New York Jets: 7 Things We Learned from Training Camp so Far
Over the last two weeks, many things have been revealed about the New York Jets and their expectations for the 2013 season.
Training camp has shed light on numerous question marks, both good and bad.
While there is still plenty to be discovered, both fans and experts caught a glimpse of how the team is shaping up.
In the following slides, you will find eight big lessons learned in Gang Green's training camp that we previously had question marks about.
Santonio Holmes Injury Is More Severe Than Any of Us Imagined
News on Santonio Holmes injury just keeps on getting worse and worse.
First, Holmes was deemed a question mark for training camp. Then, the team doubted he would be ready to suit up for training camp. Now, the veteran wideout is expected to miss the Jets first four regular season games, according to the New York Post.
Holmes is undoubtedly New York's No. 1 receiving threat, and his absence for any extended period of time will greatly hurt the team's chances of putting up points.
New York faces Tampa Bay, New England, Buffalo, and Tennessee in their first four contests out of the gate. With the exception of Buffalo, all opponents ranked in the bottom third of the league in pass defense in 2012.
The Backfield Is Still a Huge Question Mark
The Jets appeared to finally have some stability in their backfield earlier this offseason, as the team traded for Chris Ivory and signed Mike Goodson to go along with youngsters Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight.
However, each of Gang Green's top four rushers, with the exception of Powell, is struggling to even get on the field.
Goodson, on the other hand, is still absent from training camp because of personal reasons, according to CBS Sports. Goodson is facing serious legal charges.
The Jets expected to have a solid combination of young, explosive runners in 2013, but the outlook for the unit looks grizzly.
Let's hope the Jets can have a full depth of running backs by the time the regular season comes.
Clyde Gates Will Play a Major Role in 2013
With Santonio Holmes still rehabbing and Stephen Hill seemingly unable to hang onto the football, the Jets need a man to step up and emerge as a big-time offensive playmaker in 2013.
So far through training camp, that man has been Clyde Gates.
Gates hasn't done much in his two year career, but he seems poised for a breakout season in 2013. No matter who is the Jets starting quarterback in Week 1, expect him to build a strong rapport with Gates.
Rookies May Play an Even More Important Role Than We Thought
After losing over half of the team's starters from a year ago, the Jets knew they were going to have to rely upon young, unproven players in 2013.
They may have not predicted it to this extent, though.
First-round picks Sheldon Richardson and Dee Milliner appear like surefire starters, and second-round pick Geno Smith now seems like the favorite in the quarterback battle with Mark Sanchez (more on that to come).
Third-round selection Brian Winters also appears like he could start in his rookie season, as does seventh-rounder Tommy Bohanon.
Undrafted rookie receivers like Marcus Davis and Zach Rogers could also potentially make a bigger impact than expected, due to the Jets' lack of depth at wideout.
In all, the Jets are looking at potentially starting five rookies in Week 1, while also asking for major contributions from others.
Quinton Coples Is a Quick Learner
Quinton Coples had a fantastic rookie season in 2012. Despite only playing in limited snaps, the North Carolina product recorded a team-high 5.5 sacks, and he showcased the ability to dominate offensive lineman in both the rushing and passing downs.
However, many were worried Coples were take a major step back this upcoming season, as he was forced to adjust to a whole new position in one offseason.
The former first-round pick is showing a knack for outside linebacker, though. Rex Ryan and fellow defensive coaches have been impressed by Coples' confidence and athleticism in the new spot.
If he can keep up this level of play, Coples could be in for a huge sophomore season.
Rex Ryan Has a Chip on His Shoulder
The disrespect for the Jets this offseason has been at an all-time high. Following a draft many deemed a successful one for the franchise, ESPN rated Gang Green last in their power rankings.
The ranking is way too harsh, as the Jets were in playoff contention until late last season a year ago, even with a string of injuries and a quarterback controversy.
However, many fans and experts agree with ESPN, and are predicting a grizzly season for the Jets.
Well, Rex Ryan is taking it personally.
Ryan recently said that the Jets will "show" the team's critics and put together a successful season in 2013.
Ryan's job depends on this motivation. The bombastic head coach has led the Jets to just a 6-13 record since December of 2011. Another bad season could lead to his dismissal.
Geno Smith Is Now the Favorite in the Quarterback Battle
To nobody's surprise, Sanchez has struggled mightily with turnovers thus far. The much-maligned quarterback was even booed by fans at the annual Green & White scrimmage on Saturday night after throwing an interception to Antonio Cromartie.
He also overthrew a wide open Clyde Gates in the end zone.
Smith's accuracy, on the other hand, has been superb. He did not have a turnover in the scrimmage, and Rex Ryan called his first drive "absolutely tremendous."
The battle between Sanchez and Smith is still extremely close, but Smith has to be considered the odds-on favorite now. Don't be surprised if the rookie quarterback is named the starter for New York's preseason opener in Detroit.