The New York Jets first pre-season game is only two days away. From a distance the only information you may have heard about the team involves a backup quarterback being shirtless, an altercation between players, and a cornerback talking about playing wide receiver. Yet, believe it or not there has actually been some football played on the fields of Cortland. A few interesting developments have taken place that actually involve you know…the game. Let’s run them down -
Bilal Powell - We discussed Powell last week and his production hasn’t tailed off. By all accounts he has been the best running back on the field and is about to leap frog Joe McKnight as the number two back and primary third down back. Out of all the Jets backs, Powell has the best overall combination of skills which could lead to him eventually cutting into Shonn Greene’s carries, if Greene struggles to catch the football. McKnight hasn’t helped his cause lately by consistently being banged up. Obviously Powell still needs to show it on the game field but he has a real chance to become a major contributor on offense this season.
Mark Sanchez - Remember him? The Jets starting quarterback has quietly (somehow) put together a very good all-around camp. Sanchez has protected the football and shown an impressive command of Tony Sparano’s new system. There was never a quarterback controversy and if Sanchez develops the way he should, there never will be.
Patrick Turner - A receiver who has actually stayed healthy all camp! Turner has been consistently producing. He has very good height and hands, along with familiarity with Tony Sparano’s offense and chemistry with Mark Sanchez. Considering how thin the Jets are at receiver, Turner has a good chance to work himself into reps at split end this season.
Aaron Maybin - A practice hasn’t passed yet where he hasn’t recorded at least 1 sack. His speed and increased size combined with Rex Ryan’s creativity should be a scary thing for opposing offenses. Even as a situational player, Maybin has the look of a 10 sack player in 2012.
Ricky Sapp - Another edge rusher who has flashed all throughout camp. Sapp seems to be a lock to make the roster and a guy who could be on the field in passing situations. Could this be Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum’s second pass rushing reclamation project in as many years? They are almost halfway to making up for Vernon Gholston.
Josh Baker - The tight end/H-Back/Fullback has been all over the field making plays in the passing game. It appears he will be more of a factor than Jeff Cumberland this season and could also take away reps from John Conner.
- Quinton Coples - Been quieter than you would like and Mike DeVito remains firmly entrenched as the starter in 3 man looks. However, Coples still has the talent to be a factor in pass rushing situations.
- Stephen Hill - He has flashed enough promise to be very excited about his potential this season. The other day he beat Darrelle Revis deep for a 50 yard touchdown. Hill is going to disappear for stretches this season but will also have his share of big plays.
- Demario Davis - Back from a hamstring injury and should be starting in the sub packages by week 1.
- Josh Bush - A very, very quiet camp. Could be losing his grip on 4th safety spot to fellow rookie Antonio Allen.
- Terrance Ganaway - Been a little banged up and struggled at times but has shown versatility to also play fullback. Tony Sparano will find a use for him this season.
- Robert Griffin - Practice squad.
- Antonio Allen - Has been making plays all over the field and could be on the way to working himself into some defensive reps.
- Jordan White - Back from a hamstring injury and has a golden opportunity to contribute as a slot receiver.
New Addition Rundown
- Tim Tebow - He is a great athlete and will be a weapon running the ball. Takes too many sacks and is inconsistent passing…so exactly what we thought.
- LaRon Landry - On a pitch count but on pace to start week 1 and be a frequent blitzer/run stopper in Rex Ryan’s scheme.
- Yeremiah Bell - Taken over veteran leadership role in the secondary. He will struggle in coverage at times.
- Chaz Schilens - Banged up and inconsistent. Turner has outplayed him all camp.
- Jeremy Kerley – Could still be out another full week with a hamstring injury and is firmly in Rex Ryan’s doghouse for a lackluster offseason.
- Joe McKnight - Seemed to have number 2 running back job on lockdown heading into camp…it isn’t that way anymore.
- Jeff Cumberland - Thoroughly being outplayed by Josh Baker.