Despite having expanded their New Jersey presence, the New York Jets are making their annual pilgrimage to Hofstra University’s James Shuart Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 23.
Featuring a new head coach and general manager, as well as a revamped roster, the team will be giving Long Island Jets fans a firsthand look at a franchise which finished last season with a disappointing record of 4-12. It is, however, a potentially inexpensive night out with the family. There is no admission charge, although the Jets are asking that their free tickets be downloaded in advance from the team’s website. Jets Fest, an interactive amusement park for children, and Jets souvenir stands are also a scheduled part of the evening’s festivities.
The Shuart Stadium gates will open at 5:30 p.m. and the practice starts at 7. There is plentiful parking near Shuart Stadium, and there will be no charge to park on the Hofstra campus.
The Jets used to hold their summer training camp at Hofstra, but had in recent years readied for the season at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland. Cortland was dropped like a bad habit in favor of Florham Park, NJ, where the Jets opened their 2015 summer training camp on Thursday, July 30. By the time the team arrives at Hofstra, the Jets will have played two exhibition games, one in Detroit (Thursday, Aug. 13) and the other at MetLife Stadium, in New Jersey’s godforsaken Meadowlands (Friday, Aug. 21), against the Atlanta Falcons.
New Jets’ head coach Todd Bowles was hired in the off-season to succeed Rex Ryan, who went on to coach the Buffalo Bills. Like Ryan, Bowles is known for his defensive expertise, having come to the Jets after working previously as the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals. Chan Gailey has been appointed as the Jets’ offensive coordinator and he should be able to assist Coach Bowles and the team on that side of the ball.
Mike Maccagnan, the Jets’ new general manager, aggressively revamped the Jets’ roster in the off-season, signing former Jet defensive backs Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, as well as talented Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Maccagnan also engineered a trade with his former employer, the Houston Texans, to sign veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Gailey was the Bills’ head coach when Fitzpatrick was Buffalo’s starting quarterback there, so the two of them are reuniting with the Jets.
Maccagnan won high marks from industry observers for his top two National Football League (NFL) draft selections this spring, taking Leonard Williams, a defensive end from the University of Southern California, in the first round. His second round pick, Ohio State wide receiver Devin Smith, is also expected to have an immediate, positive impact on the team’s fortunes.
In the draft’s fourth round, the Jets chose Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty to compete with presumed starting quarterback Geno Smith and Fitzpatrick.
The Jets’ 16-game regular season gets underway on Sunday, Sept. 13, with a home game against the Cleveland Browns and concludes on Sunday, Jan. 3, in Buffalo. In case you were wondering, Tom Brady will have served his suspension by the time the New England Patriots face the Jets in Massachusetts on Sunday, Oct. 25. The Pats and the Jets will meet again at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 27.
Mike Barry, vice president of media relations for an insurance industry trade group, has worked in government and journalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.