(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
The Jets will try to score a touchdown for the first time this preseason on Thursday in Philadelphia - without their top two quarterbacks.
Through three preseason games, the New York Jets have done nothing to quell the increasing sentiment that they're an incredibly one-dimensional team. Their defense has excelled, yet their offense is the only one in the league that hasn't scored a touchdown. Unfortunately for the Jets and their fans, Thursday night's preseason finale at the Philadelphia Eagles won't offer much relief. If the Jets are going to get in the end zone, it will be with starting quarterback Mark Sanchez and most of the offensive starters on the sideline.
Sanchez and backup quarterback (or soon-to-be starter depending on who you ask) Tim Tebow won't play, the normal practice for NFL teams in their final preseason game. Obviously, scoring a meaningless touchdown in a preseason game doesn't take precedent over keeping your starters healthy. But despite mostly backups featuring for both sides, there are a few things to look out for on both sides of the ball for the Jets on Thursday.
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Gang Green completed their trade with the St. Louis Rams on Wednesday, sending embattled right tackle Wayne Hunter to the Rams for Jason Smith, the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft. Smith is expected to get about 10 snaps against the Eagles. The Jets are most likely going to head into Week 1 against Buffalo with Austin Howard at right tackle, but Smith's progress will be worth tracking. Howard didn't exactly beat out Hunter for the starting job, he got it by default as hunter played himself out of the job. Smith was always viewed as a project with the Rams and never reached his potential, but the Jets are hoping they can turn him around -- as they did last year with linebacker Aaron Maybin.
Defensively, rookie Quinton Coples has had a standout preseason, but some of the negatives on him coming out of North Carolina have reared their ugly head as well. Coples apparently complained to Rex Ryan about having to play with the backups in the Jets' preseason loss to the Carolina Panthers, for which Ryan rightly called him out on. Coples still has a lot to learn about the game, along with the mental aspect, but it should be expected that he gets a good run against the Eagles. He's been very impressive in pressuring the quarterback and making plays in the backfield so far, and surely the Jets' coaches would like to see him continue the production as the season nears.
As for getting in the end zone finally? That will rest on the shoulders of third string quarterback Greg McElroy.
New York Jets (0-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) - Lincoln Financial Field
Kickoff: 6:35 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM