The New York Jets open the season in 15 days and they still have a lot of stuff to figure out. The final game of the "varsity" preseason -- Saturday night against the New York Giants -- will have a big impact on the decision-making. For the Jets, a successful night would be:
1. A bounce-back performance by Christian Hackenberg: He was dreadful last week, starting with the third play of the game. He made the wrong protection call and got blasted by an unblocked pass-rusher. His night never got better. Hackenberg's goal this week to get "on schedule earlier," something that was emphasized in practice. He hopes to develop a a rhythm with some high-percentage throws at the outset.
The Jets haven't announced a starter for this game, but Hackenberg, who got the majority of the reps in practice, figures to play a lot. Can he overtake Josh McCown for the No. 1 job, which will be revealed Monday at the earliest? It's a long shot, but the organization would like him to have some positive momentum heading into the regular season.
2. A visit (or two) to the end zone: The Jets have gone 23 straight possessions without a touchdown. They scored on the first series of the first game, and that was it. Improvement is needed in all areas, especially the offensive line, which still has three starting jobs up for grabs. Based on the practice reps, the starters for this game will be, left to right, Kelvin Beachum, James Carpenter, Wesley Johnson, Brian Winters and Brandon Shell -- the likely opening-day five. You also could see Ben Ijalana (left tackle), Jonotthan Harrison (center) and Brent Qvale (right tackle) get some work with the first team. Running back Matt Forte, coming off a hamstring injury, could make his preseason debut.
3. Progress at wide receiver: They've been waiting ... waiting ... waiting for someone other than Robby Anderson to separate from the crowd. Right now, the top three are Anderson, Charone Peake and Kenbrell Thompkins, who wasn't good enough to make the team last summer but now is considered the veteran presence. This is a big game for rookies ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen, both of whom should see increased playing time. They started slowly, but have made strides on the practice field. Jalin Marshall, who faces a four-game PED suspension, probably won't see much action. This will be a good test for the receiving group because the Giants' cornerbacks are very good.
4. A big night for the corners: Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall probably won't play, which changes everything. Nevertheless, this is an important game for the Jets' cornerback group, which won't have Morris Claiborne (shoulder). Buster Skrine and Juston Burris are the expected starters, but you'll see Darryl Roberts, Dexter McDougle and Marcus Williams. This isn't a strong position, and the Claiborne injury is a reminder that depth is an issue. Interestingly, coach Todd Bowles said both spots remain open.
5. Separation in the kicking battle: Ross Martin got the work last week, so look for Chandler Catanzaro to get his second turn. Martin has outperformed Catanzaro on the practice field, but there haven't been any competition-altering developments in the games. It will probably take a fourth game to decide it.