New Era Begins: Key Factors, Players to Look for, and more:
Photo Credit: pantherswire.usa.today.com
The Robert Saleh era has officially begun at One Jets drive, and fans haven’t been this excited in a long time. For now this team finally has a competent general manager, a competent coach, and what we hope is a franchise quarterback. On paper this team has a clear plan on how they are going to build a winning team in the long run. But it starts with how these players execute on the field, and they are starting the year against a former Jets quarterback who has something to prove.
After being traded to the Panthers in April, Sam Darnold will be making his debut against his former team. During his time here, there were a lot of fingers that were pointed as to why it didn’t work out here. The lack of talent, o line, him making the same amount of mistakes consistently. Realistically it was a bit of both, but now we will finally get to see him with the talent that the Panthers have to offer. The biggest concern right now is how can the Jets prevent a revenge game for Sam Darnold? Here are some of my key factors on how they can prevent it:
Carolina’s Pass Offense:
One of Darnold’s strengths is that he can throw the deep ball. The Panthers have two guys who compliment that: Robby Anderson and DJ Moore who had 1,000 yards receiving last year. Plus they will be getting back a healthy Christian McCaffrey to be there on the check downs.
The Jets have an unproven secondary with a bunch of undrafted rookies. It’s going to be interesting to see how they are going to game plan against these two stud receivers of the Panthers. As for McCaffrey, I’d expect to see Mosley on him for the majority of the game.
Jets Interior Defensive Line:
One way to be able to contain the Panthers receivers is being able to get to the quarterback, as we know Sam Darnold is not good under pressure. Even though Carl Lawson is out for the year, the Jets can still generate pressure by taking advantage of the left side of the Panthers offensive line who is projected to be a weak link.
Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins are going to make a big impact here in terms of generating that interior pressure also allowing Shaq Lawson and Bryce Huff to get one on ones.
This is going to be an instance where the Jets are going to have to rely on the offense often and early, The Panthers are going to score points and it’s going to be up to the Jets to match them with self sustaining drives and limit the turnovers.
I expect the Jets to work heavily on running the football and mix it up with play action to ease Zach Wilson into it. Panthers are going to try and lock down Corey Davis who has been Wilson’s favorite target this preseason, so it’s going to be up to rookie Elijah Moore, Keelan Cole, and the tight ends to share the load.
Special teams coordinator Brant Boyer is still with the team, and is working under his third head coach. This speaks volume because of how well the special teams have been, and they will be much better this year.
I believe the Special teams are going to play the biggest role in this game, if the Jets are going to have any type of success then the special teams are going to have to make sure that the Panthers don’t start with good field position and vice versa.
Players to Watch:
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