Turn On The Jets 12 Pack – Positional Battle Edition

The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack looks at the top positional battles on the New York Jets roster and predicts winners

The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack is back and going through the top positional battles on the New York Jets this year, along with predicting a winner for each. Make sure you are following all our writers on Twitter and give TOJ a like on Facebook. Have a great weekend, Jets Nation!

12. Third Quarterback – Greg McElroy vs. Matt Simms – McElroy started a game last season but underwhelmed and has been working behind Simms in OTAs. The new coaching staff might not be thrilled with his long term potential which could lead to Simms taking the 3rd job if he has a strong pre-season. Prediction – Matt Simms

11. Defensive Line Rotation – Kenrick Ellis vs. Damon Harrison vs. Antonio Garay – We know Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Sheldon Richardson will lead the way upfront. Yet, the Jets should have a deep, versatile group of defensive lineman overall. Ellis, Harrison and Garay should all make the roster but it remains to be seen how their reps will be divided up in the rotation. Prediction – All 3 make team but Harrison is inactive some weeks. Ellis sees more reps against run heavy teams while Garay sees more reps against pass heavy teams. 

10. Backup Offensive Lineman – Stephen Peterman vs. Caleb Schlauderaff vs. Dalton Freeman vs. Oday Aboushi vs. Vladimir Ducasse vs. William Campbell vs. Dennis Landolt – As you will see below, I think Brian Winters and Willie Colon start at Guard leaving Peterman as the top backup. Outside of that, the Jets will likely keep two other lineman on the active roster for depth. Prediction – Peterman, Schlauderaff and Aboushi on the active roster. Freeman and Campbell on the practice squad. 

9. Number 4-5-6 Receiver – Ben Obomanu vs. Clyde Gates vs. Zach Rogers vs. Ryan Spadola vs. Jordan White vs. KJ Stroud vs. Marcus Davis After Santonio Holmes-Jeremy Kerley-Stephen Hill, how will the depth chart shake out? Recently signed Ben Obomanu is the early favorite to be the 4th but the Jets have a very talented group of UDFAs. Jordan White also has a good skill-set for this offense. Prediction – Obomanu and Rogers are the 4th and 5th receivers. Spadola and White make the practice squad. 

8. Fullback – Tommy Bohanon vs. Lex Hilliard – Bohanon was the Jets 7th round draft pick and showed good hands and versatility in college. Hilliard was thoroughly mediocre last year. It’d be surprising if Bohanon doesn’t do enough this summer to claim the job. Prediction – Tommy Bohanon. 

7. Running Back – Chris Ivory vs. Mike Goodson vs. Bilal Powell vs. Joe McKnight – We know Ivory will start. If Goodson is cleared legally, he should be the primary back-up and 3rd down back. However, with his status up in the air both Bilal Powell (who projects as a good swing back-up) and McKnight could push for more playing time. I had originally been sour on McKnight’s roster chances but pending Goodson’s legal situation, I think the Jets keep four halfbacks on the final 53. Prediction – All 4 make roster. If Goodson is cleared to play, he sees bulk of reps behind Ivory. 

6. Nickelback/Slot Corner – Kyle Wilson vs. Aaron Berry vs. Darrin Walls – More generally, what corner will see the most reps outside of Antonio Cromartie and Dee MIlliner. Wilson will likely get the early nod but don’t be surprised if Berry and Walls are pushing for time sooner rather than later. Prediction – Wilson starts week one but by mid-season is splitting time with Berry. 

5. Outside Linebacker – Calvin Pace vs. Antwan Barnes vs. Garret McIntyre vs. Ricky Sapp vs. Quinton Coples*** – A tricky spot to project because of how versatile the Jets front seven will be. Coples is the team’s best pass rusher and will be used all over the place, including outside linebacker. Pace is still adequate against the run while Barnes is built to be a situational pass rusher. Even the “starters” here might not play normal starting reps. Prediction – Pace and Barnes as the “starters” with Coples seeing the most overall reps out of this group because of how he will be used at defensive end and defensive tackle along with his reps at outside linebacker. McIntyre and Sapp are both nothing but depth players/special teamers.

