FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The Battle of the Backups remains the most intriguing thing about an otherwise quiet Jets camp this summer. With stability almost everywhere when it comes to the starting lineup, there's still nothing but uncertainty on the depth chart behind Ryan Fitzpatrick.
And it seems doubtful if there'll be much more clarity after the game against the Giants on Saturday.
Fitzpatrick will start, of course, and play most, if not all, of the first half. And that will leave Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and still-unused rookie Christian Hackenberg fighting for scraps.
"It's hard to get three quarterbacks in the second half," Jets head coach Todd Bowles said. "I'll try to if everything goes right. In a perfect world, you want it. We really do want to try and get all of them in the game."
Smith will go second, Bowles confirmed. But who will go third? Or will anyone go third? It had been Petty in the first two preseason games, but Bowles wouldn't commit to the second-year pro being the next man up.
"It's hard to get a gauge on the game," Bowles said. "He played a lot last week and the week before. We've got to get our guys ready to play."
Maybe he's already made his decision on the quarterbacks, then? That's one of three things to keep an eye on in the Jets' game against the Giants on Saturday night.
1.) Who's the man behind the man?
Bowles has been somewhat coy about whether the erratic Smith is being pushed by Petty for the backup quarterback job, but if only Fitzpatrick and Smith are guaranteed to play Saturday night then it sure seems as if that decision is made.
Of course, Smith could always screw it up and give Petty another shot at the job next Thursday night in Philadelphia. Then again, maybe Bowles will buy time on that decision by keeping four quarterbacks, including both Smith and Petty. It would be a bold and unusual decision, but that's never been ruled out.
And what of Hackenberg? What is it about him that the Jets don't think he's ready for even preseason mop-up duty? His inaction doesn't exactly inspire confidence. Then again, he's not getting cut and he's likely to spend the season on the inactive list, so he's got time, too.
2.) What is the Jets' Forte?
All summer long, running back Matt Forte has seemed like a secret weapon being kept under wraps so no one can see what he can do. Now that he's apparently over the hamstring pull that sidelined him most of training camp, Forte is expected to make his Jets debut on Saturday night.
There are big questions about Forte, starting with: Can he stay healthy? That obviously may not be known right away. But he can start to show some of the things he can do to help the Jets' offense, both as a runner and as a receiver out of the backfield.
Forte may not be a workhorse anymore, but there should be enough left in his tank for him to give a boost to the Jets' offense this season, assuming he can stay on the field.
3.) Is it Jace Amaro time?
With WR Quincy Enunwa (concussion) out, Bowles was asked who steps into the role occupied by the 6-2, 225-pound third receiver. He named a bunch of tight ends, and none of them were Amaro -- who has been nursing a sore groin.
Since Enunwa often plays a tight end-like role, Bowles' answer makes sense despite the fact that the Jets have a group of young receivers that Brandon Marshall calls the most talented he's ever played with. Those receivers likely will get their opportunities after Marshall and Eric Decker are out of the game.
But this could be a big chance for the disappointing, oft-injured Amaro to stake his claim to a role in the offense if he could only get on the field. Yes, his blocking is a "work in progress" as the Jets' tight ends coach said this week. But he was drafted for his receiving ability. This would be a good time to show it. Otherwise, he may end up as a non-factor when the regular season starts.