5 New York Jets Training Camp Battles That Must Be Decided Soon
Two games into preseason action, the New York Jets do not look like playoff contenders.
The offense has been staggeringly ineffective, failing to reach the end zone in eight quarters. The defense, while nowhere close to as awful as the offensive unit, has also struggled at times.
With so much going wrong, the team's depth chart for the regular season is certainly not locked yet.
Here are five position battles up in the air as we enter the stretch run of training camp.
Backup Running Back: Joe McKnight vs. Bilal Powell
Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
As the Jets look to get back to their ground-and-pound ways of pre-2011, the backup running back position becomes even more significant.
Both Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell are worthy of the extended role, and they have both displayed moments of greatness throughout training camp.
McKnight was listed as the No. 2 running back on the latest depth chart. The former USC star is already one of the most dangerous kick returners in the league, and he possesses blistering speed.
Powell has impressed the coaching staff in training camp so far. The second-year runner has good speed and tremendous agility, and he has been solid early in preseason action.
Powell and McKnight's battle has been one of the most intense of training camp, but eventually it will be McKnight who claims the backup running back role.
McKnight simply has more potential, and he has performed better on the big stage.
Predicted Winner: Joe McKnight
Kicker: Nick Folk vs. Josh Brown
Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
After struggling through stretches last season, Nick Folk hasn't secured his spot as the team's starting kicker in 2012.
In fact, the team brought in former Rams kicker Josh Brown to compete for the starting job.
Brown, once the highest-paid kicker in the league, has nailed 81 percent of his career field-goal attempts. Folk has hit 78 percent of his.
Both Folk, 27, and Brown, 33, are solid options, but Folk should eventually win the battle.
Folk has been more consistent throughout much of training camp. Through Aug. 6, he had hit 26 of his 28 kicks, while Brown had only connected on 18 of his 24 attempts.
The battle for the starting kicker position looks like it will soon be in the books.
Predicted Winner: Nick Folk
Inside Linebacker: Bart Scott vs. Josh Mauga vs. Demario Davis
The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE
New York is stacked with talent at middle linebacker, and the competition for the starting job is one of the most intense position battles of training camp.
Bart Scott is a seasoned veteran who has been the leader of the defense in recent years, Josh Mauga is a career backup who has impressed in limited playing time and Demario Davis is a rookie with a ton of athleticism and heart.
Mauga has been mostly solid, recording an interception and a couple sacks in practice the last couple of weeks.
On the other hand, Davis has been plagued by a hamstring injury he suffered in a conditioning test just before training camp. However, coaches love Davis' consistent effort and will.
With all three players boasting different strengths and weaknesses, the battle for the inside linebacker job is extremely hard to predict.
Either way, the Jets need to make a decision quickly so they can set their depth chart before the start of the regular season.
Predicted Winner: Josh Mauga
Right Tackle: Wayne Hunter vs. Austin Howard
Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Wayne Hunter is not even worthy of being in the NFL, let alone as a starter. The Jets are beginning to understand this, and they are trying their best to boot Hunter out of the top spot on the depth chart.
However, the team can not seem to find a suitable replacement.
The only player even remotely capable of taking the job from Hunter is fourth-year man Austin Howard.
After Hunter allowed a mind-boggling four sacks in one half of play against the Giants on Saturday, the team is inclined to give Howard a shot.
Right tackle is by far New York's weakest position, but the mess needs to be sorted out soon.
Eventually, the team will have to go in a different direction and give the starting job to Austin Howard.
Predicted Winner: Austin Howard
No. 3 Wide Receiver: Jeremy Kerley vs. Chaz Schilens vs. Patrick Turner
Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
Wide receiver is one of the Jets' weakest positions, as they have locker room cancer Santonio Holmes and rookie Stephen Hill manning the top two slots on the depth chart.
However, the team has three players who are capable of claiming the No. 3 wideout role.
Second-year man Jeremy Kerley, veteran Chaz Schilens and Patrick Turner have all been competing to win the prized job, but the battle is yet to see a true winner.
Kerley has the most potential of the bunch, but he has disappointed the coaching staff immensely this offseason.
Rex Ryan has publicly stated that Kerley needs to "step it up" in training camp.
Schilens has suffered from injuries this training camp, so coaches have been unable to evaluate his game.
The lack of playing time has killed Schilens' chances of winning the role, and as of right now, making the roster is the first step for him.
The coaching staff has to pick a winner soon, and with no player being a true standout, they may choose to base their decision off upside.
In that case, the job is Kerley's.
Predicted Winner: Jeremy Kerley