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Five questions for the Jets in their preseason opener

NFL: New York Jets-Rookie Minicamp Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

As the Jets open their preseason tonight against the Atlanta Falcons, here are five questions heading into the game.

  1. How will quarterback reps be distributed?

The most important position on the field has plenty of intrigue for the Jets. There are three contenders for the starting job. Josh McCown is the incumbent. Sam Darnold is the future. Teddy Bridgewater is the wild card. Logic would suggest McCown will see the least reps. At 39, he has a thorough understanding of all concepts in the offense and shouldn’t need many reps to prepare. It would be something of a surprise to see him get more than a series.

The Jets presumably want to get a look at how Bridgewater holds up in his first extended action since his 2016 knee injury. He will show how he handles taking a hit, which could have implications both for his chances of winning the starting job and if the team is looking at trading him.

The Jets will also want to get Darnold plenty of work. The rookie has come on strong in training camp and has put himself into contention for the starting job. Either way, plenty of preseason reps will benefit him.

2. Who is at left tackle?

The Jets certainly should hope Kelvin Beachum is ready for the start of the season, but he seems unlikely to play in this game. It is not clear who will take his place if he is not ready. The Jets also might consider the backup left tackle job a competition. Ben Ijalana, Brent Qvale, and Antonio Garcia are among the potential contenders. It will be interesting to see how the Jets distribute first team reps.

3. Who will be the special teams aces?

The path to the roster for many players will come based on strong special teams play on the coverage units. If you are third string at your position, you probably will not get a chance to make much impact for the team in the regular season. But coaches will notice impact plays on special teams.

4. Who will start to play their way onto the team?

Plenty of roster spots are up in the air and will be determined by performances in preseason games. Few of the bottom of the roster players will ever play a significant role for the Jets, but every now and then there is a Robby Anderson. Anderson came from obscurity two years ago to clinch a spot with a monster preseason. He is now a starter.

5. Can the Jets avoid serious injuries?

Let’s be honest. The biggest and perhaps only major long-term impacts from preseason games come in the form of injuries to key contributors. If the Jets avoid getting anybody seriously hurt the game will be a success in many ways.