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New York Jets: Top 5 storylines in Preseason Week 1 vs New York Giants

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 25: Quinnen Williams of Alabama reacts after he was picked #3 overall by the New York Jets during the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 25: Quinnen Williams of Alabama reacts after he was picked #3 overall by the New York Jets during the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

The New York Jets kick off their 2019 preseason schedule vs the New York Giants in Week 1. Here are the top five storylines to watch out for.

Finally, we have reached football, even if it’s preseason football. The New York Jets will square off against their cross-town rival the New York Giants in preseason Week 1.

Typically ‘The Battle for New York’ takes place in Week 3 of the preseason every year, but once every four years these two squads take their rivalry to the next level by playing in the regular season.

Week 3 of the preseason is widely considered the official dress rehearsal before the regular season kicks off. Typically starters will play into the beginning of the third quarter. With that being considered the NFL didn’t think it’d be fair for these teams to get a sneak peek of each other so they rescheduled their usual matchup.

Preseason Week 1 provides the first opportunity for Jets fans to see some of the team’s new players, discover some rising stars, gauge the temperatures of position battles, and check out the new uniforms. Here are the top five storylines ahead of the Jets vs Giants annual matchup.

Next: 5. No Bell

5. Not seeing Le’Veon Bell

Arguably the biggest offseason addition for the New York Jets was former All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell. But if you’re a big-time Jets fan, you shouldn’t want to see him in the preseason.

Bell hasn’t played in a football game in 19 months, that can’t be understated.

Obviously, the out of shape perception is bogus, he’s in phenomenal shape, but there’s a difference between being in shape and being in football shape.

The Jets need to be judicious with his touches if they run him at all during the preseason.

ESPN’s Rich Cimini did a nice breakdown of Bell’s history of touches in the preseason:

  • 2018, 2017: didn’t play due to contract disputes.
  • 2016: 20 plays, eight touches.
  • 2015: 32 plays, 13 touches.
  • 2014: 48 plays, 20 touches.

Historically speaking Le’Veon’s touches have exponentially decreased each season he has been in the league, which is typical of veteran players.

During media interviews, Jets head coach Adam Gase was hemming and hawing on how much he should play Bell this preseason balancing the idea of rust and readiness for the upcoming season.

It’s a no brainer, don’t play him until he’s in football shape and even then, Gase should think long and hard about it. Good things come to those who wait.

Next: 4. Rookie debut

4. Quinnen Williams debut

Has there ever been a more likable player in the NFL?

Quinnen Williams heading into the 2019 NFL Draft was the consensus No. 1 player on the board and the New York Jets landed him with the third overall pick.

Since being drafted, Quinnen has instantly become a fan-favorite with his innocent and playful personality. But beyond his warm and engaging temperament is an All-Pro talent out of Alabama that could be a star in the pros.

Williams has been a plug and play defender for the Jets defense and has consistently beaten double teams to make plays in the backfield throughout training camp.

On Thursday night New York Jets fans will get their first official look at Williams in preseason action. Mr. Nice Guy is going to flip the switch when he gets on the field and hopefully, that results in some big plays.

Next: 3. Most underrated storyline

3. BRAND NEW UNIFORMS

This has to be the most underrated storyline that NO ONE is talking about ahead of Jets vs Giants in preseason Week 1.

This offseason the New York Jets unveiled a brand new logo and some dank new uniforms. While fans got the opportunity to see the new look at the uniform launch event earlier this offseason, there’s nothing quite like seeing uniforms on the football field for the first time.

New York Jets senior reporter Eric Allen revealed on social media that the Jets will be donning their ‘Spotlight White’ uniforms on Thursday night. That combination features the white jerseys and white bottoms.

This season the New York Jets have three distinct uniform combinations: ‘Gotham Green’, ‘Spotlight White’, and ‘Stealth Black’.

Next: 2. Top position battles

2. Top position battles

While some people hate the preseason and the NFL wants to reduce the schedule from four games to just two games, it’s critically important for several reasons:

  • Allows adequate time for players to prove themselves.
  • Tuning up the veterans ahead of the regular season.
  • And of course position battles.

There are several to keep an eye on Thursday night for the Jets. Preseason Week 1 is going to set the tone for the Jets’ preseason schedule and the remainder of training camp:

  • Tight end
    • With starting tight end Chris Herndon suspended for the first quarter of the season, the Jets are going to need someone to step up to the plate.
      • Veteran tight end Ryan Griffin is the leader in the clubhouse to snag the position based on his experience.
      • Daniel Brown doesn’t have as much name value, but people inside the building are very impressed.
      • While the last name to consider is Trevon Wesco, a 2019 fourth-round draft pick. Adam Gase is going to find creative ways to get him the ball and utilize him in the offense.
  • Wide receiver
    • The New York Jets are very top-heavy up top with Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder, and Quincy Enunwa. But beyond that, there is a lot up for grabs on the depth chart.
      • A few names that have popped during training camp include:
        • Deontay Burnett.
        • Greg Dortch.
        • Tim White.
  • Safety
    • With the grim injury update on Marcus Maye, there’s an open spot in the starting lineup at safety next to Jamal Adams. Rontez Miles has been starting in Maye’s place on the defense through training camp.
  • Cornerback
    • Trumaine Johnson is the No 1 corner not based on play, but based on pay. But who else is going to step up at corner on Thursday night?
      • A few names to watch:
        • Arthur Maulet.
        • Parry Nickerson.

Next: 1. Rising stars

1. Rising stars

Every preseason new faces rise to stardom. Rarely used players get an opportunity in the spotlight and take full advantage of it earning future opportunities in both training camp and other preseason games.

Over the years we’ve seen all kinds of preseason stars get noticed and go on to have bright NFL careers from Victor Cruz, Tony Romo, and even to a lesser extent David Clowney.

Who will be the next stars of the NFL? Or at the very least the players who could impress the Jets in preseason Week No. 1?

  • Blake Cashman
    • One of the brightest stars from New York Jets training camp has surprisingly been linebacker Blake Cashman out of Minnesota. A lot of people scratched their heads when he was selected by the green and white, but he has more than proven himself in camp, now it’s time for him to do it under the bright lights.
  • Jachai Polite
    • One of the best edge rushers in the 2019 NFL Draft slipped to the third round due to a poor showing at the NFL Combine and several bad interviews. Early on in camp, Polite was invisible, but over the last week, he has really started to pop which is great news for Jets fans everywhere.

Next. Top 5 individual performances of all-time

  • Greg Dortch
    • Might as well drop an offensive player on this list. Dortch was widely considered one of the best undrafted free agents on the market following the 2019 NFL Draft and the Jets swooped in. Dortch has the ability to be both a receiver and a returner.
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