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3 & Out with Charles McDonald: Will the Jets or Broncos win the Trevor Lawrence bowl?

I asked the New York Posts’ Charles McDonald how the Denver Broncos match up with the New York Jets.

NFL: New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts
The Broncos will need to slow down Sam Darnold on Thursday.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no easy wins on the schedule this year. While the Jets are an 0-3 team like the Broncos, the game’s on a short week after a demoralizing loss that also cost the team Jurrell Casey to injury.

What’s even more concerning are the questions at quarterback. Jeff Driskel was inept against pressure and oblivious to the blitz, a worrisome combination. Brett Rypien relieved him late in the game and showed off a deft mind, a weak arm, and a need to learn his own limitations in the NFL.

To get an idea what they have before them, I reached out to the New York Post’s Charles McDonald.

1st and 10

It’s an open question who will start at quarterback for the Broncos right now. Regardless, the last couple weeks the team has really struggled with 5 man rushes, stunts, and nickel blitzes. Can they expect a heavy dose of that from the Jets defense?

McDonald: Honestly, no matter what team you are, you should expect heavy doses of blitzes from the Jets for two reasons. First, their edge rush has essentially been non-existent this season. Players like Tarell Basham and Jordan Jenkins are solid rotational pieces, but they shouldn’t be counted on to lead a pass rush unit. Quinnen Williams has shown flashes, including putting together a dominant game against the 49ers in Week 2, but overall he’s been wildly inconsistent through three games. Second, blitzing is part of Gregg Williams’ coaching DNA. According to Pro Football Reference, the Jets have blitzed on 26.2% of their defensive snaps this season, good for sixth in the NFL. That’s in line with what they did last season, blitzing on 39.2% of their snaps (fourth in the NFL in 2019). Expect to see a healthy dose of blitzes, especially in the run game. Williams is elite at dialing up run blitzes and the Jets’ run defense has generally been stout outside of two long runs by Jerick McKinnon and Raheem Mostert.

2nd and 7

Without Von Miller the Broncos pass rush has been really dependent on stunts and Alexander Johnson blitzes to get pressure on opposing passers. Are there any weak spots on the Jets line Vic Fangio should try and attack? How has Darnold held up to the rush?

McDonald: To be honest, the only strength on the Jets offensive line is rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton, but he’s banged up with a shoulder injury right now. I would still expect Becton to play. Starting right tackle George Fant might miss the game with a concussion. Starting center Connor McGovern is recovering from a hamstring injury. This Jets offensive line is not in a good place and even when they’re completely healthy, Becton has been the only consistently good player. The interior is especially weak with offensive guards Alex Lewis and Greg Van Roten getting off to a slow start this season. The Jets offensive line has honestly put together stretches of decent play, but they’re just not healthy on a short week.

3rd and 3

Are there any matchups the Jets can really take advantage of? Anything the Broncos can really attack?

McDonald: I will say this. If Becton is healthy, that is one area the Jets should definitely take advantage of. Becton is pretty clearly the best player on the Jets offense and I think he’s already one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL. His combination of size, strength, and speed has made him damn near flawless to start the season. Seriously, if you have time before Thursday’s game, turn on a few clips of the Jets offense, particularly against the 49ers. Becton moves grown men like they aren’t even there, it’s nuts. There’s a reason why Jets fans have been clamoring for Adam Gase to run left; Becton really has been that good so far.

I think the Broncos will have a ton of success through the air if they can beat the Jets’ blitz packages. The Jets pass coverage has been shaky to say the least this season. If Jeff Driskel can simply play with confidence and withstand the hits he’s going to take, the Broncos should be fine through the air. The Jets have missed 38 tackles this year, the most in the league by a mile. Just get the ball into the hands of the wide receivers.

4th and 1

With both teams winless, this has the potential to serve as the Trevor Lawrence bowl. Do you think the Jets would draft him if they bottom out?

McDonald: Yes. The Jets will take Trevor Lawrence if they get the first overall pick. That’s more of a common sense take than a sourced one. I believe Darnold can be a solid starting quarterback in this league, but he hasn’t proved it yet. I think Darnold could be had for a couple of Day 2 picks after the season if they do get the first pick.

Extra Point

What’s your prediction for the game?

McDonald: Pain for everyone watching. Actually, I think the Broncos win in a slugfest 16-10 and the Adam Gase era comes to a close in New York.

Poll

Who wins on Thursday?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Broncos by a lot.
    (157 votes)
  • 38%
    Broncos by a little.
    (467 votes)
  • 7%
    Jets by a lot.
    (94 votes)
  • 40%
    Jets by a little.
    (484 votes)
1202 votes total Vote Now