Early Observations from New York Jets Training Camp
Training camp has commenced in Cortland, NY. The Jets are headed full flight into a new season, featuring a whirlwind of question marks at multiple positions.
The Jets' 53-man roster will start to take form over the next few weeks. The team faces concern at several key positions, primarily safety and wide receiver.
The bulk of new general manager John Idzik's revamping process was concentrated on low-risk, high reward free agents. However, it remains to be seen how effective players like Antwan Barnes and Kellen Winslow Jr. will be.
Even though Idzik's strategy promotes the potential for huge upside, the realistic possibility of injury-plagued players rekindling previous health-related issues is substantial.
The following slideshow examines early observations from Jets training camp in 2013:
Santonio Homes Could Be out for 2013
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The devastating injury saga centering on Santonio Holmes continues to develop as training camp starts to heat up.
ESPN New York previously reported that Holmes would start training camp on the PUP list, which wasn't surprising.
The fact that he's still deep into the physical therapy segment of his recovery is alarming, however.
Holmes could miss the entire season.
He made a statement to the New York Post last week that signaled severe concern over a Grade 4 Lisfranc injury that crippled his 2012 season.
"I want to play, but I have to do what the foot says to do," Holmes said. "If it's not ready to roll, it's not ready to roll."
It's highly possible that Holmes' comment was overzealous.
But, if Holmes is able to play this season, it's unknown whether or not he can perform at a high level.
The Jets' weakest position on offense is wide receiver. They need maximum output from the entire depth chart if they're going to exceed expectations and compete for a playoff berth.
Clyde Gates Is Better Than Expected
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Nobody thought much of Clyde Gates when camp commenced last week. Now, he's being touted as an up-and-coming stud receiver in-house.
Gates is entering his third season as a pro and still has a lot to prove.
Training camp success seldom immediately translates into a star-studded effort during the season. Gates caught 16 passes for 224 yards last season.
The 27-year-old, former Division II standout, showcased dynamic playmaking ability in offensive drills during the first week of camp. He's demonstrated potential game-changing speed-burst ability while reeling in tough catches to impress the coaching brass.
If Gates continues to develop at a ridiculous rate, second-year wideout Stephen Hill could end up riding the bench.
Hill has struggled on a massive level. Gates' sudden improvement doesn't spell opportunity for the former second-round pick.
Gates has flashed an undying determination to take his game to the next level thus far. It's a mindset that the bulk of his teammates share.
"You can’t come out one day, have a good day, then the next day just be mediocre," Gates told Kristian Dyer of Metro.
Gates has arrived.
Chris Ivory Is Susceptible to Injury
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The Jets' coaching brass is stoked on the idea of featuring Chris Ivory in the backfield. Ivory has the intangibles necessary to succeed as an every-down back, but only if he can stay on the field.
The former backup RB is already fighting nagging hamstring pain that could limit his activity throughout camp and during the preseason.
Ivory digressed, however, stating that the fact he missed Day 1 of training camp with a sore hamstring was strictly "precaution," according to Newsday.
Ivory is a potential playmaker on offense for the Jets. He was brought in to be a dynamic brand of player with game-changing ability. He was an essential safety net for a team that remains without a proven starting QB.
Even though the could-be playmaker has only missed four practices in camp, his proneness to injury should be noted.
Ivory suffered a foot injury in his rookie season that landed him on the injured reserve list, disabling him from playing in the 2010 playoffs. In addition, he missed the first six games of the 2011 season on the PUP list.
He averaged 5.4 yards per carry on 40 attempts in six games during the 2012 season.
Kyle Wilson Stands a Chance to Land Starting Job
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Rookie cornerback Dee Milliner was immediately chalked as a starter on the Jets' rebuilt defense when he was drafted ninth overall.
Milliner is expected to be a stud defensive back, but that hasn't deterred Kyle Wilson from taking strides to reclaim a starting gig.
Wilson continuously displays a high aptitude for success. His work ethic is represented by his constant drive to compete, which is exactly what Milliner brings to the table.
Wilson's competitive edge was exemplified in his game play last season, when he effectively manned a starting cornerback role. The Jets finished second against the pass in 2012, surrendering just 180 yards per game through the air.
Milliner is touted as the hands-down favorite to land a starting gig, opposite Antonio Cromartie. But Wilson won't back down.
Geno Smith Has a Rifle for an Arm
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Second-rate quarterback Mark Sanchez immediately refuted his so-called "impressive" showing at OTAs and mini-camp by throwing an interception in just six pass attempts with the first-team offense on Monday.
Bring on Geno Smith.
The second-round pick has taken an extreme amount of heat from the media for firing his agent in favor of Jay Z's Roc Nation after falling out of the first round.
It was a seemingly arrogant move that prompted harsh scrutiny on a wide scale. The rookie feels confident that he can outplay Sanchez in camp to earning the role of starting QB, regardless.
He featured enormous arm strength in practice drills during the first week of camp, fueling speculation that he could be on the verge of taking more snaps with the first-team offense, leading into the preseason.
Smith doesn't just have a rifle for arm, though. He's also been able to demonstrate a strong ability to hit receivers in stride, a feat that often bewilders Sanchez.
That won't matter if he continues to outshine the Jets' former golden boy.