What I'd like to, but probably won't, see over the next two gamesm
While these last two games are meaningless in the sense that they can't make the playoffs, they're far from meaningless in terms of evaluating younger players and getting them reps that will benefit them next year, and in the future. Unfortunately for the Jets, (and really any team in this situation) Rex Ryan knows that his job is on the line, and he has absolutely no incentive to play younger players. Rex knows that if he wins these last two games, then he can say, correctly, that he's never had a losing season. Also, Rex has made it known that he prides himself on having had a top 5 defense every year he's been in New York. That's well within reach if the D continues to play like it has against the awful offense of the Chargers, and the slightly less awful offense of the Bills. With that in mind, there's almost no chance Rex will actually do any of these things, all of which make a world of sense, but I thought I'd list them anyway. I'm not even going to talk about the QB situation, but I'm happy we'll get to see G-Mac play.
1. Bench Bart Scott for Demario Davis: This is the most popular suggestion that I've seen, and for obvious reasons. The Jets invested a 3rd round pick on Davis because they obviously hoped he'd contribute right away and add some speed to a unit that had none. Now, one could argue that Scott is a better player RIGHT NOW because he's still generally good against the run (I'm not sure if I agree), but either way, there's no way Scott will be back this year. Davis will be starting next year, and you can't quantify how valuable 2 full games worth of NFL reps would be for him. Let him take some of the lumps of trying to cover Antonio Gates etc. in the hopes he won't make those mistakes next year. I'm sure Davis is getting better by practicing, but game time would be so much more valuable. Again, this isn't likely if Rex thinks it would make his current defense even a little bit worse.
2. Get Kenrick Ellis and Quinton Coples on the field as much as possible: With the cap hell the Jets are in next season, there's a good chance Pou'ha is cut. Even if he's brought back, Ellis has a rare combination of size and agility, and he needs to be on the field for as long as his conditioning allows. Like Davis, both Ellis and Coples need all of the reps they can get. Coples is clearly the team's most talented pass-rusher, but with his ability, he needs to be an every down player. The time for that to start, and for his conditioning to improve, is these last two games.
3. Bench Eric Smith, and get Antonio Allen and Josh Bush on the field as much as possible. I have no idea what Allen or Bush can do on the field. The only time I've seen Allen do anything is when he had a sack earlier, and when he got destroyed on the Pats' game-tying drive to end regulation. Both of these players could suck. However, I already know that Eric Smith does suck, and there's no way the Jets can pay him 3 million dollars next year to be a backup safety. He'll be gone, and I'd like to see what the Jets have with these safeties. Again, they might be worse than Smith as a 3rd safety, but how much worse could they be? And are we really worried that Rivers or Fitzpatrick can do much about it?
4. Get Garrett McIntrye and Ricky Sapp on the field: Again, I have no doubt that Pace and Thomas (if he can return) are better than either of these two players right now. But Pace won't be back next year, and we know what Thomas is if we decide to bring him back for another season. I personally think McIntrye isn't that good, but he does seem to have a great motor and, who knows, maybe he or Sapp could be a contributor next year. There's no way to know without them playing.
5. Get Vlad Ducasse on the field for every play. Seriously. I know how ridiculous this sounds, and how much venom has been directed at Vlad for three years, but let's look at the facts: both Slauson and Moore are decent guards who are free agents after this season. The Jets will probably not have the money to keep both of them. If they don't have the money to keep them both, that means they won't have the money to sign a free agent, either. Vlad has never gotten a chance to play an entire game, and I think this would be a good time to give him that shot. Alternatively, maybe the Jets decide they can keep Slauson and Moore. After this season, there's no way they can think Howard is the answer at right tackle. I'd like to see Vlad get consistent reps at a position and head in to the off-season knowing that's where he'll be playing next season. There's a VERY good chance Vlad is starting for the Jets somewhere next season, and these 2 games could help him a lot.
6. Get Jordan White on the fieldI have no idea what he offers, but I know he had a ton of catches in 2011, and I know the Jets are playing Marty Gilyard right now. Who knows, maybe White and McElroy have some chemistry from practicing on the 2nd team all year. Either way, I'd like to see Kerley and Braylon back next year, and Holmes will also be back. Why not see what White can do?
While all of these moves would probably benefit the Jets next season and beyond, I doubt that the Jets will actually do any of them, because Rex is in self-preservation mode. I can hope though, right?