Winners and Losers from Week 2 of New York Jets Training Camp
The team took some strides offensively in new offensive coordinator Marty Morhinweg's West Coast attack, but needs to vastly improve to compete at a high level in 2013.
On the flip side, the defense was mostly stout, yielding just 4.74 yards per play. The starting unit played most of the first half and surrendered just ten points, although Detroit backup QB Shaun Hill led the attack.
The regular season starts-up in less than four weeks and the Jets still have a lot they need to accomplish. The on-going QB competition is still in effect. In addition, several starting spots on both sides of the football are up for grabs.
Some players helped solidify their status as a lock on the eventual 53-man roster, while others have floundered into the depths of bubble-trouble.
The following examines winners and losers from Week 2 of Jets training camp:
Loser: Willie Colon (OG)
Former Steelers starting offensive lineman Willie Colon was flagged 12 times in 2012. He lived up to his reputation as a snap-happy lineman that can't time the count effectively in his first action in a Jets uniform.
Colon was called for two penalties in his debut and also missed a blocking assignment that led to a batted pass at the line of scrimmage.
The 30-year-old veteran hasn't played a full season since 2009 when he started all 16 games for the Steelers at right tackle. He was moved to left guard last season, where he was marginally effective in 11 starts.
The Jets feature some element of roster depth on the offensive line, although the coaching brass would like rookie OG Brian Winters to further develop before being thrown into the fire.
Still, if Colon duplicates a lackluster effort in the Jets second preseason game on Saturday night, Winters could earn a strong look at a starting position on the O-front.
Winner: Stephen Hill (WR)
Stephen Hill was a raw prospect with electric speed-burst ability in his rookie season. He was a supreme disappointment as the Jets No. 2 receiver in 2012, though.
Hill caught 21 passes for 252 receiving yards and three touchdowns in eight starts last season.
He averaged just 12 yards per reception and endured a decrease in playing time as the season progressed.
OTAs and mini-camp rekindled extreme concern surrounding Hill's inability to catch the football. Now, he's considered the most improved player on the team in Jets training camp, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York.
Hill has always featured the speed needed to beat defenders downfield, but struggled with route-running ability. Jets wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal recently expressed Hill's improved release from the line of scrimmage, stating, "He's finally starting to use his suddenness and his burst within a route."
Hill has also reportedly improved his body mechanics, enabling him to make stronger cuts against press coverage.
The second-year wideout still faces an uphill battle to prove himself as a formidable receiving threat in 2013. He reportedly dropped a pass while open in the endzone during practice today, signaling a stall in recent advancements.
Loser: Matt Simms (QB)
Matt Simms is a bottom of the depth chart type of player that didn't see any action in the Jets' preseason opener against the Lions on Friday night.
It's unlikely for the Jets to carry four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.
That fact will lead to a seeming inevitable exit for Simms, who features supreme arm strength, but doesn't seem destined to receive the chance to outshine third-string QB Greg McElroy.
McElroy showcased a gutty performance in 29 offensive snaps against Detroit, completing 11 of 19 pass attempts for 145 yards and a touchdown.
He was also sacked three times and lost a fumble on a blindside tackle, courtesy of a blown block.
Simms is a fall-back option on the depth chart if another Jets quarterback unfortunately endures a critical injury between now and the season opener.
Otherwise, it's likely he'll experience a sudden exit at the tail-end of the preseason.
Winner: Jaiquawn Jarrett (S)
Former Eagles second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett earned himself a promotion after a strong performance in the Jets preseason opener.
Jarrett is now practicing opposite Dawan Landry at safety in camp, a status that he's unlikely to relinquish when the regular season starts-up.
Head coach Rex Ryan gave hefty praise to Jarrett this week, stating, "You talk about playing like a Jet, that guy was in there and he did a tremendous job of hitting, communicating. I really liked the way he stepped up" (via NYJets.com).
Jarrett has played in just 13 games throughout the first two seasons of his pro career. He tallied 14 total tackles and two assists in his rookie season for the Eagles in 2011. He scarcely saw the field last season, recording playing time in just one game.
