At the first preseason game, position battles are seldom settled. Here are three to keep an eye on tonight.
Brian Winters had a rough rookie year. He really did not earn the right to start without a camp fight. He is getting it from Oday Aboushi. There have been reports that Aboushi is impressing. Tonight is our first chance to see how genuine his improvement might be. Guard is something of a question mark for the Jets. There was some talk that Willie Colon might not be a lock to start at right guard, but recent buzz is suggesting the Jets aren't being as competitiony with Colon as they might. His job seems to be secure at the moment while the two sophomores battle it out at the other guard position. Given Colon's injury history, odds are probably decent the loser of the left guard battle will see playing time this year.
Stephen Hill is having a nice camp, but it's one thing to play well in camp. Has he improved the many raw technical areas of the game enough that he will start to have success on Sunday? The player he could be in theory would be a perfect complement to Eric Decker. Theoretical Hill who can assert his size, get deep, and serve as a big target on short and intermediate routes has been a rare sighting. Greg Salas is reportedly playing well. David Nelson is the known reliable quantity. Although his ceiling is much lower, his floor is also.
We all know the Jets are doing everything they can to get Geno Smith to win the starting job, but don't sleep on this battle. A bad Geno outing can start to make the Jets consider giving Michael Vick a bigger look. There is another scenario to watch. What if Geno plays pedestrian ball, and Vick looks like the old electric Vick. That might start to plant the seed that the Jets should consider the veteran. It might not happen by Week 1, but the temptation will be in people's minds if Geno starts the regular season off slow. The bottom line is no matter how badly people want to claim this is not a story, it is and will be one until Geno grabs this job by the throat and shows he without a doubt is the franchise quarterback the Jets have been waiting decades to find.