As we are going into the second game, which also happens to be the home opener in the Jets 2013 preseason schedule, the Jets take on the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars. There are a few things to keep an eye on and I’m breaking down the top 5.
Sure, Mark Sanchez gets the nod for the second straight week and sure he’s been having a strong training camp. But, which Mark Sanchez will show up Saturday night against the Jaguars? Sanchez will almost certainly hear boos from the crowd at MetLife but that’s only because he hasn’t given them a reason to cheer since Week 1 of 2012. I’m against booing our team too but there is a way Mark can fix it. He can have a solid/stellar game. Remember, it’s a “What have you done for me lately?” league.
To steal a line from Proximo of the hit movie ’Gladiator’, “Win the crowd, and you will win your freedom.” Can Sanchez win the crowd?
The other half of this QB battle, Geno Smith, may not play Saturday night. If he doesn’t, and Sanchez puts up good numbers, Sanchez will all but lock up the starting QB job for week 1. Big week for both QBs, but unfortunately, Smith is injured.
Tickle The Ivory
Running back Chris Ivory makes his long-awaited Jets debut. Ivory, back from a hamstring injury, can make an immediate impression on the Jets faithful Saturday night. He needs to prove durability, something he has struggled with in the past.
He can tote the rock, he can rack up yards after contact, but can he be consistently healthy. We’ll find as it begins on Saturday for the former Saints running back in his first year with Gang Green.
Taking Offense To The Offensive Line
Guards Willie Colon and (especially) Stephen Peterman need to have better games. Colon was penalized a couple of times and Peterman once for holding in their preseason debut from the Jets.
The Lions broadcast booth didn’t put a ringing endorsement on guard Peterman, suggesting they heard the holding penalties all too much last year when he was with the Lions. According to Pro Football Focus, Peterman gave up the most sacks, hurries, and QB hits as any guard last season. Scary thought considering he looks to be the week 1 starter. I won’t get too worked up about one holding penalty but watch for a trend.
All-Around Clean Up
The Jets were one of the least penalized teams in 2012, but it didn’t matter because of the offense’s ineffectiveness. They had 11 penalties for 85 yards last week against the Lions, something they have got to clean up if they want to compete.
It’s no secret that teams with lack of the talent on the roster, mainly on offense, cannot afford back-breaking penalties during crunch time. They have got to clean that up.
Among the players with penalties: Stephen Peterman (1), Willie Colon (2), Ricky Sapp (2) Antwan Barnes (2). All veterans, something you don’t want to see.
CB Dee Milliner has had a quiet offseason yes, but he played well in his debut against the Lions. It’s only one game, I know, but Milliner showed coverage ability, quickness, and a willingness to tackle, something the Jets always had in Darrelle Revis.
Milliner has a long way to go, yes, but it’s a good start for the cornerback.
You can follow me on Twitter: @JetsFlightDeck for Jets news, information, and analysis!