Florham Park, N.J. — With hurricane Irene coming up the east coast, the battle for New York was moved up from Saturday 7:30pm to 2pm now will air Monday night 7pm on the NFL network and or NBC for local fans.
Is this a perfect weekend for Jets vs Giants or what? First thing is first, the prodigal son returns. This will be Plaxico Burress’ second preseason game in this building but now his old Giants fans will be around. The cheers are likely to be boos, unlike last Sunday vs the Bengals where the crowd erupted with joy for their new WR.
Another headliner, this weekend is the new MetLife Stadium that received the naming rights earlier in the week, but the players and coaches are not seeing eye to eye. It seems to be making the home field territory that much more interesting. Earlier in the week Giants DE Justin Tuck let it be known that to him “it’ll always be Giants Stadium,” which did not sit well with fans and players.
Also, the whole QB controversy that is looming over the great city. Manning or Sanchez? The question is asked by many but noone can give the right answer. Is there one? We should find out soon enough.
Lastly, we can not forget about hurricane Irene creeping up the east coast and scheduled to hit the New York/New Jersey area either tomorrow or Sunday into Monday, but wouldn’t it be fitting if the rain and winds started right before the game. Like the late great comedian George Carlin said, “Football is played in any kind of weather: Rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog…can’t see the game, don’t know if there is a game going on; mud on the field…can’t read the uniforms, can’t read the yard markers, the struggle will continue!” The struggle will continue Monday for the battle of New York, which will only be the beggining until they meet again on the eve of Christmas for more war on the gridiron.
Both teams are having some problems when it comes to staying healthy but it seems the G-Men have the shorter end of the stick when it comes to this, but that’s the game of football, great teams overcome the injuries.
(Players to watch) (Jets)
We are keeping an eye on main contributors to the offense and defense because coach Ryan likes to sit his players for the fourth and final preseason game as seen last season.
Plaxico Burress (WR) — Burress will most likely be the main act of the play Monday night. Who seen this coming? The returning star signs with the team that not only plays in the same city but shares the stadium as well, this couldn’t be scripted any better. Burress had a stellar performance against the Bengals last week coming down with three grabs for 66 yards and a touchdown that showed that he was back. Coming off the slight ankle injury, Burress made it clear that it felt fine and that “it’s not a factor” in the upcoming season but it’s still always good to look out for. The Jets receiver did have a slight setback earlier in the week at training camp in Florham Park, N.J. suffering from soreness in his lower back but expects to play Monday. Look for Burress to shine once again this week, even though he says this game has no extra meaning, I find that hard to believe.
Shonn Greene (RB) — Greene is also coming off an injury that he suffered after the first preseason matchup with the Texans. The foot ended up catching a skin infection but with a careful eye by team doctors and a bit of rest Greene is back in action for Monday. Ground and Pound is what coach Ryan and the Jets are known for but they are having a little trouble this preseason in getting the train rolling. Blame it on the RB’s or on the offensive line but you have to understand one hand washes the other. If one fails, the whole thing fails. Greene says he feels fine and thought the media overreacted to his injury. Look for him to spearhead the running attack with Joe McKnight, LaDanian Tomlinson and Bilal Powell following his lead.
Derrick Mason (WR) — The 37 year old WR was signed by the Jets who ended up letting Jerricho Cotchery go to the Steelers. The veteran has been able to play up to such high standards his whole career because he avoided lower body injuries. Is father time catching up with him? The team got rid of an injured riddled player and hopefully hasn’t fallen into the same trap. Mason will be back on the field with his other “Fly Men” Monday night. Look for him to make an impact early to get him going and test out the knee.
