We're two days away from the start of our first game of the preseason, and that means there are at least six things to look for when the Jets host the Indianapolis Colts Thursday night at MetLife Stadium.
1. Quarterbacks Battle On
OC Marty Mornhinweg's general charge to his offense: "We've got to play at a high level, but we have to do it on a consistent basis, and then continue to improve every day."
Mornhinweg knows both Vick, the NFL's all-time leading rushing QB, and Smith, who tied for QB rushing TDs last year with six, can run. But he'd surely like to see them both pull up here and there, locate a singled receiver downfield, and let the guy in green win a jumpball or two.
2. Other Offensive Talking Points
3. Minister of Defense
"We've got a lot more to do as far as getting in shape and also communicating better," Mo said. "We have to make sure each and every player's got to be on the same page so we can get the ball back to the offense and they can make plays and put points on the board."
The first D looked ready to roll vs. the run Saturday, holding RBs to nine carries for 19 yards (although Vick scrambled for 20). But of the seven sacks that night, only one, on a safety blitz, came in the ones vs. ones series. The pass rush spotlight will swing, ever so briefly in this first game, onto
4. Those Landry Brothers
It's time for a Landry reunion. Dawan and LaRon have started against each other in four games, pre- and regular season, as pros, with each winning two.
And if you don't think this game matters to the family, read this story in the Washington Post from five years ago. As dad Frank Landry said then, "They just love going after each other. Always have."
A few cautions for this Landry tiebreaker bout: They're both safeties so there'll be no head-to-head matchups. And starters are likely only to play about a quarter.
Then there is this: While Dawan appeared to bulk up this offseason and has looked sharp on the back end this camp, LaRon just started practicing with the Colts for the first time this summer after starting out with a soft-tissue issue. No word yet on if or how long he'll be able to go Thursday.
5. Under the Dome
The only previous preseason meeting between these teams was in the second week of the 2004 season under the old RCA Dome. The Jets rolled, 31-7, as Chad Pennington completed 10 of his 11 passes for 169 yards and a TD and rookie free agent Ian Smart, from Jamaica, NY, and C.W. Post, scored twice in the fourth quarter, including on a 59-yard punt return.
Which old veterans and newcomers, local or otherwise, will stand out in this game? That's one of the great anticipations of getting the preseason schedule started.
6. Wins and Losses
As we mentioned, the Jets are 1-0 in previous preseason meetings against the Colts. They're 27-40 all-time against the Horseshoes, 17-26 after 1984 when they relocated from Baltimore to Indianapolis, 3-1 in postseason meetings.
All of these records, of course, mean nothing.
What could mean something is Rex Ryan's record in preseason openers. He's 0-5 in the first games of summer as Jets head coach. After that opener is in the books, he's 9-6 in all the rest of his preseason games as head coach.
But Rex on Monday gave his latest state-of-the-Jets mindset: "Of course, we want to win. Period." That applies to the playoffs and to the regular season. And to Thursday night's preseason opener.