4 Days Down: New York Jets Positional Training Camp Round-Up

Joe Caporoso with thoughts and observations on the New York Jets first four days of training camp

A quick review of the New York Jets positions through four days of training camp. PSA! Subscribe to our newly created YouTube channel to find Podcasts, Xs and Os sessions, interviews and other assorted video content that may or may not blow your mind. 

Quarterback: So far Geno Smith has taken 57 first team reps compared to Mike Vick’s 16. So yeah…Geno is going to be the starter. The reports have been generally positive on both quarterbacks. Most encouragingly there has been little to no turnovers from the offense. I think anybody who has watched the previous few years knows that more anything if they can cut back on turnovers, it is going to move the needle more than anything in terms of wins. We will get a much better indication of Geno’s progress starting this Saturday in the inter-squad scrimmage and the following week in the pre-season opener. As for the other two, the reports on Tahj Boyd have him struggling like you would expect a sixth round rookie to. However, it doesn’t sound like Matt Simms is doing much of anything either. I still think Boyd is sticking around as the third quarterback. The coaching staff (led by Rex) was extremely high on him throughout the entire draft process.

Running Back: Chris Johnson has looked 100% after off-season surgery (GOOD!), Chris Ivory missed day one of practice with a hamstring issue (BAD!), Bilal Powell has continued to show up and do a solid job every day (EXPECTED!). More seriously, the Jets are likely to keep CJ and Ivory on a closely monitored pitch count throughout the summer and Powell’s value to this offense shouldn’t be ignored. He is a versatile backup who can do a little bit of everything. Daryl Richardson is also off to a quick start and is going to be firmly in the mix for a roster spot. We haven’t heard much about the FULLBACK BATTLE ROYALE yet but I’m curious to see if Chad Young gets work with the first unit in the opening pre-season game.

Wide Receiver: Quincy Enunwa seems to be on the fast track to IR. Shaq Evans has continued to struggle with drops. Jalen Saunders has looked smooth and the most pro-ready out of three, which isn’t surprising at all. Stephen Hill seems to be having an up and down camp while also taking time to yell at fans who are heckling him. I don’t see much of the point of driving all the way to Cortland to boo players on your team but I also don’t think Hill needs to be reacting to every idiot in the stands. Everybody has raving about Eric Decker and his work habits/the technical aspects of his game. He is being showered with white wide receiver adjectives like CRAFTY, TECHNICIAN, etc but he is also an explosive athlete who is going to bring a big play element to the Jets passing game. One final note, I don’t care if Clyde Gates has the greatest training camp in modern NFL history, he shouldn’t make the roster.

Tight End: A strong start for Zach Sudfeld, who is going to have a weekly role in the Jets passing game, which is going to be tight end heavy. Jace Amaro banged his knee up today but is expected back for Tuesday. It has reportedly been a slow start for the rookie but he has still made his share of plays so far. STAY HEALTHY JACE!

Offensive Line: Willie Colon is back off the PUP, which is terrific news. The more time he and Giac (my new easier to type nickname for Breno Giacomoni) can work on combo blocks, the better. What is interesting is that it sounds like we have a legitimate battle between Brian Winters and Oday Aboushi shaping up for the other guard spot. Rex Ryan has been raving about him and Aboushi has held his own against the Jets defensive line. Our offensive line maniac, Mike Nolan, thinks Aboushi could have a higher ceiling and may have benefitted from his “red-shirt” season. Finally, I think we are truly nearing the end of the Caleb Schlauderaff era as Dalton Freeman is probably going to swipe his spot.

Defensive Line: These guys are good. Please god stay healthy all of you. Jason Babin is seeing time with the first nickel already, both with his hand in the dirt and standing up to come off the edge. A 3rd down pass rush sending Wilkerson, Richardson, Douzable, Babin and Coples after the QB makes me feel warm inside. Our man Connor Rogers is also convinced IK Enemkpali is going to stick on the roster because of his special teams potential.

Linebackers: There hasn’t been all that much news here. You know what are you getting out of David Harris and Calvin Pace at this point. Demario Davis has fully evolved into a team leader. Jeremiah George has got into a few scraps…memo to other Jets, I wouldn’t fight the guy with no neck.

Secondary: Calvin Pryor has a concussion in the worst news of training camp so far. Even worse, IT CAME ON PUNT PROTECTION. I understand the importance of keeping your rookies humble but can we keep our first round pick and projected starter at safety off the punt protection team? While we are it, keep Sheldon Richardson away from running back as well, Rex. At corner, Dee Milliner turned some heads yesterday when he said he was the best cornerback in the NFL. He probably should have said “well, I’m not that good and I’m not feeling too high on my long term potential.” I am still anxious to see how much Dexter McDougle plays with the first unit throughout the pre-season.

Special Teams: Jalen Saunders is likely to be the punt returner but watch the kick return battle between Jacoby Ford, Saalim Hakim, McDougle and Evans.

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

  • KAsh

    How can you have such a hard time spelling Giacomini, when you have such a good Italian last name like Caporussi?

  • ron Alexander

    Interesting to hear Aboushi may push Winters for a starting position. I’m not sure thats a good thing only because Aboushi was so unprepared last season and now all of a sudden he’s a potential starter?My concern is more about how poor Winters may be looking as its hard to believe from what we all observed last preseason that Aboushi is a potentially better player at this point.

  • JG

    Agree with you on most of these points. With some work, Tahj Boyd is the hidden gem of this draft (or not so hidden, if you ever watched his Clemson games). The saddest thing here is really Stephen Hill, who showed so much talent early on and now I’m not sure he should even make the roster. If he spends more time on his play and less time yelling at fans, he might have a shot but I don’t see it.

  • Joe Caporoso

    Thanks for reading all!

    KAsh – GIAC has a nice ring to it! haha

    Ron – I’m curious how much good the redshirt season did Aboushi. Could have given him proper time to bulk up and adjust to the NFL game. The pre-season should paint a clearer picture.

    Jeremiah – Agree that you can’t be shook by fans in the stands yelling at you. The best way to shut them up is to catch passes.

    JG – I know the coaching staff truly believes Boyd can develop into the long term backup here. Curious how much he can show in the pre-season.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Joe, I’m curious to hear what you think about Shaq. From what I’ve seen/heard, he makes tough catches look easy but drops easy passes. It seems to me, these are a concentration issue where he is likely thinking about running with the ball before actually catching it.

    I haven’t seen much elusiveness while running with the ball from him, but I think his ability to beat defenders deep may be understated, possibly because of his average 40 yd dash at the combine.

  • Joe Caporoso

    Shaq had problems with consistency in college, particularly when it came to catching the football. He was a fairly tough player to evaluate because he has a great build for a WR, runs solid routes but he never really seemed to reach his potential. I’m not sure he is ready to be contributor in year one but down the road has enough talent to be a starting split end.

  • John Hunter

    As long as Geno’s arrow continues to point upward, this offseason will be a huge success. We’ll go as far as our QB takes us. I believe the D will improve tremendously because of 2 major X factors: improved pass rush & improved safety play. Babin will make a huge difference, and if Pryor lives up to the hype, the D will easily improve to their top 5 form.

    The biggest question mark that needs to be answered is that 2nd WR spot. I personally don’t trust Hill; Shaq is a rookie (self explanatory); and Jalen is too small to be the #2.

    If Jace can live up to his hype, that could balance off the lack of performance that doesn’t come from the #2. (Fingers Crossed).

    Chris & Chris will be amazing to watch.

    10 wins minimum.