The Jets are warming up at Bank of America Stadium about an hour before the start of tonight’s preseason game against the Panthers. And it would be a welcome turn in franchise history if the Green & White starters (about one quarter) and the twos and threes (about the last three quarters) can put together a complete game in Charlotte, N.C.
They’ve been hard to come by the few times the Jets visited here previously.
Remember the 2005 regular-season game at this stadium? Brooks Bollinger, pressed into duty due to multiple starting QB injuries, threw four second-half interceptions as the Panthers pulled away for a 30-3 victory.
Four years earlier, these teams played a game that so ugly that it got a nickname: “The Shrek Game.” The reason it wasn’t as ugly for the Jets as for the Panthers is that the Jets won it, 13-12, on John Hall’s field goal with 4:53 to play (at the same venue as tonight, although the name then was Ericsson Stadium).
Reporters sniffed about how ugly the victory was, but then-coach Herm Edwards, not one to pass up a great cultural tie-in, employed Shrek, the green, animated ogre who made his movie debut a short while before, to let his players and fans know that every win is beautiful.
We won’t even venture too far back to 1995, when the teams met for the first time (at Clemson Memorial Stadium, just over the NC/SC border) and Bubby Brister committed “the Shovel Pass” that Sam Mills took 36 yards for the INT-return TD that helped the Panthers to the first win in franchise history, 26-15.
And since the teams have never played a preseason game at Carolina, this is certainly a chance for the Green & White to make a small break with the past and send out the message, to their fans and their “Hard Knocks” audience among many, that the entire team is settling into “Play Like a Jet” mode.
As mentioned, the starters, after playing the first half vs. the Giants, have been ticketed for roughly one quarter of work tonight.
“Yes, I think that’s it, no more,” said head coach Rex Ryan on Thursday, his last news conference at training camp on the SUNY Cortland campus. ‘That’s the deal, that’s how we’re going into this game, so it’s really flipped, how you would play the game.”
So Mark Sanchez may get to work on some of the checkdown passes that were the talk of the past week or so, and Matt Slauson and Vlad Ducasse will continue their LG battle. On defense, NT Kris Jenkins, back in the town he called home for his first seven NFL seasons, will take the next step on his road back from his season-ending knee injury of a year ago, and first-rounder Kyle Wilson is expected to get the CB start as Darrelle Revis’ holdout continues.
But the starters will leave early on and Rex and the Jets will then take a look at their backups, such as QB Mark Brunell perhaps throwing to old/new Jets WR Laveranues Coles, a large cast of ILBs (Kenwin Cummings, Lance Laury and newcomer Boris Lee should play, but no word yet on the health status of Josh Mauga and Brashton Satele), and a secondary that could be tested by the Panthers WR corps, which should include some routes being run by former Jet Wallace Wright.
The weather in Charlotte is expected to be in the low 80s under mostly cloudy skies for this game. Because the Panthers are in their white uniforms with blue trim, the Jets will be wearing their green jerseys and white pants.
Tonight’s referee is Clete Blakeman. If you’re not familiar with that name, that’s because Clete is a new referee this season and thus is working his first Jets game.
Kickoff is about an hour away now. Eric Allen and Nick Gallo will be manning the CoveritLive chat on newyorkjets.com for all who want to check it out, while I will be doing my ingame tweeting, along with Jets radio voice Bob Wischusen, with our tweets appearing on both twitter.com/nyjets and the live chat. I’ll have a game story available on our site as soon as possible after the end of the game.
Then EA, Nick and I will do followups through Sunday leading into next week’s final training camp practices — open sessions Monday and Tuesday at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J., and Wednesday evening at Hofstra Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. The busy preseason continues.
Tags: Bank of America Stadium, Cliff Blakeman, Herm Edwards, Kris Jenkins, Kyle Wilson, Laveranues Coles, Mark Brunell, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan, Shrek Game, Wallace Wright
Posted in Randy Lange | 4 Comments »