Preseason Preview: Geno’s the starter as Jets take on Giants

Geno Smith will get the start against the Giants on Thursday night and the opportunity to snatch the Week 1 starting job away from Mark Sanchez.

Florham Park, NJ – The recent history between these two teams hasn’t been kind to the Jets.

A year ago, Gang Green failed to score a touchdown on their way to a 26-3 preseason loss. Then, of course, there was the nightmare before Christmas Eve in 2011.

Victor Cruz caught a 99-yard touchdown pass and the Jets lost, 29-14, all but dooming their playoff chances and catapulting the Giants to a Super Bowl run.

Thursday, however, isn’t about bragging rights or redemption. It’s about deciding on a starting quarterback.

That means all other story lines take a back seat, including the rival Giants.

WHEN: Saturday, August 24, 2013, 7:00 p.m. EST (TV-WNBC, Radio-ESPN New York 98.7FM)

WHERE: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

INJURY REPORT:

Jets – Cornerback Dee Milliner (calf) Probable, Wide Receiver Santonio Holmes (foot) Out, Running Back Joe McKnight (head) Probable, Wide Receiver Braylon Edwards (leg) Questionable

Giants – Cornerback Terrell Thomas (knee) Probable, Offensive Tackle David Diehl (thumb) Out, Wide Receiver Victor Cruz (bruised heel) Probable, Defensive End Justin Tuck (hamstring) Probable, Center David Baas (knee) Questionable, Wide Receiver Hakeem Nicks (groin) Probable

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

Geno Smith: This will be, hands down, Geno’s biggest performance as a professional. Rex Ryan announced on Thursday that Smith will get the start, playing at least two quarters with Mark Sanchez also getting a few reps. But don’t be fooled, if Smith is going to separate himself it must be on Saturday. All week, Rex Ryan and his coaching staff have been noncommittal, if not mysterious, in their opinions of the quarterback race. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said the only thing Geno lacks is experience. Quarterbacks coach David Lee said the decision could drag on until Week 4 of the preseason. If Rex Ryan were to give it a grade it would be an “I”– for incomplete. Reading between the lines, however, all of them are waiting to see how Smith performs on Thursday. Lee was the most honest, saying that he flip flops between Smith and Sanchez on a practice by practice basis. So, a solid game could go a long way in making Geno the Week 1 starter.

Vlad Ducasse: Ryan announced on Thursday that the embattled former second round pick will get the start at left guard on Saturday with Stephen Peterman sliding over to take reps at center with the second team. Although Ryan has praised Vlad of late, Ducasse is seen largely as a disappointment since being drafted as an extremely raw lineman out of UMass in 2010. This could be one of his last legit shots at proving himself to the Jets’ brass and redeeming the “bust” label.

Dee Milliner: The highly toted cornerback out of Alabama struggled against the Jacksonville Jaguars and has been nagged by a calf injury for most of the week. If he plays, take notice, because you know how much Victor Cruz loves to salsa against the Jets.

X-Factor:

Wide receiver(s): The Jets signed former Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. The Jaguars released him earlier this month after signing him to a two-year contract in April that could have been worth up to $4.7 million with incentives. It certainly says a whole lot about the Jets and how they feel about the wide receiver position if they’re willing to take scraps from the Jaguars, who they creamed in Week 2 of the preseason, 37-13. Braylon Edwards has been “dinged up” according to Ryan and hasn’t been able to practice in four days, Santonio Holmes is, well, no one knows, and rookie UFA Ryan Spadola is trying to turn his impressive camp into a roster spot.

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