Friday, August 23, 2013
W2W4: Jets vs. Giants
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- It's that time of the summer, the annual preseason game between the Jets (1-1) and Giants (1-1). The Jets lead the preseason series, 23-20-1, having won 13 of the last 17 games. This is what we'll be watching:
1. The Geno show: Jets Nation has been waiting for this moment since late April, when the team drafted Geno Smith in the second round. Smith will start and play into the third quarter, if his tender ankle holds up. Can he win the starting job? He wouldn't be starting the most important game of the preseason if the coaches didn't think he had a chance. Everyone will analyze his stats, but the coaches will be looking at the subtle aspects to his game: His ability to communicate plays in the huddle, his cadence, his footwork, the depth of his drop-backs, etc. They also will try to gauge the "It" factor and whether he has the ability to inspire his teammates. This should be compelling stuff.
2. Defensive intensity: The Jets came out flat last week, letting Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert have his way with them. They tried to use the bad game as a learning tool, especially their struggles against the no-huddle. LB David Harris said they emphasized the no-huddle in practice, "so we don't get caught sleeping again." They'd better get used to it because they'll see plenty of no-huddle in the AFC East. CB Antonio Cromartie set a tone in practice by blasting WR Stephen Hill. Cromartie caught some grief from his offensive teammates, but maybe it served as a wake-up call for the slumbering defense.
3. Battles rage on: Aside from quarterback, three starting jobs are legitimately up in the air -- left guard (Vladimir Ducasse vs. Stephen Peterman), free safety (Antonio Allen vs. Jaiquawn Jarrett) and punter (Robert Malone vs. Ryan Quigley). Ducasse and Allen will start this game, hoping to nail down jobs. Quigley has outkicked Malone and should be closing in on the job. There's also competition at kickoff returner between Joe McKnight and Clyde Gates. McKnight, finally healthy, will make his preseason debut, trying to convince the coaches he's worth the aggravation.
4. Replacing Q: Garrett McIntyre is expected to replace Quinton Coples (fractured ankle) at outside linebacker in the base defense, but you could see a committee approach with Ricky Sapp and Antwan Barnes joining the party. They also could experiment with 4-3 fronts. Hey, why not? Watch for DE Leger Douzable; he could have an expanded role as he makes a bid to make the roster.
5. The kids are all right: When you're not watching the quarterbacks, keep an eye on the other rookies, namely: FB Tommy Bohanon, trying to secure a starting job; LG Brian Winters, making his preseason debut after missing two games with an ankle injury; undrafted WR Ryan Spadola, trying to nail down the fifth receiving spot; and DT Sheldon Richardson, attempting to build on a terrific game last week. CB Dee Milliner (calf) isn't expected to play.