New York Jets: What to Watch for at OTAs

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IMay 20, 2013

New York Jets: What to Watch for at OTAs

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    The New York Jets have already had a tumultuous and eventful offseason, and organized team activities (OTA) have not even begun. 

    The Jets have already seen their two highest-profile free agents retire and be arrested, and the team released celebrity Tim Tebow last month. 

    With a quarterback controversy in the works, a head coach on the hot seat and a whole new depth chart at hand, OTAs are sure to be entertaining. 

    Here are five things to watch at Gang Green's OTAs in 2013. 

Geno Smith's Performance in Media Sessions

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    Geno Smith has had a tumultuous relationship with the New York and national media in the first three months of his NFL career. 

    After firing back at his critics earlier this offseason (USA Today), the former West Virginia star matured quickly and handled the media extremely well at rookie camp this past month.

    Smith needs to be able to deflect criticism and overcome constant skeptics if he is to thrive in the biggest media base in the world. 

    It will be interesting to see how the second-round pick treats the media at upcoming OTAs, as the upcoming media sessions will be a good preview of whether or not Smith can cope under the microscope.

Mark Sanchez's Chemistry with Marty Mornhinweg

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    Mark Sanchez has been on the butt end of jokes since, well, he was bounced off the actual butt end of Brandon Moore last Thanksgiving. 

    After back-to-back AFC Championship game appearances in his first two seasons, Sanchez has led the Jets to a shaky 14-18 record the last two years and seems to have regressed as a quarterback.

    He now has real competition for the starting job in rookie Geno Smith, and unless the former USC star can impress coaches during OTAs, he will be confined to a backup role this season.

    Sanchez's relationship with new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is the ultimate key to whether he can succeed in 2013. 

    If the 25-year-old displays the ability to be able to thrive in a West Coast style offense, he could earn another shot as a starter.

Demario Davis' Ability to Transition to a Starting Role

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    With Bart Scott finally out of the picture, second-year man Demario Davis will have the opportunity to earn the starting role at the No. 2 inside-linebacker spot. 

    Davis impressed coaches with his all-out effort and overall athleticism last season. If he can do the same this year, he should be able to easily claim a starting spot. 

    OTAs will give Jets fans a nice preview of how well Davis will transition into a major role, as he will be playing three downs throughout the practices. 

Quinton Coples' Adjustment to Outside Linebacker

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    After taking Missouri defensive end Sheldon Richardson with the 13th overall selection in this year's draft, the Jets made the bold move of moving second-year man Quinton Coples to outside linebacker. 

    Coples, who led the team with 5.5 sacks in limited playing time last year, is a physical freak but faces questions about his ability to transition to an edge-rusher role. 

    The North Carolina product could struggle when dropping back in pass coverage, as well as when stopping the run. 

    OTAs will give coaches and fans a good idea of how well Coples can adjust to the change. 

    If Coples can manage to display decent pass coverage and run-stopping skills, then he could be in for a huge season in sophomore year.

The Way Marty Mornhinweg Handles the Backfield

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    After appearing to have an overload of running backs following acquisition the of Chris Ivory, New York now has significant questions in the backfield.

    The arrest of Mike Goodson  leaves the Jets without a clear-cut backup running back and a lack of depth in the backfield. 

    Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight have displayed in the past that they lack the talent to thrive with major carries, and Chris Ivory has never received more than 140 carries in a season.

    Marty Mornhinweg will have to put on his thinking cap if he is to keep the backfield both productive and healthy, and the OTAs will be a good preview of how he handles his runners.