May 10, 2013; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan during New York Jets rookie minicamp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Football is getting closer and closer to returning. How exciting! We have been through rookie camp, and now, the full football team is back together for the first time since the season ended.
They call the workouts OTAs, and where we are in the off-season schedule. Technically, the workouts are optional, but most of the team does show up. As fans, we don’t get access to see the team until June minicamp, so we have to rely on the beat reporters for what we learn about these workouts. June 11th is the first open workout for season ticket holders, and June 12th is open to all of us. But until then, we have to rely on reading and interpreting.
Here are five points to watch, in no particular order, as the Jets progress through these workouts:
WHICH QUARTERBACK IS LEADING?
When I say “leading”, I don’t mean the statistical competition by the way. After last year, we all know we are going to see every pass by Mark, Geno, etc., be charted. We will hear each day, how many passes each quarterback completed. It will be charted in detail only rivaled by election coverage.
But this isn’t the point. Stats in training camp mean nothing. What you want to look for is who is “leading” their team. Which quarterback has a command of the offense? Who is leading the team in and out of the huddle with confidence? Who feels comfortable checking down, putting the team into better position during 7-on-7 drills, and 11-on-11? You will be able to glean this from the reports, so read carefully.
RUNNING BACK DISTRIBUTION
Chris Ivory, Mike Goodson?, Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight. How are the footballs going to be divided up. Goodson obviously has a question mark because we don’t know how much longer he will be on the team. But, back to the point. We can start to see how Marty is going to handle this group during OTAs.
Does one back step forward and get more work on the running attack than others? Does Marty prefer the RBBC (Running Back By Committee) system? Start to get a feel for that by reading about how many carries each guy gets, and whether or not they all work with the first team. That could be a very telling answer as we move ahead.
Dec 16, 2012; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush (22) is tackled by Jacksonville Jaguars strong safety Dawan Landry (26) in the second quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
YOUTH MOVEMENT AT SAFETY
Out are Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry. In are LaRon’s brother Dawan, and some young players at the safety position. The position became one of strength last year with LaRon patrolling center field, but the starters are gone, and it is still up from grabs who is going to replace them.
A lot is going to be expected of Antonio Allen and Josh Bush. Starting watching their reps at the OTAs over the next several days. It will be very telling when we read about the reps they are getting, as it will give us an insight as to who is leading the race at the position as we move ahead.
The Jets aren’t expected to do very much in this “rebuilding” year of 2013. However, if the Jets are going to surprise anyone, Demario is going to be a big reason why. He is going to be taking over for Bart Scott and the on-field defensive coach, basically calling the defense on the field.
OTAs will be the first chance for us to see how he is taking to his new role. Does he feel comfortable getting the defense in position? Is he leading? We will start to see this come out during OTAs.
QUINTON COPLES TO OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
Another key to whether or not the Jets succeed in 2013 is the play of Quinton Coples. As we know, he is being moved to outside linebacker for the upcoming season, giving him more of a chance to rush the passer. Coach Ryan did work him out at linebacker during his Pro Day before selecting him in the first round of last year’s draft. However, he didn’t play linebacker much, if at all last year.
Now he is being moved to OLB exclusively. How does Coples take to the role? Is he comfortable, or is there a more significant learning curve? Read the reports from OTAs and you will be able to start drawing conclusions on this too.
Those are just five points to watch for as the Jets go through OTAs this week. There are more, but whatever you are watching for, football is getting closer! How great is that?