Jets @ Eagles: Reasons To Watch

The New York Jets travel to Philadelphia this Thursday night to wrap up the preseason against the Eagles. The game will be both team’s final preseason game before the start of the NFL season.

The final preseason game for the last several years for the Jets has been lackluster. Starters were apparent, and most if not all sat the game out.

The Jets have trimmed the roster down to 75 players and will use this game to make a handful of other roster decisions before setting the final 53-man group. The Jets still have several position competitions ongoing. Fans won’t see their favorites on the field, but this one is certainly worth a watch this year.

Todd Bowles and his coaching staff are in for a busy night evaluating the make up of the 53-man roster that will be the 2016 Jets. NFL teams are required to be at 53 players by 4 p.m. on Sept. 3. That’s not much time for the staff to make some difficult choices.

Reasons To Watch:

Unlike years past, the team has an abundance of young talent vying for spots. Competitions are ongoing at right tackle, tight end, wide receiver and of course cornerback. The game will give the coaching staff and fans a chance to get a good long look at those players fighting for a spot. For some, this will be their final shot to make an NFL roster.

If you’re like many veteran Jet fans, you’ve spent your summer watching and rooting. As a result, you’ve likely found a favorite prospect. This game gives fans a prolonged look at that their favorite prospect, and an opportunity to root for them.

The game this year is also about the team’s future. Mixed in among the prospects are players that will impact the team in 2016 and beyond. Development is key to any football team. This finale will allow us a look at how a variety of players have taken to pro coaching this summer.

Who To Watch:

The quarterbacks will gather the most attention from fans on Thursday. As we learned from Todd Bowles yesterday, both Ryan Fitzpatrick and his back up, Geno Smith will not play. Jet fans will see plenty of Bryce Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg.

The announcement that Smith won’t take the field, almost certainly means he’ll be the backup in 2016. Bryce Petty will need to go out there and convince the coaching staff that they need to keep four quarterbacks this season. Petty struggled in his last outing and will need a really good showing to continue on in Green and White.

The fun part of the evening will be watching what Hackenberg brings to the table. Fans are excited about Hackenberg after his debut last week. This week Hackenberg gets extended playing time, so don’t miss this one. Fans won’t get the chance again until 2017, making this an awesome reason to tune in.

Right tackle remains an open competition, as Breno Giacomini attempts to work himself back from a nagging back issue. The team has tried a number of players at the position this summer, so it is a must watch Thursday. The two primary players vying for the job are Ben Ijalana and Brent Qvale. Both will play Thursday night.

The starting wide receiver starters are set, and will sit this one out. Behind them however is a young, deep, talented group. Jalin Marshall, Robby Anderson, and Charone Peake are all talented receivers locked in a fierce battle. The group as a whole makes for a must watch situation for Jet fans.

Cornerback is another ongoing battle this summer, and this game is the last chance to sort out the situation. Dee Milliner, Dexter McDougle, Juston Burris, and Bryson Keeton have all been in the mix this summer. Keep a close eye on the position Thursday, it’s been a hard fought battle this summer. It all comes down to this.

The tight end competition has been far from exciting this summer. Jace Amaro, Zach Sudeld and Wes Saxton all have had their chances this summer. Unfortunately, none of them has truly grabbed the opportunity. This is their final chance to shine before the cuts come. For Saxton and Sudfeld, it may be the last time you see them in green and white. Stay tuned on the position.

The table is set for the preseason finale. This year, unlike recent years, there remains key questions to be answered. The game will help the coaching staff make some difficult decisions in the days ahead. The Jets’ future will be impacted. That alone is a good enough reason to tune in.

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