Great Rexpectations Begin Tonight vs. Rams

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Jets vs Rams Preseason 2009

The timer on the newyorkjets.com homepage has dipped below 01 hours, 00 minutes and 00 seconds.

We'll be starting the Rex Ryan era of New York Jets games in less than 60 minutes.

Here is a list of the preseason debuts for new Jets head coaches dating to 1990 (hometeam in caps):

 Season Jets Head Coach Final Score
 1990 Bruce Coslet Jets 17, PHILADELPHIA 6
 1994 Pete Carroll DETROIT 26, Jets 13
 1995 Rich Kotite Jets 9, TAMPA BAY 3
 1997 Bill Parcells JETS 31, Philadelphia 17
 2000 Al Groh JETS 24, New Orleans 20
 2001 Herm Edwards Atlanta 20, JETS 10
 2006 Eric Mangini TAMPA BAY 16, Jets 3

Many eyes, of course will be on the QB battle between Kellen Clemens and rookie Mark Sanchez, and in particular how many plays each will get under center. Ryan said during the week that several factors, including the health of several starters on his offensive line, would result in less action that usual for both players.

So does that mean one series for each QB? Two? A quarter each? Time will tell.

But Rex already indicated that third QB Erik Ainge would be entering as soon as late in the second quarter and would get the bulk of the work, with "Harvard" (a.k.a. fourth QB Chris Pizzotti) possibly finishing up in the fourth quarter.

In fact, the Jets have just announced their flipcard changes for the game, and these include six starters who will not dress. The sixpack list:

Left guard — Stanley Daniels replaces Alan Faneca.

Center — Robert Turner replaces Nick Mangold.

Right tackle — Wayne Hunter replaces Damien Woody.

Fullback —Jehuu Caulcrick replaces Tony Richardson.

Defensive tackle — Sione Pouha replaces Kris Jenkins.

Cornerback — Dwight Lowery replaces Darrelle Revis.

Defensively, even without Big Jenk for most of their SUNY Cortland training camp experience, the run defense has provided very tough sledding for Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. We'll see if that also translates to slowing up Steven Jackson, the St. Louis featured back, in his likely short stint tonight.

Then the Jets' attack defense can try to show a little of its intended magic with perhaps just a few blitzes against Rams starter Marc Bulger and his backup, Kyle Boller. Maybe Bryant Thomas, Calvin Pace or Vernon Gholston from their OLB posts or Bart Scott up the middle or even S Jim Leonhard unleashed.

Speaking of Gholston, he's still listed as a backup but he should be in for his most action as a pro since the preparation begins tonight for the first four regular-season games, when Pace must serve his NFL suspension and Gholston has already been tabbed as the man who will start in Pace's place.

In the process, do you think Rex Ryan will want to leave a calling card for Boller, who used to be Baltimore's QB when Ryan was coordinating the Ravens' defense?

The Jets kicking game will also bear watching. Reggie Hodges and rookie T.J. Conley each will try to separate from the other with some consistently good punting. That battle is still even two weeks into camp.

But a placekicking battle? Not likely, although newly signed kicker Parker Douglass, wearing uniform No. 7 and kicking toward the west end zone, nails a 50-yard field goal out. Not to be outdone, Jay Feely, kicking toward the east goalposts, is true on 48- and 51-yarders. Ryan said Feely had a sore groin, which resulted in Douglass' signing on Tuesday, but the kid from South Dakota who was just cut by the Browns appears to have a live leg.

The Jets are wearing their green jerseys and white pants tonight. Ah, tradition.

And Green & White captains for tonight's game: RB Thomas Jones, LB David Harris, LB/ST Larry Izzo and WR/ST Wallace Wright.

A reminder to all coming to newyorkjets.com tonight: We're not covering the games as we have the past couple of seasons. This will be the last Radar entry until my postgame blog. But check out our CoveritLivechat interface, available from the first "rotating tab" at the top of the home page and participate in our live chat during the game. And check out our tweets on http://twitter.com/nyjets throughout the night.

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