Matchup No. 2: Amari Cooper vs Sauce Gardner
Jets rookie cornerback, Sauce Gardner, played extremely well last week in his first NFL game. The fourth overall pick from the 2022 NFL draft was only targeted three times out of his 35 coverage snaps. Gardner only gave up one reception for eight yards against the Ravens.
But this week Gardner is going to get a true test in veteran wide receiver and route salesman, Amari Cooper. Gardner faired well against the young Ravens wideouts, but Cooper is a different animal. Cooper’s ability to make his routes all look the same in the stem and then break or explode leave even veteran corners looking foolish at times.
Now imagine being a rookie cornerback who has never given up a touchdown at any level in their career. Gardner plays the game with a great amount of confidence, and why wouldn’t he? But that confidence could get him cooked against a true professional like Cooper.
But at the end of the day, this matchup’s success will not be decided by Cooper or Gardner, it will be dictated by Jacoby Brissett. If the Browns quarterback fails to deliver the ball to Cooper on the routes that he does win, and there will be routes to capitalize on, then the matchup could be a wash.
However, if Brissett can catch Gardner with his hand in the cookie jar, then Cooper could break the seal on Sauce’s touchdown-less streak.