New York Jets 2013 Training Camp Preview
New York Jets 2013 Training Camp Preview
On July 22, the New York Jets continue preparations for 2013 as they open up training camp. A roster overhaul during this offseason has introduced young talent, especially on defense. Pressure is definitely on head coach Rex Ryan to win or be fired.
Last year, of course, proved to be a disaster as Gang Green fell to 6-10. They hope to climb out of third place in an AFC East division that has long been ruled by one franchise. Quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick led the New England Patriots to three Super Bowl victories over the last decade as well as 10 division titles in 12 years. On paper, New England does not look quite as imposing as a devastating tight end duo was taken apart with Rob Gronkowski’s injuries and Aaron Hernandez’s release. Defense also presents some issues. Big moves were made by the Miami Dolphins, but young quarterback Ryan Tannehill must progress for his team to reach their high expectations. 2012’s last place Buffalo Bills have not qualified for the Playoffs in over a decade and are starting over again with rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel. With all of these changes it is hard to see where New York fits into this landscape. Experts seem to feel that offensive short comings will cause them to struggle again.
Quarterback play has been erratic while their signal caller failed to live up to expectations. In order to succeed, New York also needs young pieces on their other side to develop quickly. When dealing with this franchise, media attention always seems to be lingering. In order to improve, they need to avoid these distractions that came from moves like acquiring Tim Tebow. New general manager John Idzik seems committed to such change and it will be interesting when July 22 arrives.
Despite committing a league-high 52 turnovers the last two seasons, quarterback Mark Sanchez remains confident that he will emerge as No. 1 on New York’s depth chart. Sanchez’s job is in jeopardy as rookie Geno Smith is also ready to compete. Smith brings more capabilities with superior arm strength and athleticism. Soon to be fourth-year player Greg McElroy has made one career start. Lack of pocket presence against pressure should be taken as a warning sign. He does, however, have an ability to function as game manager. McElroy most likely will not play into consideration. Matt Simms struggled at Tennessee and probably is also fighting for third quarterback position.
Following the departure of last year’s starter Shonn Greene, New York quickly unveiled a different group of running backs who have solid potential. Bilal Powell demonstrated flashes behind Greene while averaging 3.7 yards per carry. Now, he could find himself just trying to stick around. Adding Chris Ivory from the New Orleans Saints brings both speed and power. These skills likely have Ivory appearing as lead back. Change of pace is something that could be found from fellow new addition Mike Goodson, who also appears in the mix for solid playing time. Joe McKinght brings excitement from speed to the outside. Despite this valuable quality, McKnight’s biggest contributions likely come returning kicks. He is likely battling John Griffin for a final spot.
Santonio Holmes represents New York’s best option at receiver. He brings good speed and hands. Although not an elite player, Holmes is a solid difference maker. Unfortunately the status of his recovery is shaky. Former second-round selection Stephen Hill brings exciting speed and great size which could make him dynamic. His biggest issue, however, is learning to bring in receptions on a consistent basis. Jeremy Kerley has tremendous upside, but is better suited in the slot. Ben Obomanu knows Idzik from their days with the Seattle Seahawks. He never scored more than four touchdowns in one season, though, so depth is Obomanu’s only reason to stay. Clyde Gates was picked up last season, but doesn't bring much other than speed. Zach Rogers brings promise even as an undrafted free agent. Being overlooked seems to benefit the Jets as Rogers truly possesses every quality that one looks for in a target. The Jets have a small-school product in Ryan Spadola who will likely be competing for a roster spot. Titus Ryan is a journeyman who will struggle to make this roster.
Kellen Winslow joins New York with an opportunity to contribute. If he can stay healthy and recapture his explosiveness. Winslow provides explosives in their West Coast offense. Jeff Cumberland showed promise last year. After going undrafted in 2010 he has ability to turn some heads. Despite Winslow’s addition, Cumberland still has been mentioned as starter. Konrad Reulan and Hayden Smith present potential, but are unproven.
Blocking ability was something that this offensive line definitely had during Ryan’s first few seasons. Production took a step back last year, especially at left guard. Vladimir Ducasse faces great urgency to improve in 2013 as he moves to right guard. He will likely serve as backup to veteran free agent addition Stephen Peterman. Third-round selection Brian Winters has solid size and offers great value in terms of his pick. Last year's starting right tackle Austin Howard must improve or lose his job. Dennis Landolt is massive at 6-foot-4 and 304 pounds, however, brings nothing more than depth. Rookies Oday Aboushi and William Campbell add toughness although their initial contributions probably come as reserves.Willie Colon must stay healthy, but has a chance to compete for this position . The Jets currently list him at starter. While D’Brickashaw Ferguson comes off a down year, he remains very good at left tackle. Nick Mangold anchors this offensive line as arguably football’s best blocking center.
Pass rush has long been a challenge to the Jets. 2012 first-round pick Quinton Coples likely will play more at outside linebacker after entering football as a defensive end. Based on different looks, Coples likely lines up at multiple positions. Despite some thoughts that New York should have gone with offense 13th overall, Sheldon Richardson has impressed during this offseason and will likely be used by Ryan in creative ways.. Depth was added in Antonio Garray who will be asked to help improve run defense. Muhamed Wilkerson has potential to become one of football’s most feared pass rushers. Starting nose tackle position now belongs to Kenrick Ellis who takes over for departed Sione Pouha. Ellis struggled with injury last year but has great size.
David Harris mans the middle linebacker position playing with high energy. Last season turned out to be disappointing, however, for Harris. The earlier departure of Bart Scott means that young Demario Davis must learn quickly. Veteran Calvin Pace was added in 2008 to create plays outside. While he struggled last year and was even cut, Ryan thought Pace could still be valuable. He will have to hold off Antwan Barnes who looks to return to his 2011 form. Potential shown by Garrett McIntyre brings hope as well. Despite an injury-plagued history, Ricky Sapp is also expected to play a major role.
Obviously, the major headline from this group belongs to one player who is gone. All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His ability to isolate another team’s No. 1 receiver greatly helped Ryan in preparing schemes. Dee Milliner, selected ninth overall this year, continues to recover from shoulder surgery. Despite popular opinion, Milliner was not chosen to replace Revis, but just to compete for the second starting spot. There now is extra onus on Antonio Cromartie to perform as well as he did last season. He assumed Revis’ role as defending top pass catchers. Despite being burned at times by quicker receivers, Cromartie was up to the task and tops the depth chart entering 2013. Isaiah Trufant and Ellis Lankster also provided valuable play last year. Undrafted free agent Mike Edwards looks to stick around and brings solid athleticism.
Youth runs wild in their secondary. As a result, safety Dawan Landry was brought in to provide veteran presence and tackling abilities. Josh Bush presents an underdog of sorts while being selected in the sixth round of 2012’s draft, but is expected to get a solid amount of playing time. Another young prospect looms in Antonio Allen who also has an opportunity to compete for a starting safety job. New York took a chance on Jaiquan Jarrett who disappointed with the Philadelphia Eagles as well.
Incumbent kickerNick Folk is expected to compete with Derek Dimke who was cut by the Detroit Lions last preseason. 2012 also served as punter Robert Malone's first year as he averaged 45.8 yards per punt. He will be pushed by former Chicago Bear Ryan Quigley. Reading their 2013 depth chart provides insight as to their thinking. Kerley remains on punt return duty, while kicks are still handled by McKnight.