On Saturday night the New York Jets play their second game of the preseason against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium (7 p.m. EST). The starting units are expected to play the first half of the game which will provide some good insight on the progress of the team. Here are some storylines to keep an eye on.
Will the Jets open up the playbook on offense? It is no secret that the New York Jets will enter Saturday night’s match-up with a vanilla game plan. But can that game plan at least include some down the field passing? At some point you have to let Geno Smith air it out in order to build chemistry with his receivers and confidence in the offense.
Where are the pass catchers? Throughout training camp there have been numerous stories about wide receivers that are making big plays in practice. Now it is time for the practice action to translate to the playing field. The spotlight is on Stephen Hill, Jalen Saunders, Greg Salas, Jacoby Ford, Clyde Gates, Saalim Hakim, and Quincy Enunwa.
How about a pass rush? With a revamped secondary in place the New York Jets front seven must find ways to get pressure on the quarterback without continuous blitz packages. Keep an eye on Quinton Coples, Calvin Pace, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Jason Babin as they try to collapse the pocket. A rookie to check out is Trevor Reilly as he has started to turn some heads in camp.
Next man up in the secondary. Gang Green’s defensive backfield has been decimated by injuries giving several young players a chance to earn a roster spot. Antonio Allen makes his debut at cornerback while Ellis Lankster will see reps with the starting unit. Will either of these young players perform well enough to be considered for a starting spot? Darrin Walls could be in the mix as well with a strong outing.
Break out the rookies- First round pick Calvin Pryor makes his Jets preseason debut on Saturday night while second round pick Jace Amaro is expected to see significant action. How quickly will Pryor pick up the defense after missing time due to a concussion? Will Amaro start to gain comfort and confidence in the west coast offense?
It is only the preseason but… Rex Ryan and his staff will be looking for the Jets to build off of a lackluster first game of the preseason. The expectations include better line play on the both sides of the ball, along with a reduction of stupid penalties. In addition there is a hope that some of the younger players start to emerge in these hotly contested position battles.
The Cincinnati Bengals are a talented, physical team that should be a very good litmus test for Gang Green. Lets hope that the Jets pass with flying colors.