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Game Primer: Jets Preseason and More Kickoff Thursday vs. Colts

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Thursday’s preseason matchup versus the Indianapolis Colts will take place at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. at 7:00pm ET. 

For those attending the game: Parking lots open at 2pm; Will Call opens at 4pm; Gates open at 5pm. For full gameday information, including new policies and activities, check on NYJets.com’s Gameday Guide.

For everyone else: The game will be locally broadcasted on CBS and is also available via NFL.com’s Preseason Live (subscription required). ESPN New York 98.7 FM will be carrying the radio broadcast.

Roster Battles Really Begin

It’s one thing to look good in front of the coaches in camp, it’s another thing to step into the bright lights and succeed. Thursday will be the team’s first chance to see their team in live game action.

Wide receiver Stephen Hill has looked improved in camp, but still concerns people like OJT writer Jared, and myself, because he continues to catch the ball with his body. How his development transitions into gameday (when the team is not playing the Bills) remains to be seen. Can he hold onto the ball and flash beyond straight-line speed?

A Gang Green welcome is in order for WR Eric Decker and pass-rusher Jason Babin. Will the team’s investment in Decker pay early dividends (albeit preseason)? Babin’s addition could push the Jets defense over-the-top, should he return to sacking form with the talent surrounding him across the line.

The pass-rush will have to improve in 2014, given the worry the team’s cornerback group may produce. Dee Milliner has looked inconsistent. Dimitri Patterson (if he can even stay healthy) hasn’t flashed. Third-rounder Dexter McDougle has a big learning curve. Not to mention that no one has mentioned Kyle Wilson. How do you compete against the Broncos and Bears of the league with a poor secondary? Maybe a solid showing against Indy can calm some nerves.

A very intriguing battle will once again take place at offensive guard. Incumbent and 2013 third-rounder, Brian Winters, leads the way to be team’s left guard, but will be challenged by Oday Aboushi, a transitioned tackle. Winters probably maintains his starting role for the time being, but his poor play in 2013 was duly noted.

Of course, most eyes will be focused on the play of Geno Smith and Michael Vick. There has been plenty of talk of a smarter and stronger Smith, but will that player make his way onto the field or will rookie-like woes continue. If they do, Vick’s spotlight will grow, and every completion he makes will only add to a media-led ‘start the veteran’ sentiment. Hopefully Geno’s progression is as real as the rhetoric and he can start showing the makings of a franchise QB. But let’s try not to get ahead of ourselves.

Rex Ryan has said that the first-team offense will play through the first quarter and a series or two into the second. Vick is expected to play at least one series with the first-team.

Notables:

S Calvin Pryor, cleared for practice contact following a concussion, has been ruled out of the game.

WR Shaq Evans could be looking at IR, after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in practice.

Colts QB Andrew Luck (and other high-profile teammates like WR TY Hilton) are expected to see very minimal action — possibly just one series of work.

ICYMI: The Jets’ first depth chart has been released. Click Here to view.

Brian Johnson

About Brian Johnson

Brian was born in Yonkers, NY and raised in Wappingers Falls, NY. At a very young age, Brian liked Drew Bledsoe and the Patriots. Yet, he grew up quickly, and realized it was only a means to rebel against his Jet-loving dad and brother. Brian (since about 10 yrs of age), bleeds Green and White. He’s the creator of this here website, on a mission to separate the real news from the backpage hyperbole.

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