A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan. It would also give them some sense of momentum heading into the regular season, especially with a tough slate of games to open the campaign.
The fourth preseason game is usually a time for the young players and back-ups to get some much-needed snaps. It always becomes an intriguing game with positional battles as teams cut from 75 players down to 53 players later this week.
And with the practice squad now expanded to 10 players this year, there is more intrigue as to who will stick around.
Metro looks at three things to watch as the Jets travel to Philly (7 p.m., CBS2).
1. Vick returns ‘home’
Michael Vick left Philadelphia this offseason after five seasons with the Eagles for a trip up the New Jersey Turnpike to the Jets. Injuries kept him on the sidelines for a good chunk of time last year and the emergence of Nick Foles meant he was no longer needed.
“I never want to play second fiddle to anybody, but I just felt like that team was in such a groove that I didn’t want to try to become a distraction even though I could have fought for my position and fought for the job,” Vick said. “I had a great run there with a lot of great memories and accomplished some things that can never be taken away from me. I’m ecstatic about that, thankful and very grateful.”
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Vick get the first series so the Philadelphia fans can acknowledge him. To his credit, he’s said and done everything right with the Jets so far and hasn’t rocked the boat at all.
2. Young players make an impact
The fourth preseason game always means young players get a chance to step up and see extended minutes. It will be interesting to see how second-year lineman Oday Aboushi continues his development at guard as he’s taken a step forward in his development. Zach Thompson, an undrafted rookie free agent who is a defensive lineman out of Wake Forest, will be looking to make a bid for the practice squad with another strong performance. Even some draft picks, such as quarterback Tajh Boyd, will be looking to make the squad. Boyd has struggled in training camp and will need a monumental performance to overcome Matt Simms as the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.
3. Over the Hill
Despite being a second-round pick two years ago, it isn’t assured wide receiver Stephen Hill will be on the roster after another lackluster preseason. Hill looked good in offseason workouts, but disappears when he puts on pads. Despite an abundance of natural talent, he just isn’t a football player at this point of his development. His blocking is fine, but may not be enough to keep him on this roster, especially with the emergence of Greg Salas. He might be able to salvage a roster spot if he can get open and make some plays Thursday. That’s a big if, however, when it comes to Hill.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.