Takeaways from the New York Jets 2017 preseason finale

New York Jets

The New York Jets concluded the 2017 preseason with a 16-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles and the preseason finale carried a bit more drama than it normally would.

The Jets rolled out most of their starting offense to begin the game. That included recently-named starting quarterback, Josh McCown, who was decent in his first appearance since the first drive of the preseason opener. We’ll lead off the Week 4 takeaways with an assessment of how the journeyman performed.

McCown comes out unscathed, barely

The Jets played with fire by giving McCown the start in the most meaningless preseason game of them all. But they bungled the quarterback “competition,” and held McCown out during the second and (inexplicably) the third preseason contest. So, McCown needed work and he nearly got injured in the process.

McCown was shaken up after taking a shot from an Eagles defender during the first quarter.

Fortunately, McCown returned after missing one play and ultimately led the Jets to a field goal thanks to a pair of 20-yard completions to Bilal Powell and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

Overall, McCown was serviceable, but unimpressive. He completed 6-of-8 passes for 57 yards on two series.

Christian Hackenberg throws a beautiful TD, does very little afterward

It was a good night and a bad night for the man everyone has their eyes on in New York. Christian Hackenberg led a touchdown drive from start to finish for the first time all preseason, but he didn’t do much else after that.

Let’s start with the good news: Hackenberg completed a drive that was sparked by 56 rushing yards on three carries by rookie Elijah McGuire with a beautiful touchdown pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Hackenberg flaunted his arm talent on a pass only his tight end could catch, and it was a spectacular catch indeed.

Hackenberg actually started 4-of-5 on the night, but struggled mightily during the second half. New York squandered two opportunities inside of Philadelphia territory after the defense generated a turnover. The Jets settled for field goals on both occasions.

Hackenberg finished the night 10-for-22 with 105 yards and one touchdown.

Kony Ealy stands out during his Jets debut

The Jets might have gotten a steal in Kony Ealy, for once possibly making New England’s trash their treasure. Ealy might have earned a roster spot by recording three tackles and an impressive strip-sack of Matt McGloin that showed off the type of talent he exhibited occasionally in Carolina.

Let’s keep in mind that Ealy wasn’t going against any starters. But that jump off the snap and the swim move would likely victimize any professional left tackle.

Elijah McGuire runs well and might impact Matt Forte’s future

Elijah McGuire led the Jets to their only touchdown of the night with three impressive runs. The 2017 sixth-round pick burst out for two 11-yard carries on consecutive plays before breaking a 36-yard scamper that led to Hackenberg’s touchdown pass.

Here’s where McGuire’s performance gets a little more interesting. The Jets sat Matt Forte out after showcasing him during the third preseason game. News got out earlier in the week that the Jets were exploring trade options for Forte, which means he could become expendable even if a deal isn’t made. Could the Jets — who are fully in tank mode — actually say goodbye to another veteran just days before the season begins? It’s certainly possible.

The Jets would have to eat $6 million in dead money over the next two years, but they might have a younger duo in hand with Powell and McGuire. Perhaps the Louisiana-Lafayette product made Forte more expendable with a surprisingly impressive performance this summer. It’s purely speculation, but it’s worth monitoring as cut day approaches.

On the latest episode of “All My Kickers”

Thursday’s game was the last chance for kickers Chandler Catanzaro and Ross Martin to showcase their ability in game action. Catanzaro converted the team’s first field goal attempt in the first quarter from 28 yards out, but it was all Martin after that. The Duke product made two kicks from 27 and 22 yards away and also converted the lone PAT.

If we had to guess, it looks like Martin will outlast Catanzaro to win the job.

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