Three Up, Three Down As The Jets Lost To The Saints
The punting battle has been back-and-forth throughout training camp and the preseason, but it seems that Lachlan Edwards may have gained an edge with what went down against the Saints.
Matt Darr had the big slip-up of the game that may have tilted the tides of the battle. About halfway through the fourth quarter, Darr had a 49-yard boot returned 78 yards to the house by Dwayne Harris. Darr missed a potential touchdown-saving tackle along the way.
Edwards had a solid day punting the ball. He punted four times for an average distance of 45.0 yards, while only yielding an average of 4.5 return yards per punt.
In addition, Edwards assumed holding duties throughout both halves, a switch-up from the previous week in which the holding responsibilities were split between each punter. As we will discuss more later on, those holds were highly successful ones from Edwards.
Through three weeks of preseason action, Edwards ranks third among 30 qualified punters in net average, with a mark of 44.5. Darr ranks 29th, averaging only 33.1 net yards per punt.
The undrafted wide receiver and return specialist out of Wake Forest is quickly making a name for himself. Against the Saints, he broke out for a 27-yard punt return off of Pro Bowl punter Thomas Morstead. He had another return that went for twelve yards, but it was wiped out by a penalty.
Through three preseason games, Dortch has averaged 11.3 yards per punt return, which ranks 11th out of the 35 players with at least four returns in the preseason thus far.
In college, Dortch was electric in the return game. In his redshirt sophomore 2018 season, Dortch picked up 276 yards across 25 punt returns, an average of 11.0 yards per return that ranked sixth in the Atlantic Coast Conference and 18th in the entire country. He also scored two touchdowns in the punt return game, making him one of only five players in the nation to do it that season.
Dortch went undrafted mainly due to his size, standing at only 5-foot-7 and 173 pounds. So far, he’s proven his doubters wrong, as he seems like a lock to secure the punt returning job going into Week 1 of the regular season.
Bertolet went out and made the most of the second chance afforded to him by the Jets. He made both of his field goal attempts, from 48 and 56 yards out. He also made his only extra point attempt.
We will see how the Jets handle the waiver wire at the kicker position, but it seems special teams coordinator Brant Boyer has a lot of confidence in Bertolet. He is the heavy favorite to be the Jets’ placekicker when they take on the Bills in Week 1.
The opening drive against Drew Brees
Gang Green’s starting defense has played solidly throughout the preseason thus far, but they did have one big hiccup against Drew Brees’ starting offense. On the opening drive of the game, Brees led the Saints down the field on a eight-play, 72-yard touchdown drive, reaching the goal line in only three minutes and eight seconds.
The pass coverage in particular was poor on that drive, as Brees completed a trio of passes for over 19 yards each. Neville Hewitt, Tevaughn Campbell, and Brian Poole seemed to be the defenders responsible for those big plays.
It’s nothing that fans should worry too much about – it was just one drive. However, it was a series that broke the nearly perfect stretch of play we had seen from the starting defense up to that point.
For the third game in a row, the backup cornerbacks had a rough night for the Jets.
The one exception was Alex Brown. For the second game in a row, the undrafted free agent and Joe Douglas pickup has looked impressive. Against the Saints, Brown yielded only 45 yards and three first downs across 10 targets.
Outside of Brown, however, it was a rough night. Tevaughn Campbell allowed a touchdown on the opening drive – albeit to the dominant Michael Thomas. Parry Nickerson had himself another tough game, while new veteran addition Marcus Cooper had a bad missed tackle.
Joe Douglas has his work cut out for him at this position. He’ll need to work some magic on the waiver wire in a few days to patch up the holes in the defensive backfield.
Yellow laundry littered the MetLife Stadium field this past Saturday night. A whopping 31 penalties were called. 15 of those were on the Jets, resulting in a total of 128 yards lost.
It is only the preseason, and many of the players called for those penalties will not be playing for the Jets in the regular season. At the same time, there are few things coaches hate to see more than penalties. Adam Gase surely will not be happy about the penalty issues he saw against the Saints, and he is going to let the entire team know it on the practice field.
Penalties can lose you a game. There is no doubting that Gase and the entire coaching staff will be using the tape from last Saturday as teaching material for the whole team going forward.