Tonight is the always key third preseason game for the Jets, and never mind that it's also the Green & White's second and last test run at New Meadowlands Stadium before the regular season begins.
And it won't take much research or recall to determine which Green & White could be feeling the most pressure to perform.
Let's see ... opener vs. Giants ... first offense and first defense looked solid, twos and threes struggled. ... Game 2 at Carolina ... entire defense was strong, entire offense lacked punch.
"This is important," quarterback
"It’s going to be a challenge, too," said head coach Rex Ryan, "because Washington, if I’m not mistaken, they were a top-five defense last year, so I think that’ll be a good challenge."
But for what it's worth, while the Redskins have talent on their first defense — Sanchez touted the secondary play of S LaRon Landry and CBs D'Angelo Hall and Carlos Rogers and the everywhere nature of second-year LB Brian Orakpo — they've also given up chunks of yardage in their solid 42-17 win over Buffalo and solid 23-3 loss to Baltimore.
In fact, the 'Skins, for whatever preseason rankings are worth, are 26th in yards allowed per game and 29th per play, and 30th in rushing yards allowed per game and 32nd and last in yards per carry — opponents are moving at 6.1 yards per tote.
Sounds like a good opponent against which to test the balancing out of the Jets' Ground & Pound offense, giving the ball to
And Sanchez knows tightening up needs to be done after his and the O's "stagnant" four series vs. the Panthers produced minus-3 yards net passing (12 yards gross) and one field goal. Combined with the twos and threes, the Jets' 25 points and one touchdown are their worst totals in the first two summer games since the ill-fated 1995 season got off to a 19-point, one-TD start.
"I’m number one to blame. I didn’t play my best. I don’t think any of us did," the second-year signalcaller said. "This week is a good opportunity for us to do the dress rehearsal, to really go, know we’re playing well going into the second half. It’s time to go.
The defense has been going. With the twos and threes getting up to speed at Bank of America Stadium, the unit that led the NFL in defense in 2009 is feeling pretty good about how things have shaped up through training camp.
"We've done our job, but we could still get better," inside linebacker
As Harris has said about Big Jenks, "He causes so much damage up front," and
But as luck would have it, word out of Washington is that new starting QB Donovan McNabb will sit this one out with an ankle injury suffered against the Ravens. It looks as if former Super Bowl QB Rex Grossman and ex-Dolphins draft pick John Beck will be handling the load and passing to the likes of one-time Jets first-rounder Santana Moss.
The Jets' specialists also have a big game ahead. They were quick to pounce on Carolina miscues last Saturday night, but of the four kick-return fumbles, only one was forced, on Washington's crushing hit in punt coverage. Kicker
Perhaps the biggest question is who will return punts if
"This will be the last one with the starters," Ryan said of the formula for the last two preseason games, tonight and then the Thursday wrapup at Philadelphia. "I mean, we'll get a series against Philly, probably, maybe a little longer but not that much. So this will be a big test for us."