Head coach Rex Ryan said Sunday that the Jets' starters won't play at all in the preseason finale on Thursday night at Philadelphia.
I just think that I want to make sure our guys are fresh," Ryan said on a conference call with reporters. "Part of the job as a coach is that you have to get your guys fresh and popping out of their skin for that first week. I think that the way we've been working our guys, it's best not to put that risk out there. I think our guys will be just fine when we go in the opener."
Because of the injury to linebacker Calvin Pace and the absence of cornerback Darrelle Revis some of the reserve players are going to be getting a ton of playing time, including offensive tackle Wayne Hunter and defensive end Vernon Gholston. Ryan said that Gholston, who has seen time at DE and LB, will be playing both while the starters get to rest.
Gholston has had a productive preseason and, as one of the five men on the defensive line rotation, will have the chance to step up and show what he can do against the Eagles. Meanwhile, Bart Scott, one of the leaders of the defense, will be able to concentrate on facing his former teammates, the Ravens, in Week 1.
"That allows us to try and freshen up and get our bodies going," Scott said, "and really focus in on Baltimore and prepare for the home opener. And it gives us the ability to prepare for two weeks. Playing in the last [preseason] games is one of those things, you don't want to risk injury."
The defense has played well, allowing only one touchdown, on a 1-yard drive by the Giants, all preseason. The offense, has been a little slower coming around, although it hasn't been showing very much to opposing defenses.
"Things are being worked on," said center Nick Mangold. "If you watch the game film you'll see the little miscues and different things that came up especially in protection in the passing game. It was disappointing for us to be able to run the ball as well as we did but then have the glaring issue of pass protection come up. We're all focused on it and we know what needs to get done, and I think given time we'll be ready to go come opening day."
"You don't want to have an injury that's for sure," Ryan said about letting his "ones" rest up and prepare for the next two weeks for their Monday night opener. "We've seen that through the years. Guys will try to get one series in and all the sudden lose guys for a season. We want to be fresh, we want to be healthy and we want to be at our tops when we open up the season."