New York Jets: Five Position Battles
New York Jets: 5 Position Battles to Watch
The 2012 season started out promisingly for the New York Jets. After an offseason full of distractions and an 0-4 preseason, they blasted Buffalo 48-28 and gave fans hope that the season wouldn't be a disaster. However, after a 2-1 start, they lost five of the next six games en route to a 6-10 final record.
By the end of the year, the word circus was being tossed around, and the Jets appeared to be a franchise without direction and without a lot of hope for a quick turnaround. They were solid defensively, but offensively they were one of the worst teams in the NFL. Turnovers were a huge issue that plagued the team all year.
2013 could be the end on an era for the Jets as Mark Sanchez won't survive another sub par year in the Big Apple, and neither will head coach Rex Ryan. The Jets are nowhere near the team that made two AFC title games in Ryan's first two year's as coach. It's hard to see how they could finish the season with a winning record.
Even their draft picks are questionable. Geno Smith is a promising young talent, but his actions during the draft process turned many teams away. That certainly won't do much to enhance the Jets locker room.
The Jets' outlook for 2013 isn't good, the quarterback position is unsettled, the defense is aging and the receiver position is banged up and thin even when it is at full strength. Finishing 8-8 would be an accomplishment for this squad, and it's more than likely big changes will occur next offseason.
Here are the five position battles to keep an eye on in 2013.
It appears that the New York Jets haven't learned anything from the Tim Tebow fiasco last year. One way or the other drafting Geno Smith spells disaster for Mark Sanchez. At this point, does anyone think Sanchez will remain the starter throughout the year? And that's if he wins the starting job in the the first place.
The Jets are one of the league's most dysfunctional franchises, and their quarterback position has been and continues to be a personification of their incompetence.
Dawan Landry will give the Jets a solid starter, but who will play alongside him is in question. Josh Bush and Antonio Allen are the favorites. The Jets say Kyle Wilson has had a fabulous offseason, but Rex Ryan believes rookie Dee Milliner has “special” in him. One would think think the Jets would lean towards Milliner after using a high first round pick on him.
The Jets are a mess at wideout. Their top four receivers are all battling injuries this summer, and their best receiver, Santonio Holmes, may not even be ready for the start of the season.
Stephen Hill is most likely to become the No. 1 receiver, at least to start the year, while Holmes gets back his form. Jeremy Kerley should be able to get back to the slot where he is at his best.
Clyde Gates and UDFA signing Marcus Davis should have opportunities as well. There are several other players on the roster bubble fighting for spots or being considered as the Jets are always looking for opportunities to improve at receiver.
Brian Winters, a third round-pick from Kent State, is going to push Stephen Peterman for a starting spot. If Winters wins the job, I think he would shift over to left guard and Willie Colon, who worked solely at LG during the spring, would switch to the right. Typically you will line up your tight end more on the right side and you’ll get your most powerful lineman (Colon) out there. Winters is a more athletic option, so he would be a natural to shift left and pull more on the power runs. But the 6’4”, 323-pound Peterman started every game the past three seasons for the Lions, and he will be ready for this battle.
If all things are equal, Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson seem to have the inside track. They were both acquired by John Idzik this offseason. Powell and McKnight are holdovers from the Mike Tannenbaum regime. Idzik seemingly acquired Ivory and Goodson because he did not believe Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight are good enough.
Goodson’s arrest and pending criminal charges muddy the waters, though, and create a potential opening for the other two. Powell is the only one of the four without significant injury concerns, which gives him a bit of an advantage. McKnight is one of the best kickoff return men in the game, giving him a path to the roster even if he is fourth on the depth chart.