Less than a week after Josh Allen carved up the Jets with his feet, Gang Green will have the daunting task to slow down a mobile quarterback who can actually throw, too.
Deshaun Watson might be one colossal headache for Todd Bowles’ defense on Saturday.
“It’s a huge concern,” Bowles said Tuesday. “He’s definitely faster than our front four. We understand that. We got to keep him bottled up.”
Easier said than done for a team that has had its fair share of struggles against running quarterbacks. Ryan Tannehill, Blake Bortles and Mitch Trubisky have all had success with their legs against the Jets this season. Allen’s 101-yard performance last week was a product of speed, athleticism and some good ol’ fashioned missed tackles.
Watson might have 410 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he’s far from a one-trick pony. The second-year signal caller has thrown 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions with a 66.9 percent completion rate. He ranks ninth in passer rating (100.9) through 13 games.
Watson has 41 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions in 19 career games.
“He can beat you in the pocket and out of the pocket,” Bowles said. “He’s a gamer. If you beat him up, he’s going to hurt you with his legs. And he can hurt you running out of the pocket. If you don’t beat him up, he’s going to sit in the pocket and throw dimes on you.”
The Jets evaluated Watson in the run-up to the 2019 draft before taking Jamal Adams with the No. 6 pick. The Texans traded up to No. 12 to grab Watson, who played in back-to-back national championship games in his final two seasons at Clemson.
Bowles believes that Watson’s winning pedigree in college does matter at the next level because he was the engine of his teams.
“I take a lot of stock in it especially when you’re the one doing it,” Bowles said. “You can be on the team that does it, but it’s different when you’re the one doing it. So personally, I take a lot of stock in it and he’s done it at every level.”
Watson has shown no ill effects from his ACL injury suffered in practice last year after six starts.
“Everyone kind of questioned if he was going to be healthy enough to play and play as well as he did last year,” Sam Darnold said. “I think he’s living up to it.”
SAM: I AM FEELING ‘GREAT’
Darnold practiced fully after briefly leaving last week’s game with a foot injury.
“I feel great,” Darnold said after practice. “It feels great dropping back and being able to move in the pocket. Also, I was able to sprint a little bit today, which felt good as well.”
BACKS AGAINST THE WALL
The Jets practiced Wednesday without their top three running backs Isaiah Crowell (foot), Eli McGuire (ankle) and Trenton Cannon (toe). Keep an eye on Crowell, who could have a tough time bouncing back on a short week.