The New York Jets return to MetLife Stadium for the first time in 2013 on Saturday when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars; here are three things to watch during the game.
1. The QB Competition; Sanchez’s Job to Lose: The quarterback competition basically hinges on how Mark Sanchez plays against the Jaguars. A consistent performance without any turnovers will leave the Jets’ decision makers with no choice but to name the veteran the teams week one quarterback. The Jets’ original plan was to start Geno Smith against the Jaguars. However, that all changed when Smith rolled his ankle a week ago in Detroit. There is also doubt about whether the rookie will be able to play at all in the game. When asked that question during a conference call with the media on Friday, Rex Ryan said “Right now I can’t tell you if Geno will play in this game or not. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes to make that decision.” Keeping Smith out of the game, and allowing him to rest his injured ankle, makes sense. But, if the Jets do make that decision many will continue to question why he was allowed to practice at all this week. The Jets coaching staff might have backed themselves into a corner with the quarterback competition; this is Sanchez’s job to lose now.
2. Chris Ivory’s Impact: The Jets rushed for 37 yards on 16 carries against the Detroit Lions last week. At 2.3 yards per carry those statistics just aren’t good enough. The answer to that problem lies with Chris Ivory, who will make his Jets debut on Saturday. The Jets traded with the New Orleans Saints for Ivory in the off-season, however, due to a hamstring injury he missed the majority of training camp, and last week’s game. Ivory returned to the field on Monday, and has practiced in full with the team throughout the week. The Jets caching staff are very excited by Ivory’s potential; he is a big, powerful runner and also posses great agility and explosive speed. If he is everything the Jets hope he is, he could carry the Jets offense.
3. The Battle for Safety: After last weeks game against Detroit, Rex Ryan was incredibly impressed with Jaiquawn Jarrett, who is competing with Antonio Allen to become the starting free safety. Ryan immediately told the media that Jarrett would start the second pre-season game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.”We’ll put him out there with the ones next week,” Ryan said of Jarrett. “You talk about playing like a Jet, that guy was in there and he did a tremendous job of hitting, communicating. I really liked the way he stepped up.” Jarrett, a former second round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles, has impressed everyone during training camp with his work ethic and aggressive style of play. He finished last weeks game with 5 tackles and one quarterback hit, and was in the game for a team high 61 plays. He is certainly someone worth keeping an eye on during tomorrow’s game to see how he fairs with the starting unit.