For Rex Ryan, he would prefer his team to open and close the 2010-11 NFL season under the center stage klieg lights.
But it remains to be seen whether the excitement surrounding the Hard Knock Jets will lead to a Super finale or not. The Jets topped the Eagles, 21-17, in Thursday's traditional preseason finale for both franchises. The Jets finished the pre-season 2-2.
If you were looking to grade the Jets, as they prepare for the Monday Night season opener at home against Bart Scott's and Ryan's former employer, Baltimore, it would be incomplete.
The Jets are not whole with the most obvious example being Darrelle Revis' protracted holdout. Starting outside linebacker Calvin Pace broke his foot in the 16-15 home loss to the Redskins on August 27. It was initially reported that Pace would miss six weeks. However, Ryan recently intimated that Pace might be able to play in the September 19 late afternoon pseudo gang fight with the Patriots.
In the interim, the Jets will have Jason Taylor play in place of Pace. One of the NFL's pre-eminent pass-rushers in his career, Taylor has recorded 127.5 sacks in 13 seasons with Miami and Washington.
"I wasn't going around telling everybody I was a (passing) situation guy. I want to play," Taylor said after the game against Washington . "Obviously, it was very unfortunate if something did happen to Calvin. It's my job to step up and help. Do I think I can do it? Definitely, I do."
Thinking is one thing. Performance is another. In the case of the offense, its execution has not lived up to the off-season hype. The Jets entered the game with nine turnovers which caused Ryan to say "You're not going to win too many games, if any, if you turn the ball over four times" last Friday night.
Rookie running backs Joe McKnight and John Conner, and reserve quarterback Kellen Clemens added three fumbles to the ledger Thursday night. Both McKnight's fumble and Connor's were returned for touchdowns by rookie safety Kurt Coleman. In McKnight's case, his truncated what had been the best Jets drive of the pre-season.
Undoubtedly the fumbles will garner attention from the coaches. So, too, will the work done Mark Brunell and the passing game. Brunell completed 11-of-17 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. The first score was a two-yard dump off to reserve tight end Jeff Cumberland in the second quarter that cut the Eagles' lead to 10-7. The other was a 51-yarder to Santonio Holmes in the fourth quarter that was the game's final score. Danny Woodhead added a 14-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
"I think a guy that plays as much football as he has on a high level, Pro Bowls and all that kind of stuff, is a guy that can help out a bunch. Not only out there on the field when Mark (Sanchez) comes off the field, but also in meetings, going over film and that type of thing. He has been with Drew Brees the last few years, so obviously he's helped Drew out tremendously, so he's going to do the same (here)," LaDainian Tomlinson said last week. "We have been very vanilla this preseason. We have run basic plays and I know at time it doesn't look like we're doing very good, but these are basic plays we're running so we're executing them. We won't really game plan until the season starts, so we're doing fine. I think we're going to be fine."
The Jets will know how accurate Tomlinson's proclamation is in four months. In the short-term, questions remain.
You can Dennis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman