FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – One down, three to go as the New York Jets now enter the bread and butter of their preseason schedule. Friday's game against the Atlanta Falcons a chance to atone for last week's 23-3 loss at the Detroit Lions.
The starters will get more of a run this week than just the one series that many of the first-choice regulars played against the Lions. This will be telling as the offense now has a chance to gel with what will be Ryan Fitzpatrick's second preseason game as starter.
Three Things to Watch in the Jets Second Preseason Game:
Fitzmagic – Last week against the Lions wasn't gaudy by Fitzpatrick, who completed two of his three passes for 16 yards. But now with a couple more practices to get in sync with the offense, Fitzpatrick should be more accustomed to throwing with the starters. He's looked sharp in practice this week and he does a great job of leading his receivers, allowing them to catch the ball in stride. In particular, he is getting good reps with wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.
“I think it’s good,” Fitzpatrick said. “They’re two guys that have played a lot of football they’re very quarterback friendly, that’s made the transition pretty easy for me.”
Kerley Can Make a Statement – Demoted to the second team in recent weeks, Jeremy Kerley's absence from the offense, on paper, is puzzling. He signed a long-term deal last year but has been getting little of the ball in training camp or preseason. Last season, Kerley was automatic on third down and was growing into a real threat with the ball in his hands. Now, it appears that he is out of favor with the new offense which is puzzling given his ability to play in the slot or outside plus his value as a punt returner. Friday night could be a chance for him to make his case for a bigger role.
Tackling Issue – Last week against the Lions, it was like the Jets were trying to tackle a greased pig, the technique for tackling was just poor. Repeatedly, they let the Lions churn out major yardage after the catch by failing to wrap-up efficiently. Head coach Todd Bowles last week said that the tackling issue was his top concern after the Lions game. It should improve this week; if not there is major cause for concern.