Three Up, Three Down From Jets Preseason Finale

Our takeaways from the Jets' final preseason game again the Eagles
Michael Nania
Sat, August 31, 12:24 PM EDT

Three Up

 

Valentine Holmes

 

The JetsAustralian phenom made the most of his final chance to impress. The rugby star turned running back caught five passes for 55 yards against the Eagles, including a beautiful over-the-shoulder grab for 27 yards.

While Holmes struggled as a rusher throughout the preseason, gaining only nine yards on 11 carries (0.8 per attempt), he showed potential in the passing game. Holmes grabbed eight catches for 85 yards throughout the preseason, while leading the Jets with six receiving first downs.

As part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program, the Jets are able to keep Holmes on their practice squad without using up a spot that counts against the 10-player limit (although he cannot play in the 2019 regular season). There is virtually no downside to the team stashing him down there and bringing him back to camp next year. Expect to see Holmes getting more preseason action with the Jets in 2020.

 

Blake Cashman

 

Poised to play a major role on defense this year, the rookie fifth-round pick out of Minnesota flashed some exciting potential in the preseason finale.

In his limited time against the Eagles, Cashman was flat-out dominant. He racked up five tackles defensively – and they were all true impact plays. He forced a fumble on a run stuff, stopped two third down passes short of the sticks, one second down pass just shy of the marker, and blew up a screen for a 5-yard loss. Plus, he forced a pair of incomplete passes with strong coverage.

While Cashman has been impressing in camp, his performance was up and down throughout the early portion of the preseason. To see him finish the month of August with a spectacular outing is a welcome dose of optimism.

 

Josh Bellamy

 

The veteran wide receiver had an active first half against the Eagles, hauling in five passes for 52 yards. Three of those grabs resulted in first downs. He showed a nice chemistry with second-team quarterback Trevor Siemian, who will be the backup to Sam Darnold this season.

Bellamy finished the preseason second on the Jets with five receiving first downs, trailing only Holmes. He got off to a slow start in the receiving game, but ended up flashing as a pass-catcher more than any other reserve Jets receiver.

While he has been a near-lock to make the roster due to his special teams ability, Bellamy may have elevated himself to the top backup wide receiver spot with his performance against the Eagles. None of the younger competitors at wide receiver have stepped up, and it seems Bellamy has taken full advantage.

 

Three Down

 

Taylor Bertolet

 

Just after giving Jets fans a chance to breathe with a perfect game against the Saints, Bertolet came back down to Earth in the final week of the preseason.

Against the Eagles, Bertolet made just two of his five field goal attempts, connecting from 23 and 39 yards out.

All three of his misses were from deep range (49, 53, and 56 yards). While that may seem like a potential reason to excuse Bertolet’s rough night, it needs be understood that, in the NFL, kicks from those distances are converted over two-thirds of the time. Over the last three seasons, NFL kickers made 75 percent of 49-yard attempts, 73 percent of 53-yard attempts, and 67 percent of 56-yard attempts. Given those averages, the odds of Bertolet missing all three of those kicks were about 2 percent.

It also should not be forgotten that missing a kick from deep will sacrifice more yards of field position to the opponent than missing a shallow kick would. While they are less egregious due to the increased difficulty, deep misses do come with that added consequence.

However, Adam Gase gave Bertolet a vote of confidence after the game. Gase stated that the field goal unit was late on to the field for two of Bertolet’s misses, disrupting his rhythm.

It seems there is a high chance Bertolet will be kicking for the Jets in Week 1. Whatever the reasons for his struggles are, be they his own issues or the field goal unit’s, they need to be ironed out soon.

 

Elijah McGuire

 

McGuire had a solid, but unspectacular game, and it turned out to be his undoing.

Given the improved play of Trenton Cannon, the third-year Jet needed a sparkling performance to make his final case for the roster. McGuire was unable to come up with anything remarkable over the course of the preseason, and he was cut the day after the game.

A sixth-round pick by the Jets in 2017, McGuire picked up a total of 961 yards from scrimmage over 24 games with the Jets, rushing for 591 and gaining 370 through the air. He scored six touchdowns; three rushing, one receiving.

The Louisiana product has good shiftiness and interesting upside as a pass-catcher. He will almost surely catch on somewhere else.

 

Davis Webb

 

Webb’s chances of making the Jets roster were shot a couple of weeks ago, when Luke Falk one-upped him on the depth chart. However, it now appears that his chances of making any NFL roster may have bitten the dust.

The former Giant tossed a pair of awful interceptions against the Eagles, with each pick laid out on a silver platter for Eagles defenders.

Will Webb be able to find a team to take a chance on him, or is his NFL career over? Time will tell.

 

By Michael Nania

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