By Greg Sulik @GregSulik on August 19, 2014
The New York Jets have gotten off to a 2-0 start this preseason, but their biggest test comes in Week 3 against their crosstown rival New York Giants. The starters play most of the game in the third week of the preseason, and this is the final trial run to get prepared for the regular season. The Jets still have a few starting jobs on the line and some players who need to step up, and these are five key players to watch in Week 3.
Amaro has caught four passes for 42 yards through the Jets' first two games, and he played quite a bit as a traditional in-line tight end against the Bengals. If Eric Decker and Jeff Cumberland return against the Giants, we should be able to see how Marty Mornhinweg plans to use all the weapons at his disposal. This game is a big opportunity for Amaro to carve out a role and prove that he is ready to be one of the Jets’ top receiving options.
Oday Aboushi started at left guard ahead of Winters against the Bengals, and although Winters remains the favorite to start Week 1, it is clear that there is a legitimate competition here. Assuming Winters starts against the Giants, he needs to perform well in pass protection and ditch the stupid penalties. If he can't do that, his starting job is no longer guaranteed.
There has been talk of Coples losing his starting job to Jason Babin, even though Coples has been the better player in preseason. Still, he has yet to live up to his first round draft status as he enters his third season, and it is time for him to step up and make an impact. The Giants have a questionable offensive line, and this could be a big opportunity for Coples to build some confidence as a pass rusher and prove that he deserves to start.
Patterson should be able to return for this game, and the Jets need him to play well. Ellis Lankster and Antonio Allen started last game, but Patterson will take over for one of them if healthy. He struggled in the Week 1 win over the Colts, so the Jets need to see something from one of their most important free agent signings. If Patterson can't nail down a starting job, the Jets will have a big problem at corner.
The quarterback competition appears to be over for the Jets (some would say it never started), and Smith is going to be under center in Week 1. He has been decent this preseason, but the third preseason game is by far the most intense and the starters should play well into the third quarter. How well Smith performs against an improved Giants' pass defense will be a good indication of what the Jets can expect from him this season.
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