It was short on drama, but the Jets’ 27-20 win in their final game of preseason did help sort out some roster decisions. Truthfully, that is the most that could be hoped for from this game.
After a rocky start to the game, including a safety by quarterback Matt Simms in what was his first start of preseason, the Jets offense rebounded behind two touchdown runs by Kahlil Bell in the first and fourth quarter. Despite being sacked an astounding seven times in the first half behind the same makeshift offensive line that “protected” Mark Sanchez when he was drilled last weekend and injured, Simms still performed well.
He controlled the offense and did a good job in limiting mistakes. He finished the game 33-for-44 for 285 yards and made a statement to be the No. 3 quarterback on the roster.
What we learned …
1. Just for kicks
Kicker Dan Carpenter was signed by the Jets on Tuesday on the same day Billy Cundiff was cut by the team, meaning incumbent starter Nick Folk had another veteran to stave off to keep his job. There was nothing that would keep Carpenter off the roster, including a 45-yard field goal in the first quarter, but he will still have a hard time topping Folk. It had been a good training camp for Folk, who connected on his only field goal attempt of the game in the third quarter and also looked good on kickoffs.
2. Just for kickoffs
The Jets cut Joe McKnight, who has been one of the best kickoff returners in the league the past two years, earlier this week. It won’t be easy to replace someone with big-play ability who was also sure-handed in the role. Cornerback Kyle Wilson was back on kickoffs to start the game, which was not a surprise since he handled the role last week when McKnight was on the sidelines. Wilson didn’t sparkle in the role meaning so wide receiver Clyde Gates, who did impress in returning kickoffs in the second preseason game, might get the nod come Week 1.
3. Players making a name
The fourth preseason game isn’t good for much, as evidenced by the sparse crowd at MetLife Stadium, but it is an opportunity for players at the bottom of the roster to cement their position ahead of Week 1. Undrafted rookie free agent Zach Rogers, who has been impressive since rookie minicamp, did a nice job with running routes and getting yards after the catch despite having a bad drop in the fourth quarter. The aforementioned Bell might have staked his claim to a spot on the roster, especially with running back Mike Goodson suspended for the first four games of the season. On the defensive side of the ball, outside linebacker Ricky Sapp did well coming off the edge in limited snaps and likely did enough to retain his roster spot. In addition, linebacker Danny Lansanah made plays all over the field, showing good lateral movement and instincts.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.