Jets coach Robert Saleh told reporters Saturday afternoon that he’s “torn up” to start Monday night’s second preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons.
As against the Philadelphia Eagles a week earlier, Saleh opted to rest his veterans.
Players who did not play against the Falcons included quarterback Joe Flacco, defensive end Carl Lawson and wide receivers Corey Davis and Elijah Moore. Flacco and Lawson also did not play during the Jets’ first preseason game against the Eagles. Linebacker C.J. Mosley, cornerback Reid or right tackle George Fant were also inactive Monday night.
Jermaine Johnson, Michael Clemons, Nathan Shepherd and Solomon Thomas started on the Jets defensive line. Jamien Sherwood, Kwon Alexander, Quincy Williams were the three linebackers, while Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Bryce Hall, Jason Pinnock and LaMarcus Joyner were the second in the opening drive.
Mike White started the offense at center against the Falcons. Brice Hall was in the backfield with Garrett Wilson and Jeff Smith at wide receiver and Kenny Yeboa and Trevon Huesca at tight end.
Given Zach Wilson’s injury, it’s understandable why Saleh didn’t want to play with any of the team’s star players.
Against the Eagles in the first preseason game, Wilson suffered a broken bone and a meniscus injury after scrambling for a first down. While Wilson’s injury was not as significant as some had predicted, he will miss at least two to four weeks as Flacco could potentially be out in the opener against the Baltimore Ravens.
After two consecutive practices against the Falcons, Saleh felt the Jets were able to rest the team’s starters.
“We really want to continue to grow, especially from our young guys, we’re trying to figure out who we have, and when you’re looking at the 40-53 parts of the roster and trying to figure out all those things,” Saleh said Saturday. “You’re looking for continued growth from your young guys, we’re looking for continued growth from communication offensively and defensively.”
Another five-man roster cut (85 to 80) will take place by 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, and many players in the Bubble Club will try to make another impression in hopes of staying on the Jets’ roster for another week. The final round of cuts will take place on Tuesday, August 30, following the Jets’ final preseason game against the Giants on Sunday. All NFL teams must reach the 53-man cap before the regular season begins.