Which New York Jets Have Most to Lose in Training Camp?
Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
"Play Like a Jet." That's the mantra that the New York Jets live by, the one that helps them identify with themselves.
But what exactly is playing like a Jet? And what happens when guys don't play like a Jet?
Well, I think you know playing like a Jet when you see it, and you know when it's missing.
Those who fall into the latter category could really have something to prove this preseason and training camp; as such, they could have something to lose, as well. Which players have the most to lose if they're unable to prove that they can live up to the mantra?
Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE
Coming off his first 1,000-yard season as an NFL running back, you'd think confidence in Shonn Greene would be at an all-time high. The Jets have said they expect a big year out of Greene, but have brought in running back Terrance Ganaway via the draft, as well as quarterback Tim Tebow, both of whom should at least take away from some of Greene's goal line touches.
While the Jets appear confident in his abilities, the media (namely Evan Silva of Rotoworld and Greg Cosell of NFL Films) is far less optimistic.
I have reviewed 2011 games, and I actually thought the Jets’ run blocking was better last year than it was given credit for. The front five opened lanes. There were plenty of cutback opportunities. The back consistently failed to capitalize. Shonn Greene is another major liability on this team, and I think you could make a good argument that he’s an even bigger liability than Sanchez.
If the Jets are going to get back to the ground-and-pound and be effective at it, they can't continually fail to get big plays out of their backfield. They'll be forced to begin experimenting with Ganaway, and to bring in Tebow and the option to create some big plays in the running game.
I think that he's a little bit of a one-speed runner...and I think that's caught up to him a little bit. I think that he's a strong kid. I think he can run downhill. I think he can move the pile because he's got natural strength. But I don't think there's much burst to him. I think he's pretty much of a one-speed runner. And I think those guys eventually struggle. He can gain yards, there's no question. But I don't think he gives you much more than what's there. And I think it's tough for those kinds of backs to truly be foundation backs.
Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE
Jeremy Kerley started out the offseason as a prospective starter in the Jets offense. With the additions of wide receivers Chaz Schilens and Stephen Hill, though, Kerley could be battling just for playing time.
He built some chemistry with quarterback Mark Sanchez last year, and that could help him in a battle for playing time. The TCU product hauled in 29 receptions for 314 yards and a touchdown last year, as he learned the ropes of the NFL and developed rapport with his quarterback.
But as a 5'10" and 189-pound receiver in a ground-and-pound offense, the Jets may look to their bigger receivers to be the top three options for playing time. If the Jets aren't spreading it out, there may not be many opportunities for Kerley to crack the field.
Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE
When the Jets traded for Jeff Otah, they put Wayne Hunter on notice to step up or step off the field. He gave up 11 sacks in 2011 according to Pro Football Focus, and ranked among the worst right tackles in the NFL.
Hunter was always regarded as a better run-blocking right tackle than a pass-blocking one, but the Jets had a hard time running behind Hunter last year, as well.
If there's one thing Hunter has going for him, it's that Otah can't stay healthy and has played only four games over the past two seasons, missing the rest of that time with two left knee injuries and surgeries for each.
But if Otah can stay healthy, it could be the end of Hunter as the starting right tackle.
Eric Smith can reconcile with Tim Tebow, but he can never reconcile with the terrible angle he took trying to tackle Tebow when the two squared off.
Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE
When safety Jim Leonhard went down with yet another knee injury in 2011, Eric Smith was called upon to fill in once again, just as he had in 2010.
Both times, he was exposed as a poor coverage safety, giving up completions on 66.7 percent of throws in his direction in 2011 according to Pro Football Focus, after yielding completions on 60.6 percent of throws in his direction in 2010.
The Jets have a glut of in-the-box safeties after adding Laron Landry, Yeremiah Bell and draft pick Antonio Allen. Smith knows Rex Ryan's defense better than any of the other safeties on the roster, but it may be his inability to execute the defense to maximum efficiency that hurts him in the end.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
In adding both Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples in the first round of the past two drafts, the Jets have a vision for how their defensive line would look in years to come.
The Jets defense is among the best in the NFL, but the arrival of Karl Dunbar could be the catalyst for some changes in their scheme. Will they run a 4-3, more 46 fronts, or continue with some 3-4 looks? How does all this change affect Devito's role in the defense?
Devito's role with the Jets has been significant (55.8 percent of the snaps in 2010, 57.2 percent in 2011 according to Pro Football Focus), and his presence on the line has helped the Jets implement their defensive scheme to this point.
The defense is changing a bit this offseason, and with a pair of big-time acquisitions and more than a few questions, Devito is left to prove his value to the team as he looks for answers to that effect.
The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE
The Jets needed youth and speed at linebacker, and got both with the selection of Demario Davis; the Jets are trying to tap into a fountain of youth defensively, and his sideline-to-sideline speed is something the Jets lacked at the second level last year.
Davis' skill set and fit in the defense dictate he should hit the field sooner than later. That could spell an end forthcoming for either linebacker Bart Scott or Bryan Thomas. When it comes to which spot Davis fills better, former Jets scout Connie Carberg believes Davis would make a better weak-side linebacker:
The WLB spot is currently occupied by Thomas, but Scott played that spot at times when Thomas went down. Davis could play early in sub packages as a cover linebacker, a spot where Scott often found himself replaced last season.
Both Thomas and Scott could be more closely under the microscope as a result of Davis' presence, and the young linebacker figures to cut into the playing time for either or both veterans.