NFL Football
Scoreboard|Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions

For youthful Jets, it's safety first

(TSX / STATS) -- FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- If the New York Jets' current rebuild has any shot of succeeding, they will need to draft well.

Their quarterback of the future is likely still in college, with USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen and Wyoming's Josh Allen all projected as top prospects in next year's draft.

So, for now, the Jets will rely on developing the 2017 draft class, and if Week 1 was any indication, they may be well suited in the secondary.

Strong safety Jamal Adams, the Jets' first-round pick (sixth overall), and free safety Marcus Maye (39th), their second-round selection, both had strong debuts in Sunday's loss to the Bills.

Adams had five tackles, including one for a loss, and a pass deflection, while Maye made seven tackles.

"Jamal had an outstanding game," said head coach Todd Bowles, himself a former safety, on Monday. "His eyes were good. He was physical. He played very smart.

"Minus one play, Marcus had a good ball game, as well."

Bowles didn't elaborate on the one play he believed Maye messed up, but the rookie received some flak on social media for accidentally tackling teammate Juston Burris on an interception return when Maye was shoved into him by a Buffalo player.

Maye was also covering tight end Charles Clay when the latter caught a touchdown pass in the flat for the game's first points early in the second quarter.

Adams made news in training camp when he said that if he "could pick the perfect place to die, it'd be the field," while sitting next to commissioner Roger Goodell.

The son of former Giants running back George Adams, Jamal certainly has a passion for the game, and that was evident in his sound tackling on Sunday.

Said Bowles of the 21-year-old out of LSU: "His reads were good. Everything he did, he did it the right way. He made tackles when opportunities presented themselves, and he made the plays he was supposed to make, so he had a good ball game."

Adams and Maye were the first rookie safety teammates to start on opening day since the NFL-AFL merger, according to the Jets. They were part of a secondary that held Bills receivers Jordan Matthews, Andre Holmes and fellow rookie Zay Jones to a combined four catches for 83 yards.

For a free safety like Maye, getting tackles is something of a catch-22, because it obviously means you stopped the ball carrier, but it also means he beat your first two levels of defense.

Tackling will be an even bigger priority for the Jets this Sunday in Oakland trying to stop Marshawn Lynch when he goes into Beast Mode.

"Nothing in this league is easy," said inside linebacker Demario Davis, who led the Jets with 14 tackles against the Bills. "Get it corrected, turn the page ... and now prepare for Oakland. It's going to be a tough test for us."

--Despite a sluggish offense and sieve-like run defense, the Jets actually performed admirably in one area in Sunday's loss to the Bills.

Their special teams had the highest efficiency in the league for Week 1, according to ESPN. The other three teams in the top four on the list -- Philadelphia, Oakland and Pittsburgh -- all won their openers.

New kicker Chandler Catanzaro made his only field-goal attempts of the game from 48 and 52 yards. In three seasons with the Cardinals, Catanzaro was only 5-for-11 on kicks of 50-plus yards.

Lachlan Edwards netted 43.7 yards on six punts, and put two inside the 20, and Kalif Raymond had a 25-yard punt return.

The Jets' opponents this week, the Raiders, were also strong on special teams last week, thanks to first-year kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, who was filling in for the injured Sebastian Janikowski. The lefty made all four of his field-goal attempts, including two from 52 yards, and was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.

--"I can't wait to start working on Oakland to teach these young guys as we continue to grow together. It's fun." -- Quarterback Josh McCown.

The 38-year-old McCown, who is 1-17 in his last 18 starts, is seemingly the most enthusiastic man on the planet when it comes to the Jets' offense, and why not? McCown will earn a $125,000 bonus for each game he starts this season on top of his $6 million base salary, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier this week, so it behooves him to take a leadership role as a well-traveled veteran among so many young players.

That probably won't translate to wins, though, as McCown has only 18 wins in 61 career starts, and only three in his last 26.

NOTES: TE Jordan Leggett, the Jets' fifth-round pick out of Clemson, missed Sunday's loss to the Bills with a knee injury, and head coach Todd Bowles said he didn't practice on Wednesday. He is questionable for Sunday. ... LB Bruce Carter (sprained ankle) and safety Rontez Miles (broken eye socket) also did not practice Wednesday, while linebacker Edmond Robinson (groin) and cornerback Morris Claiborne (ankle) were limited. ... QB Christian Hackenberg might again be the backup to Josh McCown on Sunday, or it might be Bryce Petty (knee), but head coach Todd Bowles said he hasn't made up his mind yet. ... TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be serving the second of a two-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Updated September 13, 2017

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2017 by STATS.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.