by Christian Mott
The offseason for the New York Jets was one of change. Christopher Johnson gave the ownership role back to his brother Woody. The first time head coach in Rob Saleh was brought in. On top of that, a slew of new talent was brought in from Corey Davis and Carl Lawson in free agency, and BYU quarterback Zach Wilson and Alijah Vera-Tucker in the draft.
After months of silence and building hype within the fandom, the new look New York Jets and get their first chance to brand themselves against the Giants on Saturday. With that being said, here are three things to look forward to in the Jets 2021 debut.
1. Who will win the WR battle?
One of the many things the 2020 Jets lacked was talent at the receiver position. In the offseason, Jets GM Joe Douglas made sure that was addressed. Bringing in veterans like Keelan Cole and Corey Davis to drafting Elijah Moore, the core is now much improved. With that being the case, the Jets have a plethora of receivers now on the roster and need to figure out who’s the odd man out. After Jamison Crowder restructured his deal, Davis and Cole seem to be safe bets. However, second round receivers Denzel Mims and Elijah Moore will also be fighting for reps.
Saleh has spoken plenty about Moore this training camp.
“He’s already ahead of the game in how he studies and takes care of himself.” Saleh said.
The bubble guys, however, are the real talk. Some of these guys include Braxton Berrios, Jeff Smith and Vincent Smith. At least one of them will have to go. Expect the competition to be furious. Also, expect all the receivers to be rotated in early and often.
2. Debute of Zach Wilson
The Jets are bringing quite a young roster into the preseason headlined by their big three. Zach wilson, after finishing a three month contract dispute, will finally have his first chance to show his stuff this weekend. The number two pick will give Jets fans a first preview of hopefully their franchise QB.
He is not the only headline rookie taking the field. Jets fans can take a good first look at the entire rookie class. A few rookies to really key in on are LB Hamsah Nasirildeen, RB Micheal Carter and undrafted free agents Isash Dunn and TE Kenny Yeboah. Each of these players have looked good in training camp and have gotten reps with the first team. All these guys have the chance to make the roster or even start and a large factor will depend on they play in these preseason games. With the league now only having three preseason games, these reps are more important than ever.
3. Saleh’s Debut
While most of the focus will be on the players in this preseason, the main focus will be all on Rob Saleh and his staff. After being one of the more saught after head coaching choices in quite some time, he finally has a gig in New York. He was previously the defensive coordinator in San Francisco and had jobs with the Jaguars, Seahawks and Texans prior to that. Saleh for the first time ever will show the people what he can do as a head coach.
The 42-year-old and his staff, which includes Mike LaFluer and Jeff Ulbrich, will earn their stripes in the league. They are ultimately great coaches who should take and maximize what Saleh proved he could do in San Francisco last year. Now, he has to show he can manage both sides of the ball and that will be the real test for this preseason. Everything takes time and Saleh and his staff will have to maximize this time to adjust to the new setting.
For avid Jets fans, the last decade was brutal. For the first time in a while, the Jets truly have a direction going forward. Now with this preseason game against the Giants, the Jets have the opportunity to rejuvenate a fan base that has been starving for a championship.
Featured image courtesy USA TODAY