By Joe Grinwis
Welcome to Week 2 of the NFL Preseason, Jets fans. This week, on Monday Night Football, our boys in green take on Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and the Baltimore Ravens. Rex Ryan makes his return trip and Mark Sanchez will be making his first every NFL start against the same type of defense that he’s seen almost everyday for the past three weeks. However, the Jets don’t quite exactly have the talent pool that the Ravens possess.
The Jets don’t have an Ed Reed, although Kerry Rhodes is one of the Top 5 Safeties in the game, there is no better than the future Hall of Famer Reed. The Jets do not have a Ray Lewis, as much as we’d all like Bart Scott to be some day. The Jets do not have a Terrell Suggs, Calvin Pace just has not proven to be in the same conversation as Suggs, who is considered an elite pass rusher in the NFL.
This will be a true test for the Jets youngster who I believe will see at the very least three series against the Baltimore starting defense and maybe even four or five. The “winner” of this game in the Quarterback competition between Sanchez and Kellen Clemens should be the one who gets the nod not only on August 29th against the Giants but also on September 13th when the Jets kick off their 2009 Regular Season against the Houston Texans.
With that said, here are some things to watch on Monday Night;
1. RB Shonn Greene – Greene had a 9 carry, 45 yard performance against the Rams last Friday night and the Jets would like him, at the very least, to be a short yardage type of back in 2009. He will eventually be the replacement for Thomas Jones whenever the Jets and Jones decide to part ways (many believe after this season), and it is important to see if Greene can continue to progress each week.
2. The Left Guard Position – Pro Bowler Alan Faneca will most likely miss the remainder of the Preseason with a broken finger and it will be important for Stanley Daniels, Matt Slauson or whoever steps in on Monday Night to help fourth year Left Tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson handle Suggs coming off the edge. The Jets are thin at that the Offensive Line position and are in need of a back-up who they feel comfortable that could come in if an injury were to happen to one of the starting five in the Regular Season.
3. David Clowney – Clowney’s three reception, 102 yard and one touchdown performance last Friday night has jolted him up into the “number two” receiver on the Jets Depth Chart in many Jets fans minds. However, Clowney’s claim to fame are now just two Week 1 Preseason games, he needs to continue to step up and play well in the remainder of the Preseason if he wishes to be the starting wideout opposite veteran Jerricho Cotchery in Houston. With Chansi Stuckey all but certain to be the slot receiver, the Jets need someone to step up and be that second outside guy. So far, Clowney has a big, big lead. Can he hold onto it?