By Vinny Lanni @vinnylanni on July 19, 2014
The New York Jets know that 8-8 was good for 2013, but it's not going to cut it in 2014. This season, there are new faces, higher aspirations and an urgency to win now. The Jets have a tough schedule and the odds are stacked up against them, but there's no reason why the Jets can't surprise again this season.
The New York Jets report to camp on July 23 in SUNY Cortland and they start practice on July 24 at 10 a.m. The Jets will play its annual Green and White game on Aug. 2 and host the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 7 for its first game of the preseason. There are 19 open practices to the public and the Jets will travel between three different locations in the New York and New Jersey area.
Geno Smith or Michael Vick? That is the question that the New York Jets will have to answer before the end of training camp. I believe that Smith deserves another chance with this new Jets offense and I believe he will get it. Smith has taken the majority of the first-team reps in during practice and signs point to him as the starter. Jets rookie TaJh Boyd has some talent too, but it's going to be hard for him to get a lot of reps.
Chris Johnson is the new guy to watch out for here. Johnson is the dynamic playmaker for the Jets' offense, but don't forget about the hard-running Chris Ivory too. Last season, Ivory totaled 833 yards on 182 attempts and he will get his fair share of carries along with Johnson. Behind those two, look for Bilal Powell to have a reduced role this season. At fullback, it's all Tommy Bohanon, as he is the only one on the roster.
Eric Decker got paid and now it's time to see if he can play. Decker will be the No. 1 receiver for the New York Jets and it's up to him lead the attack through the air. Behind him, I expect David Nelson to step up and claim the No. 2 receiver spot with Jeremy Kerley at No. 3. Watch out for speedsters Jalen Saunders and Jacoby Ford; those two can produce some big plays this season, if given the opportunity.
Jace Amaro is another new exciting new weapon on offensive. Jeff Cumberland will take over as the No. 1 tight end on the depth chart, but Amaro will find his receptions. Amaro can split out as a receiver and cause some serious nightmares for opposing teams. He said that he wants to be the next Tony Gonzalez, so let's see if he can back it up. Zach Sufield is big-bodied, solid No. 3 behind Amaro and Cumberland.
Willie Colon, Oday Aboushi and Brain Winters will battle for the two open spots on the Jets' offensive line. Colon is coming off a solid season, but he is also coming off a major injury and it will be interesting to see if he can be the Colon of old. It wouldn't surprise me to see Aboushi win out and claim a spot on the line after Winters struggled last season. Breno Giacomini is the new comer on the O-line and I wonder how he will fit in.
Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison get another year to play together. All of the Jets' defensive lineman return this year including Kenrick Ellis and Leger Douzable. There is not much to say about the Jets' D-line, they are the strongest part of the team and may be amongst the NFL's best.
The Jets' linebackers were good, but not great last season. David Harris had 124 tackles and Calvin Pace had 10 sacks, but behind them, there wasn't much else. This is the year for Quinton Couples to step up and solidify his worth as a first-round pick. The Jets need another linebacker to step up and take the pressure of its secondary. Sleeper alert: Trevor Reilly, the last-round pick has heart and a lot of fire; he may find a role with the team.
First Darrelle Revis, second Antonio Cromartie and now it's Dee Milliner. This is the biggest area of need for the New York Jets and there is a lot of pressure on Milliner to step up and claim the No. 1 spot. Behind him, look for Dexter McDougle to grab the second and Dimitri Patterson to fill out the third. If the corners struggle, rookie Calvin Pryor will be there to help in the secondary.
Nick Folk is coming off a solid year for the Jets and Ryan Quigley has his spot locked down as the punter. The x-factor here is Jacoby Ford; he has blazing 4.22 speed and has the opportunity to shine as a return man for the Jets in 2014. If he re-capture the 2010 version of himself, he could be very dangerous.
Quaterback, second wide reciever and second cornerback are the three open competitions to look for during training camp. I expect Smith to beat out Vick, Nelson to take over at the No. 2 spot and McDougle to capture second corner position and surprise a lot of people. The Jets' biggest weaknesses are at its three open competition spots and we'll see how it plays out during the course of the season.
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