The NFL preseason does not say much about the regular season. Everyone knows this, and you have to look mainly at rookies and backups to find reliable information.
The Jets' third preseason game against the Carolina Panthers was another loss, 17-12. However, the score of a preseason game is only a footnote. Here are three takeaways from the game worth remembering.
Austin Howard might actually be good
At the last minute, the Jets demoted starting right tackle Wayne Hunter and replaced him with the inexperienced Austin Howard. Howard—a huge X-factor—played a fantastic game. He completely neutralized Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson and did not allow any sacks. Having a quality right tackle could be a major game-changer for the Jets offense.
Tim Tebow will play in the red zone
Now without former No. 2 wide receiver Plaxico Burress, the Jets have had trouble in the preseason in the red zone. They are 0-of-5 on red-zone attempts and have not yet scored a preseason touchdown. This likely means that the Jets will make use of backup quarterback Tim Tebow in the red zone when the regular season comes.
Tim Tebow will be used primarily in the Wildcat
Tebow was again allowed to take some attempts at throwing in a conventional offense. For the umpteenth time, he showed the world that he lacks the skills to be a conventional quarterback. He put up a stat line of 4-of-14 with an interception—a 13.7 quarterback rating.
Head coach Rex Ryan is likely convinced that Tebow's only use is as a Wildcat back, the position he was originally brought in to play. Expect to see heavy use of the Wildcat starting with Week 1 of the regular season.