The Jets travel to Ford Field on Friday night to face the Detroit Lions in their first 2013 pre-season game. There are many different story lines to pay attention to, here are the top three:
1. The Quarterback Competition:
The magnifying glass will be on both the Jets quarterbacks’ performances on Friday night. Sanchez will start the game, but will likely only play for two series with the first team before giving way to Geno Smith. Sanchez needs to impress during his short time on the field. And while it would be nice, he doesn’t necessarily need to find the endzone, but he does need to prove that he can move the team down the field and not commit any turnovers. On the other hand, Geno Smith needs to prove he can make quick decisions under the pressure of an NFL pass rush. The rookie’s biggest problem in training camp has been the amount of sacks he has taken; he has been sacked on 13.3% of his dropbacks according to the New York Daily News.
2. Can Quinton Coples make the transition to linebacker?
Quinton Coples is making the transition from a traditional defensive end in the 4-3 defense to a hybrid outside linebacker in the Jets new 3-4 system. As a defensive end Coples was previously used to putting his hand in the dirt and driving forward. His new position is vastly different– he will be required to both rush the quarterback and drop into coverage. While Coples has the physical ability to take on the role, he will also have to master the mental side of the position in order to excel. His first test is against the Lions and it’ll be interesting to see his progress. The fate of the Jets defensive front this season may depend on it.
3. Who will step up at wide receiver?
With Santonio Holmes reportedly sidelined until at least week four someone needs to step up in the pre-season. After a rough rookie campaign, Stephen Hill, has been one of the most improved players in training camp, and seems to have become the Jets number one receiver in Holmes’ absence. Jeremy Kerley and Clyde Gates are battling behind Hill to become the teams second option. And Braylon Edwards, now past his prime, brings a veteran leadership to the young group. Rookie Ryan Spadola has turned a lot of heads during training camp. While originally a longshot to make the team, a great pre-season will give him a good chance to make the Jets roster. Someone in this group needs to perform if the Jets are going to have any success in the air in 2013.