These Jets will step onto the field against a different team for the first time on Friday night in Philadelphia, when they open the preseason against the Eagles. Like all preseason openers, it will carry all the air of excitement, until everyone involved remembers that the occasion isn’t much at all.
Case in point: There was no artful dodging when Jets coach Robert Saleh was asked about his game plan on Monday. He will be doing the same thing in Year 2 as he did in Year 1.
“We’re planning on playing all our guys for a series or two,” Saleh said. “So it’ll probably end up being a quarter. That’s for the first group and then the seconds [and] thirds will finish off the game.”
That’s something — and it is a better measuring stick than practice. But it’s not much.
Last year, Saleh waited until the third preseason game, against the Giants, to give his starters some real run. That approach could change this year — he’s been conversing with Giants coach Brian Daboll on the best way to go about things, though it didn’t seem like anything has been decided as of yet.
Despite the generally lackluster tenor of preseason football, the Jets are still excited to get going, and to show what they can do against somebody wearing a different uniform.
“I can’t wait,” receiver Corey Davis said. “It gets competitive out here, running routes in front of the same dudes, they kinda get to be on you a little bit. But it’s good cause you gotta switch up your routes a little bit, make everything look different. I’m excited to get in front of some new faces.”
Sauce Gardner will be watched closely as he makes his debut after being picked fourth overall in April’s NFL draft.
“I can’t wait,” Gardner said. “That’s what I pray for.”
When it was put to him that it might be a bit odd to sit on the bench after the first 15 minutes, Gardner chose the moment to focus on what’s ahead.
“It’ll give me something to look forward to when the regular season actually starts,” he said.
LB Jamien Sherwood earned the nickname “Florham Park Strangler” from Saleh last week. He’s taking it in stride, calling the name “pretty cool.”
“That actually started on special teams, you know like they say I got these long arms,” the 6-foot-2 Sherwood said. “So we do these drills — the goal is to compete, so I just put my arms on him. I just try to win. And then ultimately become the Florham Park Strangler.”
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