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What do you want to see from the New York Jets against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday Night?
Joe Caporoso – Stay healthy. I will take another 23-3 opening game loss (what the Jets did last year) as long as there no serious injuries. Offensively, Jalin Marshall has been the darling of training camp so far, can he translate that into a game situation? If Marshall cannot separate himself from veteran Jeremy Ross as a returner, he will have more of an uphill climb to making the roster. Defensively, let’s see the young pups (Darron Lee, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin and Juston Burris) on the defense overcome a few inevitable mental mistakes and find a way to make plays. The first pre-season game is not about the starters, it is about the middle class and back half of the roster taking advantage of extended playing time.
Dalbin Osorio – On offense, I would to see how Ryan Clady looks matched up against former first rounder Dante Fowler, Jr. The Jaguars are a talented bunch on defense, and this will be a test for a makeshift OL that’s a little banged up right now. Also, can Brent Qvale or Brandon Shell make the most of the opportunity created by the injury to Breno Giacomini? The depth behind the Jets starting OL is much maligned, so someone needs to step up.
On defense, I’m really interested to see Darron Lee. One of the most interesting things heard when Rex Ryan was fired and Todd Bowles was hired was that this signaled a change from Rex’s ways. Last year, I saw a coach that resembled Rex in many ways including poor clock management, refusal to give your number one corner help or to adjust your scheme to fit your players, and a stubbornness (at times) to cut back on an underperforming player’s playing time (Demario Davis got beat soundly on way too many wheel routes). With that said, with a potential franchise QB on the board in Paxton Lynch the Jets and Bowles opted for Darron Lee. This is the second consecutive year the Jets go defense in the first round after 6 straight drafts under Ryan of them taking defense. That’s 8 straight years without an offensive player taken in the first round. The Jets better hope Lee is the real deal, and against the Jaguars is the first step towards proving Maccagnan and Bowles were right.
Alex Kaczynski – Week 1 of preseason, I am looking to see what all these new additions are capable of against this young and talented Jacksonville team. I would like to see a lot from offense. I’m looking to see if the line be able to hold up even through the 3rd and 4th quarters. The success of this offense is going to rely heavily on the lines ability to stay healthy and be productive. My one hope is that Clady looks as dominant as ever going against a pretty star studded line up on the other side. I also want to see how these young receivers will do in game situations. When I was at camp last week, I really liked what I saw out of the receiving core and I hope they can keep production up. I also would like to see some production out of Amaro, because in reality if he gets going this season, the offense might fall under the “scary” good category.
Joe Malfa – The preseason accomplishes two things. It gets the starters back into a rhythm, and it separates the men from the boys at the back end of the roster. Heading into tomorrow’s game, I don’t really have any interest in the starters, but I am very eager to see the cream rise to the top at a few key positions.
Right now, there are questions regarding depth in the secondary and on the offensive line. I want to see guys like Marcus Williams, Dee Milliner, Dexter McDougle, and Juston Burris fighting for roles because at the moment, there is a vacancy opposite Revis on the outside and behind Skrine as depth in the slot. I want to see if Ben Ijalana, Brent Qvale, and Brandon Shell can prove their worth as backup tackles to Ryan Clady and Breno Giacomini, who have had their fair share of injury issues. Lastly, I want to see if the recent draft picks at guard — Jarvis Harrison and Dakota Dozier — show any signs of life as possible backups to James Carpenter and Brian Winters.
I will also be keeping an eye on two undrafted free agents that have turned some heads in training camp — S Doug Middleton and EDGE Freddie Bishop.
Matthew Stalker – The main thing I want to see Thursday night, throughout the preseason and even more of in training camp is Christian Hackenberg. If he is indeed who the Jets want to work on for their future quarterback, he needs more reps, and running with four quarterbacks is simply a detriment to his progress. A kid who is a pocket quarterback with NFL size, durability, toughness and good arm strength/velocity sounds like a win in my book, but without the chance, he is just more wasted talent. The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.
