holds a 1-2 record this preseason and there are still more questions than answers at the quarterback position.
Christian Hackenberg started and struggled for the second straight week. Bryce Petty once again looked good in relief against a backup defense (Note: Petty left the game with a knee injury and a Sunday MRI revealed a Grade 1 MCL sprain that is not expected to keep him sidelined). And journeyman Josh McCown still hasn’t seen game action since the very first drive of the Titans game on August 12.
Without further ado, let’s get into my biggest takeaways from Jets-Giants:
McCown The Man-- With McCown on the sideline for the entirety of yet another preseason game, Hackenberg got the opportunity to start and try to prove himself against one of the top defensive units in the league on Saturday. Put simply: it didn’t go very well. He finished 8-of-15 for 60 yards with two interceptions returned for touchdowns. Petty came on for the second half and continued his recent strong play until going down with the knee injury late in the game. It’s worth noting that Hackenberg came back into the game and found Frankie Hammond in the end zone to set up the potential game-winning two-point conversion try that ultimately failed. But I still don’t think that play was enough for the coaches, and the fans for that matter, to forget about Hackenberg’s shaky starts. Now with Petty on the mend, it’s an even better bet that McCown will be the starter come Week 1 in Buffalo. Head coach Todd Bowles is (finally) expected to make the official announcement early this week.
Hey, There They Are-- Remember those two draft picks that the Jets used on wideouts back in late April? After battling some minor injuries early in training camp, rookies ArDarius Stewart (Alabama) and Chad Hansen (Cal) are starting to find their preseason rhythm. Stewart had five catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Hansen had two grabs for 45 yards, including this awesome toe-drag, and he also hauled in a two-point conversion. I talked with both young receivers during training camp and you can give those interviews a listen here.
Running Back(s)-- One position where the Jets have some proven production is running back. Matt Forte dealt with a hamstring injury for most of training camp, but he was back on the field last night and looked shifty in some first half action. He finished with 43 yards on 10 carries before being spelled by Bilal Powell, who played into the third quarter. Powell had perhaps the play of the night when he took a dump-off pass from Petty 85-yards to the house. Everyone expects Forte and Powell to be a solid one-two punch for an offense cluttered with young players. It’s going to be interesting to monitor the splits in their usage this season. Powell could be in line for even more work than last year.
The End Zone: Stewart's first NFL touchdown: Good. His first NFL touchdown celebration? Better.
Also, press play below to hear Christian Hackenberg's thoughts on his performance against Big Blue.