Updating New York Jets' Key Position Battles Halfway Through Training Camp

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IAugust 12, 2013

Updating New York Jets' Key Position Battles Halfway Through Training Camp

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    Even within perhaps the NFL's most tumultuous franchise, things are figuring themselves out. 

    After two-and-a-half weeks of training camp and one preseason game, the New York Jets are beginning to get a grasp on which players will contribute this upcoming season, and which players will take a backseat. 

    Right before camp commenced, I highlighted the Jets' biggest positional battles, while also predicting the winners. 

    Halfway through training camp, let's revisit each key battle and see which player is currently leading each competition. 


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    Candidates: Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith

    Current Leader: Mark Sanchez (by a hair)

    Predicted Winner: Mark Sanchez

    As expected, the battle for the roster's most important starting job is one of the most heated. 

    Both Sanchez and Smith have had their ups and downs in training camp, and the competition remains extremely tight. 

    Smith is so determined to win the starting job that he practiced just two days after injuring his ankle in the preseason opener, but Sanchez is still considered the favorite by many. 

    No one really knows how the battle will end, as any given day could change the outlook drastically. Right now, all we can do is sit back and wait for the Jets' next preseason game against Jacksonville



Right Guard

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    Candidates: Stephen Peterman and Brian Winters

    Current Leader: Stephen Peterman

    Predicted Winner: Stephen Peterman

    Before training camp, I thought rookie Brian Winters would ultimately win the starting job because of his upside. 

    Less than a month before the season starts, that doesn't appear the case. 

    Peterman has been listed as the starting right guard on the team's depth chart, while Winters has been placed as the backup left guard. 

    Winters has also been dealing with a tweaked ankle since last Tuesday. The minor injury kept Winters from making the trip to Detroit, which, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, hurt his chances of claiming the starting job. 

    Winters has plenty of upside, and he could be a solid guard for years to come, but the starting role seems to be Peterman's to lose at the beginning of the season. 

Nose Tackle

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    Candidates: Antonio Garay and Kenrick Ellis

    Current Leader: Kenrick Ellis

    Predicted Winner: Kenrick Ellis 

    Before training camp, I gushed over Kenrick Ellis' physical tools and claimed that this could finally be the year Ellis breaks out. 

    So far, so good. 

    While Garay has had a quiet camp, Ellis has been terrific. He controlled the point of attack against the Lions on Saturday, and he registered the only sack against Geno Smith in practice on Sunday. 

    While Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Sheldon Richardson get all the hype up front, Ellis is a superb talent in his own right. 

Free Safety

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    Candidates: Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett

    Current Leader: Jaiquawn Jarrett

    Predicted Winner: Jaiquawn Jarrett

    I originally had second-year men Josh Bush and Antonio Allen competing for the free safety job, with Bush winning the starting role. However, this battle has changed drastically since the start of training camp. 

    While Bush has been pushed to the backup role behind Dawan Landry, Allen has been outplayed thoroughly by Jarrett time and time again. 

    Jarrett, a former second-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles, has been a nice surprise. According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, Rex Ryan was extremely impressed with Jarrett's play in the preseason opener, and Jarrett will get the start against the Jaguars next weekend.  

    Expect Jarrett to be your Week 1 starter at free safety. 


Nickel Cornerback

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    Candidates: Kyle Wilson, Ellis Lankster and Isaiah Trufant 

    Current Leader: Kyle Wilson

    Predicted Winner: Kyle Wilson 

    I originally picked Wilson to win this job, and the lack of strong competition at the position makes me stick with the fourth-year cornerback. 

    Yes, Wilson was embarrassed by Reggie Bush on Saturday night, but neither Lankster nor Trufant have done anything to overtake the Boise State product. 

    In fact, Rich Cimini of ESPN New York has both Lankster and Trufant on the roster bubble. 

    Wilson will never quite live up to his first-round status, but he should once again prove to be a solid contributor in 2013.