4. Safety – Antonio Allen vs. Josh Bush vs. Jaiquawn Jarrett vs. Rontez Miles – The spot next to Dawan Landry is wide open. Allen received a little playing time last season but probably projects better to playing more inside the box. Bush has the right skill set to be a free safety. Keep an eye on the UDFA Miles. Prediction – Bush starts week one but both Allen and Miles see defensive reps and push for more time as the season goes on. 

3. Tight End – Jeff Cumberland vs. Hayden Smith vs. Konrad Reuland vs. Mike Shanahan vs. Chris Pantale This position is wide open. Both Cumberland and Reuland played extensive reps last season but didn’t distinguish themselves. Smith has unique athleticism but is he ready for major reps? Both undrafted free agents have potential and at least one of them should stick. Regardless of who the “starter” is here, look for the reps to be divided up and some of the normal tight end responsibilities shifted off to other positionsPrediction – Cumberland starts, with Smith and Shanahan backing him up. Pantale makes the practice squad. 

2. Guard – Willie Colon vs. Stephen Peterman vs. Brian Winters – A pair of veterans on a 1 year contracts and the Jets 3rd round draft pick. Colon is the most talented of the 3 and if he is healthy, will start and be a bargain on his contract. Winters has the make-up of a day one starter and should be able to flash enough to relegate Peterman to being the 6th lineman. Sorry, I don’t think Vlad Ducasse is in the mix here. Prediction – Willie Colon and Brian Winters. 

1. Quarterback – Mark Sanchez vs. Geno Smith – The embattled veteran who just about everybody has given up on versus the 2nd round draft pick. If Smith is competent this summer and Sanchez can’t run away with the job with the type of performance we haven’t seen from him since 2010, Smith will start day one. Prediction – Geno Smith. 

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

  • Jason

    Thanks for breakdown but obviously little early. Agree with most of your breakdown, however….

    RB- Don’t think we will keep all 4 and if Goodson works out issues.

    TE- Cumby is inheriting position and comparing to DK is not worth noting as DK is average with 50/50% receiving stats.

    Reuland has proved his blocking skills we need and when targeted, his receiving skills spot on. He is MUCH more versatile and durable to back up Cumby and will be strong on multiple special teams.

    Smith- still learning and another year on PS
    Pantale- we have already seen him in position and he and smith will compete.
    Shanahan- See Ya, will be gone

  • KAsh

    Third QB – I like McElroy, but he probably sat on the third string too long. They will keep Simms and trade McElroy, if Simms can simply play at the same level as Greg.

    Receiver – Hill is developing. Holmes is coming back from injury. Kerley will not be named the #1 receiver, but he will probably play the most reps out of any of them this year. Beyond him, Holmes, Hill, Obomanu are cycled in according to the play. Rogers sticks around as a backup slot receiver/punt returner. The final slot goes to Jordan White, with Spadola and Davis put on the practice squad.

    Tight End – I doubt the Jets will push both Reuland and Pantale off the 53-man roster, as the other three are questionable blockers. Based on their general skills, there are two competitions: between Cumberland, Smith, and Shanahan and between Reuland and Pantale. From this, out of the two UDFAs, I think Pantale is more likely to stay on the team, while Shanahan is sent to the practice squad.

    OLB – Your treatment of Coples is weird. Especially since Pace did pretty much the same thing last year, yet he is firmly considered a linebacker. Coples will start with Pace backing him up, while the other side will be more of a platoon between Barnes, McIntyre, and Sapp, with Barnes getting the most snaps.

    Running back – I doubt we will see the standard RB play we have gotten used to over the past few years. Receiving is such a big part of what Mornhinweg asks from his backs that primary back and third-down back will not be very meaningful designations. The mismatches and confusion they create will be more important than their individual roles.

    Quarterback – I think this section is buried by its generalities. What does “competent” mean? When does “this summer” end? At what point does Sanchez “run away with the job”?

    It can be argued that Sanchez already sufficiently separated himself from Smith (this is NOT my viewpoint, but an argument could be made). Sanchez’s ultimate test will be in the preseason and maybe regular season games, but if he continues at his present level, the most Smith can be expected to do this offseason is tie. Realistically speaking, Smith only has another month, if that, to demonstrate numbers and understanding close to Sanchez before it becomes Sanchez’s job to lose. And Rex risks losing his locker room if he plays politics with his selection, so Sanchez might be safe even if his lead is only slight.

