Things to Watch for in Tonight’s Jets Preseason Opener


July 28, 2012; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan speaks with the media following the second day of training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

It’s finally here Jets fans. Tonight, the wait is over, Rex Ryan and the Jets take the field for the first time since the season ending debacle in Miami. At 7:30 PM, the preseason kicks off. Here are some things we will be watching tonight, in no particular order:

  • The Pass Rush-Yes it is only week one.  However, we have heard a lot of things about the improvement of the pass rush.  Aaron Maybin has been fantastic in camp, and the coaching staff can’t stop talking up Mo Wilkerson.  Can’t wait to see how these guys, and others, like Damon Harrison, look in a real game.
  • Stephen Hill-The starters are only scheduled to go the first quarter tonight.  However, with Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley out, you might very well see Stephen get extra reps tonight.  I can’t wait to watch this guy play.  We all know how exciting this guy was in college, albeit in limited action.  He beat Revis for a long TD in training camp the other day.  Could we have our best deep threat since Edwards?  We begin to find out tonight.
  • Ground and Pound- The talk now gets to stop, and we begin to see what the new Tony Sparano offense is going to look like.  They have talked about the recomittment to the run, now we get a chance to see it.  Going along with that we get to see the development of Shonn Greene.  There hasn’t been much talk about him so far, curious to see how he looks.  We have heard a lot, howver, about Bilal Powell.  He has looked leaps and bounds better than last year, and it will be exciting to finally see him in a game.
  • The Kicking Game-I know I talk a lot about it, but the battle interests me. So far, it has been close in camp. A field goal late can be the difference in a game, so the Jets must choose the right guy. Nick Folk has been more consistent, but Josh Brown has shown a stronger leg. The battle starts for real tonight.
  • The Safeties-As we all know, this was a huge area of concern in 2011.  The position has been revamped, in free agency and through the draft.  Again, it is only game 1 of the preseason, but we can start to look at improvements in a lot of areas.  Not for the purpose of getting too excited, it is early.  Just to see where the guys are headed, we can take a look at a lot of areas, and safety is one of them.  How they perform covering Jermaine Gresham will be a start.  We will see on Friday.

There are many more to watch, these are just a select few.  Enjoy the game tonight.  We will talk to you afterwards about reactions, both good and bad.