Sam Darnold (283851)
Credit: Bill Moore photo

If it was hard to understand why veteran players are apprehensive about playing preseason games, the loss of Avery Williamson—the Jets starting middle linebacker who tore his right knee ACL against the Atlanta Falcons last week, during the team’s second of four preseason games—should clarify it.

Williamson, 27, hurt late in the first half of a meaningless game, a 22-10 win, was able to walk off the field unassisted, but is now out for the entire season, a major setback for both him and the Jets. He’ll need surgery to repair the injury.

Williamson’s injury comes at an inopportune time. Williamson was guaranteed six-million-dollars this season, but has no guaranteed money in the final year of his contract which expires in 2020. He could’ve been in line for a sizable raise and years added to his contract with an impressive 2019-2020 showing. His stock has dropped. lnstead, when he returns, Williamson will be playing for a job, a position with this team.

Hindsight is 20/20. “I wish I would have gotten him out of there a series earlier,” said New York Jets’ head coach Adam Gase.

“I’ve talked with him, and it’s on me. I’m the one that has to make that call and get him out of there. But we didn’t, and that’s a shame because he was having a good camp.”

The Jets will play preseason game No. 3 against the New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees Saturday evening at MetLife Stadium, their first home game.

One of the other items that’s important to Gase besides regret and getting the Jets healthy is getting the team into a regular season regiment, meeting time, practice time. “Everything is structured like it would be in season, so we want our guys to get used to that,” said Gase.

Seeing improvement is also important. “Every week you are just trying to get better,” noted Gase. “And if you have one week where it doesn’t go the way that you planned it to go, then you just have to find a way to get better the next week.”

According to Gase, “When it goes well, you try not to be too positive, and if it doesn’t go well, you try not to be too negative. It’s a fine line.” Gase admits that they have a long way to go.

As for his decision regarding playing time for Saturday? “We just tell the guys, just be ready to go a half and a series, and we will play off that, see how it’s going.”

As for his offense lead by sophmore quarterback Sam Darnold? “Just see what we can do,” said Gase expecting an increase in blitzes by the Saints. “See if we can put some first downs together.” Gase is looking for some consistency.