    This one is still too early to call because Smith is an X factor. We do not know how quickly he will get up to speed. We do not know what to expect from him at the next level. We do not know how well he will bond with his receivers (or even who those receivers will be). But I thought Rex in his last press conference was already fighting the perception that the competition is over. Over the next two weeks, Smith needs to show rapid improvement, if he is planning to start.

  • Barbella


    “McElroy started a game lad season and underwelmed?”

    What’s wrong with you!? Did you forget that he came off the bench to lead Jets in a come from behinf victory with what should have been 2-TD’s on 4-Posessions + the game prior?

    Did you forget about the eight sacks he suffered and the concussion?

    Dude, are you even watching the game, or just selling news papers from some allumencent lit cubical in India?

  • Jet

    ““McElroy started a game lad season and underwelmed?”

    What’s wrong with you!? Did you forget that he came off the bench to lead Jets in a come from behinf victory with what should have been 2-TD’s on 4-Posessions + the game prior?

    Did you forget about the eight sacks he suffered and the concussion?

    Dude, are you even watching the game, or just selling news papers from some allumencent lit cubical in India?”

    Barbella…he was sacked 11 times and I was watching that game. He held onto that ball for SO LONG and thats a number one thing a QB cant do. They must have an internal clock going off to throw a pass.

    Im pretty sure that was the game that Kerley was a better QB than Greg was on that day

  • Joe Caporoso

    Barbella – McElroy threw for 25 yards and led one touchdown drive against a putrid Arizona team that the Jets beat 7-6. I broke down the entire film, so yes I’m watching the game – http://turnonthejets.com/2012/12/turn-on-the-jets-offensive-film-breakdown-mcelroys-10-dropbacks/ – He was lucky that pass interference was questionably called on a 4th quarter INT he threw, which would have changed the whole game. He then did not play well at all against a poor SD defense the following week, holding the ball way too long and showing he lacked NFL arm strength. He isn’t a NFL starter. He may not even be a NFL backup. He’ll be lucky to have a 3rd string job in the league this year.

  • Jerrance

    Dalton Freeman makes the 53 man roster as the LS replacing Purdum and backs up Mangold at C.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    I agree with most of the predictions here, but I don’t think Schlauderaff makes the team.

    I also think the TE competition is wide open & wouldn’t be surprised if Cumberland were cut. My prediction is that the starter is someone that isn’t currently on the roster.

    I think Sanchez will start the season as the starter. Geno lacks experience taking snaps from under center & needs to improve his footwork. If Sanchez can play competently, i.e. reduce the turnovers & stupid mistakes, Geno will stay on the bench & be given the opportunity to improve his weaknesses. That being said, if Sanchez is only competent, I don’t think he returns in 2014.

  • Jon Richter

    I agree that Dalton beats out Purdum as LS, and because he is Mangold’ s backup Schlauderaff is let let go.

    I agree that the starting TE is not on the roster yet. Dixon is saving his cap space for some training camp cut downs. Hopefully Brent Celek and a Safety.

    I really like all the UDFAs at WR, But keeping 4 RBs + Bohannon might mean keeping fewer players at other positions like DL, OL,AND WR.

    Sanchez starts the year, but his weaknesses at short passing and accuracy, combined with a tough early season schedule, see him replaced after 4 weeks by Smith, who is strong in exactly those areas.

  • Jon Richter

    That should have been Idzik, not Dixon. Damned predictive texting!

  • Jon Richter

    I think Peterman and Colon start the year, but Winters replaces whoever falters around week 4-6.

    I don’t think Sapp makes the team, and one of Ellis/Harrison/Garay could also get cut. Most likely Garay.

  • All you Sanchez defenders commenting need to quit it already… HOW NANY YEARS DOES IT TAKE FOR YOU TO WAKE UP? Sanchez is a buttfumble proned QB who Is inaccurate and easily flustered! Without a running game he is HOPELESSLY TERRIBLE… a solid backup at best! And thats being Generous… Even the loser TIM TEBOW got a chance because of his Terribleness!

  • Angel

    Sanchez = NFL Comeback Player of the Year.