By Brad Carroll
Here’s three things we learned after the New York Jets lost to the Washington Redskins 15-13 Thursday night.
Bridgewater in the lead?
Sam Darnold got the start for the Jets in Washington, getting the opportunity to play against the Redskins starting defense. Darnold wasn’t flashy, and didn’t do anything that would make you say he has to be the starting quarterback in Week 1, but he also didn’t fall flat on his face. He was average, and that’s not a bad thing for a rookie quarterback. If Darnold was already entrenched as the starter, fans would look back on this performance and be satisfied. We all know there are heightened expectations, however. Darnold finished 8-of-11 for 62 yards and an interception. He led one field goal drive during his two quarters of action. Darnold didn’t win or lose the job here, but Teddy Bridgewater, if all things are being counted equally, might have won it. Bridgewater has been the team’s best quarterback to this point, and there’s no doubt he could be the guy to lead this team to, dare I say, playoff berth this season. But things aren’t equal and we all know why. Still, Bridgewater looked really good again, going 10-of-15 for 127 yards with a touchdown and interception. Bridgewater would be the best quarterback the Jets have had since the early days of Mark Sanchez. If the Jets didn’t draft Darnold, this would be his job, but Darnold is the heir apparent, and rightfully so. Week 3 will go a long way in truly determining this very interesting quarterback battle. And, by the way, Josh McCown did not play.
Swiss cheese defense
It’s amazing the Redskins managed just five field goals in this game, including three in the first half, as the Jets defense was continually roasted by Washington’s run and pass games. The game could and should have been over at halftime if the Redskins were able to finish drives. I guess give credit to the Jets for holding them to field goals, but this performance was troubling. Washington reached the Jets’ 4, 17, 25 and 8 in its drives in the first half. Even though three ended in field goals and one an interception off a dropped pass, that’s not what should be expected of a starting defense. Luckily it’s the preseason, but the Jets got a wake up call Thursday night that they need a ton of work before the regular season hits.
Jenkins bringing the pressure
The Jets need a pass rusher in the worst way and have been searching for one since John Abraham was on the team many moons ago, so any positivity in that area will be welcomed by everyone. Jordan Jenkins provided that Thursday. He had a sack and two quarterback pressures. On the opening drive of the game he nailed Alex Smith just after the quarterback dumped a pass off. Jenkins got called for roughing the passer, as he drove Smith with his body into the ground, but the sight of a Jets defensive player drilling the opposing quarterback made the penalty something to forgive. Although that would probably wouldn’t be the case in the regular season. Still, watching Jenkins get to the quarterback was one of the few bright spots for the Jets in Washington.