Tonight, Mark Sanchez and the rest of the New York Jets take the national stage on Sunday night football to take on the Carolina Panthers. The starters are scheduled to play into the second half before the backups take over, so this third game really does serve as the final dress rehearsal for the regular season. Here are some things we will be watching for:
GROUND AND POUND? HOW ABOUT A TOUCHDOWN?
Not that this isn’t obvious to anyone that has watched the Jets so far, but it is the number one item tonight. Can the Ground and Pound get off and running? They averaged 2.7 yards per rush against the Giants last week. That just isn’t going to fly.
It starts with the offensive line. They have their new starting right tackle, Austin Howard. This line used to be a strength of the team, and now it is a liability. When the line did open up some holes last week, Shonn Greene had a little pep in his step, with a few good runs. Same for Bilal Powell. It just wasn’t consistent though. The line has to get off the snap, start driving guys backward, and opening up some holes for this running game to get going.