With 74 yards on 18 carries against Philadelphia, Jets RB Little John Flowers is hoping he made a good enough impression to make the final roster.
Earlier this week, Jets head coach Herman Edwards said if you wanted to see the Jets starters, watch pre-game warm-ups or don’t blink. Edwards wasn’t joking as QB Chad Pennington and the rest of the Jets starters played a series before giving way to the backups. While the game was just a final tune-up for the starters, the game was the final chance for the backups to prove that they belong on the roster before final cuts are made.
The Jets backups were able to demolish the Eagles backups, winning 37-14, mainly due to a solid rushing game and three Eagles turnovers, including a 99-yard interception returned for a touchdown by S Rashad Washington.
While it was against backups, Pennington looked sharp during the first series, leading the Jets on an eight play, 65 yard scoring drive capped off by backup RB Derrick Blaylock’s five-yard touchdown run. Blaylock starting in place of Curtis Martin who sat the game out, had 38 rushing yards on the drive and finished with 45 yards on seven carries. Pennington was 3-3 for 27 yards passing.
“I thought our first offense was very crisp,” Edwards said. “We went in there to try to run football and move the ball and we’re able to score.”
The Jets offense was helped out by good starting field position throughout the first half. Rookie K Mike Nugent made the first of his three field goals towards the end of the first quarter, nailing a 48-yarder that gave the Jets a 10-0 lead.
On the ensuing Eagles possession, QB Koy Detmer’s pass was intercepted by rookie CB Atari Bigby who returned it 19 yards to the Eagles 31. After the drive stalled at the Eagles 17, Nugent made a 35-yard field goal, extending the Jets lead to 13-0.
The Jets began their next drive at the Eagles 45 and eight plays later, RB Little John Flowers followed FB Austine Nwabuisi’s block into the end zone for a five-yard score. Flowers finished with 18 carries for 74 yards and a TD. Nugent’s extra point gave the Jets a 20-0 lead.
Flowers is a long shot and has had three stints on the Jets practice squad. “He’s a guy that’s been here for a couple of years,” Edwards said. “Kind of know where he’s at. It’s going to be hard. He played well. I talked to him in the hotel before and said you need to score a touchdown and he did. We’ll see what happens.”
The Jets defense came up big on the Eagles next drive. On third-and-19 from their own 39, QB Mike McMahon fumbled the snap and decided to throw the ball over the middle where it was intercepted by rookie S Kerry Rhodes who returned it 21 yards.
One play later, QB Brooks Bollinger hooked up with WR Chas Gessner for a 35-yard score down the right sideline. Gessner, battling for the fifth wide receiver spot, has struggled during games dropping passes but tonight had two catches for 41 yards and a TD. After Nugent’s extra point, the Jets led 27-0 with 4:06 left in the first half.
The Eagles were finally able to get on the scoreboard on their first possession of the second half as McMahon rushed eight yards into the end zone, capping off a six-play, 62-yard drive that took just under three minutes.
After the Jets punted the ball, McMahon directed the Eagles offense to the Jets 12 before his pass was intercepted at the 1 by S Rashad Washington returned it 99 yards for a touchdown, extending the Jets lead to 34-7. On the return, Tim McGill had a nice block.
RB Bruce Perry scored from three yards out for the Eagles, cutting the Jets lead to 34-14 early in the fourth quarter.
QB Kevin Eakin led the Jets to the Eagles 15 before Nugent capped off the scoring with a 33-yard field goal, giving the Jets a 37-14 lead. “It’s important Mike got to kick some field goals,” Edwards said. “Mindset was to get him into position to kick some field goals.”
Now the waiting game begins for the Jets young players who hope they impressed enough in training camp and the preseason to earn a roster spot. Among the players who raised their stock were Flowers, Gessner, Rhodes, Bigby, and Washington. The Jets may also be looking at the waiver wire for a wide receiver and offensive linemen. The 53 man roster must be set by Saturday.
-The Jets were much more disciplined than the first three preseason games, finishing with just three penalties for 25 yards.
-CB Ty Law, FB Jerald Sowell, RB Cedric Houston, DE John Abraham, and DT Dewayne Robertson were inactive.
-Rookie FB Austine Nwabuisi had a drop on third down in the third quarter.
-CB Justin Miller had three kickoff returns for 88 yards and three punt returns for 20 yards. WR Jerricho Cotchery returned one punt for 14 yards.
-Rookie TE Joel Dreesen had a team-high three catches for 38 yards.
-Rookie WR Harry Williams, Jr., who Edwards said would play tonight, did not make the trip and Edwards said Williams, Jr.’s knee is still bothering him.
Backup tackle Marco Cavka, a sixth-round draft pick last year, injured his wrist in the second quarter and was taken to the locker room for x-rays. It was unclear after the game what his status is.
-DT Dewayne Robertson (hand): Out
-FB Jerald Sowell (ribs): Out
-RB Cedric Houston (shoulder): Out
-T Marco Cavka (wrist): Unknown
With the preseason done, the Jets now turn their focus to preparing for opening day in Kansas City on Sept. 11. Check back to Jets Insider.com for all the latest news leading up to opening day.