Aside from Hack, the list goes on. I want to see offensive line play from guys like Jarvis Harrison, Brandon Shell, Dakota Dozier, Brent Qvale, and Ben Ijalana. It’s important these guys play enough and learn quickly, because if any injury hits this line it will be a significant blow to this team. Staying with the offense, undrafted free agent Jalin Marshall who is playing great and receiving praise from his fellow receivers. Finally, Jace Amaro. After injury derailed his 2015 season, he seems to be approaching 2016 determined and focused. A 6’5″, 258 pound Amaro could be a huge difference maker for the Jets in 2016.
Defensively, I want to see more from Juston Burris, who down the line could be a nice press corner in Bowles’ defense. So far it’s been your typical rookie ups and downs for Burris, but he did pick off Fitzpatrick to win a bet and shave Fitz’s head. Finally, their 2013 first-round selection Dee Milliner who after three interceptions in his rookie year has only played 21 of 48 games over his first three seasons. My fingers are crossed yoga helps him stay healthy and we see him opposite Darrelle Revis a bit more this year.
David Aitken – Even though it is only the first preseason game, there is a lot to be excited for this Thursday night. Obviously the main draw is it’s the first time in eight months the Jets will suit up and perform against an opponent. Better yet, it means roughly every week from this point on over the next few months there will be a game of Jets football.
What I’m most looking forward to watching is the group of younger players that could be solid contributors in 2016. The usual suspects that the Jets relied on for last year’s ten win season will probably have just a cameo appearance, so the spotlight will turn to the likes of Jace Amaro, Dee Milliner and members of the 2016 rookie class. In particular, the pair of rookie linebackers will be worth following. First rounder Darron Lee should see plenty of reps in this game with the second team, and it’ll be interesting to see if he finds any snaps at all early on with the starters in certain packages. Playing in the Jets nickel base defense is ultimately where Bowles would probably like to have Lee ready for come Week 1, and I’d like to see him show signs of a potential passing down problem. Meanwhile third rounder Jordan Jenkins has opened up as a starting outside linebacker on the team’s first released depth chart. Thursday marks his first in-game action on the pro level and I’d like to see him show he can start on merit and not have Maccagnan resort to bringing back Father Time for his fourteenth NFL season.
John Hargaden – Going into the first preseason game something that we can hope for is no injuries across the board. On offense, most of the starters will see maybe 1-2 series tops and should be off the field rather quickly. I am going to be interested to see how Bryce Petty plays. I have a good hunch he should be playing for over a quarter or so. I am interested to see in how he has developed and we should see an improved quarterback coming into year two in the NFL and under the Chan Gailey offense. Looking at the WR spot I am going to keep my eyes out for Jalin Marshall and Chaderon Peake. Marshall has been a name that most Jets fans should know so far. He has been making plays left and right. Time to see if it translates into the game. Peake has come on here the last few days making a few plays here and there. Also a guy I want to see is Jace Amaro coming back from a season ending injury last year and see what he can show.
On the defensive side of the ball I am going to be watching Jordan Jenkins and Darron Lee and seeing how they fly in this defense. Since it sounds like the 110 year veteran Calvin Pace won’t be back this is Jenkins job being a starting OLB. In the secondary I am interested in two guys: Dee Miller and DougMiddleton. Milliner trying to prove to the franchise he was worth the #9 overall pick and earn the #2 job. Also Middleton a UDFA has shown some glimpses here and there.
Kevin Zielaznicki – New York Jets football is FINALLY back. One thing I’m excited to see this Thursday night is rookie wide receiver Charone Peake in action. Peake has been one of the early training camp stars and it will be great to see him in a game situation. According to many reports coming out of Jets camp, Peake has been a solid deep threat and has flashed big play ability in 11 vs. 11 drills. With Devin Smith still sidelined as he recovers from a torn ACL, Peake has an opportunity to find a spot in Chan Gailey’s offense as a deep threat that can stretch the defense on any play. Overall, I hope to see a good performance from the Jets and I really hope that both sides come out of this game injury free.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com