The New York Jets host the Atlanta Falcons in their second preseason game Monday ahead of the next round of cuts to the roster. The Jets need to reduce the numbers of players in training camp from 85 to 80 by Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.
That’s a small number and should be easy to do. It’s the final cut down to the 53-man roster Aug. 30 that will be most difficult for general manager Joe Douglas, coach Robert Saleh and their staffs.
That said, the game against the Falcons is important because there is plenty of competition for positions on the depth chart and on the final roster, notably at kicker, defensive line, running back, safety and tight end.
Let’s take a look at three players who need to impress against the Falcons.
Jets Players Who Must Impress In Preseason Week 2
Denzel Mims – WR
OK, let’s get this out there right off the bat: Mims is not being cut if he has a poor outing against the Falcons. Unless he gets traded sometime soon, the third-year wide receiver will remain with the Jets throughout camp.
But you get the feeling that the Jets would love for Mims to explode and have a big game or two in the preseason so that they can trade him. Mims, who’s coming off a dreadful season in 2021, wants to be a starter and the Jets have at least four, perhaps five, receivers in front of him: Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson, Braxton Berrios and Jeff Smith.
Would he be happy in that role? Is this coaching staff willing to give him more opportunities? Has he earned those opportunities?
It seems like a divorce is likely. But it also seems unlikely the Jets would cut their second-round pick in the 2020 draft.
— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) August 19, 2022
Mims has flashed some during training camp, including in this week’s joint practice with the Falcons. He caught two passes last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, each for third-down conversions. Yet, he also dropped a pass on a wide-open look and took a pre-snap penalty in the preseason opener. His inconsistency continues to be maddening.
Ashtyn Davis – S
It’s been a very quiet training camp for Davis, the third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft who started 16 games his first two seasons as a pro. He’s slated to be the top backup at safety this season with veterans Jordan Whitehead and Lamarcus Joyner in the fold, but certainly more was expected from him at camp and in the preseason.
— Football Nerds (@FootballNerds_) December 19, 2021
And with Joyner missing big stretches of time this summer due to injury and illness, it’s been other safeties that have stood out. Jason Pinnock, Elijah Riley and Will Parks each has impressed. Even undrafted rookie free agent Tony Adams has played some with the ones.
Davis is still a work in progress, a player forced into a starting role in the NFL due to injury before he was probably ready. To his credit, Davis improved quite a bit last season, making his first two interceptions and 62 tackles. But he needs to show much more these next couple of weeks or face the prospect of being passed over on the depth chart and possibly not making the team.
Ty Johnson – RB
The Jets are deeper at running back than in recent memory with Breece Hall, Michael Carter and Tevin Coleman atop the depth chart. Going into camp, the fourth spot belonged to Johnson.
Ty Johnson with a GREAT sideline catch 😮💨
— NewEraNYJets (@NewEraNYJets) August 20, 2022
However, a hamstring injury sidelined Johnson early in camp and he did not play in the preseason opener against the Eagles. That allowed La’Mical Perine and Zonovan Knight to get more reps and each running back has impressed during camp and in the 24-21 win against the Eagles.
Johnson should have a role in this offense. He had an NFL career-high 34 receptions last season and scored four touchdowns, two rushing and two receiving. He’s averaged 4.3 yards per rush in three seasons with the Detroit Lions and Jets. But he needs to hold off the competition, and the best way to do that is to have a good showing against the Falcons this week and the New York Giants next week.