Despite the busy offseason with the Jets finding themselves the talk of the town, I was able to narrow down my five important topics going into Jets camp.
1.) Sanchez separating himself and exhibiting command of the offense
Camp is as important time as any for Sanchez to get an edge on this QB “competition.” I’m already on record stating that this season, Sanchez needs to take more command of the offense and that doesn’t mean JUST improving his statistics, it also means holding offensive players accountable for their mistakes by calling them out when warranted or appropriate and this is something that Sanchez MUST start doing IN CAMP. Waiting until the season to establish this part of his game isn’t going to cut it. Sanchez has to let his offense know that because of the pressure that he is facing this season, he isn’t going to tolerate inept effort, boneheaded mistakes, attitudes or anything else that is counter productive that can cost him a starting job and ultimately cost this offense. Sanchez must do this and do this ASAP and camp is as good a time as any for Sanchez to show his team that year 4 of the Sanchez era will be a bit different than the first 3 seasons.
2.) Seeing just how much Joe McKnight is ready for a more expanded role
RB Joe McKnight still has a lot to prove. I for one wasn’t to happy 2 seasons ago when the Jets allowed Danny Woodhead to get away in order to keep a RB on the roster that couldn’t even pass a conditional test. Needless to say, McKnight has undoubtedly earned my respect and earned his place on this Jets team after his probowl season last year. Albeit it wasn’t at the running back position but when you have a KR like McKnight that can instantly change the dynamics of a game with his elite and explosive kick return skills, it’s very hard NOT give props where props are due and McKnight has earned those. With that said, McKnight is coming into this season looking to prove himself and looking to replace LaDanian Tomlinson as the team’s reliable 3rd down/swing back and considering the LACK of explosive talent at RB for the Jets, I’d say he will certainly get every opportunity in camp to prove himself and set himself apart as the swing back the Jets are looking for right now. McKnight has reportedly packed on 20-25 pounds and is looking to do more than just be a swing/scat back, he’s undoubtedly looking for a more expanded role on offense and considering he’s playing under a run heavy coach like Tony Sparano, I’d say it looks very promising for McKnight to be able to garner more touches and utilize them effectively but it’s important he gets off to a solid start in camp to show the coaches and everyone else that he is serious and committed in achieving his goals.
3.) Tony Sparano’s offensive philosophy
This is VITAL and should’ve been number ONE on the list but let’s just go with it. Jets new Offensive Coordinator certainly has his hands full in replacing former Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Sparano has the challenge of coming in and turning a complacent, under achieving offense around. My thoughts on whether Sparano CAN or WILL do it has already been noted and is on record but whether Sparano can or cant have success as the Jets offensive coordinator is an argument for another MONTH, what’s important now is Sparano getting an his offense adequately establish within the first few days of camp so everyone can be on the same page. The rumblings coming out of mini-camp have been tremendously positive and offensive players are drooling over Sparano’s offensive scheme but talk is cheap. These players have to come together to effectively execute Sparano’s offense or it’s all for not and it’s certainly up to Sparano to get this offense going early in camp and show that he is infact the anti-Schotty. For the past 3 camps, the defense has been the big brother of the offense and im thinking this summer it’s time to see the offense grow up and beat up on big brother.
4.) Stephen Hill’s affect on the passing game
Jets lost Braylon Edwards and Plaxico Burress in consecutive seasons. Jets made a move for the future by drafting deep threat WR Stephen Hill from Georgia Tech in April’s draft. Although the Jets love Hill’s potential to adequately and positively affect the offense for seasons to come, they are expecting him to contribute greatly THIS season. Hill has been praised for his speed but has been knocked by “experts” for his inability to run effective NFL level routes, something Hill has been working on since being drafted and has gotten praised from coaches that suggest that his route running, though not perfect, is certainly on par where it needs to be. Hill shouldn’t be asked to do much but his speed should be a formidable asset within the offense and open things up tremendously for the other targets on the team. I’m looking for Hill to utilize his attributes and establish his position during camp so Sparano can have a great idea right away as to how to best utilize a talented WR with outstanding attributes like Hill. Jets will be looking to replace the redzone production that Plaxico provided last season and Hill with his nice size and frame should be prime candidate number one to do so.
5.) Quinton Coples affect on the Jets defense
Quinton Coples is a freak. He’s 6’6 284 with an 81 inch wingspan, a FREAK. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Coples’s role on the Jets defense can and should produce some pretty outstanding results. SHOULD!!!! Coples and his freakish attributes has the capability to be an OFFICIAL problem for opposing offensive tackles early and often. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to see Coples being dominant in camp and causing production on his end. I’m expecting Coples to directly and indirectly affect the Jets defense because of his freakish size alone. Getting a motivated Coples that is dead set on proving his doubters and haters wrong thus forcing him to effectively utilize his attributes to consistently embarrass opposing tackles will just be a much needed plus for this Jets defense. It’s very important for the rookie to establish himself during camp for himself and to get an early jump on showing everyone in JetNation that the Jets didnt make a mistake in drafting him!