As we move through preseason and inch ever closer to the ‘real deal’ (September) the QB situation in New Rutherford and the outlook for the 2018 season keeps getting more and more interesting. Plus, one of the best DE in the league might be up for grabs.
The QB Switch
We already knew that Sam Darnold was perhaps the most NFL ready QB coming out of the April draft class. But he isn’t content with just sitting behind Josh McCown. He is making a legitimate case to be the Week 1 starter. The funny thing is, so is Teddy Bridgewater. At the moment McCown is No. 1 and Bridgewater is No. 2, but when we look at the NFL odds, Sam Darnold is +160 behind Josh McCown at -140 to start in Week One. Bridgewater is getting a lot less love at +700 or 7 to 1.
The main question is can Sam Darnold catch up and learn the playbook in time? He already missed a big chunk of camp due to his rookie contract holdout —which is normal. And with his four-year deal that totals just over $50 million … you would think that the Jets organization is going to want to get their money's worth.
Darnold may not start in Week 1, but given his contract, I have a feeling that he will have the starting role by mid-season (unless McCown plays incredible football). Bridgewater is the wildcard. He has the ability to be a franchise QB but riddled with injury, has only thrown a couple of passes in the last two seasons. That said, he is talented and with a healthy Teddy Bridgewater in the mix, the Jets may just have the best QB situation in the league.
Hunting for Another Premier Pass Rusher
It's looking like the highest-graded edge man in the league might be up for grabs by the mid-season trade deadline. Khalil Mack and the Raiders are struggling to get along. Despite the Pro Bowler’s goal of a 30-sack season, the Raiders don’t seem to want to pay him.
Naturally, teams across the NFL are scrambling, but there are a few that are more likely than others to snatch up the star QB-Killer. The Jet’s at 7 to 1 to land Khalil Mack this season are one of the more probable options for the DE. The Packers lead the way at 3 to 1, and the Raiders are sitting on the NFL odds boards at 4 to 1 to retain him. The Steelers and Giants are also in the picture, but back at 10 to 1.
The Jets defense pitched a shutout in Preseason Week 1 against the Falcons. The secondary is looking great. Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are settling into their roles as Safeties. And we picked up Trumaine Johnson to swat down passes at corner. But the defensive line could use a little help. Leonard Williams has the potential for greatness at DE, but he’ll likely continue to struggle —if you consider 37 sacks in a pair of seasons struggling—because there isn’t enough talented support on the line to end the constant double-teaming that he sees. But if he were opposite one Khalil Mack, it would be a dynamic duo that would be the stuff of QB nightmares.
There is just no way to stop both of those guys at the same time, and it would lead to record-breaking hurries and sacks. Let’s just hope that Gruden keeps being Gruden and lets the relationship between the Raiders and Mack continue to deteriorate so that Gang Green has a legitimate shot at working out a deal with Mack ... He only wants 22 million per year.