Here’s five things to watch for in tonight’s opening preseason game.
1. BACKFIELD – All eyes will be on Sanchez and Tebow, but make sure to see how the team uses Shonn Greene, Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell specifically. Powell has been getting praise a lot this week, but McKnight is still the fastest runner the Jets have so see how that plays out. Also look to see how the Jets deploy their blocking backs and in what combinations.
2. FRONT SEVEN - On draft night, Rex Ryan essentially gave away Mike DeVito’s starting job, but in the team’s first depth chart DeVito is still the starter at tackle while Coples is listed at end behind Wilkerson. How the Jets plan to deploy their defensive front this season has been a point of interest for us. How multiple does the defensive front get? Are Thomas and Pace still going to see equal time on the field?
3. HUNTER OR HUNTED – It’s obvious when Wayne Hunter is outmatched by a defender. While Johnson & Dunlap aren’t premiere players in the NFL, they’re solid contributors to the Bengals defense so look to see how he fares against the defensive ends he lines up against.
4. ROOKIE MOMENT- There will be special attention paid to the Jets top three draft picks DE Quinton Coples, WR Stephen Hill and LB Demario Davis. Coples should see a good bit of action potentially in sub packages and second team work, while Hill will gain some good experience against Leon Hall and Nate Clements. Beyond them look to see how Josh Bush contributes to the pass defense in sub packages.
5. SAFETY PLAY – With two new starting safeties in the Jets secondary, it bears watching to see how Yeremiah Bell and Laron Landry look against a surging Bengals passing game. Landry has been on a pitch count so far this preseason, so be mindful of how much time he sees on the field as the Jets protect him from a re-injury as best they can.