The TOJ Roundtable is back. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter and to let us know your opinion down in the comment section below!
What are you hoping to see in week 1 of the preseason from the New York Jets?
Joe Caporoso: Let’s put quarterback aside, all eyes should be on the offensive line, which has been a train wreck so far in training camp and wide receiver, which is the least proven position group in the NFL after Quincy Enunwa’s injury (weeps). We know Robby Anderson is going to start but after him, who else steps up? Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall, Chris Harper sound like they will get the first shot. Rookies ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen have had quiet camps but will see no shortage of reps and be pushed towards playing time. Can one or two of these guys have a big debut to ease some of the valid concerns about the position?
Dalbin Osorio: There are a few things I’m looking forward to seeing, but the two main things are really non-QB related. One, I am looking forward to seeing how the Jets vaunted defensive line rotates with their personnel. Will Head Coach Todd Bowles play his three studs together? Will Sheldon Richardson masquerade as a cornerback? It will be fascinating to see, since this preseason will serve as a showcase to move Richardson I would imagine. Also, will we see Muhammad Wilkerson at full strength after he labored through last season? Lastly, will Leo Williams continue his ascent to his rightful perch as the best 3-4 DE in football? That is what I will be watching on defense.
On offense, it is the Elijah McGuire and Chad Hansen show. With the injury to Quincy Enunwa, Hansen becomes the best WR by default; yes, he’s better than Robbie Anderson (he runs better routes and has better hands, despite Anderson having better speed) and he will now be tasked with both stepping up into that big slot and movable X role. Is he up to the task, if he even plays at all? With McGuire, Matt Forte and Bilal Powell are both banged up and he will receive a lot of work. I have a feeling people will be talking about him a lot after this game.
Scott Mason: I’d like to see some of the young guys play well. I’d like to see early surprises like Chris Harper continue to build a case for earning a roster spot. But – and forgive me if I sound like a broken record here – what I desperately want more than anything else is to watch Christian Hackenberg play well enough to make the fans a little giddy and give the coaching staff a reason to re-evaluate the #fakenews “competition” they have set up that is clearly rigged with the intention of making McCown the opening day starter. I re-watched some pre-injury Chad Pennington tape over the weekend and it reminded me of how 2002 was easily the most excited I have ever been as a Jets fan as far as thinking about the long term. Having a young QB that really looked to be elite – and I maintain would have been if he hadn’t ruined his shoulder midway through 2004 – is what every Jets fan has been wishing for every Christmas for decades. All I want this pre-season opener is to see some signs that maybe, against all odds, Joe Fileppi is right (Leader of the #Hackhive), and Christian Hackenberg is going to be the QB who finally fulfills those many Christmas wishes.
Joe Malfa: I recently advised Jets fans not to panic over reports of the offensive line being completely and utterly dominated by the defensive line in the early stages of training camp.
Towards the end of that article, I made clear the importance of the first couple of preseason games. If the Jets’ offensive linemen are inept against a team like the Titans, whose defensive line is nowhere near as talented as the defensive line they square off against every day in practice, it might be time to panic.
The team in heading for a 3-13 season, a fate cemented by the loss of Quincy Enunwa, but it would still be nice to get a good look at Christian Hackenberg. If opposing pass rushers are on him before he even has a chance to go through his progressions, he won’t stand a chance.
The offensive line, particularly Brent Qvale and Brandon Shell at right tackle, will be under my microscope on Saturday night. I will be looking for a strong showing from this unit, otherwise it may officially be time to panic.
Daniel Essen: Excuse my emotion but I’m still recovering from the Quincy Enunwa news. In the Jets first game outside of practice for 2017, I’m hoping to see a positive response amidst the amount of negative mud the Jets seem to be trapped in at the moment. The injury to Quincy Enunwa is a really tough blow for the Jets from a leadership perspective and for an offense that was already struggling to piece simple plays together. Ironically, now would be the perfect time for the few veterans left to keep teammates mentally focused and lead by example on the field as the Jets get closer to the regular season.
More tangibly, I’m also hoping the defense comes out strong, particularly in the secondary where several players are scrapping for playing time. I’m hoping Adams and Maybe play the whole first half and maybe a little more to gain some valuable experience. Offensively, I’m eager to see plenty of snaps for the rookies Chad Hansen, ArDarius Stewart, and Elijah McGuire, as they now each have larger roles to play. Also, I expect Hackenberg to play the majority of the game so the Jets can get a good read on what he can do. I’m looking forward to getting a better taste of John Morton’s offense and what his tendencies are, as well.
Jake Benaquisto: As it has been for seemingly eternity, the Jets biggest question mark on their roster is the quarterback position. Nobody would be shocked if Josh McCown starts the season as the Jets QB, but at 38 years old, he’s clearly not the long term answer. With this being said, I want to see Christian Hackenberg play at least two quarters in the first preseason contest against Tennessee. The polarizing second year quarterback has reportedly looked much improved in training camp so far, but the coaching staff and front office cannot properly evaluate Hackenberg if he sees a limited amount of live game action. Hackenberg needs to see a fair amount of snaps with the Jets first team offense against a first team defense, instead of playing with a bunch of guys on the roster bubble. If Hackenberg is given an increased amount of reps in the first preseason game and beyond, the Jets will have a much better understanding of his ability, or lack there of, to be their franchise quarterback.
David Aitken: Firstly, football is back. Enjoy it! Regardless of how good the Jets are going to be this year, we only get a few months of this.
Getting the best feel yet for Christian Hackenberg’s progress is the biggest story for me. The general training camp consensus is a vague “progress” but that has manifested itself so far into being groomed as the backup ahead of Bryce Petty rather than a surefire starting opportunity. This will be his first in-game action – probably extended action – since an all-time horrendous showing in last year’s preseason finale. McCown starting has been the consistent line all camp but an overall strong body of preseason performances from Hackenberg would definitely change that and make this season’s overall outlook a little more hopeful.
Michael McLaughlin: Outside of Christian Hackenberg playing well, I’d like the young wide receivers to demonstrate why Jets fans believe they have potential while the rest of the league casts serious doubt on them. The latter viewpoint is not unwarranted given their complete and utter lack of experience, however. And my concern is that we tend to to overrate our own players as fans.
Besides Robby Anderson, I am not sure what wide receivers will start. Consequently, any players demonstrating that they could handle such a role would be encouraging. That could be Stewart, Hansen, Peake, Marshall, Wilson or Harper. There are a lot of options, but they’re all unproven.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com