The Detroit Lions and New York Jets are just hours away from kicking off preaseason play for 2013. In anticipation of tonight’s game, I got together for a quick Q&A with Alan Schechter of The Jet Press.
1. What is the general buzz coming out of Jets camp so far?
The general buzz has been one of cautious optimism. Nobody thinks that the Jets are going to be any good, which is a great position. Rex’s teams have always performed better as an underdog than as the favorites. Everyone things that the defense will be fine, with Rex leading the way. No matter what he lacks in offense, he can run a top flight defense. The question is how will Marty Mornhinweg’s offense perform? We have had some surprise performers on offense so far during camp. We all are anxious to see them get on the field.
2. What do you hope to see out of Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith against the Lions?
I am looking to see which if these guys is ready to lead. This is definitely Mark’s final shot to be the starter in NY, and it may be his final shot to start anywhere. Mark will be starting the game, but both he and Geno will be playing with the starters. Has Mark improved to the point where he can take this team to the next level? Or, is Geno going to begin his time as the future of this team? We will begin to see some insight into this on Friday night.
3. Aside from the quarterbacks, who are you most excited to see play?
I would have said the running backs, but Chris Ivory is injured, and Mike Goodson is missing in action. Therefore, the first group I am watching is the offensive line. The line took about half of a season to get things together in 2012, and that will be too long. Everyone is saying that the line has been first rate in 2013 so far, I want to see it. There are also some undrafted free agent wide receivers that we are looking forward to watching. As we know, thanks to Mark Sanchez and the contract Mike T gave him, John Idzik has had to scrimp for pennies to improve the team. To improve the wide receiver corp, he has predominantly looked to UDFAs, led by Ryan Spadola from Lehigh. He is moving up the ranks quickly and someone that Marty Mornhinweg is talking up greatly, saying that he may make the team. He even spent time with the first string during this week.
4. Again aside from quarterback, what is a hot camp battle in Jets camp that Lions fans should be aware of?
Well, the punters and kickers are battling it out. Ha ha, just kidding. The two areas that we are keeping an eye on are wide receivers and safeties. I mentioned the wide receivers before. Who is going to step up now that Santonio Holmes is going to miss at least a portion of the regular season? This is a crucial one, for obvious reasons. The other battle is at safety. We have Antonio Allen, Josh Bush, Dawan Landry, and Jaiquawn Jarrett battling for the two starting spots. It’s a new group, after LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell defected to other teams. Who is going to step up there?
5. Rex Ryan has preached high expectations since taking over as Jets coach, is that realistic this season given the unsettled quarterback situation and is his seat getting warm?
His seat is getting quite warm. I figure that he will have to have a rather successful season to keep his job. As we all know, it’s rare when a GM is stuck with a coach, even for one year. Rex Ryan will have to have the team put its best foot forward in order to be here long term. Can they be successful? A lot of the experts are saying no. I say, why not? All of these teams are very close, it is what makes our league so great. The Jets finished 6-10 last year, but a few plays here, a few plays there, they could have been 9-7. Anything can happen in an NFL season so I say, sure, they can be good.
For more on the Jets, head to The Jet Press.