The Jets aren’t going to solve any of their perceived flaws in Friday night’s preseason matchup against the Lions. At game’s end, the team will still be mired in quarterback controversy, Santonio Holmes will remain injured and Rex Ryan will still be a lame-duck head coach.
But if the Jets are ever going to overcome last season’s turmoil, Friday would be a great time to start.
On paper, this roster does not have the talent to compete for a playoff berth. But football games aren’t played on paper and every season players emerge from the bottom of depth charts to contribute meaningfully.
Quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith will likely only play a handful of snaps each, leaving the door open for Matt Simms and Greg McElroy to showcase their abilities. Running back Joe McKnight will have an opportunity to stake his claim for a roster spot, while Clyde Gates and Titus Ryan compete to fill out the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart.
On defense, we’ll get to see how 2012 first-round pick Quinton Coples has developed as a linebacker. At 6-foot-6 and 290 pounds, Coples is among the NFL’s largest linebackers. It remains unknown if he has the speed to play on the outside.
With the sweeping changes that consumed the Jets offseason, this franchise kicks off against Detroit with a clean slate. For those with something to prove, perhaps no further motivation is needed.