Can the Jets offensive line adequately protect Chad Pennington, especially if LG Pete Kendall is cut loose? How solid will the Jets secondary be, particularly if rookie Darrelle Revis isn't signed soon? And will the Jets defense be better in its second year in the 3-4?
Coach Eric Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer chose to have the Jets run on all nine plays of Chad Pennington's two first-quarter series.
"What we were focusing on early was running the ball," Mangini said. And perhaps they were worried about exposing Pennington to former teammate John Abraham, now a defensive end for the Falcons.
Pennington admitted it was "weird," but when asked if he'll throw a pass against Minnesota, smiled and said, "I'll do what I'm coached to do."
Kendall played one series with the first unit and Adrien Clarke, who has been getting the bulk of the reps with the first team, started and had two series with the first unit. Both played fairly well.
As for the first-team defense, there were some glitches.
Playing only the first quarter, new Atlanta quarterback Joey Harrington also looked sharp, completing six of nine passes for 88 yards and leading the eight-play, 82-yard drive that culminated in Jerious Norwood's 10-yard touchdown run. Norwood was nearly untouched on that play, evoking memories of the Jets' struggles against the run in recent years.
But even more shaky on that scoring drive was the pass defense, as Harrington connected on four of five passes for 69 yards as the Jets generated virtually no pass rush.
Two days after the game, Mangini evaded a question about the performance of the first-team defense Friday, instead talking about the communication among the unit. He also was asked about how SS Kerry Rhodes appeared to be beaten twice down the middle on Atlanta's touchdown drive. Mangini implied that Rhodes should have had help on Joe Horn's 22-yard catch. However, about Dwayne Blakley's 37-yard catch over Rhodes, Mangini said, "I'm sure he'd like to have (it) back."
Other than that, the first-team secondary played decently, as LCB Andre Dyson was solid, much as he was last season, and David Barrett was OK on the right side. Barrett and Justin Miller have been battling for that starting spot, but Miller missed several days before the game because of a hamstring injury and did not play.
First-rounder Revis still is embroiled in a contract impasse with the Jets, and the longer he stays out, the less chance he'll have to be an impact player this season.
"This is the best feeling that I have had personally since I've been here," Clemens said after the game. "Fortunately, we were successful moving the football. ... I feel a lot more comfortable in my second year."
Coach Eric Mangini praised Clemens' "presence," but indicated he needs to get rid of the ball sooner sometimes. Clemens took some heavy shots, including one just after delivering a 10-yard scoring pass to Sean Ryan.
"It felt good to be out there," he said, "and for the fans to show you a lot of love and show you a lot of respect. It means a lot to any player out there because it lets you know they appreciate what you've done and they appreciate what you have the potential to do."
However, Jones suffered a lower right leg injury during practice two days later and limped off.
"It could be an adjustment, to be honest with you," Brown said. "All five of those guys have to be on the same accord. (But) because he's so young, it might not be as bad on D'Brick. I don't think it'll be that hard for him to go to another guard."
Brown did say that Ferguson is very coachable and he doesn't believe the second-year pro will have trouble maintaining his weight this season. Ferguson slipped to around 290 pounds late last season, but is around 305 now.
Other than a missed block that resulted in a 1-yard loss for Leon Washington, Kendall played well, although he played without any exuberance for obvious reasons. After one of the Jets' touchdowns, he walked off the field without emotion.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I wasn't really asking." — Coach Eric Mangini on Bryan Thomas' reaction when Mangini "requested" he move from DE to OLB.