EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The biggest takeaway from tonight's 24-18 victory over the Eagles is GM Mike Maccagnan is going to have some incredibly tough choices to make this weekend. For the past few years the argument for the final roster spots usually consisted of the best of bad options, this year the Jets are going to have to cut some quality football players and as tough as that might be it's a good problem to have.
There are a handful of players that have shown they deserve to be on an active NFL roster but unfortunately for some of them they will have to hope another team claims them as it's just not possible for the Jets to keep all the players deserving of a roster spot.
"Yes, we have a bunch of tough decisions, wide receiver, defensive back, offensive line. We have a bunch of guys that can play football in this league," Todd Bowles said. "And we've got, numbers wise, there are goin to be some tough decisions to make."
Running back Daryl Richardson ran the ball well tonight, and all training camp preseason, gaining 72 yards on 22 carries, a touchdown, and one catch for 11 yards but because Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell have roster spots locked up and Zac Stacy (68 yards on 20 carries and two catches for 30 yards and a touchdown) has looked even better there's just not enough room on the roster for Richardson regardless of what ends up happening with Stevan Ridley.
Linebacker Joe Mays had a really strong training camp and seemed to be all over the field constantly disrupting the Eagles offense but the Jets are so deep at linebacker (not top heavy as their starters have some warts in their game but the depth is impressive) that it's hard to see a path where Mays can make the active roster.
Even someone like safety Durell Eskridge who hasn't shown much throughout camp/preseason was able to put some qaulity film together to impress other teams as he will not be able to make the final 53-man roster with Calvin Pryor, Marcus Gilchrist, Jaiquawn Jarrett and Rontez Miles all comfortably ahead of him on the depth chart. But Eskridge might have done enough to earn a practice squad spot if no one else claims him after cut day.
Another position that will involve some tough decisions is at wide receiver. Chris Owusu and Quincy Enunwa both seemed to do enough before tonight to earn a roster spot and both played really well tonight and will likely join Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Devin Smith and Jeremy Kerley on the active roster. But beware on Kerley because as surprising as it would be to see him get cut he probably shouldn't feel very safe. Not when his coach gives a quote like this when asked if he is on the bubble.
"We'll make those decisions tonight," Bowles said. "We'll have those decisions tomorrow. We'll make those decisions tonight. We'll see. We have a bunch of good receivers, so we're going to take a look at them."
Of course as always the position that is likely to see the most attention was at quarterback. With Ryan Fitzpatrick set to start the season he didn't play at all tonight and Bowles decided to rest Bryce Petty so he could give all the reps to Matt Flynn and Josh Johnson. If Bowles was hoping one of them would play substantially better than the other and make his decision easy he will just have to be happy that they both played so well that the decision will actually be really tough.
Flynn got to play the entire first-half and went 10-14 for 136 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for a quarterback rating of 111.9. Johnson played the entire second-half and while his passing numbers weren't as impressive, 7-12 for 82 yards and a 79.2 quarterback rating, Johnson did rush for 76 yards on seven carries (10.9 yards per attempt). Bowles and Maccagnan will have to decide if they want the slightly better passer as the backup or the far superior runner, who can throw and Chan Gailey can get more creative with.
If the Jets need either of these quarterbacks to play a substancial amount of time they are in trouble either way so it might make sense to go with the guy who can beat defenses with his legs, though most seem to think the Jets will choose Flynn.
OTHER NEWS AND NOTES:
Bowles said there were no injuries to report.
During the television broadcast the Jets ran a spot with Eric Decker announcing a partnership to "STOMP out bullying." You can watch the video of the PSA here and listen to the radio PSA here. To register visit this link.