We’ve got an interstate preseason battle here as the New York Giants and New York Jets square off at Metlife Stadium. Both teams are coming off disappointing seasons, and are looking to start fresh in 2019. The Jets have a new head coach in Adam Gase, while the Giants have a highly drafted rookie quarterback in town in Daniel Jones. Oddsmakers have the Jets as slight favorites for this one.
Jets Revamped For 2019
The Jets had a disappointing season in 2018, one that wasn’t entirely unexpected. The whole year felt like a slog toward what was an inevitable end. Everyone knew for a while that Todd Bowles was going to be fired at the end of the season, and that’s exactly what happened.
The team hired Adam Gase after he was fired from the division rival Dolphins, officially ushering in a new era of Jets football. GM Mike Maccagnan was fired as well, replaced by Eagles exec Joe Douglas. The front office and coaching staff both changed completely, and so too did the roster. The Jets made some big splashes in free agency, signing running back Le’Veon Bell and linebacker C.J. Mosley to massive contracts. With the third overall pick in the draft, they took Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, who should be an impact player right away. 2018 was pretty much all about Sam Darnold’s development, and now they’ll need him to take the next step in 2019. Unfortunately, none of those guys are going to play much if at all here. Gase did say he is looking forward to the regular season as it will be easy to call plays for Darnold.
“I think what it’s allowed me to do is, it’s easy for me to call plays,” Gase said at a Monday press conference. “You don’t worry about, if you have a negative play you’re ready to call the next one. He’s not the kind of quarterback you’re looking to protect. You’re kind of looking at it in terms of, let him work the offense and get on the ball and use the running game to help him. There’s no limitations on him and it’s fun as a play caller.”
Preseason games, especially early preseason games, are all about who has the best depth. Instead of Bell, we should see a lot of Elijah McGuire out of the backfield. McGuire has flashed in the preseason in the past, and will be going all out as he battles for a role with this coaching staff. We should also see a lot of Davis Webb at quarterback. Webb was drafted by the Giants in the third round back in 2017, but was cut after just one year. He obviously had the talent to get taken 87th overall, and this preseason will be huge for him.
Manning Or Jones?
The Giants were an even bigger disappointment than the Jets last year. There was some hope that Pat Shurmur could revitalize Eli Manning in his first year as coach, but that didn’t materialize. The offensive line was a disaster, the defense wasn’t any good, and the team was engulfed in drama the entire season.
After the year they made a franchise-altering decision, trading Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns. They also lost pass-rusher Olivier Vernon to the Browns, and under-appreciated loss. To help replace Beckham in the receiving corp, they went out and signed Golden Tate. Unfortunately, almost all of Manning’s projected weapons are crumbling around him. Tate has been suspended for the first four games of the season, Sterling Shepard broke his thumb, and Corey Coleman, the team’s projected number three receiver, tore his ACL and is out for the season. One of the team’s only bright spots from last year, running back Saquon Barkley, should see insane volume in 2019. Even accounting for the Beckham departure, perhaps the biggest splash they made was probably the drafting of Daniel Jones sixth overall.
They got their heir apparent to Manning, and now the only question is when he’ll take over. Fortunately we should get a long look at Jones here as Manning probably won’t play much at all. Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta will get some run too, but we should get to see a lot of Jones in his professional debut. The Giants are really banged up at receiver right now, which isn’t good for a preseason game. The Giants had two other first round picks who will also be interesting to watch here, defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence and cornerback DeAndre Baker.