Jets vs. Bengals: 3 things to watch
The Jets will get the chance to fight someone other than themselves on Friday when they play their first game of preseason at the Bengals.
3 things to watch for
1. The New Look Offense
With new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano in charge, the Jets have promised a return to the “ground and pound” that battered its way to consecutive AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010.
The Jets got away from that philosophy last year, leaning heavily on a passing game that was inept for much of the season. Sparano likes to run the ball with a smash-mouth style that prefers a quick tempo, something that will be seen on Friday night.
“I like playing against [our defense] because if we can block this group out here and understand what we’re seeing, I think the game will slow down a little for us,” Sparano said.
2. Fight Club
A lot has been made of the Jets’ scuffles this week, including one on Monday that involved 20 players and made national headlines.
The reality of the situation is that fights are a part of training camp and roll around this time of year, often right before the first preseason game. Players are tired of training camp and going up against the same competition on a daily basis. Saturday night will be a breath of fresh air and the chance to hit someone not in a green or white jersey.
“We’re ready to hit another color jersey,” tight end Dustin Keller said. “While you’re going against your team and competing against the best defense in the NFL is all good and great, but you want to get out there and get some live work and a real feel for where this offense is.”
3. The Debut of What’s His Name
Sometime around the second quarter, Tim Tebow will run onto the field with the second-team offense and his play will become the focal point of the rest of the game.
It is doubtful Tebow, the backup quarterback, will be utilized in the Wildcat package or on special teams, but he will surely get traditional snaps under center. Head coach Rex Ryan said he didn’t foresee Tebow getting snaps with the first team offense, but knows the importance of getting him snaps in the new offense.
“It’s a new offense and I think everybody needs reps. Will we extend the first offense more than a quarter? We’ll see,” Ryan said. “I think Tim and everybody else needs the opportunity to go against live competition. I think that’s where he excels.”
Expect the Jets to keep any special plays or wrinkles close to the chest and not unveil anything in preseason.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for news throughout preseason.