Friday, August 22, 2014
W2W4: New York Jets
By Rich Cimini
The New York Jets (2-0) face the New York Giants (3-0) in their annual preseason game Friday night at MetLife Stadium. The Jets are the home team; kickoff is 7:30.
1. Battle of New York: It's MetLife Bowl IV -- or whatever the sponsors are calling it these days. At stake is the coveted Snoopy Trophy (try not to laugh), captured last year by the Jets in a game that will always be remembered for Mark Sanchez's shoulder injury. Most of the players will forget the score by next week, but, yeah, there's a little extra juice. Giants rookie Andre Williams, who doesn't know what he doesn't know, raised eyebrows at One Jets Drive by claiming the Giants are the "real New York team." The question is whether the Jets, who were out of control last week in Cincinnati (see: seven personal fouls), can keep their emotions in check. There's a fine line between toughness and thuggery, and Rex Ryan admits they crossed it a few times last week. This will be a good chance to show they can maintain their cool in a heated game.
2. Prepare for a pillow fight: The Jets' beleaguered secondary faces the Giants' utterly inept passing offense. By the end of the night, one unit could be wiping egg from its face. The secondary will have a new look -- again. Rookie safety Calvin Pryor and cornerback Darrin Walls will replace Jaiquawn Jarrett and Ellis Lankster in the starting lineup, respectively. They're still mixing and matching, and that's not a good thing. By now, you'd like to have your lineups set, letting the starters play into the second half. Basically, the Jets will play with three safeties -- Pryor, Dawan Landry and safety-turned-corner Antonio Allen, who received lukewarm reviews last week. Dee Milliner (high-ankle sprain) isn't close to returning and Dimitri Patterson (calf/ankle/quadriceps) looks like a no-go. The good news is they will face a quarterback, Eli Manning, who looks robotic and uncomfortable in his new West Coast offense. Hey, maybe the Jets can actually force an incompletion this week.
3. Geno, then and now: Geno Smith was a jittery, overwhelmed rookie last summer against the Giants, throwing three interceptions. You hate to put too much emphasis on a preseason game, but this is his chance to show everyone he's not the same quarterback from a year ago. Smith needs a good, long touchdown drive against the Giants' starters, and he'll be able to call the preseason a success. In eight series, he has led the offense to two touchdowns and two field goals, but only one touchdown came against a starting defense -- and that was only a 19-yard drive. Wide receiver Eric Decker returns to the lineup, so look for a lot of Smith to Decker. The issue with Smith isn't whether he can nail down the starting job (he has); it's about developing cohesion with the rest of the unit and building confidence for the regular season. The starters won't play next week, so this is the final dress rehearsal.