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Know Your Foe: New York Jets


CHARLOTTE – While much of the discussion of the Week 1 opener has centered around Sam Darnold and his matchup with his former team, it's time to take a look at what the Jets have assembled under new head coach Robert Saleh.

Only seven Jets players that started in last year's season finale against New England are back as projected starters entering this week.

But the Jets are in rebuilding mode after going 2-14 in 2020 and drafting second overall in the 2021 Draft.

Zach Wilson's debut

Rookie Zach Wilson takes over in New York after an eye-popping senior season at BYU that led to him being drafted second behind Trevor Lawrence in this year's NFL Draft.

Wilson went 15-of-20 for 191 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in two games of preseason action, both wins.

Wilson's draft profile highlighted a player who liked to make plays on the move with arm strength that can stretch the field. Many in the media have already predicted Wilson as a favorite for the AFC rookie of the year award.

Does he have the weapons?

Much of the public critique of the Jets over the last three seasons was that they didn't surround Darnold with enough weapons to make him successful.

So what has changed for the Jets on the offensive side of the ball?

The team signed former Titans first-rounder Corey Davis, a wideout who had 984 receiving yards and five touchdowns last year. They also added Tevin Coleman at running back, a player who had 800 rushing yards for Atlanta back in 2018 before spending the last two years in San Francisco.

The Jets also drafted wide receiver Elijah Moore out of Ole Miss, Moore led all of FBS with 149.1 receiving yards per game in 2020.

The offensive line is largely the same as 2020 with the addition of drafted rookie Alijah Vera-Tucker, who is projected to start at left guard.

Quinnen Williams

How does the defense stack up?

The rush defense was actually quite good in 2020, only giving up 112.0 yards per game, ranking 12th.

The defensive front includes standout Quinnen Williams, a defensive tackle who produced 7.0 sacks and two forced fumbles last year. New York also added Sheldon Rankins from the Saints to go with Bryce Huff, Folorunso Fatukasi and John Franklin-Myers along the front.

New York's secondary remains a big question mark. The Jets allowed 275.6 yards per game through the air last year (28th).

They've added three cornerbacks from the draft (Michael Carter II, Jason Pinnock and Brandon Echols), and signed safety Lamarcus Joyner from the Raiders. And the rest of the secondary, largely rookies in 2020, got a year more experienced.

Carolina is 4-3 all-time against the Jets, featuring a 3-1 record at home and 1-2 mark on the road.

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