The TOJ Roundtable is back. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter and to let us know your opinion down in the comment section below!
What early training camp news are you most excited about?
Joe Caporoso: The tight end position. Both Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Jordan Leggett are building on a strong spring so far. If the Jets have two players with their size making a difference in the middle of the field, it is going to make life much easier for the quarterbacks, outside receivers and running backs. Both Seferian-Jenkins and Leggett are 6’6 (!), if John Morton can get creative with his personnel, the two of them paired with Quincy Enunwa (6’2) and Robby Anderson (6’3) is going to be problematic for any defense and help smooth out any inaccuracies from the quarterbacks.
It has also been encouraging to see how quickly Jamal Adams has taken on a leadership role. All of the superlatives about him being an “alpha dog” and leader do not mean anything if he isn’t making plays but if he lives up to the hype, Adams will become one of the faces of the franchise immediately, which is something the Jets desperately need.
Dalbin Osorio: You mean, aside from Jamal Adams and Morris Claiborne going all Iron Islands today in separate interviews? For me, I’m most excited about Christian Hackenberg being what appears to be head and shoulders above Josh McCown so far in the early going. I have said all offseason that Hackenberg should get the starting nod if its even remotely close, and I will stick by that. Him clearing the McCown bar, as low as that may be, would go a long way towards allowing the team to invest serious capital into finding out if he is truly the guy.
A close second, for me, is what appears to be a new energy for Todd Bowles. I don’t believe he should be fired, and I don’t believe he’s been a bad coach necessarily. He’s made some mistakes, but he’s done some good things so far also. It could be the purging of most veterans with no ties to him, or maybe he believes he is coaching for his job, but there seems to be a more well-rounded approach from Bowles both in his interactions with players from both sides of the ball and in his own demeanor. He appears more confident, and while I do not know how many wins that will help the Jets earn this year, I think they will be a much more disciplined and focused team.
David Aitken: In general I just like the clear commitment from the get-go to giving a lot of young players a chance to stand out with the first team. Adams and Maye are penciled in as day one starters when Bowles could have easily put Rontez Miles in the starting line up and put it on Maye at least to earn the start through camp. Today we heard that Dylan Donahue is already getting time with the first team as well. If it’s a low expectations year, these players may as well be thrown in the fire.
On a related note, today Hackenberg received significantly more reps than Petty and a similar amount to McCown. This should be treated as a 2 man competition and while I think it’s more dangerous to play Hackenberg regardless of preparedness than other rookies, it’s important he has as fair an opportunity as possible to earn the starting position.
Michael McLaughlin: I would normally not be too excited about a player’s performance being characterized as solid, but I have to be with Hackenberg. There are few scenarios where this regime succeeds unless he does as well. He has not been perfect, and he has notably held on to the ball too long too often. He has not thrown an interception, though, and he has displayed both zip and touch when necessary.
Outside of the young quarterback, the early returns on the safeties, Morris Claiborne and Dylan Donahue are all encouraging. Donahue was a Kevin Greene pick and it could be an initial test of his ability to spot talent at outside linebacker. If Claiborne is healthy, the secondary all of a sudden seems decent. Lastly, it was nice to see that Sheldon Richardson hasn’t taken over training camp either through comments or off the field problems. The team could be a train wreck on the field, but it would be nice if it wasn’t one off it.
Scott Mason: The apparent progression of Hackenberg. It has been two practices and it obviously doesn’t mean anything, but it is good news, and I will take it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Everything for me begins and ends with whether or not Hackenberg can defy the odds this season and be good, so any news that leans in that direction is going to make me smile a little bit.
Joe Malfa: It is not receiving much attention because it is the known strength of the team, but I’m very excited for the defensive line.
Williams, Wilkerson, Richardson, and Pennel all flashed in practice on Monday. Whether it’s the departure of Brandon Marshall, being in a contract year, or something else entirely, Richardson seems to have found a new level of intensity.
If this unit can be as dominant as it should be, opposing QBs beware. The defense is obviously not allowed to hit the QB in practice, but if it could, I counted five would-be sacks by this first unit and another three or four from the second unit.
Kevin Zielaznicki: While it’s only been several days, the most exciting news out of New York Jets training camp in my opinion is about Christian Hackenberg.
The Jets second round pick a year ago, Hackenberg was inactive for 15 regular season games last season and failed to take one meaningful snap as New York’s quarterback. Anonymous reports about how bad he was in practice came to light throughout the regular season and continued through the offseason as many believed the team had jumped ship on him and were looking to add a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft. But fortunately for Hackenberg, he reportedly made significant improvements and the team felt comfortable going into camp with him, Josh McCown and Bryce Petty.
The Jets have only had a handful of practices so far, but reporters are saying that Hackenberg looks the best by far. His arm strength looks terrific and he has gotten much more consistent with his accuracy. If he can keep this up, he’ll see more and more snaps with the first team in his effort to lock up the starting job.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com