Now that the first two preseason games have come and gone it is time for the New York Jets to bring all the pieces together in their final dress rehearsal against the Giants. The Jets will play their starting units into the third quarter and for the first time this preseason will take the field with an actual game plan (not just vanilla play calling). Following the game against “Big Blue” it will be time for Gang Green to prepare for Dallas as the last preseason tilt is as meaningless as it gets as the starters do not even dress for the game.
Injuries- The Jets have taken a cautious approach with injuries this preseason holding out several veteran players from practice and games in order to ensure that they are healthy for the regular season. While I believe that this was the right approach to take, it would be nice to see the entire Jets team take the field for a few drives prior to the regular season. Now I am not saying push the issue with a player that has a substantial injury, but you cannot make up for live hitting especially considering the lack of practice time.
Offense- The New York Jets offense has the chance to be very explosive as they have very good players at all of the important skill positions. The only problem for Gang Green is that all of these playmakers have not been on the field at the same time due to injuries. Presumably Saturday night will be the first time the Jets “big three” wide receiving group will take the field together. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer must begin to find ways to effectively utilize all of his weapons, while quarterback Mark Sanchez continues to develop chemistry with his veteran pass catchers.
Defense- The New York Jets are looking to several young players (Wilkerson, Ellis, Wilson, Westerman, Pitoitua) to play huge roles on defense. The Jets “youth movement” will add size,power, and quickness which can only make a Rex Ryan defense that more dangerous. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine must make sure that these players, especially the rookies, do not get overwhelmed early on, which could not only lead to huge plays, but deteriorated confidence as well.
Special Teams- At this point the Jets special teams units are still to be determined as there are position battles at punter, kicker, and returner. This is far from an ideal situation but not a red flag at this point.
Overall- With all things considered the Jets have a chance to do some very special things in 2011, now it is just a matter of bringing it altogether. The Jets offense could be very explosive while the defense remains one of the best in the NFL. If Rex Ryan and company can piece everything together this could a very exciting season for Jets nation.