Aug 9, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan on the sidelines in the third quarter of a preseason game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Jets vs. Jaguars: What to Watch for

The New York Jets will face the Jacksonville Jaguars in their second game of the preseason tonight at MetLife Stadium—I know, not exactly the game of games to watch, but hey, when it comes to the Jets there are a lot to things to watch for.

They had mixed results in last week’s loss to the Detroit Lions, so it should be interesting to see if the Jets corrected their mistakes and have improved.

Quarterback battle
Here we go again. All eyes will be on Mark Sanchez, who has been outperforming rookie Geno Smith so far, and the boo birds will come out in full force tonight at MetLife. It’s not known if that decision was made because of Geno’s ankle injury or because Sanchez earned it, but the embattled quarterback has to keep his hot streak going if he wants to start Week 1.

Being that Geno Smith had a “brutal” practice just a few days ago, that may be due to his ankle sprain, will he get to play in tonight’s game?

The Jets organization drafted Smith for a reason, and they must be itching for him to show them something so they can bench Sanchez, but how can he if he’s on the sideline. If he’s able to get through the pain, he’ll be put in, but that may affect his performance.

Jets offense
Before I mention what happened last week, let’s admit one thing: the Jet offense didn’t look terrible. Well, at least not 2012-terrible. It was a breath of fresh air watching the Jets move the chains at times and getting on the score board, compared to last year’s preseason when they struggled to even get field goals (thanks Sparano). The offense mixed it up with screens, downfield throws (yes,they passed) and ran a no-huddle offense.

For tonight, we have to keep an eye on the Jets’ offensive line. They struggled in pass protection, and in run blocking last week against the Detroit Lions. Regardless if Sanchez or Smith is behind center, the unit has to do a better job of protecting their quarterback.

The passing game is a work in progress, but as I mentioned earlier, it has improved. The Jets receivers have shown improvement, and are having big camps, and it may be due to the offense Mornhinweg runs.

Will Chris Ivory play?
The former New Orleans running back may finally make his Jets debut—finally. The Jets brought Ivory in to save their run game. He has the explosiveness and ability to be the team’s No. 1 back, but has been hampered by a hamstring injury that kept him out of practice for two weeks. Chris Ivory did practice this week, and looked good, so if he does play, it should be interesting to see how he plays with his new team and if he will improve the Jets run game.

Against the Lions last week, the Jets ran the ball 16 times for only 37 yards. That’s unacceptable. In order to help their quarterback—whoever it is—they must first run the ball successfully.

The wide receiver battle
Aside from Stephen Hill, Clyde Gates and Jeremy Kerley, the other receivers on the Jets team don’t have their spot on the roster locked down. The undrafted rookie out of Lehigh, Ryan Spadola, is having a very strong training camp and is making it tough for veteran receivers Braylon Edwards and Ben Obomanu to lock down the No. 4 and No. 5 receiver spots.

The Jets receivers don’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of their opponents, but they have been showing enough in training camp, and in their first preseason game, that this unit may be very underrated. They just need to keep performing the way they have been and carry that into tonight and moving forward.

Jets Preseason Game 2

Saturday, August 17th

New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars from Metlife Stadium

7:30 p.m. ET on the NFL Network. You can listen to the game on NFL Audio Pass

Tags: Football Jacksonville Jaguars Mark Sanchez New York Jets NFL

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