New York Jets Training Camp Preview: Position Battles


First a few updates:

1. Nick Mangold has already announced he won’t hold out of training camp because of his contract. You can only hope the Jets will do the right and make sure he is properly compensated at some point in the near future. It doesn’t sound like a deal with Darrelle Revis is imminent and there remains a reasonable chance he holds out of training camp for a period of time, regardless of the guaranteed money he would be giving up by choosing that route. Every move Revis makes will face insane amount of scrutiny if he does show up. It is going to take a little bend from both sides to make this deal happen but unfortunately it sounds like everybody is firmly dug in at the moment.

2. There still has been no movement on the Mark Brunell signing. Hopefully, the Jets are considering keeping Kellen Clemens alongside Brunell. I’d much rather see Erik Ainge or Kevin O’Connell released.

3. A reminder there will be a 12 minute preview of Hard Knocks this Wednesday on HBO at 11 PM.

4. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

New York Jets Training Camp Preview: Position Battles

In the first part of our training camp preview, we look at the position battles across the Jets roster –

There isn’t a high amount of intriguing battles for starting jobs on the Jets heading into this August. However, many players will be fighting it out for reps off the bench and to create a bigger role for themselves.

Left Guard – Vladimir Ducasse vs. Matt Slauson: The battle to replace Alan Faneca doesn’t sound like it is going to be much of a fight. Every indication from OTAs and mini-camp is that unless Ducasse is a complete disaster, he will end up being the starter. The Jets didn’t spend a second round pick on somebody to stash away on the bench for a 2009 sixth round pick with no experience.

PhotobucketSafety – Brodney Pool vs. Eric Smith: Another battle that isn’t really a battle. Rex Ryan has already stated he wants Pool in the starting lineup, so he can use Smith off the bench in a variety of roles and so that he can remain a core special teams player. Pool has impressed the coaching staff and it would be a huge surprise to not see him opposite Jim Leonhard in week one, with Smith coming off the bench in the nickel and sub packages.

Running Back – Shonn Greene vs. LaDainian Tomlinson: Only Tomlinson seems to think this an open competition. Unless he gets hurt, Shonn Greene will be the opening day starter at running back.

Defensive Line Rotation – Ropati Pitoitua vs.  Matt Kroul vs. Vernon Gholston: Shaun Ellis, Kris Jenkins, and Mike DeVito will be the starters with Sione Pouha getting plenty of work off the bench to spell Jenkins. However, the reps behind those four will be battled out between Pitoitua, Kroul, and Gholston. Pitoitua is mammoth at 6 foot 8 and 310 pounds. He played a little bit in 2009 but the coaching staff likes his potential. Kroul was stashed away on the practice squad last season after being signed as an undrafted free agent, yet defensive coordinator Mike Pettine raved about him this off-season and basically guaranteed he’d have a spot in the rotation. Gholston was only the six overall pick in the NFL Draft ,who looked clueless at outside linebacker. The Jets are hoping he can at least use his strength to give them something off the bench.

Wide Receiver – Brad Smith vs. David Clowney vs. Aundrae Allison: Somebody has to play the majority of the number three receiver reps while Santonio Holmes is suspended. Smith isn’t really a traditional receiver. Clowney made a few big plays last season and has the inside track to the majority of the reps. Similar to Clowney, Allison has great speed and could provide a deep threat. Britt Davis and Danny Woodhead could also push for a roster spot and these reps.

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Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • Some crazy bold predictions for the upcoming season [let me know how possible or insane you think these may be]:

    1. Gholston jumps out to a quick start and is a solid starter by week 8. His performance dwindles toward the end of the season and there is heated debate as to whether the Jets bring him back or not.

    2. Eric Smith replaces Jim Leonard by week 8 in the starting lineup.

    3. Vlad Ducasse is a DISASTER at the start of the season and is benched in week 6. He is reinserted into the starting lineup in week 8 and continues to improve. Remains solid throughout the playoffs.

    4. Jets split games with all division foes [Fins, Pats, Bills].

    5. Jets lose opener to Ravens because of controversial ref calls. This reveals refs have a bias against the Jets and their cocky coach all season.

    6. Jenkins goes down to injury again.

    7. Tomlinson has more carries and yards at the end of the year than Shonn Greene – both break 1,000 yards rushing. Greene has problems holding on to the ball

    8. Jets lose in AFC Conference Championship to some underdog team out of the blue.

    9. Sanchez shows superstar potential but still has growing pains – accuracy improves and interceptions go down slightly, TD’s go up. Breaks sophomore jinx.

    10. Jets Defense is even better than last year, holds on to #1 ranking.

  • Joe Caporoso

    Angel – Always good to hear from you. What are you up to these days?

    On your predictions:

    1. Tough to see but not that crazy, considering Vernon’s physical skills and that Mike DeVito is one of the starters in front of him.

    2. Highly, highly doubtful. Don’t sleep on Leonhard’s value to this defense and his consistent play. E. Smith is best served as a jack of all trades off the bench.

    3. Certainly possible, but I am hoping his struggles are only minor to start the season.

    4. I hope not, they need to go at least 4-2 to win the division.

    5. haha a little conspiracy theory?

    6. Certainly possible considering his age

    7. I’d be shocked if Tomlinson cracks 700 rushing yards this season. Greene should be a 1200 yard back. And yes I could see him still having fumbling problems.

    8. I hope not, Super Bowl or Bust this season.

    9. Agree with that one.

    10. Also agree with that one