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Twelve random thoughts and observations on the New York Jets as they head into their first preseason game this weekend…
1 – Who Is Beltre? – A name that many did not expect to hear is seeing a substantial amount of work with the starting defense at outside linebacker, Frank Beltre. Who exactly is this guy and why is he in the mix?
He is a 27 year old former CFL player, who played alongside Freddie Bishop (also in the mix at outside linebacker). In college he played for Towson and was a UDFA signed by the San Diego Chargers in 2013 and spent time with them and Oakland before moving up to Canada. Beltre is 6’2, 250 pounds and has found himself in the mix due to Lorenzo Mauldin dealing with a neck injury. Outside linebacker remains a wide open position, where Beltre, Mauldin, Jordan Jenkins, Dylan Donahue and Bishop could all see substantial reps. Mauldin also has a pending legal situation that could impact his availability.
2 – Speaking Of 2015 – This is year three for Mike Maccagnan’s first draft class, usually a marking point for when fair evaluation of a draft class begins. We know Leonard Williams has been a success but outside of that Maccagnan selected Devin Smith, Mauldin, Bryce Petty, Jarvis Harrison and Deon Simon. Out of that group, Simon and Mauldin have the best (really the only) chance to add some depth to a group that could look very ugly if neither become competent starters this season. Smith is on IR. Harrison is out of football. Petty is locked in to the third string quarterback spot and is likely spending his final season here.
3 – Maye Day – Out of all the Jets rookies, it has been Marcus Maye, not Jamal Adams stealing the spotlight. Maye has been a ballhawk, recording multiple interceptions and showing a natural nose of the football. We need to see how it translates to a game but Maye has a good chance to break the Jets long running second round curse. He will be a starter from day one and is already setting expectations for his rookie season higher than expected.
4 – No Surprise – Quarterback is playing out how everybody should have expected so far. Josh McCown is the de facto starter with Christian Hackenberg slowly getting a little more time. Bryce Petty is out of the mix to start because it is counterproductive to have that many quarterbacks splitting first team reps. McCown has been the most consistent quarterback in camp, taking the least sacks and racking up the highest completion percentage. Hackenberg has the most big plays but is holding the ball too long and has thrown 5 interceptions over the past two days. Preseason is what matters most here but a betting man would be wise to wager on McCown being under center week 1.
5 – New Day – Considering the state of the wide receiver position and the continued day to day production of Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Jordan Leggett (the Jets second most impressive rookie so far in camp), tight end may actually become a focal point of this offense. You should look for plenty of personnel packages that feature both players on the field at the same time. Both of them will moved between Y, H and recover in certain formations. The Jets have not had a respectable season from a tight end since Dustin Keller back in 2010.
6 – The Question – Is the Jets defense having a great summer or is the offense just insanely putrid?
7 – My updated guess at what wide receivers make the roster
- Robby Anderson
- Charone Peake
- ArDarius Stewart
- Chad Hansen
- Lucky Whitehead
- Chris Harper
8 – Veteran? – No, I don’t think the Jets should sign somebody like Cecil Shorts or Eddie Royal and no I definitely don’t think they should give up any draft capital for a receiver. If they want to take a flier on a young player with some upside (Dorial Green-Beckham?) or wait until final cut downs (Philip Dorsett?) that is one thing but Mike Maccagnan already showed he didn’t care to have a veteran around when he released Eric Decker in May. At this point, an over the hill veteran like Royal isn’t teaching anything miraculous to the young receivers or adding anything of value to the offense. The Jets also need every pick they have at their disposal so they can trade up for a quarterback next year when they inevitably aren’t good enough to make the playoffs but aren’t bad enough to land a top three pick (joking, but not really).
9 – McGuire SZN – I continue to think Elijah McGuire is going to have a bigger than expected role in this offense, never mind if Matt Forte continues to deal with various injuries. It would not shock me if by the end of the season both had a comparable amount of touches. McGuire is particularly useful in the passing game, which has that many more targets to hand out now with Enunwa hurt.
10 – Right Tackle – Should be a focal point in the preseason. It is going to be very disappointing if Brandon Shell can’t beat out journeyman Brent Qvale, considering Maccagnan sacrificed a draft pick to move up to get Shell in the 2016 NFL Draft. As of now, they have been splitting reps.
11 – Random Predictions
- Ross Martin will win the kicking job
- Bruce Carter will not make the team
- The Jets will add a veteran fullback immediately after cut downs.
12 – Robby Anderson – Is the new favorite to lead the Jets in targets, not named Bilal Powell. Considering what is around him and the vertical element of his game, it will be interesting to see if Anderson can flirt with 1,000 yards this season.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com