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New York Jets vs. Detroit Lions: What to watch for in Preseason Week 2

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 11: Bryce Petty #9 of the New York Jets celebrates with Bilal Powell #29 after a two-point conversion against the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on December 11, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 11: Bryce Petty #9 of the New York Jets celebrates with Bilal Powell #29 after a two-point conversion against the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on December 11, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The New York Jets hit the road to face the Detroit Lions in their preseason Week 2 matchup. Here’s what to watch for as they go for their second consecutive win.

When the New York Jets take the field for their game against the Detroit Lions on Saturday, the spotlight will be on plenty of young players who are looking to prove that they belong on the final roster.

Quarterback Christian Hackenberg will once again get a large portion of playing time, looking to build off of what was an encouraging debut against the Tennesse Titans last week. Hackenberg certainly needs to be allowed to take some more shots down the field after playing it safe in the first pre-season game.

It’s time for offensive coordinator John Morton to open up the playbook. I agree that it was important to let him get his feet wet and build up his confidence, but the preseason is also a perfect opportunity to take plenty of chances and learn from the ones that result in mistakes.

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One of the strengths of Hackenberg’s game is his ability to throw the ball deep, and the Jets have some speedy receivers in Robby Anderson and Charone Peake who have the ability to get open down the field.

The Jets need to find some consistency from these two wide receivers who will be looking to build off of strong performances in the preseason opener. With Jalin Marshall suspended the first four games of the season for PED’s and newcomer Lucky Whitehead sidelined 4-6 weeks with a broken toe, the veteran options are slim and the experience is lacking.

Veteran Marquise Williams and third-year pro Chris Harper are two more names to watch at wide receiver as the Jets continue to search for answers. With very few spots locked up, a few good plays here and there could be the difference between making the team and being on the outside looking in.

Another area where the Jets have big question marks is the cornerback position. Morris Claiborne is slated to be the No. 1 corner and is a capable player when healthy, but has battled injuries all throughout his career. Behind him, competing for the No. 2 spot is veteran Buster Skrine and second year pro Juston Burris.

The Jets took Burris in the fourth round of last year’s draft and hope he can one day be a future starter. Skrine will be looking to rebound from a disappointing season a year ago. The Jets pass defense was ranked at the bottom of the league last season and Saturday is an opportunity to show improvement.

The Jets will also be looking to establish a much more efficient running game against Detroit after being held to just 56 total yards against Tennessee. Matt Forte is expected to once again sit with a sore hamstring but Bilal Powell returned to practice on Wednesday and should be good to go for Saturday.

With Powell back, the Jets should get more production from the ground game but the offensive line needs to do a better job of opening up some holes. With Nick Mangold and Ryan Clady no longer around, the Jets have some new starters along the offensive line that don’t boost a whole lot of experience at the NFL level. Guys like Wesley Johnson and second-year pro Brandon Shell will need to step up and do a better job not only protecting their quarterback but creating some running room for their backs.

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Not all the kinks will be sorted out in just the second preseason game but progress should continue to be made. If the Jets can solve a few of the issues listed above before taking on the Giants next week, they will continue to head in the right direction in preparation for the regular season.

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