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What do you want to see from the New York Jets against the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night?
Joe Caporoso – An exclamation point on an impressive preseason from rookie receivers Robby Anderson, Jalin Marshall and Charone Peake solidifying their roster spot along with returner Jeremy Ross. All four merit a roster spot and have likely knocked veteran Kenbrell Thompkins off what initially seemed like a locked role. Elsewhere offensively, progress and improved accuracy from Christian Hackenberg and separation at the right tackle position with either Brent Qvale or Ben Ijalana taking command of the job.
On defense, let the final outside linebacker spots be sorted out and hopefully have players like Dee Milliner, Dexter McDougle and Doug Middleton end the preseason on a high note.
Dalbin Osorio – There’s a bunch of positions still up for grabs for the Jets. I am looking forward to seeing who steps forward to claim them. Brent Qvale and Ben Ijilana have been neck and neck in their battle for Breno Giacomini’s spot at RT, 3 young WRs have a great opportunity to play meaningful snaps when the season starts, and the future of certain players like Jace Amaro, Bryce Petty, Dee Milliner, and Dexter McDougle could be decided by how this game goes. It will be interesting to watch the young depth guys like Julian Stanford, Deon Simon, and Doug Middleton solidify their roles and roster spots as well. I’d also like to see who has the game of his life on Thursday and then gets scooped up by the Patriots only to never do anything. Some people just want to watch the world burn.
Matthew Stalker – My main focus against the Eagles are the No. 3 and No. 4 quarterbacks on this roster. Todd Bowles saying that Geno Smith will not play Thursday night will give these guys a chance to divvy up the time in this last game of the preseason.
Hackenberg made his NFL debut last week with an up and down performance against the Giants. He looked great on the first drive, scanning the field and making throws. He made a nice throw to lead Zach Sudfeld into open space, hit Robby Anderson out of his break, and put some touch on another nice ball to Anderson for the touchdown. Unfortunately afterwards he showcased issues with accuracy, footwork, clock management and of course the interception deep in their own territory. I want to see improvements from Hackenberg, more comfort, better mechanics and more consistent throws. Petty on the other hand, has the most preseason reps at quarterback for the Jets. He was playing well, and needs to get back to where he was in Weeks 1 and 2 of the preseason and get as far away from his play against the Giants as possible – get comfortable again and do not make errant throws.
Aside from quarterback play, the young wideouts Robby Anderson, Jalin Marshall and Charone Peake. Anderson has played great the last two weeks, outplaying both Peake and Marshall in my opinion. Lastly, looking at safety Doug Middleton. I like the skill set and versatility he brings to table and want to see him lock down the fourth safety slot.
David Aitken – The battle at the receiver position has come down to the wire, and it’ll be a fascinating watch Thursday night. Who out of Robby Anderson, Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall and Jeremy Ross make the roster? They should all see extended action against the Eagles and one great performance from any of these players could be definitive. Peake and Jalin Marshall in particular are under pressure to perform well, as Anderson is clearly ahead of Peake at this point as a pure receiver while the battle between Marshall and Ross for the WR/KR role is tight at present. Another good looking performance from Anderson meanwhile would almost definitely seal his spot.
Naturally the quarterbacks will be in the spotlight as well. Whether the Jets decide to keep four quarterbacks is one of the most heated debates around the team at the moment, and one would think that how Petty performs in Philadelphia will be key in that decision. Additionally, after getting a taste of what Hackenberg may bring to the table one day with his touchdown drive against the Giants, seeing how he handles his second game of extended action will be fun to follow. I don’t think there is any real chance that a great performance Thursday from Hackenberg could actually add anything meaningful to the QB quantity debate, but nonetheless it’ll be a good measure of where he is at before (hopefully) not seeing anything from him until August of next year.
Kevin Zielaznicki – One thing in particular that I would like to see Thursday night against the Eagles is quarterback Christian Hackenberg building on his debut performance against the Giants. Hack had a decent first game, but it was nothing special in the few drives he got to show what he can do. Against the Eagles on Thursday, he’ll most likely get a pretty large amount of playing time against a bunch of back-ups and fringe players. Another thing I want to see is the Robby Anderson continue his awesome preseason and lock up his roster spot. Anderson has a legitimate chance to get a lot of playing time on the opposite side of Brandon Marshall Week 1 against the Bengals if he is able to make the final 53 man roster. Finally, I’d like to see an injury free game for both sides, especially with the awful news about Teddy Bridgewater.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com