Studs and duds from New York Jets’ preseason opener against Titans

The New York Jets came out strong to start their 2017 preseason opener before their scoring dried up the rest of the way.

The Jets beat the Tennessee Titans, 7-3, in the lowest-scoring preseason game of the year so far. Josh McCown led the Jets to a quick touchdown on their opening drive, and Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty held it together the rest of the game without managing to bring New York more points. Defensively, the Jets had eight sacks by eight different players and Ronald Martin grabbed an interception when the Titans threatened to score.

A win is a win, but a preseason win is a preseason win. Instead of breaking down the game, let’s focus on the individual players or units that stood out, for better or worse.

Studs

Robby Anderson and Charone Peake

In an early test as a No. 1 receiver, Anderson caught three passes for 71 yards in his limited time on the field. The biggest play, of course, was a 53-yard pass from McCown on the Jets’ opening drive, setting up Peake for a red zone touchdown. Peake also made a great tackle on a punt return (the Titans’ returner didn’t call for a fair catch), which is exactly the kind of play you like to see wide receivers make. It means Peake takes every part of his job seriously, and with special teams contributions on his game film, he should be a lock to make the roster.

It is worth noting that although Peake scored a touchdown, he only played four snaps with the first-team offense.

Second-string linebackers

This Julian Stanford sack temporarily took Titans rookie quarterback Alex Tanney out of the game. Hey rookie, welcome to the NFL.

Josh Martin also collected a sack and jumped on a fumble in the second half, but seemed to pop up everywhere as long as he was on the field. Freddie Bishop did nothing special while playing with the first-string D opposite Jordan Jenkins (who also had a great sack), so don’t be surprised if Martin sees first-team looks next week.

Duds

Running backs

Matt Forte (hamstring) and Bilal Powell (neck) sat this one out, and as a result, the Jets only gained 60 yards on 31 rushing attempts. Sixth-round draft pick Elijah McGuire played two drives with the first-team offense. He finished with seven yards on six carries, though to be fair, he had a 14-yard gain called back on a holding penalty. Romar Morris and Jordan Todman were the opposite of inspiring. A 10-yard Bryce Petty scramble constituted the Jets’ longest run of the night.

Chandler Catanzaro

By all accounts, Ross Martin is “winning” the kicking competition in camp as Catanzaro misses short field goal attempts with embarrassing frequency. The field goal Catanzaro missed tonight, in his first game in a Jets’ uniform, was 55 yards, yet his kicking power wasn’t to blame. He missed it left. Martin, meanwhile, didn’t attempt field goals or extra points tonight, but came on for a kickoff.

Half-and-half

Christian Hackenberg

It would be unfair to file Hack under either the “stud” or the “dud” column. The good: Hack started 14-for-18 where the only incompletions were three drops and a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage. He wasn’t erratic, he didn’t throw an interception and on most plays, he made smart checkdowns rather than forcing a pass. Hackenberg finished 18-for-25 for 127 yards.

The ugly: The lack of points to show for it. Hackenberg quarterbacked eight drives but led the Jets to a score on none of them — although Catanzaro’s missed field goal came while Hackenberg was under center. In the second quarter, the second-team offense joined Hackenberg on the field, but so did Tennessee’s second-team defense, so that shouldn’t be an excuse. According to Pro Football Focus, only two of Hackenberg’s 25 throws went for more than 10 yards in the air, and both were incomplete. It was a lot of short passes for Hack, which are symptomatic of a West Coast offense.

Hack also fumbled the ball on his last play of the night, giving it up to the Titans. (The fault on that one looked more on backup center Jarvis Harrison mishandling it when Hack wasn’t even ready, but it still goes down on Hack’s record.)

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