New York Jets: 6 Things We Learned Through Week 3 of Preseason
The Jets seem to be headline news every day, whether it's an update on the quarterback battle, a strong or poor performance from a top-level rookie, or an unusual statement from Rex Ryan.
With less than two weeks left before New York's 2013 season opener against the Buccaneers, the team is still surrounded by many question marks.
However, we've learned several key things through Week 3 of the preseason.
Geno Smith Isn't Ready for the Starting Role
As much as New York Jets fans want much-maligned quarterback Mark Sanchez replaced as the team's starter, Geno Smith simply isn't ready for the starting role.
Smith entered Saturday's contest against the Giants with only 14 career NFL snaps under his belt, and his lack of experience was evident.
The second-round pick had a golden opportunity to claim the starting job, but he made several ugly mistakes that showed that he simply isn't ready to be thrust onto the field.
Smith suffered from inaccuracy and mental mistakes. He was picked off three times in the first half and made the boneheaded decision to run out of the back of the end zone for a safety in the third quarter.
It would benefit both Smith and the Jets if the West Virginia product spent his rookie year in the backup role and learned how to play the quarterback position at the NFL level.
Rex Ryan Struggles with in-Game Managing
No one can deny that Rex Ryan is a terrific schemer, but Ryan seriously needs to improve his in-game managing skills.
Everyone and their mothers came to the realization that Mark Sanchez became the de facto Week 1 starter after Geno Smith tossed three interceptions in the first half of Saturday's contest—everyone but Ryan.
Ryan put Sanchez in the game behind an offensive line made up of players that will likely be cut, and as luck would have it, Sanchez was crushed when attempting to escape the pocket.
According to ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini, Sanchez suffered a right shoulder bruise and is day-to-day.
Ryan's decision is inexplicable, and the head coach couldn't even explain to reporters after the game why he put Sanchez in the game.
If Ryan wants to keep his job, he can't have another night like the one he had Saturday.
Bilal Powell Will Have a Big Season
Earlier this offseason, Chris Ivory was expected to be the Jets' workhorse, with Mike Goodson serving as the team's third-down back.
However, injuries and off-field issues have forced Bilal Powell into the starting role. So far, Powell is making the most of his opportunity.
Through three preseason games, Powell has recorded 27 carries for 98 yards, five catches and a touchdown.
Ivory, on the other hand, has struggled mightily. In two preseason contests, Ivory has recorded 28 yards on 14 carries and just one reception.
Along with Ivory's preseason struggles, Powell's ability to contribute in all phases of the game could net him the starting job in Week 1—and maybe beyond.
The Jets Can't Wait Until Santonio Holmes Is Gone
Santonio Holmes and the Jets are like a dysfunctional couple that are forced to stay together.
According to Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com, Holmes' recovery from Lisfranc surgery is taking much longer than expected and some in the Jets organization believe that Holmes is "milking" his injury.
The belief is that Holmes doesn't want to push himself too hard and risk injury, thus decreasing his value on the free-agent market after Gang Green releases him this offseason.
The former Super Bowl MVP is undoubtedly a talented player, but his character issues have proven too much for John Idzik and Co. to handle.
Sheldon Richardson Is a Serious Contender for Defensive Rookie of the Year
My prediction for Defensive Rookie of the Year isn't Dion Jordan, Ezekiel Ansah or even Kenny Vaccaro. It's New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson.
Richardson has been terrific this preseason. Before suffering an ankle injury (which seems minor) in the second quarter of Saturday's game, the Missouri product recorded an impressive sack on Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
Richardson has all the tools to be a dominant big man at the NFL level.
With athletic Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis and Quinton Coples expected to line up beside him, Richardson could put together a superb rookie campaign.
The Defense's Weakness Is Speed
There's no doubt the Jets got faster on the defensive side of the ball this offseason. They replaced aging veterans Bryan Thomas, Bart Scott and Sione Pouha with the younger, more athletic Quinton Coples, Demario Davis and Kenrick Ellis.
However, speed looks like it will once again be an issue for the Jets defense in 2013.
In the second preseason game against the Jaguars, the first-team unit was destroyed by the no-huddle offense and yards after the catch.
On Saturday against the Giants, New York's defense allowed an 84-yard touchdown to speedster David Wilson on its first play from scrimmage.
The Jets defense appears like a solid unit, but unless it can show resistance against speed, it will be far from elite.