I tend to watch preseason games differently from regular NFL games. During regular games, I watch the entire play because I want to see who makes or breaks something. In preseason, the result of the games is irrelevant so I focus on certain individual players who are question marks and how they look. It is not necessarily indicative of success in the regular season. Compiling a list of preseason Jets standouts in the past five years, one would see David Clowney, Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff, and Vernon Gholston. With that said, here are the guys on whom my focus will be tonight.
Vladimir Ducasse: With Brandon Moore out, Ducasse might see more time at guard than tackle. I am still very interested to see how he looks. A year ago during preseason, it took me watching a few snaps to realize he was probably not going to help the Jets in 2010. Tonight will be our first look to see how much better he has gotten.
Muhammad Wilkerson: The Jets are asking him to handle a lot replacing Shaun Ellis. We get a chance now to look at his strength and technique.
Ropati Pitoitua: He looked like he might be able to help the Jets last year before a devastating preseason injury. The coaches felt like he was finally showing some consistency after years of development. At his size, he can be a monster depending on how much the injury took out of him.
Jamaal Westerman: We keep hearing about what he is doing in camp. Can he translate that to the field and finally give the Jets a guy who can get to the quarterback on his own?
Matthew Mulligan: Rex Ryan has been talking about how great his tight ends have been and how much he loves the guys behind Dustin Keller. That is a bit tough to believe considering how hard the team went after Todd Heap. In Mulligan, I would settle for a guy who does a Ben Hartsock impersonation as a blocker while not being a complete black hole as a receiver.
Jeff Cumberland: The Jets stashed him on the roster last year so they saw something in the tight end worth developing. How far has he come? Can he perhaps emerge as the second receiving threat at the position?
Jeremy Kerley: He looked like a playmaker at TCU. Almost all of the reports out of unsanctioned team workouts and camp have been positive. Now we get a chance to see what he can do in an NFL game setting. He is probably going to handle it as a kickoff and punt returner. Can he make fans forget about Brad Smith?