Friday, August 27, 2010

Preseason Week 3: Redskins at Jets Preview

Washington Redskins at New York Jets
Friday, August 27th, 2010: 7:00 PM, New Meadowlands Stadium.

After a sluggish second week of preseason, the Jets come back for their most significant tune-up for the regular season. The starters will play at least the first half and probably into the third quarter. There is no excuse for coming out flat again.

Washington comes in with new coach Mike Shanahan and new quarterback Donovan McNabb, though McNabb won't play because of a sprained ankle. Offensively, they're a bit of a mess without McNabb, so if the Jets' defense struggles, there's a little cause for concern. Defensively, Washington is much more formidable, even with the daily battles with the tempestuous DT Albert Haynesworth.

Mark Sanchez has been a rollercoaster in the first two games, forcing a throw that was intercepted on his first pass, then completing 13 of his next 16 passes against the Giants. But last week, in one of the ugliest football games you'll ever see, Sanchez went 5-10 for just 12 yards. Washington is a good test for him, as the Redskins can still play some defense, and there are simply too many weapons on this offense to throw for just 12 yards on 10 throws.

Sanchez is the player to watch. It'll be interesting to see who he's developing a rapport with the most, whether it's Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, or even Santonio Holmes if he ever gets some run with the first team. Just as long as he throws to the men wearing green and white.

If you watched Hard Knocks on Wednesday, you got a peek inside the Jets' decision-making process when it comes to making the final roster. Players like WRs David Clowney and Larry Taylor and RBs Danny Woodhead, Chauncey Washington, and Jason Davis are all battling for roster spots. All these players may win their jobs on special teams more than anything else, since all of them would be buried on the depth chart. At least Clowney might get an early look with Holmes out.

For those of you old-school football fans who like to watch the game from the inside out, there's plenty of people to watch in the trenches. Matt Slauson is going to start at left guard, but can he pass protect well enough to keep the job? Will Vladimir Ducasse start to make strides? And who will replace Ropati Pitoitua in the defensive line rotation? The most obvious beneficiaries are Matt Kroul and Rodrique Wright, but neither has their roster spot guaranteed.

And finally, how will Vernon Gholston look? Rex Ryan has been talking him up for the second straight year, but he showed a lot of improvement last week against Carolina and may have been the best defensive player in the game in the 2nd half. It is his third year. Maybe the game is slowing down for him in a new position and he can be an effective player in a new role. Or maybe he can play well in spurts against backups but that's it. With Pitoitua gone, Gholston will probably be the first defensive end off the bench behind Shaun Ellis and Mike DeVito, so his improvement could really help this team out.

This game won't offer any definitive answers, just clues towards them. What are you most looking forward to seeing this week?

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