The questions everyone are asking right now about the Jets are: 1) Who will start at quarterback?, 2) What will the wide receiving core look like?, 3) Who will start opposite Dee Milliner at cornerback?, 4) What effect will Calvin Pryor have on the secondary? and 5) How will Chris Johnson mesh with the other running backs and how will the carries be distributed?. There are other questions that need to be answered too, some just as important as the ones listed above. We will focus on those questions today.
1) How will the offensive line perform with Winters in his second season and Giacomini replacing Howard at right tackle?
Brian Winters is a converted tackle from Kent State that moved to guard in his 1st year in 2013. Because Vlad Ducasse was so awful, Winters was forced into a baptism by fire situation where, much like Milliner, he had learn while he played. Winters was pretty bad most of the season before coming on towards the end of the season. Again like Milliner, Winters missed time in training camp that stunted his development. A full offseason should help Winters development and allow him to improve. This time, however, the Jets brought in some depth behind Winters so they are not solely dependent on Winters’ growth. The team drafted Dakota Dozier, a tackle from Furman, who is being moved inside at the pro level and did so very well at the Senior Bowl. Dozier is a candidate to start and will certainly push Winters for his job. Caleb Schlauderaff, William Campbell and Dalton Freeman are the backup interior linemen. Oday Aboushi might be moved inside to the guard position dependent on whether his footwork improves from last year. Improved play from the left guard play is a necessity because as you saw in the last month, when Winters played well it positively affected both the passing and running game so this is something to be watching in training camp.
Breno Giacomini replaces Austin Howard at right tackle. Howard was a athletic right tackle that was a much better run blocker than pass blocker. At 27, Howard looked to be an ascending player. Then he signed with Oakland in the offseason for much more money and the Raiders thought so much of his play at right tackle that they kicked him inside to guard. More limited athletically than Howard, Giacomini , according to Rotoworld.com, plays with “sheer determination and physicality…He’s a brawling blocker”. Giacomini is nasty, plays through the whistle and his attitude is infectious among his line mates. The man playing next to him, Willie Colon, plays in the same fashion and should love Giacomini. He had enough athleticism to start and be effective for the World Champion Seahawks but whether he is able to hold up in pass protection here and blend with the line are the questions he has to answer. Those answers won’t come until the games begin though.