Jets’ Zach Wilson to start vs. Giants, but will that be blessing or curse?

When you consider the history of these Jets-Giants preseason games, old-timers will instantly flash again to Joe Namath and the Super Bowl III Jets humiliating the Establishment NFL Giants, 37-14, on the Yale Bowl to earn NYC bragging rights. 

Giants followers undoubtedly favor to speak in regards to the evening an undrafted free agent named Victor Cruz caught three landing passes and made the workforce towards all odds. 

But Jets-Giants has additionally given us ugly reminders us that a preseason recreation can be a curse for the quarterback greater than a blessing. 

The decision by Giants coach Joe Judge not to play Daniel Jones in Saturday evening’s Jets-Giants preseason recreation was based mostly on getting backup QB Mike Glennon up to pace. Jones will seemingly play a minimum of one half with the starters on Aug. 29 towards the Patriots. 

Jets coach Robert Saleh had extra of an urgency to get Zach Wilson, his rookie franchise quarterback and opening day starter, as a lot recreation expertise as he deemed enough as rapidly as doable. 

And the coach stored his fingers crossed that the perils of preseason previous wouldn’t lay a glove on the franchise’s newest would-be savior. 

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson smiles during practice.
Jets quarterback Zach Wilson
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

It was the summer time of 2003, a 12 months after Chad Pennington had taken the torch from Vinny Testaverde and led the Jets to a division title and a 41-0 playoff win over Peyton Manning’s Colts, lower than two minutes left within the first half. 

“We ran a blitz … I came up the middle untouched,” Giants linebacker Brandon Short mentioned afterward. “Chad rolled to his proper. I will need to have grabbed his legs proper as he threw the ball, and he fell down on his arms and was simply mendacity there. 

“I asked him if he was all right, and he just kept lying there until the trainers came out. It’s unfortunate to see someone go down like that.” 

There had been fears Pennington would miss all the season, but profitable surgical procedure on his dislocated and fractured left wrist allowed him to return after the primary six weeks. 

There had been gasps within the second quarter of the Jets-Giants 2010 preseason Cruz recreation when a busted play noticed Eli Manning run into operating again Brandon Jacobs, endure a success from Calvin Pace on which his helmet went flying and fell ahead and hit the facemask of Jim Leonhard. Squeamish followers on the inaugural recreation at new Meadowlands Stadium recoiled in horror on the sight of blood trickling down from a 3-inch brow laceration that required 12 stitches. 

“I feel fine, I feel normal,” Manning mentioned. “The play was my fault. We had a run play with an option to throw a fade that I thought I might try, but Brandon was coming right up the middle. Sometimes you make a mistake and you get hit in the head. It’s preseason. You learn from it. I’ll be back as soon as I can. It’s not really an injury. Nothing serious. I feel like I could go back out and play right now if I had to.” 

Then there was the Mark Sanchez fiasco in 2013 when then-head coach Rex Ryan inexcusably performed his one-time starter behind the third-string offensive line within the fourth quarter towards the Giants. Sanchez was battling Geno Smith, the second-round choose that 12 months who had thrown three interceptions within the recreation, for the beginning job, when Giants defensive sort out Marvin Austin drilled him, then expressed shock afterward that Sanchez was enjoying. 

“Yeah, I mean, they got a huge investment in him. So I was a little surprised,” Austin mentioned. “I just knew that I gotta go out there and hit him. I gotta go out there and perform and show ’em that I can play in this league. Who better to do it against than the Jets quarterback?” 

The former Jets quarterback. A month later, following a futile rehab, Sanchez selected surgical procedure on his torn proper labrum and by no means threw one other go for the Jets. 

Sam Darnold was spectacular in his preseason debut (13-for-18, 96 yards, one TD) towards the Falcons in 2018. Darnold threw a 14-yard TD go as he started to make his transfer to win the opening day job over Josh McCown. 

“The first touchdown drive of my whole career was a two-minute drive going down the field,” Darnold mentioned. “It was awesome.” 

Jones, his butterflies gone rapidly, was 5-for-5 for 67 yards and a 12-yard TD go to Bennie Fowler on his first and only preseason drive towards the Jets in 2019. 

“Yeah, it was a good feeling just to be in the stadium, wearing a uniform, playing the first game,” Jones mentioned afterward. “So it was good to kind of see what we’ve been doing in practice and come out here and put it to work a little bit.” 

This was then-Giants coach Pat Shurmur prior to Jones’ rookie preseason debut: 

“There’s no red jerseys in real games, so obviously they’re exposed to hits. It’s understanding the timing. Sometimes the timing changes a little bit. So they get that all calibrated in the preseason games. Just like fending off low blocks. There are certain things that you really can’t practice safely that you have to get in the preseason games. That’s probably one of the elements for the quarterbacks.” 

It’s the factor that Saleh had to steadiness as he weighed danger versus reward for so long as Zach Wilson’s debut lasted.

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