Debating the New York Jets Most Intriguing Camp Battle
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With that out of the way, there will be several key positional battles for the Jets at positions not named quarterback.
But which position battle will be the most intriguing at Jets camp?
Andrew, take it away.
Andrew: I won't rise to your bait for yet another Sanchez/Tebow argument!
Everyone knows Greg McElroy will be starting by Week 8 anyway.
One of the most critical of battles takes place at right tackle—and no matter who wins, I'm concerned it will be the quarterback who loses.
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The hope had been that the former University of Massachusetts tackle Vladimir Ducasse would fill in for Woody eventually. But eventually became immediately and looks a bit like never.
The team seems convinced (hallucinatory? insane?) Hunter can be a right tackle in the league. I haven't seen any evidence of that, but he or Ducasse better step up to the plate or it could be another long season from the right side.
At this point I'd love to see Ducasse get a shot, if only because we haven't seen enough of him to write him off completely. I'm not sure what the Jets see in Hunter, but I've seen enough to hope he loses this battle.
Could a spear of light and hope be Austin Howard? On the surface, he was just some padding for the stretch run last year. He's an undrafted free agent, originally signed by the Eagles, then spent time with the Ravens and Jets—where he didn't actually see a down.
I know, it seems insane. But could a little Tony Sparano, a good camp and some work in the weight room help?
I don't know, maybe I'm just grasping at straws.
This will be an interesting battle to watch—if by interesting we mean ''holy crap, that toddler is going to get hit by that SCUD missile!''
Erik: The battle at right tackle will be interesting to watch, and I look forward to seeing who will (or, ironically, won't) be protecting Sanchez's front side.
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For all the talent, though, the biggest story line may be the heavier implementation of 4-3 philosophies and more of an emphasis on the 46 defense under new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. It will be interesting to see how the Jets utilize nose tackle Sione Pouha, who has played primarily in a 3-4.
It's not a question of whether, but how much Dunbar's defensive philosophy will have an impact on the outcome of these battles and the subsequent workload each defensive linemen is given.
A penetrating tackle like Coples will be a favorite in the 4-3 front, while the run-plugging DeVito will be a standby in the 3-4.
Their defensive versatility will be interesting to track over the course of the season, but I have a feeling we could see its impact sooner than later, and it starts on the defensive line.
Andrew: I totally agree and let's throw this in the mix as well: more and more teams are using a hybrid defense which will use elements of both the 3-4 and 4-3. It's why versatility is at such a premium in the draft these days.
So who's to say that every once in a while Ryan and Dunbar (which sounds like a hokey lawyer show on NBC, by the way) won't throw in a wrinkle?
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Which bops him down to the No. 3 spot for which he'll have to fight second-year kick returner/receiver Jeremy Kerley.
Kerley has better hands, special teams value and isn't hurt all the time. More importantly, his skill-set is different than Hill's and to some extent Santonio Holmes'.
Schilens is fast and has ability—he's just hurt too often.
He might be too similiar to Hill to win that third receiver role. He might not even make the team if he can't beat out Kerley.
How's that for a drop? From incumbent No. 2 to the cut list in a few months. Well, that may happen unless he can really light a fire under his own behind and have the camp of his life!
Erik: The interesting thing to me about the wide-receiver group is that it's a boom-or-bust group. They have a group of guys with solid skill-sets and a lot of potential. Can they realize that potential? Can Mark Sanchez help them realize that potential? Those will be the story lines to watch at wide receiver in camp and during the season.
You're focusing on the offense, where my focus is on the defense. I'm intrigued by the battle at strong safety. Between LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, Eric Smith and Antonio Allen, the Jets have a lot of options at the position.
But Bell is aging, Landry's been injured and is aging, Smith has been ineffective and Allen is a rookie.
The intriguing name on the list is Smith. He has started 20 games for the Jets in the past two seasons. But with an infusion of talent, it's clear the Jets are looking to upgrade the spot, or are at least looking for a change of pace. Like Schilens, Smith could be on the bubble just a few months after it looked like he'd be a starter.
Andrew: It's funny, I was thinking about the safeties as well when I was writing about the receivers. There are a lot of options there, but so much age. Allen is the only potential long-term answer and, really, is he one? We don't know. This was a mediocre to bad safety draft class so there wasn't much the Jets could do. But they have to work on that going forward.
The Jets need a guy not afraid to get his hands dirty but with the cover skills to help Revis and—more critically—Antonio Cromartie, as he has a much bigger habit of getting blown up than Revis does.
Which will be the most intriguing camp battle?
Erik: With that, Andrew, I think our debate has come to a close.
Thanks for joining me, and we'll be sure to link up in the future.
Readers can vote in the poll and leave your thoughts in the comments below. Check back at the AFC East blog every day for more debates.
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