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  • Craig Gorbunoff

The Return of the Preseason: Who to watch in Jets vs Jaguars

After the delay of the return of football in the insanity that was Hall of Fame Weekend, NFL fans will finally be able to do what we’ve dreamed of since the Super Bowl… watch football! The New York Jets will open their exhibition play against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are a young team with a bright future and a dynamic offense, now with former NYJ Chris Ivory. While the preseason isn’t a time where you’ll see starters and veterans, it’s an exciting time to see the depth of the team, as well as if younger players can make their mark.

There’s a number of players to keep an eye on for both teams. Starting with the Linebackers, I am so excited to see Dante Fowler Jr, the number 3 overall pick from last years draft make his way onto the field after missing his rookie campaign due to an Achilles injury. Him alongside with Myles Jack should hopefully get some playing time and the Jags can get a preview of what their pass rush may be. For the Jets Linebackers, there’s a huge competition happening. We will see little of vets like David Harris and Erin Henderson, but expect 1st round pick Darron Lee, 3rd round pick Jordan Jenkins, and offseason acquisitions like former CFL star Freddie Bishop to play and hopefully make an impact.

At WR, the Jets have another position battle. I’m looking forward to seeing Kenbrell Thompkins, Quincy Enunwa, Charone Peake, and Jalin Marshall make a real impact. Devin Smith, still being on the PUP list, might just lose a roster spot to this year’s new crop of speedy receivers. The Jaguars also have some young receivers trying to make this roster, including a personal favorite of mine Rasheed Bailey, who played for D3 Delaware Valley State. Bailey was on the Eagles last preseason and was a camp standout but didn’t make the cut.

Saving the best for last, the Jets QB situation will finally get some light with this game. I’m hoping to see all of the backup options get some playing time. Geno will play for most of the first quarter after Fitzpatrick’s series I’m sure, Petty most of the 2nd and possibly 3rd quarter. I’m excited to see Hackenberg, if he gets playing time, mostly because I want to see him read a defense and make his progressions, and see if he was a worthy investment. However rookie excitement aside, there is a real battle for QB2 between Petty and Smith, that will start to really develop this preseason. The Jaguars also have a rookie QB who I liked a lot coming out of school, Brandon Allen from Arkansas. The Jags have their established starter and back up in Bortles and Henne, but I can’t help but be excited to see Allen play at this level and hopefully earn a roster spot.

NFL football is almost back ladies and gentleman, and I’ll certainly have my eye on these players.

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