Preseason Week 1: Jets vs Lions – What To Watch For

It may only be preseason, but for a lot of players it can mean the start or end of a career. The Jets play the Lions, a team that underachieved last year with a lot of talent.

Offense

Mark Sanchez gets the start and after being at camp for 12 days, I think it’s the right decision. He and Geno were in a solid competition, each taking 2 days working with the first team, then switching. Sanchez looked stronger the last day I was there and I don’t know if they wanted to throw Geno in for his first time against Detroit defensive line with Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, and #1 pick Ziggy Ansah.  There’s been no hitting of QBs all camp so starting Sanchez is wiser.

On offense the Jets have a lot to prove.  Two new guards Willie Colon and Stephen Peterman along with rookie Brian Winters need to step in and step up.  Wide receivers looked so much better than I anticipated from OTA reports.  I don’t know how much Stephen Hill will play but he’s the key, as Jeremy Kerley, and Braylon Edwards are solid.  I’m really waiting to watch “hit of the camp” Ryan Spadola to see if he continues to shine.  Clyde Gates, Michael Campbell, and Zach Rogers are others that have a lot to prove.  Don’t forget that it was preseason that gave Victor Cruz a chance to stand out.  TE’s are all similar receivers, and we need to see blocking. Can Kellen Winslow stay healthy?

Running backs are the weakest part in depth because of injuries.  Bilal Powell and Chad Spann been great in camp with Rookie Tommy Bohanon looking to beat out veteran Lex Hilliard at FB. Have no idea on Joe McKnight. Tons of ability but has trouble staying on the field.

Defense

Ok Rex, you are going to take this defense back where it belongs.  No Devito or Pouha, but Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Antonio Garay, Damon Harrison, all strong.  Gotta watch Quinton Coples, moving him around and stand up and cover or down. Also the #1 pick Sheldon Richardson looks like the real deal. Linebackers are the same except for Bart Scott, and time for Demario Davis to add his speed. Ricky Sapp has been outstanding, if he comes through and then add in Garrett McIntyre, Antwan Barnes, and Nick Bellore.

The defensive backfield is young and fast.  This will be a tough group to cut. We know that Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen set.  Ellis Lankster plays with fire and spirit.  Others looking good – Darrin Walls, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Donnie Fletcher, Josh Bush, and though small, he’s tough and good ST – Isaiah Trufant.  Of course Dee Milliner our top pick needs to show his cover ability.

Special Teams

Kicking and punting competition has been close but edge to Robert Malone and Nick Folk, but worth watching.

What to Watch For:

  • Pass Protection – Will Mark OR Geno have enough time to go through their progressions?
  • Turnovers – Can QBs protect the ball?
  • Running Backs – Who will step up?
  • Pass Rush- Can we hit the QB finally?
  • Defensive Backs – What’s life like in a post-Revis world?

There’s a few other names to look for but I think any player that stands out on special teams can make the difference in the final countdown in the coming weeks. Finally, real football where they really tackle and try and hit the QB!

What are you looking for?

Connie Nicholas Carberg grew up around the New York Jets with her father as the team’s internist for 26 years (Dr. Calvin Nicholas). In 1974, she joined the Jets as a secretary. In 1976, she was named the first female scout in NFL History. Her contributions led to a number of top drafts culminating with her discovery of a little known defensive end, Mark Gastineau. ConnieScouts shares her memories and blessings over the years.

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