Training Camp Preview: Cornerbacks
As the New York Jets approach training camp, we take a closer look at some of the positional units. What’s there to look for from the cornerbacks?
The New York Jets turned a weakness into a strength last season with their cornerback position. Now entering year two under head coach Todd Bowles, the unit looks for consistency in 2016. The breath of consistency for the last decade has been Darrelle Revis. He’s been the best shut down cornerback of this generation and it hasn’t been close.
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In spurts during the 2015 season, we saw glimpses of decline, specifically in match-ups against some of the game’s elites in Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. Entering 2016, Revis is still rehabbing from offseason wrist surgery.
One of the biggest questions heading into training camp at cornerback is who will be starting opposite of him this upcoming season? That is one of the top questions for the Jets heading into training camp and more importantly, the regular season. Will it be Buster Skrine who started in the slot last season? Could it be Marcus Williams, the underrated prospect out of South Dakota State, who exceeded expectations last season? Or perhaps could it be the Jets former top-10 pick, Dee Milliner? It will be an interesting situation to watch unfold this summer.
The other top storyline for the Jets’ defense is surrounding the health of Revis, the franchise’s best player from his wrist surgery. While it has been widely assumed that Revis will be ready for the regular season, further examination of Bowles’ comments during organized team activities and mandatory mini-camps is troubling to say the least.
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When asked if Revis will be ready, Bowles remained coy saying “he’s hopeful”, it could very well be coach talk but that’s something Jets fans have to keep a close eye on in camp.
If Revis is out for the early part of the season, the Jets will have more questions to answer than who will be starting opposite of Revis.
In the NFL heading into 2016, essentially your top three cornerbacks are starters and that’s the case for the Jets’ defense.
A healthy Revis will start at the No. 1 spot provided he’s good to go once the games that count are here.
Skrine has played on both the outside and in the slot, which gives Bowles a ton of options when he’s deciding who should start where. Again to reiterate and to beat a dead horse, Skrine should remain on the inside.
Not all the cornerbacks on the roster can play on the inside, but Skrine can. Which leaves another spot open, a healthy Milliner should be the starter opposite of a healthy Revis.
He’s got the talent and he’s shown in spurts that he can play with the big boys. While Williams is underrated and continues to be, he’s got serious bust potential, if he gets thrown to the wolves as a starter.
Williams did phenomenal last year as a nickel corner covering the opponents fourth or fifth receiver. There’s a huge talent gap from the second receiver on the team to the fifth, is Williams ready for a bigger role? He could very well be on his way to an even bigger season if he continues to build on his momentum.
The top three things to keep an eye on throughout training camp are crucial for the overall success of the positional unit.
Can Revis be Revis for 16 games on the schedule at his age? Revis is still an elite corner who garners respect around the league. Can he remain healthy is the big question.
Speaking of health, can Milliner stay healthy? He’s been unable to do it since high school, but perhaps he’s been carrying around a rabbit’s foot to yoga class, because he’s finally been healthy this offseason (knocks on wood). If he stays that way, he might have just turned around his career.
must read: Training Camp Preview: Defensive Line
The least talked about draft pick in Jets history may just be Juston Burris. He was selected in the fourth round and despite the talk of the rest of the depth chart, has a real opportunity to stick out on special teams and perhaps in the same role Williams played in last season.