It’s MetLife Bowl week with the New York Giants facing the New York Jets in preseason action Saturday evening. With that in mind, we turn to SB Nation’s Gang Green Nation for some insight into the Jets. GGN’s Scott Salmon answers our queries in this week’s “Five Questions” segment.
Ed: Can the Jets really afford to keep four quarterbacks? Who is the odd man out if they let someone go?
Scott: I don't believe so, but they seem intent on doing it. They really want to red-shirt Christian Hackenberg and don't want him to see the field, at all. But they also know he'll get snapped up if they try and put him on the practice squad. So as far as they're concerned, it's really just Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, and Bryce Petty. Part of me thinks they've been flaunting Petty in an attempt to trade him, but the Jets are so quiet these days, it's impossible to tell. Given Smith's almost negligible cost and his experience over Petty, it's hard to see them letting him go for nothing.
Ed: This is the "dress rehearsal" game for the regular season. What are the key things you are hoping to see from the Jets?
Scott: I'd like to see some first-team offense. The Jets defense has mostly been fine, despite guys like Muhammad Wilkerson and Darrelle Revis not playing. The backups are even playing well. But the first-team offense has sputtered after playing well-above what we're used to last year, so that's a concern. I'd also like to see some better play from Geno Smith. He was playing exceptionally well in training camp, then sputtered the last two weeks. Barring injury to Fitzpatrick, this is likely his last shot to convince the team to sign him to a new contract as he rides the pine the rest of the season.
Ed: Damon Harrison has quickly become a fan favorite with the Giants. How much did you hate to see the Jets lose him?
Scott: Ugh, it was awful. Big Snacks is great and you're lucky to have him. I'm glad he finally got paid, too. Fortunately, the Jets always seem to have good linemen in reserve, so I'm not too worried about the on-the-field product, but it always hurts to see a good player like that leave.
Ed: What are realistic expectations for the Jets this season?
Scott: I think this is a playoff-capable team. But they have the hardest schedule in the league, so I think that, like last year, they come up just short again. Fitzpatrick just isn't good enough to elevate the team; he'll only go as far as Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker will carry him.
Ed: Tell us about some unknown or unheralded young players we might look for Saturday night?
Scott: Watch out for Jalin Marshall. He's been an absolute stud at wide receiver so far. I would also watch out for the linebackers; between Darron Lee and Lorenzo Mauldin (Jordan Jenkins seems to have a calf injury), the Jets have some youth out there that's looked pretty good thus far.