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Jets vs. Lions: 10 Things I'm Looking For Ahead of the First Preseason Game

The wait is almost over, well for some resemblance of Jets football. The starters will play very little but we'll learn a lot more about the back-end of our roster as we hurtle towards the game against Cleveland.

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1- Geno Smith

It seems crazy to me to be fearful of fan reaction in a pre-season game, but then again Geno got booed at a green and white scrimmage which is basically a glamorized practice. I don't agree with it, but it's impossible to argue that it's wrong lor right as it's so heavily based on opinion. Geno threw his first interceptions in camp yesterday and like Bowles said, as much as Geno is trying to complete his passes, the defensive backs are paid to pick them off, so sometimes he's going to lose. Fortunately the first game is on the road, but social media noise is always notable, if Geno tosses a pick then he'll get absolutely crucified. How the new and improved Geno performs will be interesting.

The DBs made good plays. They get paid money too, hopefully they'll make some more. I was starting to think they couldn't catch (joking). You've got to give them credit. Somebody's got to win or lose every day. It happened today.

2- Wilkerson/Richardson

Wilkerson has been struggling recently with a hamstring problem and hasn't participated in practice for a while now. Bowles wouldn't rule him out of th game entirely, but he did say that if Wilkerson wasn't participating today, it's likely he'll miss the game. I don't expect Wilkerson to play full stop, even if he does participate today, why would you risk him in a game where he'll be out of it by the end of the 1st quarter anyway. Bowles was asked about the status of Richardson, it sounds as though a discussion was had last night and the team will now decide how much time Richardson sees, considering he'll be out for the first four games of the 2015 NFL season.

3- Who's Stepping Up At RG

It's been interesting to watch this throughout the off-season. Right now Willie Colon is listed as the #1 with Brian Winters the #2 and Oday Aboushi who many people felt would take over is listed as the #3 left guard. It's still early and a lot can change, but all indications are that Willie Colon is going to be given every opportunity to win that spot. Bowles has said there have been no decisions and players will get their reps, but if Colon plays well from the start, it will be hard to replace the veteran.

Willie has gotten most of the first team reps because he's been getting limited reps. Today was the first day he's seen extended time. We're trying to see him see extended time, two or three reps doesn't cut it. You have to get more time, so we have to get him more reps. Everybody else will get theirs (reps). We haven't played a game yet, so we'll work that out.

4 - Lorenzo Mauldin

I don't need to see him in action to know that he has a good motor. I don't need to see him in action to know the effort is there. I do want to see how he adapts to the professional game. Hos technically sound is he, how is his recognition, how does he come up and play the run, does his power translate to taking on pro tackles. I just want to see a guy who really could offer something special for the Jets. Bowles has warned that he won't be technically sound on every play but he has a great motor and great willingness to learn. So I can't wait to see him in action for the Jets.

5- Depth at Inside Linebacker

It seems as though we constantly have limited depth inside or all across our linebacker unit. Not that we don't have the numbers, just we don't have the quality. This year we have Erin Henderson and Jamari Lattimore, two players who do have talent and who could offer a suitable replacement if something happened to starters David Harris and Demario Davis. I haven't seen a great deal of either, but reports are that Erin Henderson in particular is impressing in camp

Erin has been a pleasant surprise. He comes in he knows his assignment. He's aggressive. He's good on special teams. He's been doing good things on defense. I like what I've seen so far.

6- Spread That Ball

For the first time in a long time the Jets have a number of receiving options. We also have an offensive coordinator who is capable of utilizing everyone and although he doesn't have a system in cement I'm expecting him to incorporate a lot of spread options with the Jets, which should make Geno far more comfortable. When Gailey was in Buffalo, no team in the league ran more plays with 3 wide receivers on the field and no team ran more plays with an empty backfield (in his first year). Will he do something similar with the Jets? I certainly hope so as I think we're set up for it.

7- Can Owusu Play

Chris Owusu has had one of the most impressive camps of any player, but he unfortunately suffered a concussion last week that has landed him in the NFL's concussion protocol. Will he be able to play on Thursday? I certainly hope so. With his size and speed combination, if he puts it all together we could have something really special. Any time he loses snaps in a competitive environment, it's going to halt his development. He has all the skills, he just needs to improve his coverage recognition and the only real way to do that, is play against opponents defensive backs.

He's still going through the protocol, but he's getting better.

8- Julian Howsare

I haven't heard a great deal about Julian since we signed him to such a positive fan reaction. Everyone likes a true underdog story and I'm not just talking about Dodgeball. Sometimes people need games to truly showcase their talent and ability and being listed right down at the bottom of the depth chart, Julian will have to make the most of every single opportunity he gets. He'll see some good playing time this off-season and it's up to him to make it a hard decision for Bowles when cut-down day arrives.

9 - Leonard Williams

Although it hasn't been confirmed that Williams will start the season alongside Damon Harrison and Muhammad Wilkerson, most believe he will. A first round draft pick who was highly regarded and considered the best prospect in the draft, now is the time to prove it. Getting off to a quick start is always important, get the momentum and get the confidence. I think he'll start and I have a feeling he'll be a tremendous success as well. However it's not about the numbers, how well does he know his assignment? How well does he defend the run and hold his containment. There are a lot of other factors for a starting defensive end, outside of whether he can get to the QB.

10 - It's Nice To Have A Capable Backup

I want Geno Smith to succeed and I actually think he will. There I'll say it. However just in case he doesn't, having a capable back-up is important. Ryan Fitzpatrick will be given the chance along with the 2's to remind us that the competition may not be over. A poor outing by Geno, a strong outing from Ryan and we are facing a lot of questions.