These two teams struggled last year and they’re trying to improve big time this year. It will take some time to find out if that happens, but there is a chance for them to show us a preview this Friday.
As the New York Jets march into Ford Field to go up against the Detroit Lions for their first preseason game, there will be five things to look out for.
First thing to look out for is the defense for both teams. Both the Jets' and Lions' defenses had their problems last year. The Lions were 13th overall on defense. The Jets were eighth overall, but only 25th in rushing defense. The Jets were second overall in passing defense, but they lost a major piece in their passing defense when they traded away Darrelle Revis.
Both the Lions and Jets lost key pieces on defense. The Lions lost three defensive ends: Cliff Avril, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Lawrence Jackson. They also lost linebacker Justin Durant. While the Jets also lost linebacker Bart Scott, defensive end Mike DeVito and safety LaRon Landry among a couple others.
Although both teams lost people, they also have key defensive arrivals. For the Jets, they have a couple rookies with cornerback Dee Milliner and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. For the Lions they have safety Glover Quin, defensive end Jason Jones, cornerback Darius Slay and defensive end Ziggy Ansah among many more.
I know we won’t get to know the defense much from one preseason game, but we will at least get a preview which will give us a little bit of an idea of what to expect this upcoming season.
Second thing to watch for is the rookie play. I expect the rookies to get a lot of touches in the second half of the game. Specifically look out for the big names like Dee Milliner and Ziggy Ansah. Both of these draft picks were the first picks for both teams. They both have high expectations this season.
For the Lions there is also wide receiver Corey Fuller, tight ends Michael Williams and Joseph Fauria, and defensive end Devin Taylor. Not to mention cornerback Darius Slay. The Lions' secondary has been pathetic the past few seasons, so we will see if Slay and the other additions will boost the secondary this year. For the Jets there is Dee Milliner and Sheldon Richardson to watch for. These rookies will be very important for the defense-oriented Jets' future. We’ll see how these rookies handle their first game on Friday.
Third thing to watch for is the offense of both teams. The Jets had the 30th ranked on offense overall last year. The Lions didn’t have that trouble as they were ranked third overall. The thing to watch for is how the Lions already potent offense will improve with depth at running back.
They now have Reggie Bush, who is not only a threat in the backfield, but also a receiving threat. Along with Bush, they have rookie Theo Reddick and Joique Bell who has proven he can be a great supplemental running back. The Jets are looking to rebound from a bad year on offense with additions like Chris Ivory and Kellen Winslow II.
Also second-year receiver Stephen Hill will get back in the lineup after an injury filled season last year. That should boost the passing game by a lot. You get your first look at both offenses which will be interesting. The Lions will try to continue their offensive dominance and the Jets will try to improve tremendously.
The fourth thing to look for is the quarterbacks. Both Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez have a lot to prove this season. The quarterback situation in New York has more drama though. There is still no clear cut starter for the season.
Will it be Mark Sanchez or rookie Geno Smith? Well, coach Rex Ryan has already stated that Sanchez will get the start, but I’m sure that we will see Smith eventually in the game on Friday. It will be interesting to see the dynamic between the two quarterbacks and between their head coach. We’ll get to see how both Sanchez and Smith perform against their first competition of the preseason.
I had to include this on the list eventually. Lastly, but maybe the most importantly, we have to watch for injuries. There always seems to be that one unlucky player who gets a season ending injury in the first game of the preseason.
Hopefully that won’t happen for anyone, but you never know. It actually happens quite often. So look out for any injuries on Friday. As long as both teams leave the game healthy, they will both consider it a success. That’s what to watch for this Friday between the Jets and Lions.