Joe Flacco
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Flacco is your Jets starting quarterback for the time being. Zach Wilson suffered a torn meniscus and bone bruise in last Friday’s preseason opener against the Eagles. He still has an outside chance to start Week 1 vs. Baltimore, but it’s more likely the veteran will be facing his former team to commence the regular season.

Flacco and this first-team offense, therefore, must build chemistry. Could they make much-needed progress Monday night against Atlanta?

Here are four reasons to tune into the upcoming Jets-Falcons preseason game.

Joe Cool. The Jets will wish to get off to a good start in the regular season, with or without Wilson. If Flacco must play against the Ravens, he’ll need to develop a nice rapport with his receivers during the preseason.

The first few series or first quarter — however long head coach Robert Saleh elects to keep the starters in — will be important. Flacco must develop rhythm and get on the same page timing-wise with the likes of receivers Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson, should both play much Monday night.


Sauce at MetLife. Rookie cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner will be taking the field for his first game action at MetLife Stadium, preseason or regular season. The No. 4 overall draft pick has had a great camp thus far and will look to make valuable progress Monday night against Atlanta.

Although the Falcons don’t have a legitimate starting quarterback (Marcus Mariota and rookie Desmond Ridder are on the roster) nor any receivers close to being of elite status (Calvin Ridley is suspended for the year due to gambling), this exhibition matchup will still be a superb opportunity for Gardner to grow.

He’ll eventually be one of the team’s starting cornerbacks. But he hasn’t earned the job over third-year man Bryce Hall just yet. Could a solid Monday-night performance propel Gardner to that next level?

Fant back at right tackle. Veteran George Fant is back at right tackle. He was supposed to be the starting left tackle with Mekhi Becton manning the right side, but Becton suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month. The Jets have since signed five-time Pro Bowler Duane Brown, who will assume the blindside duties.

Fant is a year removed from playing right tackle. Monday night’s matchup should be his first game action back at right tackle. A solid performance from him would help the Jets overcome one of their various hurdles on the offensive line.

The rookies. And obviously, many eyes will be on the rookies as they look to grow ahead of their inaugural regular seasons.

Especially the pair of fourth-rounders: offensive tackle Max Mitchell and defensive end Micheal Clemons. Given the injury statuses of Becton and Conor McDermott (who’s dealing with an ankle injury), Mitchell has an opportunity to assume the duties as the team’s top reserve swing tackle. Clemons, on the other hand, will have valuable game action Monday to show he can provide significant depth behind defensive ends Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, and rookie Jermaine Johnson.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.