This is a busy week for the NY Jets and their fans. One Jets Drive, Hard Knocks, and joint practices with the Carolina Panthers ahead of their preseason game all in one week
Aaron Rodgers has said that he is unlikely to play in the preseason, and it does not seem like many other starters will either; instead, they will treat their two sets of joint practices with the Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their preseason games.
These practices will be important for both Rodgers and the rest of the starters to get some work in against another team. Let’s take a look at five intriguing matchups set to take place over the two days of joint practices.
1. Garrett Wilson vs. Jaycee Horn
It seems like Garrett Wilson is on track to return to practice for these joint practices, and he should have a good counterpart in Jaycee Horn.
Although Wilson usually gets to go up against one of the best corners in the NFL, Sauce Gardner, Horn will be another good competitor for Wilson.
Before his ankle injury, Wilson was dominating practices. If he could continue this against another cornerback and team, it would only solidify the big year Wilson has in store.
*Wilson is practicing in a limited capacity on Wednesday*
2. Sauce Gardner vs. Adam Thielen
Similarly, Sauce Gardner will get to go up against another very talented wide receiver, not named Garrett Wilson. Adam Thielen has been a consistently good receiver for years now, and there were even some rumors that he would come to the Jets this offseason.
Just like Horn and Wilson, Gardner and Thielen will surely be one of the most exciting matchups of these joint practices.
*Gardner was held out of practice on Wednesday with a minor quad injury*
3. Jets OTs vs. Panthers edge rushers
Throughout the Jets' practices, the reports on the offensive tackles have not been great. With Duane Brown out, the starting tackles have been Max Mitchell and Billy Turner, with Mekhi Becton working with backups.
These early struggles could be attributed to the Jets' talented group of pass rushers. The Panthers have some good pass rushers as well, such as Brian Burns, but it will still be a big opportunity for the offensive tackles to show some more promise while playing against a different group.
4. Aaron Rodgers vs. Panthers defense
So far this training camp, Rodgers has been up against one of the best defensive units in the NFL last season and likely won’t face another team in a real game situation until the regular season.
This makes these joint practices very important for Rodgers and the whole offense to get on the same page.
The Panthers have a decent defense with some good players like Burns, Horn, and Derrick Brown. But with the expectations the Jets' offense will have this season, they should be able to have success against that group.
5. Bryce Young vs. NY Jets defense
Early reports are that the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Bryce Young, looks good early on in training camp. He seems to be incredibly intelligent for a rookie quarterback as well as extremely talented.
That said, Young is still a rookie quarterback, and with how good the Jets' defense was and is expected to be, they should be able to contain him.
Either way, Young should be a good test for the Jets' defense, and vice versa, as the rookie will get an up-close look at a very talented defense.