Hey folks! It's game day! Okay, it's pre-season, but that's not stopping me from wearing my game day jersey and settling in like it's the playoffs. In fact, the game today is the closest to the regular season that we'll see in the pre-season, since the starters will remain in through three quarters. As a result, the backups will get very limited time (next week is their time to shine, as the starters will be benched throughout the game). As we saw last week, one of our non-starters, Austin Howard, shot up the ranks and was promoted to a starter. Maybe we'll see the same this week with one of these players.
- OLB Aaron Maybin - "Mayhem" Maybin leads our list. After absolutely destroying the first team offense in training camp, Maybin hasn't shown very much thus far in the pre-season. I suspect a lot of this has to do with our vanilla defenses, and the limited time he's had in with the starting defensive line. With a vanilla defense, you're not going to see a ton of stunts and other tricks to confuse blockers and help him bust free with his speed. Without the starting line, it's going to be harder to tie up blockers to let him get the edge or break through the middle. In his situational role, hopefully the Jets can get into some third-and-long situations and let Maybin pin his ears back and just go to town on Cam Newton.
- G Vlad Ducasse - In what time he's had, I've been very impressed with Ducasse. He hasn't been perfect, but as we've said numerous times here, the dude can flat-out maul in the run game. If Austin Howard is Wayne Hunter-esque, I wouldn't be surprised if they kick Matt Slauson out to the tackle position and bring Ducasse in at his spot. In other cases, he, along with Hunter, might be used as an extra TE in the jumbo set to help block.
- CB Kyle Wilson - When your two outside corners are Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, quarterbacks are going to try to force feed the ball to whomever they aren't covering. Because of that, Wilson is in a difficult position. I am not positive, but I believe Wilson will be matched up against Louis Murphy for most of the game. It should be a good challenge.
- ILB Demario Davis - As we saw two weeks ago against the Cincinnati Bengals, Bart Scott still has a long way to go in pass coverage. That's where Davis comes in. His speed and hard-hitting ability will be great on third downs when he's forced to cover say, TE Greg Olson.
- RB Joe McKnight - Bilal Powell has been making a strong run for McKnight's job as the third down back. Although he failed to impress against the Bengals, Powell ran well against the New York Giants. McKnight is going to need a big game to keep Powell at bay and to hold on to his job. I expect him to do so, as the most electric player currently on the Jets offense.