NFL New York Jets

5 Questions New York Jets Must Answer During Training Camp

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5 Questions the New York Jets Must Answer During Training Camp

Jim O’Connor-USA Today Sports

Struggles continued for the New York Jets as their 6-10 seasons last year followed an eight- win campaign in 2011. Results led to a change of decision-making. New general manager John Idzik looks to change this culture called a circus.

Difficulties were evident immediately as salary-cap constraints caused problems. Many veterans were released to make room. Stability is something that this franchise has lacked recently. It appears that every four years or so has seen change in the front office and core personnel. Jets fans are so passionate, but that could also become negative. If expectations are not met, players feel the wrath of faithfully wanting their first Super Bowl victory in 44 years. With a roster that has experienced massive turnover these next few months will shed much light.

Great uncertainty marks many key areas as Gang Green enters their training camp. While steady players remain at some positions, youth runs rampant in other spots. Unfortunately young players obviously bring inexperience. Growing pains do not mix with head coach Rex Ryan's fight to stay past this year. Getting back to the Playoffs after sitting home two consecutive years will be difficult.

New York has not won the AFC East since 2002. This is a division that goes through quarterback Tom Brady’s New England Patriots. The Miami Dolphins made many sold signings and likely will be greatly improved. Last years’ fourth-place Buffalo Bills turned heads by selecting former Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel. Now they have potential to have explosiveness from their signal caller.

As the Jets enter their 2013 training camp they confront a number of obstacles. Here are the five most significant questions facing this highly scrutinized organization.

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Is there a Threat at Wide Receiver?

The Star Ledger-USA Today Sports

Last year’s second-round choice Stephen Hill from Georgia Tech displays top speed while also having good strength. The problem is catching. As funny as that sounds for a receiver Hill’s biggest issue last season was bringing in a reception. One notorious example proved to be what would have been a game-winning touchdown against New England. His emergence as a reliable target would greatly benefit this offense.

Santonio Holmes, who was considered as this team’s option, continues to heal from his Lisfranc injury. The Jets would get a boost from Holmes’ return. However, I wouldn’t consider him an elite player. Zach Rodgers could be decent even as an undrafted free agent but who knows what to expect. Clyde Gates is fast though he doesn’t bring much else to the table. Ben Obomanu clearly is not an answer. Titus Ryan has spent much time in the Canadian Football League and while he is fast, I don't know about his odds of lasting on the team. New York has three others who likely won't catch on. Later, the offseason should provide a clearer picture of this group.

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Can the Run Defense Improve?

The Star Ledger-USA Today Sports

It is extremely difficult to stop an opponent if they can run at will. For those who are unaware, New York finished 28th in run defense last season. Immense pressure awaits defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis if he does not rise to the occasion. Sheldon Richardson should be able to help correct this problem. Richardson excels as a pass rusher. However, he is also more than capable of coming up in run support.

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What Does the Free Safety Position Have to Offer?

Mark L. Baer-USA Today SportsMark

Ryan prides himself on defensive expertise. To be fair, the Jets did a solid job in pass coverage without Darrelle Revis. They must find a way to do it again after Revis was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One major role in their success was a great safety tandem in Laron Landry and Yeremiah Bell. Both were lost to free agency. While older brother Dawan Landry provides tackling at strong safety, uncertainty exists when it comes to free safety with Josh Bush and Antonio Allen.

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Could Marty Mornhinweg Ignite the Offense?

Brad Penner-USA Today Sports

In 2012, the Jets were simply hard to watch at times when they had possession. Talent lacked at skill positions but that was not the only issue. Play calling from former coordinator Tony Sparano proved uninspired. Ryan’s philosophy of “Ground and Pound” also did not fit personnel. Marty Mornhinweg’s approach has an opportunity to be much more explosive by including unpredictable elements.

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Who will Start at Quarterback?

Ed Mulholland-USA Today Sports

I know there should be no way to solve this competition in training camp. The truth is, Mark Sanchez confronts tough odds of appearing again for the Jets. Ryan did say that a choice has yet to be made, but Sanchez showed during OTAs how decision making still leaves little to be desired. Geno Smith lacks consistency however, that should not bother a rookie. Even if no formal announcement comes some idea of a winner should result from training camp.