Friday August 14th, 7pm
Rams @ Jets
by Joe Grinwis
I am proud to welcome all of Jets Nation to the official beginning of the 2009 NFL Season with the Jets first Preseason match-up this Friday against Steve Spagnuolo and his St.Louis Rams. This is the first time we’ll be able to see Rex Ryan’s “Organized Chaos” (as he names it) Defense as well as the first apperance on an NFL field for April’s fifth overall draft pick, Quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Kellen Clemens, entering his fourth season in the NFL (and third Quarterback competition) will get the start against Leonhard Little and company, but according to Ryan Sanchez will see action with the first team. We’ve also learned that Sanchez will not play into the second half so one has to wonder when Clemens will be pulled. The thought around here is that Clemens will play two series with the remainder of the first half going to Sanchez. The second half will be mostly Erik Ainge and Chris Pizzoti should see some late 4th Quarter action as well.
None of the Quarterbacks will have the opportunity to have Nick Mangold or Damien Woody infront of them however as Ryan is holding both lineman out, as well as Nose Tackle Kris Jenkins and Cornerback Darrelle Revis (and possibly Fullback Tony Richardson) for precautionary reasons. If this was Week 1, it is believed that all of them would suit up and start. Typically in the first Preseason game the starters only see one or two series of action, so they will not be missing too much time.
The Jets defense will not have to face explosive second year Wide Receiver Donnie Avery who is scheduled to miss the entire Preseason with an undisclosed foot injury. This leaves Running Back Steven Jackson as the only big player on the Ram offense that the Jets starting defense will have to contend with for the 1st Quarter.
Some first year players, besides Sanchez and 3rd round Running Back Shonn Greene, Jet fans should really be paying close attention to when they tune in, or attend, Friday night:
LB Jamaal Westerman (6’3, 255)
Westerman, a UDFA from Rutgers, has been used at both Inside and Outside Linebacker since arriving in New York. It is believed around the organization that he is as close to a roster lock as a first year player could be. Ryan loves his smarts, his toughness and his willingness to learn. The Jets could use Westerman sort of in a ‘slash’ role on the defensive side of the ball. His ability to play both the Inside and Outside Linebacker positions could give the Jets more flexibility at other positions because the team may not have to keep as many Linebackers on the active roster.
TE Jack Simmons (6’4, 246)
Simmons, is a UDFA from Minnesota who has impressed the Jets coaching staff and their fans so far. With the Jets need for a blocking Tight End, Simmons is competing with J’Nathan Bullock and Kareem Brown for the back-up role to second year, and fellow former Big Ten man Dustin Keller. Although better known for his pass catching abilities while at Minnesota, Simmons has shown enough blocking skills to keep him in uniform thus far and should get a lot of time this Preseason to prove if he was simply over looked by NFL scouts or if he’s just a Minicamp hero.
WR Britt Davis (6’3, 205)
Davis, a UDFA from Northern Illinois has been one of Ryan’s favorite players so far in camp and is trying to force his way into the Jets 53 man roster. He had three drops in the annual Green & White scrimmage which certainly was not encouraging. The Jets have to figure if he is simply a practice stud and a game dud or if was just working out the game simulation kinks in the Scrimmage. Davis has shown plenty of flashes in practice that he could be an NFL Wide Receiver, but he has to prove it in game action or he will be gone by September 5th.
When the whistle blows on Friday night, win or lose Jet fans, it doesn’t matter. This is the Preseason. Most of us won’t remember the score from this game five weeks from now when the Regular Season kicks off. The most important thing is staying healthy and seeing progress from not only the young players on the team, but the entire unit.
Until next time, Go Jets! Stop by to discuss the game with other Jets fans.