Mark Sanchez (QB) — All eyes are on captain Sanchez, mainly because of the QB controversy that has been looming ever since Eli Manning’s comments. The battle for top QB, another taste that will likely leave us hungry for more. But let’s put that aside for a mintue shall we. Sanchez’ performance on Monday is more important than some immature controversy. This is the third preseason game for the Jets and with only one more to go before the start of the 2011 season this is the most important one. Reason is, coach Ryan likes to sit his starters for the fourth and final preseason game for rest, so this means way more to Sanchez and company then you’d think. Look for Sanchez to exploit the weak secondary of the Giants, especially the newly signed CB Brian Williams who will likely fill the shoes of DB Terrell Thomas who is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Brandon Moore (RG) — The Jets offensive line looks to be a bit thin as of right now. With center Nick Mangold back after a scary stinger in training camp two weeks ago and the loss of backup center Rob Turner for the season due to a broken leg he suffered in game one against the Texans, the Jets need to patch up the hole in their offensive line if they want to protect their QB and get the running game back to a high level. Moore is making his preseason debut Monday. Just a few weeks ago he didn’t think he would even be in this position. He was concerned about the surgically repaired hip but seems to be feeling fine now and is happy to be back.
Bart Scott (LB) — Scott faced a frightening moment in game one of the preseason which looked on camera to be a serious injury that could of sidelined him for the enitre year but he seems to be bouncing right back. His leadership status will be back on the field Monday after sitting out a few practices and missing the game against the Bengals. No big deal for the veteran LB who is always ready to play his best when his name is called. Watch how his leg reacts to the turf Monday night and try to notice his stability when cutting and tackling. There is no added fuel needed to be thrown on Scott’s fire. Just look for him to be himself and have a good, sound all around game. His return is key for this team not only for his skill and ability to teach the young players, which proved well last week when Josh Mauga filled the void at LB and if it wasn’t for Burress stealing the show, would have been my player of the game, but Scott means a lot more than that, kind of that prize possession that you cannot let go of.
Calvin Pace (LB) — Everyone should remember the preseason game he had against the Giants last year, I think Manning remembers. New year for Pace but same player. Pace is coming off a groin injury and expects to play in Monday’s game. The Jets cannot afford a serious injury from Pace this season. They are looking for him to contribute heavily to the pass rush that they seem flat at right now. I don’t expect too much playing time for Pace but his impact is key. If he can get a few rushes on Manning or even take him down this will be a successful game for him and will likely put a smile on the Jets coaches and front office.
Aaron Maybin (LB) — “Maybe” referred to by Bills fans. Maybin could make an impact for gang green. His impact last week against the Bengals proved he might be turning his career around. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and say he’s the next best thing but he might contribute to the pass rush along with Pace. Look for him to get some late game playing time and play hard nosed football at whatever position they throw him in at. He might make another splash Monday. That would be two for the preseason. Do I see a wave coming? Sorry getting ahead of myself again.
Vlad Ducasse (OL) — In the first preseason matchup against the Texans, Ducasse could barely keep his head above water. He was committing immature mistakes and getting run over by DE J.J. Watt on multiple occasions which lead to the Texans player rolling up on Turner from behind, but noone is to be blamed it’s football injuries happen. In the second preseason game against the Bengals he was floating but with the aid of swimmies, committing a false start and not blocking very well on run plays. His teammates are raving about him but I’m still not satisfied. Maybe Monday will be his day.
The FG kicking has been an up hill battle for the Jets since training camp began. Nick Folk and Nick Novak are battling for a spot for head place kicker and the competition is heating up. Folk felt a little turned off by the fact the team went out and signed Novak in February after all the things Folk had done. But that’s business and life has to go on and now he must fight it out through training camp and the preseason in order to keep his job that he held last season.
Nick Folk was 4-for-5 and Nick Novak was 3-for-5 in practice, but both made wind-aided 62-yard field goals to end practice. This was earlier in the week. Looks like someone wants a job. Watch out for their game attempts tomorrow if the offense stalls a few times.
The Jets starters need to impact the game early and often since this is likely their last turn before they start the season. The run game needs to be on point along with the offensive line. We all know the defense will be there but the pass rush is the key in the Monday night matchup. If Sanchez can stay consistant by making smart decisions on when and where to throw the ball, look for the Jets to play an overall positive game against their crosstown rival New York Giants.
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