Previewing the Jets’ Preseason Opener
The long wait is almost over for fans of Gang Green. The New York Jets will kick off their preseason Thursday night when they take on the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium.
Earlier this week, head coach Rex Ryan announced that sophomore quarterback Geno Smith would start the game. Many assume he will be named the team’s starting quarterback over veteran Michael Vick. Smith is currently listed atop the Jets’ depth chart.
“I’ve been happy with the way he’s looked,” Ryan said of his sophomore signal-caller when the announcement was made.
Ryan made it clear that he wants to see results from Smith in the opener.
“I want to see some production too, and I think we’ll see it,” Ryan said. “But I know he’ll (Smith) have the command out of him, but, let’s have some production. I think we will.”
After investing a year in Smith in 2013, the job is clearly his to lose. Vick has arguably been better than Smith in practice so far, but as of right now, the future of this team rests with Smith. If healthy, it would be hard to imagine anyone else taking the field when the team opens the regular season against the Oakland Raiders.
As for Thursday, Ryan provided some details on what to expect from his starters.
‘I think our starters will probably play into the second quarter, so play the first quarter and maybe a series or so into the second quarter,” he said. “That’s where you’ll see Mike Vick.”
Ryan added that Vick would most likely get a series with the first team. He will be relieved by Matt Simms, who will be followed by rookie Tajh Boyd.
Another position that is sure to see some competition this season is running back. As of now, Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson and Bilal Powell are the guys worth talking about. Ivory had a lot of success in limited time with the Jets last year, while Johnson, a newcomer, will look to regain the explosive form he once displayed while rushing for 2000 yards with the Tennessee Titans.
Ivory fits the classic Jets’ ground and pound style of running, while CJ2K brings a more dynamic, home run threat to the rushing attack.
“I definitely think it’s going to be the committee approach when you have Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson and Bilal Powell, I would think that’s a pretty safe bet,” Ryan said when asked if there would be a clear cut starter. “These are three guys that are capable of being starters themselves, so I think we’ll play all of them and we will ride the hot hand.”
As for what he wants to see from his defense on Thursday, Ryan had a joke tucked away.
“As luck would have it, we play a heck of a quarterback,” Ryan said of Colts’ star Andrew Luck. “It is a great opportunity, you are going against a team with a great quarterback, a marquee quarterback. That (TY) Hilton guy is a stud receiver. They have some good receiving tight ends, and they like to run the football. I think it’s going to be a good test for our defense and a good test for them, too.”
Several players will be questionable or unavailable for the game. Rookie wide receiver Shaq Evans suffered a severe shoulder injury that could end his season and safety Calvin Pryor, another rookie, will likely miss the game as he recovers from a concussion. He has been cleared for contact.
Other Jets players dealing with injuries and ailments include wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (illness), Powell (hamstring), tackle Brent Qvale (concussion), tackle Markus Zusevics (knee) and cornerback Dimitri Patterson (ankle/calf). Eric Decker (hamstring), the team’s new N0. 1 receiver, is expected to play Thursday despite being a tad banged up.
The Jets and Colts are set to start at 7 p.m. EDT. Coverage will be on CBS.
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