The No.1 battle fans should be watching from this game tonight is between the Jets quarterbacks. While Mark Sanchez brings experience to this team and holds the edge over rookie Geno Smith, Sanchez’s poor play the past few seasons including an awful 2012 season make this a job up for grabs. Sanchez will get the start tonight but in the first week of the preseason, expect Smith to get plenty of reps as the backup.
Going against a tough Lions pass rush, both quarterbacks will be tested early to see how they can handle pressure in their face and make better throws when the pocket breaks down. Sanchez will have the advantage of working with the starters, but even this group isn’t without questions. Sanchez’s struggles in training camp can’t carry over into the preseason because if they do Smith could be the starter in the regular season.
The goal for Smith is to not buckle under the pressure of the NFL stage and not to let the Lions get into his head. Smith has struggled with his consistency and getting rattled by drops or interceptions. If Detroit gets to him early with pressure and the Jets get off to a bad start, Smith will have to prove he can overcome the adversity.
2.) Jets front seven
While there are plenty of questions facing the Jets this year one spot where they can’t be questioned is their defensive line. Led by 23-year-old Muhammad Wilkerson and rookie Sheldon Richardson, they will provide a major test for the Lions offensive line. Anchoring the middle of their defensive line is Kendrick Ellis who at 264 lbs. will plug up plenty of holes on the inside.
The player to really keep an eye on tonight is last year’s first round pick Quinton Coples who is shifting from defensive end to 3-4 OLB this year. He will come off the edge of Wilkerson which should help Coples find more opportunities to put pressure on the quarterback and get in the face of Matthew Stafford.
This is an exciting, young Jets defense with some players who can have an impact on the game. Tonight will just be another chance for them to put their talent on display.
3.) Who replaces Darrelle Revis?
When the Jets traded away Darrelle Revis they knew they had to find a No.2 cornerback to help take some pressure off of Antonio Cromartie. After Revis went down last year, Cromartie took the stage in New York and looked like a top corner but questions remain in the secondary.
New York spent a first round pick on Dee Milliner with the hopes that he can step up as the No.2 CB and give the Jets two great corners. Milliner has already climbed his way up the depth chart surpassing Kyle Wilson but that was expected. Now he faces the challenge of going up against some of the best receivers in the NFL. If he plays well, the Jets could have a strong cornerback group heading into the season.
4.) Do the Lions have depth at receiver?
We all know how great Calvin Johnson is but outside of Megatron there are some major questions facing the Lions depth at receiver going into the season and will be tested tonight.
Nate Burleson is returning from a broken leg last season but still has a grasp on the No.2 job. The 31-year-old receiver will be challenged by Ryan Broyles who many inside Detroit love.
While Broyles will serve as the slot receiver this year he has injury questions of his own as he recovers from another ACL injury. There is no questioning the talent Broyles has but coming off two major knee injuries and still facing knee soreness is a bad sign and he will miss tonight’s game.
That leaves it up to guys like Mike Thomas, Patrick Edwards and Kris Durham all competing for snaps and playing time on this team. There are injury concerns from this group of receivers and the Lions depth will be tested tonight.
Tagged with: Antonio Cromartie, Calvin Johnson, Darrelle Revis, Dee Milliner, Detroit Lions, Geno Smith, Kendrick Ellis, Kyle Wilson, Mark Sanchez, Mike Thomas, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nate Burleson, New York Jets, Patrick Edwards, Quinton Coples, Ryan Broyles, Sheldon Richardson