LANDOVER Md. - The sports world is buzzing right now. Olympic fever has everyone captivated by the incredible athleticism this world has to offer. Watching the Rio Olympics is a great way to keep football fans satisfied before the NFL regular season officially starts.
Preseason has quietly begun and teams around league are currently in the midst of the monotonous days of training camp, yet these are crucial times for players desiring to make a team and coaches who will soon have some tough decisions to make.
The New York Jets will be seeking its second straight preseason victory when they take on the Washington Redskins. Besides staying cool in this insanely hot weather, here's what you should focus on during the matchup:
WHEN: Friday, August 19, 2016 7:30 p.m. EST
WHERE: FedEx Field, Landover MD
1) AYE MO?
This question is more that just urban slang spoken in the DMV area. Jets fans and medial will be wondering if defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson will make his preseason debut Friday. On Wednesday, head coach Todd Bowles spoke on Mo's status against Washington saying, "We'll see. We'll talk about it and go from there. He's got a better chance than Matt [Forte] though." Since Wilkerson signed a long-term contract with the team, he has been on the active/PUP list rehabbing a broken right leg he injured in week 17 last season. Mo has practiced the last two days and has even taken a few reps in 11-on-11 drills which is a great sign for the team, but he's still a work in progress. Whether he plays Friday or not, the team is certain he will be ready to go come week one of the regular season. The talent and versatility of the defensive line will allow Bowles to plug in whomever he pleases whether it's Steve McLendon or Leonard Williams, (who by the way is having an outstanding camp). Besides, it's probably smart not to use all of your schemes and rotations in the second preseason game.
2) LINEBACKERS VS. JORDAN REED
Folks this will be an intriguing matchup to watch. It will be interesting to see how the Jets defense covers the up and coming tight end Jordan Reed. Reed sat out last week for Washington's preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons as a precaution. As of now you can expect Reed to play Friday. When healthy Reed can be a matchup problem for opposing defenses in the passing game due to his size and speed. It will interesting to see how the Jets decide to cover Reed. Will it be with a linebacker? David Harris, Erin Henderson, Darron Lee, or Freddie Bishop III? Or a cornerback? We shall see but however Bowles decides to do it, we may be looking at the potential blueprint for covering Rob Gronkowski this upcoming season (I'm kidding).
3) QUARTERBACK PLAY
Bowles has made it clear that he is partial to Geno Smith being the backup quarterback. To be frank, Geno has outperformed Ryan Fitzpatrick in training camp and in preseason. We saw Smith's ability last Thursday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars when he threw a flawless back shoulder touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Charon Peake. We'll see how many reps Geno and Fitz get and how well they'll perform. Bryce Petty also had a solid performance last week (7-14, 93 yards). It was interesting to see Petty get the majority of the second half snaps and rookie Christian Hackenberg get none. Judging by Bowles' rhetoric this offseason he isn't sold on either at the moment, both quarterbacks are a work in progress that need more playing time. Keep an eye on the amount of reps Petty and Hackenberg get and what string of offense they work with. "I don't know whether they'll all play or not," Bowles said Wednesday after practice.
4) No. 2 CORNERBACK?
Darrelle Revis has the number one spot sewed up, but who will be the number two cornerback? Training camp has provided us a look at all nine players at the position, but if you know your stuff it's clear to see that the number two spot is a competition between Marcus Williams and Buster Skrine. At this point, I would say that Williams is the favorite not only because of how he looks in training camp, but also his terrific performance last season. Skrine has looked good in camp as well but I wouldn't be surprised if we saw him as a slot corner when the regular season starts. Dee Milliner is a fine young player but he got beat deep twice last week by the talented young receiver Allen Robinson. Dexter McDougle has had reoccurring hamstring issues lately so he hasn't had the practice reps he needs for the coaches to properly evaluate him. Darryl Morris is a nice player but a long shot to pass Skrine or Williams on the depth chart, and rookies Juston Burris and Bryson Keeton are both new to the team. We'll see how the cornerback's perform Friday, especially the first team who may have their hands full facing wide outs DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon.
5) RUNNING BACK'S
Bowles said the Matt Forte will warm-up but likely won't play. This will give some other guys the opportunity to step up, though players at this position have been riddled with injuries all camp and the Jets have brought in some fresh bodies over the past week just to keep a healthy number of players. A few guys are banged up and questionable for the game due to injury, Romar Morris (shoulder), Dominique Williams (concussion), Bernard Pierce (hamstring/IR). Also, Matthew Tucker was recently waived by the team. We know Bilal Powell can produce and we saw that last week when he ran for a touchdown. Expect Powell to get limited reps so that other players can be evaluated such as Khiry Robinson, Terry Williams (newly signed), Antone Smith (newly signed) and a recent pickup who is a former 2014 sixth-round pick of the Redskins, Lache Seastrunck.
Marcus Reynolds is a staff writer for Jetsinsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@Marcus_JRNL), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).