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Predicting starting defensive secondary of the Jets

By Paul A. Esden Jr.
Oct 25, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola (80) pulls down a pass in front of New York Jets defensive back Buster Skrine (41) during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots won 30-23. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola (80) pulls down a pass in front of New York Jets defensive back Buster Skrine (41) during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots won 30-23. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New York Jets are finishing up their offseason workouts ahead of training camp and it’s time to talk about the secondary. Who will be their starters?

While their have been a ton of positional changes all over the roster of the New York Jets, their defensive secondary has remained virtually intact. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie was released early this offseason to save some salary cap space for their other roster maneuvering.

Related Story: Exclusive interview with Darrelle Revis

While there is still a chance that Cromartie can return, outside of an injury it doesn’t seem likely. Earlier this offseason, head coach Todd Bowles was asked about that possibility, here is what he said courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets:

On if the door is closed on Antonio Cromartie…

(The door) is never closed. Things could come up and you may end up calling a guy back.

The rest of the secondary will see three starters return to the lineup, again, outside of an injury in training camp. Cornerback Darrelle Revis will be entering his 10th season in the NFL and his age started to show a bit last season.

Which is concerning since last season was the first year of a record breaking, five-year $70M contract, with $39M guaranteed. The Jets hope that injuries played a bigger factor last season than anything else.

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Revis should reportedly be ready by the time camp comes around at the end of July.

He had wrist surgery at the beginning of off-season workouts.

At the safety spots, the Jets will have Marcus Gilchrist entering his second year with the Jets and his sixth season in the league.

Gilchrist had a career high three interceptions with the Jets last season.

Another safety who had quite the career year with the Jets was Calvin Pryor, The Louisville Slugger. Instead of a sophomore slump for Pryor, he had a sophomore resurgence.

Pryor played in a new scheme this season with Bowles and he excelled. He registered two interceptions and looked a lot more comfortable playing his natural position with the Jets.

But the intrigue for the secondary with the Jets, revolves around their other cornerback spot that we alluded to earlier. The Jets have opted for mainly an in-house battle for the number two spot on the outside.

The battle will consist of Buster Skrine, entering his second year with the Jets, also moving into his sixth season. He excelled on the inside for the Jets last year and he could very well remain there.

Bowles has spoken glowingly of Skrine’s ability to play on the outside so far in organized team activities. Skrine has played there before and has a ton of scheme versatility.

On Buster Skrine’s play today and what he’s seen from him on the outside so far…

I mean he’s played on the outside when he was in Cleveland. This is normal for him obviously. The game plays a little slower out there meaning. But him being outside has been a plus but again, shorts and t-shirt, his quickness is going to show up and everything. But there’s a lot more physicality that goes into once we put the pads on.

The other player that many will be cheering for is Marcus Williams, the former undrafted free agent out of North Dakota State. Williams got his crack at playing time last season and took advantage of it.

Williams led the Jets in interceptions with six and did it with a lot fewer opportunities. Was it a fluke? Can he prove the doubters wrong?

All of those questions are under consideration as Williams battles it out for a starting role on the Jets in 2016. Perhaps the best way to maximize the talent in this secondary, the Jets brass will opt to start Skrine on the inside and allow Williams to start opposite of Revis.

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That would allow the Jets to get the most bang for their buck, all the while knowing that Skrine can play inside and outside. Williams got a lot of nickel action last season and also has some scheme versatility.

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