We made it through the offseason and training camp is here! There are a lot of question marks on the team and position battles at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, both guard positions, and safety. So here’s my two cents on who I think will win these competitions.
Quarterback – Mark Sanchez vs Geno Smith – The million dollar question for this team is who starts at quarterback. Those backing incumbent Mark Sanchez point to his professional experience especially under center which is not yet a strength of rookie Geno Smith, his play in the playoffs in 2009 and 10 as well as the 26 touchdowns in 2011, as well as his time at USC running the West Coast offense that Marty Mornhinweg is installing. Those on the side of Geno Smith point to his high completion percentage in college, his lower interception percentage, his athleticism and the fact that he is not named Mark Sanchez. This all comes down to Smith’s readiness. If Smith is ready then he is the starter. The Jets have moved on from Sanchez for all intents and purposes but if Sanchez outplays Smith or if Smith hasn’t learned fast enough expect Sanchez to start Week 1 because it easier to pull Sanchez for Smith than it would be to pull Smith if he were to struggle. The Jets want Smith to win the competition and I think he shows enough to win and face Tampa in Week 1.
Prediction: Smith starts Week 1 and ends the Sanchez era
Running Back – Chris Ivory vs Mike Goodson vs Bilal Powell vs Joe McKnight – The Jets had a busy offseason at running back with Shonn Greene running slowly to Tennessee, Mike Goodson signing with the Jets from the Raiders and Chris Ivory being acquired via trade with the Saints. The Jets are betting on backups that have a lot of potential. Chris Ivory has been stuck as a 3rd string running back for the Saints due to the fact he isn’t much of a pass catcher and got nicked up a few times. When he did play he showed that he is a punishing downhill runner that has deceptive speed and quickness. Ivory averaged 5.1 yards per carry with the Saints. Mike Goodson is a speed back who can turn the corner and an adroit pass catcher who is a threat to take it to the house any time he touches the ball. He has to overcome some nagging injuries and a fumbling issue to reach his potential. He also needs to beat gun and drug charges from an incident this offseason. The trial won’t occur to next year most likely and it appears the gun charge could disappear which would help him avoid jail time. Bilal Powell is a good all-around back. He ran for about 4 yards per carry, can catch out of the backfield a bit as well as pass protect. Joe McKnight has game breaking speed and elusiveness but has never unlocked his ability offensively. McKnight has not shown the ability to stay healthy and be anything more than a great kick returner. If he ever puts it together he would be a vital weapon. The Jets brought Chris Ivory in to be the feature back and he will get 15 touches a game, Goodson will spell him as a change of pace back as well as get some work as a 3rd down back. Powell will sub for them both especially on 3rd and long where his pass protection is a big help.
Prediction: Ivory, Goodson, Powell in that order on the depth chart with McKnight being cut late