With a few weeks of training camp and two preseason games in the books, as we reach the midway point it is time for a few ‘over the pond’ takeaways from the Jets 2015 preseason so far…
The nature of the Jets quarterback issue has changed from off season debates over Geno’s ability and consistency to wider questions about how well Ryan Fitzpatrick can take the reigns. The rest of the offense speaks of the need to built a rapport with Fitz and this is clearly a work in progress although playing the full half against Atlanta gave vital development time. There is also a new set of questions about the backup. Although the acquisition of Matt Flynn hasn’t set the world on fire, at least taking him early in the preseason gives him the chance to learn the system he says he has a little understanding of should his services be called upon. Todd Bowles has refused to commit to Flynn as the solution, depending on whether he can step ahead of Petty and has not ruled out continuing to look for other options.
Petty looked more poised and comfortable against Atlanta than last week in Detroit, admitting that then he had ‘no idea what to expect as far as the game goes’ . However, we shouldn’t get too excited about this, it wasn’t against starters and Petty has a lot to learn about making reads in a pro-offense. In addition to conflicting opinions on if and when Geno will be back (from week one to week four to never), the QB questions will continue to rumble on throughout the coming weeks.
Beyond the early losses of Devin Smith and the obvious ‘Geno incident’, preaseason injuries so far have been relatively minor but have nevertheless shaken up the process. Understandably there has been much needed caution over Mo Wilkerson to ensure his injury does not keep him out of any regular season action which is of obvious paramount importance, but his absence isn’t ideal for the development of Leonard Williams and the rest of the D-line group if this potential injury progresses to or past week 1.
The concussion of Chris Owusu is also a setback for improving wide out. He has looked promising in training camp by making some impressive plays and turning heads. Bowles said this week Owusu was recovering well and this is not a season limiting injury as long as Owusu can come back in time to continue to shake his claim on a greater role in the offense. A concussion for Jeremy Kerley and Shaq Evans roll up injury against Atlanta have added further disruption to the WR group who are desperately trying to bond with Fitz. The severity of these injuries are yet to surface.
TE? Jace Amaro Third String?The initial depth chart shows Jace Amaro as the third string tight end behind Cumberland and Kellen Davies. This has alarmed a few as before his shoulder injury Amaro was showing some promise that he was ready to build on his mixed 2014 season and challenge as the starting TE. However, the truth behind this that in Chan Gailey’s system Amaro is being primed as the H-back rather than traditional tight end, a position which does not exist separately on the depth chart. As Todd Bowles recently explained:
Amaro is the H right now. He’s the first-team H. We play with two. When you have down tight end on the ball, that’s more Cumberland’s thing, but when you have ab H back or a F position, that’s more Amaro’s thing. It’s not the matter of fact that he’s the first team tight end, he’s the first Y, Amaro is the first H.
This could therefore mean that Amaro will actually get more rather than less of a role in the offence and continue to make the impact he began to show last season. The glut of penalties by Kellen Davis against the Falcons is something which needs to be quickly addressed but no question, more clouds have been casted over this troop than bright shining lights.
When Cromartie was taken in free agency to rebuild the secondary of past success opposite Revis there was both elation and criticism over the amount spent. Cromartie who some may see as ‘past his best’ has had an uneven start to his second go-around in green and white which has only fueled such criticisms. In recent days in camp he has equally shown some flashes of his old self however the Falcons TD resulting from a miscommunication between Cro and Skine shows there is still inconsistency. Of course, Cromartie is still a high calibre corner and doesn’t seem concerned by saying ‘Its practice’ but we know that to avoid Revis Island, opposing offensive systems look to exploit any weaknesses and therefore Cro finding himself a very busy man. From what we’ve seen so far it seems like Cromartie is going to take us on a roller coaster ride as he plays his part in what at least is a far better secondary than last year but he’ll need to ensure a greater degree of consistency in coverages to come.
Willie Colon – the Old Guard
A somewhat surprising story out of camp has been the performance of our veteran guard who was possibly facing an uphill battle for his starting spot. When he finds the time to step away from his recent love of commentaries, Colon by all accounts has come out of the gates all guns blazing. Todd Bowles on Colon “He’s been playing better than everybody else so far”. Although Bowles hasn’t committed to Colon as the starter, he still holds his place on the depth chart. The ageing offensive line need to do a better job this year of protecting whoever happens to slinging the football (Jets QBss were sacked 47 times last year and an average of 2.94 per game – 25th in the league), but with on of the most experienced members looking to be playing better than predicted, this is definitely a positive sign. They got plenty of playing time against Atlanta and Colon put maintaining his starting spot down to his hard work this preseason.