If you listen to analysts, they’d tell you the New York Jets could finish the season winless. Yet, with any NFL team, never underestimate anyone. For the Oakland Raiders, an imperfect team attempting to gain momentum, the Jets game is no walkover. With that said, Cover 32 Jets Managing Editor Kyle Hirshkind sat down for a quick interview.
Q: At this point in his career, what does Matt Forte still offer? What do the Raiders need to expect from him?
The Jets tried pretty hard to get Matt Forte going last week against the Bills, however he struggled mightily. It took the Jets quite a while to finally hand the ball off to Bilal Powell, who didn’t run much better.
With that being said, Forte still has a lot to offer even as he battles age and injury. He runs hard and presents a threat in the passing game. The Raiders should expect more of what the Bills got last week: an early and hefty load of Forte. I believe it will be a test from the Jets to see if Forte is worth hanging onto.
Q: No Decker, Marshall or Enunwa. Can Jermaine Kearse develop into a true number 1? Against bigger corners, what must he avoid?
Ouch! How dare you remind me of the stud receivers we once had…less than a year ago
I think it will be tough for Kearse to develop into a true weapon for the Jets. But with that being said, that doesn’t mean he won’t be their No. 1 guy.
A lot of his stats will unfortunately fall into the hands of a murky quarterback situation. McCown proved last week that he will favor Kearse as long as they are both on the field together, but who knows how much that will be?
I think Kearse will have more days like he did last week: mediocre but good enough to be the best of the Jets. It will be interesting to see if he will get any more open looks with the return of Jeremy Kerley against the Raiders.
Q: Bryce Petty appears to be the heir apparent. If McCown struggles, will we see him? If so, how does he differ from the vet?
My guess: we’ll definitely see Bryce Petty this season. McCown didn’t have a good day by any chance last week, so you know the Jets are weighing their options at all times. Petty played decent in the preseason before falling to a minor injury, so we’ll see if that reoccurs when/if he gets his shot again. It’s known the Jets like him (reportedly denied trades for him during the offseason) but he’s different from McCown in the simple fact of experience. McCown has a lot more of it, making him play a lot more comfortably in the pocket. Petty tends to look nervous out there, rushing passes, making silly mistakes. And just because of that, he will get starting time this year. The Jets want him to learn and improve, they see value in the young quarterback, and whether they’re right or not, who knows?
Q: While the Jets are stout upfront, they have youthful speed at linebacker and safety. What linebacker and safety will give the Raiders fits and why?
Definitely. The Jets have been building up a defense for the past few years. They seem to still have the same philosophy they had a few years back when they were one of the league’s toughest defenses to play against. They want to get back there and soon.
Jamal Adams is the Jets cherished child. They want him to be a threatening defensive back, and I’m sure he wants that too. However, it will take some time. He played pretty well in the Jets opener last week, but still showed that he has much to work on. While he may not play perfectly simply due to inexperience, he is the most likely to give the Raiders some trouble in Week 2.
As for linebacker, that’s tough. The Jets 1st round pick last year, Darron Lee, played terribly in the season opener. He was benched after playing out of position on multiple plays, which was quite disappointing. While the Jets hoped for Lee to be the team’s No. 1 LB, it looks like he may underachieve that goal.
So with that being said, the Jets need to look elsewhere for LB production, and that came in the form of Demario Davis last week. While he didn’t really have a good game at all after getting beat by LeSean McCoy a handful of times, he led the team in tackles with 14. If he can improve on his coverage ability, he can prove to be a real threat next week. But that’s a big “if.”
In essence, Hirshkind paints a realistic view of the current state of the Jets. The Raiders should approach this game as they do others, with gravity and respect.