The Jets open the season against the Tampa Bay Bucaneers with a 1 p.m. game at MetLife Stadium. With much-beleaguered quarterback Mark Sanchez out due to an injured shoulder (the result of a fourth-quarter incident during a preseason game with the Giants), Jets coach Rex Ryan has turned to a rookie QB (rumored not to be Ryan's preferred option) to lead the offense. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Geno Smith's turnover total Any rookie quarterback making his first regular-season NFL start would be the major focus of the game, but the Jets' second-round pick saw little preseason action after injuring his ankle. And when he did play, he didn't look good, throwing three first-half interceptions.
2. Running back by committee Though 2012-backup Bilal Powell is expected to get the start, expect to see the workload split with off-season acquisition Chris Ivory. The Jets need to establish a running game to give Smith any chance of having a successful day.
3. The Return of Revis Perennial Pro Bowl cornerback and constant contract complainer Darrelle Revis finally whined his way out of town in the off-season, getting traded to the Buccaneers, in exchange for the Jets' 13th pick overall in the 2013 draft, which they used to acquire starting defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson. Revis hasn't played a down of regular-season football since his knee injury last season, so Jets fans can hope that Richardson outshines him this afternoon...and beyond! (Do I sound like a bitter Jets fan yet?)
4. Sheldon Richardson's effect on the pass rush The Jets have featured a stout defensive line throughout the Ryan years, but getting a pass rush without blitzing has been a consistent problem. Richardson has all the physical talent you could want in both an edge rusher and a run stopper, but his down-to-down desire was occasionally in question while still thriving in the SEC.
5. Where is Dee Milliner? The Jets first draft pick in 2013, the ninth overall, has been a no-presence nonfactor in the preseason, missing time with nagging injuries and giving up more receptions so far than it feels like Revis, who he's ostensibly replacing, gave up in a year. Then again, it was the preseason. Still, Milliner needs to at least look like he can eventually anchor a secondary alongside talent but aging knucklehead Antonio Cromartie.