It may be the first week of preseason action for Bryce Young and the Carolina Panthers, but it’s week two for the New York Jets this weekend.
Much like in Canton, the Jets won’t be playing Aaron Rodgers at all on Saturday afternoon, but there are still plenty of players to keep an eye on. Whether it’s players on the roster bubble, or those trying to get into the starting lineup, there are plenty of things to watch for on Saturday.
Here are five names to watch in Carolina this weekend.
Bryce Huff and Will McDonald are both expected to play on Saturday. The Jets brought in reigning XFL defensive player of the year Pita Taumoepenu to add to their defensive edge depth. Taumoepenu has looked pretty good in spurts through practices but will need to show out on Saturday to earn a spot on the final 53-man roster. Expect to see a lot of this kid over the weekend and for the rest of the preseason.
It’s another important game night for Becton. Last week, the Jets hoped that they could get 20-25 snaps from their starting tackle but in the end, he only got through seven. That can’t happen this week if Becton wants to be a starter in Week 1. When he has played, he has looked solid, but injuries and “trust” in his knee will be the thing that keeps him off the field.
Take your pick at any corner or defensive back that will be playing this weekend. Moreland is coming off a good week of practice and could contend for a role in the Jets’ secondary with his experience as both a corner and safety. It’s also important to remember that Brandin Echols, arguably the top corner backup on the team, is suspended to start the 2023 season. That could open up a role for someone like Moreland on this defense.
Jason Brownlee may have been a camp favorite to start, but Malik Taylor has been the more consistent receiver over the last few weeks. Taylor has made tough catches look simple and has improved his route-running. There’s no guarantee that the Jets keep six wide receivers on the 53-man roster, but a strong preseason game from Taylor could very well force their hand.
Barnes may not have graded highly during his first NFL action last week, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t show spurts of competency at linebacker. With another game under his belt, the late-round rookie needs to play faster and read quicker. If he can do that on Saturday, there’s a chance the competition at the WILL could be going on for a bit longer. It’s a big “if” but New York is high on this kid for a reason.