Author: Callum Insull
Football is back. The New York Jets’ 2023 season will get its first chapter written as pre-season begins for Robert Saleh’s men when the Jets face the Cleveland Browns in Canton, Ohio in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game.
The Jets offseason has been a movie, one that has seen so much happen including trading for future hall of fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and plenty of free-agent signings like Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Quinton Jefferson. The Jets are in a great position to do some amazing things this upcoming season.
We could talk all day about how good the offseason has been, what has gone on and what to expect from 2023, but the first hurdle is their pre-season opener against the Browns.
The Jets have been practising well so far at Training Camp, with the hard knocks cameras there to capture all. New signings and current players performing impressively with the anticipation for the season rising by the second. Offensive lineman Mekhi Becton is no doubt the biggest question mark heading into Thursday night’s game for the Jets. Having not played a game for two years, suffering injury after injury, he is finally back at tackle for New York.
Robert Saleh also confirmed earlier this week that Zach Wilson, and other non-starters will get game time in Canton, so seeing how Becton gets on ahead of the regular season is going to be something Jets fans will be keen on viewing.
These two teams faced off in week two of the 2022 season in a game that went down to the final seconds, seeing the Jets win 31-30 with a last-gasp Garrett Wilson touchdown. Back then, the Browns didn’t have quarterback Deshaun Watson, who will now have former Jet Elijah Moore to call upon as a receiver, who was traded to Cleveland back in March.
Not many people know what to expect from the Browns this season, with their division the AFC North being a tough one to predict with both the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens looking strong, but the Browns still have a solid roster, and some of those players will be on show this week.
The game on Thursday won’t give people much to go off ahead of the new season, with both sides having three more pre-season games to follow, but it will be a chance for fringe players to impress, in hope of seeing their name called when it comes to Saleh selecting his 53-man-roster.
The annual season kick-off game will also serve as a prelude to Saturday’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, when two former Jets will take their place in Canton.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis became a first-ballot entrant to the Hall of Fame earlier this year, a worthy honour for one of the best players in Jets history. ‘Revis Island’, as he was affectionately known, became famous for his ability to clamp opposition receivers, earning four first-team All Pro selections and seven Pro Bowl nods in his glittering career.
He will be joined by defensive lineman Joe Klecko, who took a slightly more unconventional route to the Hall of Fame, being inducted as a Senior candidate, 35 years after playing his final snap in the NFL. Klecko was part of the Jets famed ‘New York Sack Exchange’ in the 1980s, earning plaudits for his versatility and toughness at both defensive end and defensive tackle.
For the Jets to be able to celebrate two of their greatest defensive players, from two separate eras, earning football’s greatest accolade will make this weekend especially sweet, regardless of the result on Thursday night.
It has been a long wait for football to return for Jets fans, and for those bold enough to stay up into the early hours, it will be interesting to see how the Jets fare against a team they will be eager to beat in the regular season. Fans can tune in on Sky Sports or via NFL GamePass, with radio coverage provided by talkSPORT too.