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On The Bubble

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By JetCane 

Football fans know that in the fourth preseason game, they wont see much of the starting team or a preview of the regular season game plan.  Chad is sitting this one out.  So why watch the game?  Well, it is the culmination of training camp for the team and the end of the line for many others.  Next week players will be summoned to the coach’s office with the reminder “bring your playbook”.

Some of the more intriguing subplots of training camps involve the fight for jobs going on between various teammates, and the jockeying up the depth charts for others.  Jets camp 2006 was no exception, and in fact there have been more subplots unraveling in Hofstra than in an Agatha Christie novel.

So here are some players and positions to watch as the Jets take on the Eagles, who undoubtedly will play their scrubs and bubble guys virtually the entire game.

-Ramsey/Bollinger
It is clear that Pennington will start at QB, at least to start the season.  Clemens is a lock to make the final roster so the big question at QB is whether the Jets will keep four QBs, or whether someone has to go. It says here that someone goes, and that person will be decided after Friday’s respective performances.

-Martin/Tutt
Askew should survive, and Moa has already been cut.  Is there room for two more FBs? No way and one of these guys goes. The staff went out and got Jamar, but he still has to show up and be a baller to impress.  Is there anything Tutt can do to survive cut down day?

Doug Jolley/Kowalewski
How disappointing has the Jolley trade worked out to be? He has had an unimpressive camp and could be a name player to go, although the injury to Pociask may have saved his job. He incurred Mangini’s wrath this week for taking a head butting penalty. Baker and Dressen are in. Someone else is out.

Cedric Houston
The backfield has gotten crowded with Leon Washington doing good things for a rookie.  Blaylock has come on in camp the past two weeks and apparently has won the starting job, beating out the enigmatic Kevan Barlow, who cost a 4th round pick.  Houston may be the man out, although an impressive performance could make the decision more difficult.

Blanton/Snell/Missant/Nienhuis etc
Tony Wise has been as demanding as any of the coaches have been in training camp, and has worked these guys hard. A couple of them won’t survive, and one may get to the practice squad. The OL needs to some cuts to be made. For some, they will get to keep their playbook. Others have to will seek work elsewhere.

Wallace Wright/Reggie Newhouse
The Jets top 5 wideouts are set (Coles, Cotchery, McCareins, Dwight, Brad Smith).  Both of these guys are vying for the same spot.  A spot that may not even exist.  Will there be a 6th wideout?  Both players have flashed in camp, and have worked hard. They both have heart, determination and good skills. Newhouse had the early lead, but Wright shined in the Giants game. It will be sad to see either of them go.  Practice squad anyone?

Drew Coleman/Mickens/Maddox/Washington
Maddox has not rebounded well from last year’s injury, and has not flashed in camp. He’s another name who could be on the outside looking in when all is said and done. Mickens and Strait both play the nickel and can fill in at different DB spots. Washington played well last week and is in the mix. But it is clear that not all of the DBs in camp can survive.

Special teams play may be the difference for some between seeing The Turk and game planning for the Titans. Look for some big efforts to be made by the bubble players on every kickoff and punt.

So, it may a “meaningless” preseason game for some, but for others it may be the difference between wearing the Green and White or running the family beverage distributorship (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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