With the Jets’ final dress rehearsal scheduled for Thursday night against the Eagles, fans, players and coaches await for what the team may look like come Week 1. As always, some players will be making one last push to secure a spot on the roster, while others will get the opportunity to scan over the playbook one last time.
The finale of the preseason tends to be the least exciting, at least for some. Starters usually see minimal, if any, time on the field. Scores will be wonky and sloppy play is certainly expected. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch.
Here are five things to watch for as Gang Green enters their final preseason game:
It was nice knowin’ ya, Teddy Bridgewater. The Jets flipped a $500k investment into a 3rd round pick when they traded Bridgewater to the Saints on Wednesday. That means all signs point to the Sam Darnold getting the Week 1 nod.
And if that is indeed the case, we won’t see much of him Thursday night in Philadelphia. The Jets will want to play it safe, likely limiting him to a series, if anything. The same goes for Josh McCown, who will be crucial to the team as a viable backup if Darnold goes down.
So, who’s playing? Enter John Wolford. Expect to see a lot of the recent signee on Thursday night as he will attempt to secure his spot as the Jets’ QB 3. Wolford was a four-year starter at Wake Forest. In his senior year, he led the ACC with 29 touchdowns. The Jets will hope to see him make some smart plays in his first NFL game.
John Wolford was set to begin a full-time finance job in two weeks.
Now it's on hold for a shot to play Thursday night.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 28, 2018
The Jets basically have their top four wide receiver spots locked in. Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, Terrelle Pryor and Quincy Enunwa top the list. However, the Jets have seen some bright spots from others throughout camp and the preseason.
One name to watch out for is Tre McBride, who has showcased his ability to secure a spot all throughout the preseason. He’ll have his final attempt on Thursday against Philadelphia, so watch for him to have a break out game. In three games thus far, he’s secured 4-of-5 targets for 40 yards, including two impressive catches on third down
Running Back Cycle
In the most likely scenario, the bulk of the Jets’ carries will be divvied up among Thomas Rawls, rookie Trenton Cannon, George Atkinson, and recently signed vet Charcandrick West. Cannon seems to be the frontrunner out of the four to find his way onto the active roster after flashing in camp and other preseason games. For the other three, it may very well come down to who has the best outing on Thursday to continue to find themselves in the Green & White.
Kicking for a Spot
The Jets recently parted ways with kicker Cairo Santos, who was dealing with a lingering injury all throughout camp and preseason. Left to compete for the job is the underdog, rookie Taylor Bertolet, and recently signed Jason Myers.
Bertolet has been impressive throughout the preseason, and should find his way to the active roster with a perfect outing on Thursday. Myers may get a few attempts as well, but all eyes will be on the rookie, as the Jets want to feel comfortable entering the season with him as the starter.
In somewhat of a surprising fashion, the Jets scoring defense has been stellar this preseason. Through the first three games, the Jets have not allowed a single TD on defense thus far. In comparison, no other team has allowed fewer than two.
Zero TDs allowed on defense so far this preseason.
No other team has allowed fewer than 2.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 27, 2018
Watch for the Jets defense to make this a staple for what is to come this regular season. With Philadelphia unlikely to play many of their starters, the Jets will have ample opportunity to keep that streak alive. Though it is somewhat meaningless in the bout of the preseason, the Jets’ defense should take it in as a stronghold and carry the same mentality into Week 1 vs Detroit.