May 22, 2013; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Joe McKnight (25) runs with the ball during the New York Jets organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

5 Players Close to the Cutting Board for the 2013 New York Jets

Just a few more weeks until training camp opens up in Cortland, and in Florham Park. There will be many decisions to be made about this team in the coming weeks. It will get interesting, that’s for sure. New system on offense, who stays? Who goes?

So, instead of waiting to find out who is going to stay or go, let’s speculate. That’s more fun isn’t it? It’s far more enjoyable to start discussing these issues ahead of time. So, here are five names, some well-known, some not so much, that will be on the bubble come the end of camp. They will be the last names lingering on the board with the ultimate decision that is needed to be made:

JOE MCKNIGHT This one will not thrill fans, at least not all of them. Most of us want to see what can happen getting Joe out in space. His numbers have been good when he gets the chance to play, but he never gets the chance to play. Now, with Chris Ivory, Mike Goodson (maybe), and Bilal Powell, McKnight could be the odd man out. It will be interesting to see whether the new offensive staff takes a different look at Joe.

DAMON HARRISON Another fan favorite, although he has only played a down or two with the team. He interacts with the fanbase on twitter, and if you follow him, you know that he is one of the must humble players you will ever come across. The problem is his position, defensive line. If you ever are going to say that the Jets are deep at a position, it is defensive line. It just makes life tougher for a guy trying to make this team.

HAYDEN SMITH Here is a guy that deserves every chance to make this team. Coming from knowing nothing about the game of football, to a place where his performance was commended by the end of last year is just extraordinary. The Jets have not left the cupboard empty with TE, with Jeff Cumberland, Mike Shanahan, Chris Pantale, and Konrad Reuland. I am not saying that Smith can’t do it, I am just saying it is another spot with a log jam, so he will be on the bubble.

RYAN QUIGLEY A punter was nowhere near the top of any list of Jets’ needs, but you know John Idzik and competition. Just a guy to give Malone a run for his money, he won’t make the team.

CLYDE GATES Clyde will be close, simply because there are a lot of wide receivers in camp. However, Clyde is the smallest one not named Jeremy Kerley. He never showed really anything to get himself a spot this year, and that should continue come training camp.

Sound off. What do you guys think?

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  • matr dontelli iii

    i think mcknight will get a fair chance to make an impact. he claims knucklehead sparano never spoke to him last year. if so that would indicate he didnt have much of a chance to get opportunities. that said, if he doesn’t sieze his opportunity and do something during training camp i think they’ll cut him and move on. i think smith and harrison have better than 50/50 chances of making the team but it’ll be based on their performances. quigley, unless he’s the two-way kicker who also placekicks, has very little chance as does gates. we may not have much talent at wr but we’ve got more than that! if we go into the season with gates on the roster it’ll be a long, long season. might as well bring back clowney!

    • TheJetPress


  • Paul Newbold

    Interesting article, I’ve been watching the numbers game at RB and wonder where Joe fits in, camp will be interesting. I can see Joe running screens in the new system, I’m still rooting for the kid. Curious that Pace was left off the list, with the new younger faster defense, I think his days are numbered. I’m not sure he makes the team come final cuts.

    • TheJetPress

      Pace will get his shot IMO, playing at a much less significant position. He will mentor/backup, which could save his spot. Or, he won’t make it like you said and he won’t make the team.

  • Bennny K

    I would like to see the Jets use Shanahan at the TE/WR position. I feel he could create mismatches with DBs if we went with a 2 TE set. I don’t know how he is in blocking but he does have hands. To be able to get Kerley, Winslow Jr., Goodson, Shanahan and Rogers on the field, we know that everyone one of those guys can catch any ball thrown to them. I know it’s kind of backwards with little quick WRs and big TEs but it would make for mismatches across the field.

    I feel like if H Smith can contribute on STs we’ll keep him, I think Rueland might be on his way out. He is our only blocking TE but someone like that can be picked up any time of the year.

    I love Joe and feel like we underutilized him, maybe MM can gameplay and show his true potential.

    • TheJetPress

      Good point Benny. Reuland could be the odd man out, although he looked good this year. I like what I have seen out of Shanahan and could create some mismatches like you are saying, as could Kellen Winslow.

      • Dave Hanna

        I’m with Benny for the most part with exception to Reuland. He has great hands, gets open and separation but we have simply used him for blocking last season. He will stay as Smith, although athletic, has nothing over Reuland by a long shot.

        McKnight- hope we keep the guy and we get him some more play time, he can be so explosive and jet’s need some game changing plays to energize them.

        Gates is just not coming up and feel he is on his way out

        • TheJetPress

          I would love to keep McKnight around. I just get the feeling it’s not likely so I am not going to get my hopes up.

  • Carson Coudriet

    Extremely glad to see you didn’t put Rontez Miles on the list. Miles has incredible football talent and a great story, it would be awesome to see him beat out Jaiquawn Jarrett and others for the starting safety job.

    • TheJetPress

      I agree with you on Rontez, why I didn’t include him on the list. I hope he makes the team as he will deserve it and then some.

  • Korwil

    I really hope we keep McKnight, Harrison, and Hayden Smith. I think Harrison will take over for Garay’s role next year but I’m not sure what to expect this year. As far as McKnight, I like him as a kick returner and he’s always been underused.

    It will be interesting to see our final roster when cuts are happening.

    • TheJetPress

      It sure will, this year almost more than other years, with the new regime in town.

  • Vincent Hall

    It makes more sense to keep Joe McKnight than it does Mike “10 baby moms & 10 handguns” Goodson. Just my opinion though.