The Jets will get a final preseason look at their starters Saturday night when they host the Saints at MetLife Stadium.
It will be one last chance to work out the glitches and get everyone together with the season opener against the Bills coming just two weeks from Sunday. The starters are not expected to play in the preseason finale against the Eagles on Thursday.
For new head coach Adam Gase and the Jets, it has been a positive training camp. Other than the loss of Avery Williamson for the season to a torn ACL and the four-game suspensions for Chris Herndon and Brandon Copeland, there have been a lot of good vibes around this Jets team.
“I think where our locker room is right now, where guys are really working hard and trying to focus on creating the best team we can possibly be,” Gase said. “The unselfishness here is outstanding. Guys just, they work. It’s not about them, it’s about the team and I’ve been very impressed with how our players have gone about their business.”
Here are five things the Jets need to see against the Saints before shifting into regular-season mode:
A strong Sam
Second-year quarterback Sam Darnold has had an outstanding training camp. The coaching staff is excited to see what he can do in a new offense, and he looks confident. The key Saturday will be to get him out of the game healthy. The nightmare scenario for the Jets would be an injury to Darnold. Gase said he may leave the starters in the game for a series in the third quarter. It will be interesting to see how long he keeps Darnold in the game.
The Jets’ depth has been tested in a few spots, especially on defense. Cornerback Trumaine Johnson hopes to return for Week 1, but he will not play Saturday. Look for Tevaughn Campbell to get the start in Johnson’s place, but Arthur Maulet, Marcus Cooper and Alex Brown will all get a look.
At linebacker, Neville Hewitt will step in for Williamson. Harvey Langi and Frankie Luvu will get a crack at replacing Copeland, who is dealing with a thumb injury on top of the four-game suspension.
This will be an opportunity for the backups to prove they can step into the starting voids.
The Ryan game
The Jets signed Ryan Kalil three weeks ago, convincing him to end his brief retirement to play center for them. They have been easing him back into football and this will be his first preseason game. It sounds like he will play for about a quarter. It will be interesting to see if Kalil is able to play full speed or if he looks like everything requires a lot of thinking still.
Just for kicks
The kicker situation has been unstable for the Jets in training camp. Chandler Catanzaro stunk and then retired. Taylor Bertolet came in and missed two extra points last week against the Falcons. Bertolet gets another crack at securing the job against the Saints. If Bertolet stumbles, expect the Jets to look for a new kicker between now and the opener.
Safety Marcus Maye will play in his first game since last November, when he sustained a shoulder injury that ended his season. Maye has been itching to get back on the field, and the Jets will have their safety tandem of Maye and Jamal Adams together for the first time in 2019. Will Maye show any signs of rust?
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