What to Look for in Jets Preseason Game No. 2
The New York Jets enter their second preseason game tonight in the nation’s capital against the Washington Redskins with kickoff at 7:30 p.m. The Jets still have a few injured players, but there are a few guys to watch tonight.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is one of those guys. Since he missed a good amount of summer workouts, one of the questions is how long it takes him to feel good in the offense. In last week’s preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fitzpatrick only attempted four passes and completed three of them. This is obviously way too small of a sample size to make any judgements. It should be interesting to see how Todd Bowles manages the workload of Fitzpatrick while still making sure he gets enough reps.
Other than Fitzpatrick, there is a bit of a quarterback race behind him. As of right now, the Jets have four quarterbacks on the roster and there is a chance they could cut one. Odds are they won’t cut Christian Hackenberg because the Jets just drafted him in the second round in this year’s draft. So that leaves one roster spot for Geno Smith and Bryce Petty. Smith and Petty played against the Jaguars and they both threw 14 passes. Smith completed eight of them for 79 yards and threw a touchdown while Petty completed seven passes for 93 yards. Hackenberg is also expected to get some reps tonight despite not getting any last week.
Similarly to Fitzpatrick, I want to see how the receiving core does, specifically Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Last week, Marshall was only targeted once for a reception of three yards. It is important for Fitzpatrick, Marshall and Decker to get on the same page before the season starts so they need their preseason reps together. Just because the trio looked good last season does not mean it carries over. Building chemistry takes time and reps.
Matt Forte and Muhammad Wilkerson probably will not be in action tonight as they are still trying to get healthy. Bowles said that Forte was going at about, “three quarters speed” during practice on Wednesday. He also said that Forte will warm up on Friday but the, “chances are slim” for him to get into the game. Wilkerson’s chances of playing tonight are a little bit better than Forte’s but there is no guarantee he plays either.
As far as the meaning of tonight’s game, Bowles said, “You want to be more polished than you were in game one. We’re going to have more continuity and clean up some of the mistakes we made last week.” To use a cliché, he wants to be a little bit better than last week. But the biggest thing to watch for in my opinion will be how the offensive starters play together and how much game action they see.
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