The New York Jets travel to Canton, Ohio on Thursday to open their preseason schedule in the Hall of Fame Game against the Cleveland Browns.

Technically, it’s the start of the Aaron Rodgers Era for the Jets. Except that Rodgers, like most of the Jets veterans, won’t play in the game.

Still, there will be players fighting for starting roles and/or roster spots looking to make a solid first impression. So, there’s importance to this game for the Jets beyond whatever the final score is.

That said, lets’ examine the top Jets storylines for the Hall of Fame Game against the Browns.

No Aaron Rodgers but Zach Wilson will play

With Rodgers watching from the sideline, Zach Wilson will get the first-team reps at quarterback. Of course, Wilson was the Jets No. 1 QB the past two seasons. But his struggles, including being benched twice last season, led to New York acquiring Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers.

Rodgers has been mentoring and coaching up Wilson this summer. The future Hall of Famer said Tuesday that Wilson has had a solid camp and bright future in the NFL.

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More importantly, Rodgers pointed out that Wilson should use this time as the backup to get a “deep inhale and exhale” after flailing under the spotlight since being the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft. He added that Wilson can learn a lot from someone (Rodgers) “who loves him … and wants him to be great.”

So, let’s see if Wilson, on his 24th birthday looks more confident, decisive and in rhythm Thursday. He’ll play a lot this preseason, giving Jets coaches a chance to see how much he’s progressed before Rodgers takes over in the regular season.

Mekhi Becton takes big first step in return from knee injury

Mekhi Becton will play his first game of any kind since Week 1 of the 2021 season. The massive offensive tackle is expected to play 20-25 snaps after sustaining two knee injuries the past two seasons.

The Jets are bringing Becton along slowly in camp. But Thursday will be his first chance to show he’s capable of handling a bigger workload. Becton’s goal is to be in the starting lineup Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills, either at left or right tackle.

Becton, who’s trimmed down to 350 pounds, even said he’s treating the game Thursday like a regular-season game. This is real for him. And the Jets. Because if Becton can finally meet lofty expectations, he can be a real difference maker for the Jets this season.

Jets rookies will play a lot

Coach Robert Saleh said that the Jets plan not to rush their rookies this season. Unlike last season when Sauce Gardner won NFL defensive Rookie of the Year, Garrett Wilson captured offensive rookie honors and Breece Hall won the starting running back job, the Jets do not expect their rookies to step into major roles in 2023.

That could change, of course. Top pick Will McDonald IV has flashed as a pass rusher in team drills during training camp. And second-round pick Joe Tippmann is expected to compete at some point for the starting center position.

The rookies will get an opportunity to play a lot Thursday. That creates a chance to catch the attention of Jets coaches and decision makers. It could be an important night for Tippmann, in particular, because the Jets have had him on the slow roll behind veterans Connor McGovern and Wes Schweitzer in camp.

Explosive playmaker Israel Abanikanda will get a long look at running back and returning kicks Thursday. Linebacker Zaire Barnes, who’s quietly played well in camp, is worth keeping an eye on, too. And undrafted free agent wide receiver Jason Brownlee, who’s been an early surprise star of camp, will get his first game chance to prove he should be the sixth receiver on the 53-man roster.

Jets legends Joe Klecko, Darrelle Revis will be enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame

Of course, the main reason the Jets are playing in the Hall of Fame Game is because two of their legends are being enshrined in the Hall this weekend.

Joe Klecko and Darrelle Revis each were transformative defensive stars. Klecko was a Pro Bowl selection at three different positions on the defensive line as a member of the famed Sack Exchange in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. Revis was the game’s premier cornerback more than a decade ago, the sole native of Revis Island.

Each is a reminder of better times for the Jets, who hope better days are ahead with Rodgers leading the way.