Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comWe’re just about three weeks into training camp and here’s some overall observations about the team to this point:
The receivers are better than advertised — It’s only one game into the preseason, but so far this receiving group seems a lot better they appeared heading into training camp. There’s a few reasons for this. (1) The addition of Braylon Edwards has been a boon to the group. His roster status might be unsteady as we read the tea leaves based on his bizarre playing time on Friday night, but he’s made the group better and is a good bet to make the team. (2) The improvement of players like Clyde Gates and Stephen Hill gives this group a palpable difference than they were last year. (3) Santonio’s production is a plus, but not an expectation heading into the season. (4) Marty Mornhinweg is much better equipped to run an NFL caliber passing offense than Sparano was — understatement of the year.
More Geno, please — We need to see more of Geno before any decisions are made, that much is evident. Believe it or not, Geno’s ankle injury might be a blessing in disguise for the Jets. We all know who and what Mark Sanchez is as he more than amply proved Friday night. That said, the way Sanchez bounced back from his gruesome start has — at the very least — set a baseline for this team at the quarterback position. For years now, analysts have said that Sanchez needs more talent around him. It might not be the 2010 version, but the 2013 offense sure looks better than the 2012, that’s for damn sure. This year, Sanchez has more talent with the addition of Mornhinweg and the organic growth of the receiving corps in addition to a revamped line and a more dynamic group of (should they ever stay on the field) running backs. Sanchez might be able to Sanchez his way through the season, but the progress that Geno has made since the spring practices has been impressive. The Jets need to delay their decision as much as possible to see how much more Geno can absorb of the NFL game to see if he can be a justifiable week one starter. If the Jets are smart, they’ll wait until after the third preseason game to make any decision.
Freaky good — In the way that Revis could cover a multitude of sins in the past, we think that the Jets defensive line is going be allow similar results for the Jets in 2013. Ryan’s Jets have prided themselves on being “multiple” they might rely on more four man fronts than ever this year. Mo is versatile and will see time all over the formation. Coples has been projected to the edge this season and will still need to prove himself in that role, but would be right back at home if they Jets wanted to use him more on the interior. Ellis seems ready to take on his larger role and the rookie Richardson seems able to be plugged in just about anywhere. I wonder if the Jets wouldn’t put Richardson on the edge next to Wilkerson in four man fronts often this season. Where they line up is less the focus, but the unconventional pressure that this group can bring on a ballcarrier should be fun to watch.
Running back battery — Ivory and Powell are locks to make this roster and that’s about all that can be said at this point. John Griffin was putting together a nice camp, but is now on the IR thanks to a horsecollar tackle that went unfined. The Jets are exploring their options at kick returners beyond Joe McKnight, a guy who has been one of the best in the league in recent years. Goodson is in the ether and they have some journeyman to challenge for spots in Kahlil Bell and Chad Spann that could stand a chance to make the roster. Right now it all comes down to Ivory and the Jets need to do everything they can to get and keep him healthy this fall.
Call me Konrad — Reuland made the roster last year and had a bumpy ride, mostly because he was a late addition and needed time to get acclimated to the team. This year, that doesn’t seem to be a concern and Reuland seems to be dialing in that third roster spot for the team behind Winslow and Cumberland.
Settling in at safety — Just a year ago, Jaiquawn Jarrett was run out of Philadelphia as one of the first-last scapegoats of the Andy Reid era. Remember that epic run of firings and cuts the team made at the end of the season?!? The Jets scooped him up and a full offseason with the team seems to be paying dividends. While the Jets would like Antonio Allen to earn the job, the Jets are going to allow Jarrett a chance to start this week against the Jags. Ryan raved about JJ after watching him in action last week, but I would like to see if the expanded role this week is warranted, or whether this is a tactic to get Allen to respond in practice and in the third week of the preseason .,, something Ryan has never been above doing. One way or another, the team seems to have a decent enough group to manage the season, assuming the current group of corners can remain healthy.