First a few updates:
1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).
2. HBO will be airing a 12 minute preview of Hard Knocks on July 28th at 11 PM. The actual show starts on August 11th at 10 PM. Jets training camp opens on August 2nd. For the second year in a row they will be in Cortland, New York but also have open practices at Florham Park and Hofstra.
Ten Questions About The Jets Offense
As training camp rapidly approaches, here are five questions about the Jets offense that still need to be sorted out –
1. How will Santonio Holmes be integrated after he returns from his suspension in week 5?
– When Holmes joins the Jets it remains to be seen how many reps he will immediately receive and whose reps he will be taking away. Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards will remain the de facto starters but Holmes needs to be on the field much more than a standard number three receiver. There could be a push to use more three receiver sets but that moves away from the Jets “ground and pound” approach by putting them in a more spread formation. Cotchery, Edwards, and to an extent Dustin Keller will have to be prepared to sacrifice both reps and looks from Mark Sanchez after Holmes returns to the line-up. Also if Holmes starts making a high amount of his usual big plays, Edwards or Cotchery could be looking at a demotion from the starting line-up. Overall, this a good problem to have because it means the Jets have substantial talent at the receiver position but it will be require personal sacrifices from all the receivers and tight ends for the good of the team.
2. How many carries will LaDainian Tomlinson receive on a weekly basis?
– It is going to be interesting to see what LaDainian Tomlinson’s exact role on this offense will be and if he is satisfied with it. I would assume he will start the year off as the team’s third down back, short yardage/goal-line back, and taking a series or two each half to rest Shonn Greene. As the season progresses, Joe McKnight should start to take over some of the third down responsibilities and take a bigger overall role in the offense. I don’t doubt Tomlinson’s ability to help the Jets as a pass catcher out of the backfield but I wonder if he can handle receiving less than 10 carries for a few games in a row if Greene is playing to his potential and McKnight starts coming on. It is likely better for Tomlinson’s productivity to be in the 8-11 carry a game range but will he see it that way?
3. How long will it take Joe McKnight to become a consistent contributor?
– As with any rookie there is going to be a period of adjustment for Joe McKnight. He can’t step in as a third down back or get any substantial number of reps until he proves he can pass protect and demonstrate a satisfactory knowledge of the Jets running and passing schemes. McKnight is athletic enough to line up in the slot, which will help the Jets find ways to get the ball in his hands out in the open field, where he is most dangerous. If McKnight quickly develops as the season goes on, we could be seeing less and less of LaDainian Tomlinson as McKnight is groomed to be the long term complimentary back to Shonn Greene.
4. Will Vladimir Ducasse be ready?
– Will the Division I-AA graduate be ready to hold his own at guard by week one and if he isn’t will Bill Callahan be able to scheme up ways to protect him? Ducasse is fortunate enough to be surrounded by Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, which should help cover up any of his early mistakes. However, he still has to be able to do his job on a consistent enough basis or the Jets running game and pass protection is going to suffer.
5. Will there be an urge to throw the ball more frequently and move away from the ground and pound approach from last season?
– It is easy to look at the collection of players the Jets have as pass catching options and fall in love with throwing the football all over the place, however that moves away from the formula they used to win games last season. Mark Sanchez isn’t ready to be throwing the football 35 times a game, regardless of how good his wide receivers and tight end are. If the Jets lose a tight, low-scoring game with Sanchez only throwing 18 passes there is going to be plenty of clamoring for them to open things up, but the question remains will Rex Ryan push the offensive staff to keep the ground and pound approach in place? Hopefully, the Jets can find a happy medium that opens up the offense slightly from last year without moving too far away from what got them to the AFC Championship Game.
Training Camp Is Getting Close