5 players to watch during the Falcons-Jets – Reading Eagle preseason game

The New York Jets will take the field in their second preseason game on Monday night when they host the Atlanta Falcons.

On the eve of the game, the Jets and Falcons had two tough practices against each other. Many teams have scheduled joint practices throughout the preseason because it’s a better evaluation tool than games before the regular season.

Many of the starters didn’t play in the Jets’ first preseason game and there’s a chance they won’t see the field Monday after two practices together.

“We’re trying to keep growing, especially from our young guys,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “We want to figure out who we got when you look at parts 40 through 53 of the roster.

“We’re looking for continued growth in terms of communication offensively and defensively. We’re just looking for growth to play in and play.”

Here are five players to keep an eye on during Monday night’s game.

Joe Flacco

While the Jets won their first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, it came at the cost of losing starting quarterback Zach Wilson for a while.

Wilson suffered a broken bone and torn meniscus and will be out for at least two to four weeks. Fortunately for the Jets, they have an experienced backup quarterback in Flacco who has won many big games in this league.

It’s unknown when Wilson will return, so it’s important for Flacco to get preseason reps during the game, especially since Flacco didn’t play against the Eagles last week.

Saleh said he doesn’t think Flacco needs preseason shots, but anyone can always use them.

“I think everybody can always use that as a reminder to prepare and make sure every game is another game,” Saleh said.

Throughout training camp, Flacco has looked sharp as he accurately executes short and intermediate passes to receivers. This game against the Falcons and the preseason finale against the Giants will provide a chance to set some course in case Flacco becomes the Week 1 starter against the Baltimore Ravens.

Denzel Mims

Mims is now fighting for a spot on the Jets roster. While Mims has flashed through the first three weeks of training camp, he didn’t perform well against the Eagles.

Mims caught two passes for 25 yards, but he also dropped a pass and was flagged for a build violation on the first down play. If he is going to find his way onto the Jets roster, Mims will need to take his game from training camps to the real game.

Carl Lawson

A year after tearing his Achilles tendon during training camp, quarterback Carl Lawson is set to return to the field against the Falcons.

Even if it’s for limited snaps, having a presence like Lawson back is crucial for the Jets’ defensive line. Gang Green finished 26th in the NFL in sacks (33).

Lawson likely won’t play much against the Falcons, but getting him back on the field and adjusting to game action after his Achilles injury would be a positive with the regular season three weeks away.

Michael Clemons

In the second half against the Eagles, Clemons made his presence felt. He recorded a sack and generated seven tackles.

According to Pro Football Focus, Clemons tied for the most pressures of any quarterback through the first week of the preseason. When asked about his performance against the Eagles, Clemons said he wasn’t happy.

“As a player, I have a lot to work on,” Clemons said. “I try to show up every day, get out here and be a little bit better.

“It’s a credit to my coaches and my teammates for helping me since I’ve been here and putting me in a position to be successful. I am far from where I should be.”

The Jets have a deep and talented defensive line. If the game against the Eagles is any indication, Clemons could potentially be a fourth-round steal for the Jets. He also showed up during practice, including against the Falcons, where he caused multiple pressures.

Zonavan Knight

Knight rushed for six carries for 13 yards, but his biggest play came when the Jets were down late in the fourth quarter.

Knight made a 52-yard field goal. It later created a game. Chris Streverler’s game-winning five-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Jackson.

The Jets’ backroom is deep with Michael Carter, Brice Hall, Tevin Coleman and Lamical Perine rushing for 51 yards against the Eagles. Knight could potentially make a case for a spot on the 53-man roster with another strong showing.


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