Ryan has a ton of confidence in Jarrett, who is expected to start at free safety against the Jaguars on Saturday.
Loser: Oday Aboushi (OT)
Fifth-round pick Oday Aboushi is on the bubble after an ugly performance against the Lions in Week 1 of the preseason.
Aboushi was shredded by Lions rookie defensive end Devin Taylor when McElroy was stripped mid-throwing motion in third quarter of the Jets 26-17 loss.
The rookie offensive lineman was also penalized twice, although one call was declined, and found himself mixed into the middle of a first half scrum that sent officials flying in.
Aboushi's spot on the 53-man roster could be swooped-up by undrafted tackle J.B. Shugarts, who played more snaps than any other offensive lineman in Detroit.
Shugarts, a 23-year-old out of Ohio State, effectively held his ground in maximum playing time.
The Jets need a tackle that can play both sides of the O-line. Aboushi and Shugarts will continue to battle for that position as the preseason progresses.
Winner: Kellen Winslow (TE)
Veteran tight end Kellen Winslow has a proven track record of performing at a high level.
He's seemingly healthy for the first time in two seasons and ready to be a significant contributor on offense for the Jets.
Winslow reeled in two receptions for 30 yards on three targets against Detroit on Friday night. He displayed high-octane strength on a 24-yard catch and run on the sideline during the Jets first touchdown drive.
Winslow has been one of the most productive tight ends in the NFL over the past nine seasons when fully healthy. He's recorded 438 career receptions for 4,848 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns.
The 30-year-old playmaker has seen limited action in practice due to injury precaution. He's unlikely to see a ton of playing time on Saturday and will probably be on the field for two or three offensive possessions.
The Jets need maximum production for the tight end position in 2013, considering a mixed bag of receivers that remain mostly inconsistent.
Loser: John Griffin (RB)
Backup running back John Griffin isn't charted as a loser because of poor performance.
Griffin was inching toward earning a legitimate role in the Jets bumbling backfield of no-shows and injuries. He played just five snaps on Friday before suffering a season-ending injury on a dirty play.
Lions linebacker Travis Lewis slammed Griffin to the turf on a horse-collar tackle, promptly ending Griffin's season and tenure as a member of the Jets.
Griffin was released in favor of Kahlil Bell on Sunday.
Bell had one catch for two yards and a fumble for the Jets in 2012.
New York is hurting for able bodies on offense, although could-be lead back Chris Ivory is expected to start on Saturday after finally participating in team drills for the first time earlier on this week.
Speed back Mike Goodson remains absent from camp due to pending legal issues. Joe McKnight was forced off the practice field on Monday after collapsing, which is an alarming episode in the wake of an undisclosed head injury.
Running back is suddenly a depth-laden position for the Jets after a revamping process took place over the offseason.
Winner: Mark Sanchez (QB)
It's difficult to classify quarterback Mark Sanchez as a winner after tossing a signature pick-six on the Jets fourth play from scrimmage in the preseason opener.
But he fended off rookie Geno Smith's hot start in training camp to gain a slight edge in the on-going QB competition.
Sanchez connected on 10 of 13 throws for 125 yards and a touchdown against the Lions.
Ryan hasn't named a starting QB for the team's next preseason game against the Jaguars on Saturday, but Sanchez has continued to perform at a high level on the practice field, regardless.
He threw two 50-yard touchdown passes on back-to-back plays in practice on Monday, threading the needle on a dart to rookie Ryan Spadola, and pump-faking lead cornerback Antonio Cromartie on a stop-and-go to connect with Hill.
Sanchez was also efficient at practice today, completing two of four pass attempts, including a touchdown to slot receiver Jeremy Kerley. Sanchez was also victimized by a dropped pass. It should also be noted that he played against the second-team defense.
The Jets QB situation remains an open competition. Smith still sustains a legitimate opportunity to overtake the team's incumbent, but will have to flash some athleticism and generate more production on offense to make some heads turn.
At the moment, Sanchez holds the edge.