The New York Jets lost a heartbreaking game to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. After going up 16-0 despite kicking issues, the offense’s inability to convert off turnovers killed them, as Buffalo came back to win 17-16. The Jets are at home against the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football next. Looking to that game, here are how the New York Jets 2019 free agents fared in the season-opener.
New York Jets 2019 Free Agents Grades: Week One
Linebacker C.J. Mosley
There was a reason the Jets held the Bills to a goose egg through almost three quarters. That reason signed a five-year deal worth $85 million this off-season.
Former Baltimore Ravens four-time Pro Bowl inside linebacker C.J. Mosley was everywhere on Sunday. Starting with the pick-six off the hands of Bills receiver Cole Beasley, Mosley did everything. Five tackles, a clutch fumble recovery, and two huge pass breakups. The “quarterback” of the defense, Mosley had this team looking significantly better than anybody could have expected. That was until he got hurt.
Pulled entering the fourth quarter with a groin injury, it was announced he would be out the rest of the game. This changed the tide of the game. With Neville Hewitt and rookie Blake Cashman now in the middle, the defense got sloppy, and Jets fans know what happened after that. Who knows what would have happened if Mosley did not get hurt. Right now, he is day-to-day leading up to the Week Two showdown with the Browns. Either way, Mosley was worth every penny when he was on the field Sunday.
Halfback Le’Veon Bell
The man. The myth. The former Pittsburgh Steelers‘ halfback Le’Veon Bell returned to the football field for the first time since 2017 and showed no rust. While it was not his best showing, he did exactly what head coach Adam Gase wanted. He lined up in the backfield, in the slot, out wide, etc.. He was all over the field making plays, including a touchdown catch, and a fantastic two-point conversion catch. Going against a top run defense, Bell mustered only 60 yards on 17 carries. It should not be too long though before we see Le’Veon go off and never look back.
Wide Receiver Jamison Crowder
The pass blocking was poor, but thank goodness for former Washington Redskins slot receiver Jamison Crowder. Finishing the game with 14 receptions for 99 yards on dump-off passes, Crowder came up huge in big third-down spots. There is not anything Crowder could have done to have had a better performance Sunday. With the struggles Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa had on the outside, Crowder was the only viable option for Darnold in the passing game. Expect this to be the beginning of a great connection between the two this season.
Cornerback Brian Poole
The Jets secondary did not give up the deep, long shot passes that we used to see constantly. They actually held their own for most of the game. That does not mean they had a perfect performance. Former Atlanta Falcons nickel corner Brian Poole played a solid, but not great game. Bills quarterback Josh Allen constantly found guys open underneath, and Poole struggled at times coming up with the tackle. Poole still was the best cornerback out there for Gang Green, as he was not the biggest liability in coverage. The cornerback group as a whole will need to step up with Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry coming to town next week.
Tight End Ryan Griffin
Chris Herndon will be back soon Jets fans, don’t worry. Until then, Ryan Griffin is not going to be a game-changer but is a decent backup and fill-in. Griffin ended the day with three catches for 10 yards. Nothing flashy, but no big mistakes.
Wide Receivers Josh Bellamy and Braxton Berrios
Who would have thought Josh Bellamy would have more of an impact than Quincy Enunwa in Week One. A nice 15-yard grab was the only one for Bellamy this week. Otherwise, he continued to earn his keep on special teams. Same goes for slot receiver Braxton Berrios, who did not muff a punt and return the post-safety kickoff for ten yards.
Center Ryan Kalil and Offensive Guard Kelechi Osemele
The Jets offensive line never played together in the preseason, or in practice until Week One. That was made clear. Poor communication on assignments let multiple guys through untouched. Constant pressure on Sam Darnold gave him no time to throw the ball. Batted ball after batted ball, and two veterans in center Ryan Kalil and offensive guard Kelechi Osemele could not stop Buffalo’s pass rush. Things were not much better in the run game. Hopefully, as the season goes on, they piece it together, as there is a reason they were both once Pro Bowl players.
Halfback Ty Montgomery
Behind the lack of passes to Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa, this is the most puzzling part of the game. After a phenomenal off-season from Ty Montgomery, he only played five snaps. For a guy who performed so well and was expected to be such a key part of the offense, it’s puzzling his lack of playtime. He can be such a threat on offense, and he most certainly has earned the touches. That being said, it would be unfair to grade him so far based off of his workload Week One.
The New York Jets next game is Monday, September 16th at 8:15pm at home against the Cleveland Browns.