The Jets are going to hold their mandatory minicamp on June 9-11, and this should provide fans and Todd Bowles a good look at their newly reconstructed team for 2015. Some of the things to look forward to:
The Return of Wilkerson: Brian Costello wrote that Muhammad Wilkerson plans to rejoin the team for mandatory minicamps, and will avoid being fined for his absence. This is music to the Jets, as they can now see how the defensive line will gel with each other for the first time. One of the most interesting stories for the 2015 season is how the Jets can mold their abundance of stars along the line into a unit that wrecks havoc on opposing QBs. Rich Cimini, a fan favorite for his ability to squash moments of joy, however is reporting that Wilkerson’s agents have communicated that they are still undecided about attending camp. The saga of Wilkerson’s offseason hopefully comes to an end next Tuesday.
Compete With Magic? The competition between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith should be an interesting match during minicamp. Geno has had enough time to atleast learn the basics of the Chan Gailey system, while Fitzpatrick is slowly but surely recovering from his leg injury. Geno is considered the No. 1 QB on the roster right now, but coach Bowles has made it clear that in the event of Fitzpatrick outplaying Smith, he won’t hesitate to make a change.
Amaro Injury: Jace Amaro left OTA with a possible back injury, although the severity of the injury has not been released. He was apparently running a route, when he suddenly clutched his back, and went to the sideline. Amaro, the second year TE, is the perceived No. 1 TE on the roster, and any extended absence could hurt the chemistry of a team that is trying to gel in a new offensive system. It remains to be seen, how active Amaro will be, at minicamp.
Full Throttle: The Jets should have a full compliment of WRs available for the minicamp, and it’ll be interesting to see how they line up and compliment each other. Brandon Marshall, the consensus No. 1 WR on the Jets, just had his contract retooled, and should be ready to lead the unit out of mediocrity. Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley, incumbents from last year’s starting trio, should also see more running room with less attention focused on them. How rookie Devin Smith fits into the team’s plans can also be interesting, as Chan Gailey has a penchant for running 3 or 4 WR sets on a consistent basis. If Jace Amaro is limited, there is a chance that the team tries out more 4 WR sets with Smith on the field with the other three.
Running Back Battle: The battle for RB isn’t as ballyhooed as the QB battle, but nevertheless an important competition to keep track of. Chris Ivory is the perceived favorite for the No. 1 role, but the battle behind him could be very interesting. Newcomers Zac Stacy and Stevan Ridley, who hasn’t been cleared yet from his ACL injury, may be fighting it out for the No. 3 position. Bilal Powell, the favorite to land the 3rd down back role on the team, should also see plenty of targets from the backfield, as the most accomplished receiver from the RB group.
Some quick tidbits from OTAs:
- Willie Colon pleaded with Geno Smith to not crash the Porsche, while Bowles said he’s not sure what type of car the team is right now.
- Coach Bowles has given the team the day off for June 5th, the last day of OTAs.
- Antonio Cromartie is antagonizing Richard Sherman, while Revis takes the high road.
- “Snacks” is no longer Snacks.
- Sheldon Richardson, Brandon Marshall, and Muhammad Wilkerson have made it to the NFL top 100 list, with presumably Darrelle Revis as the only other player left to possibly make the list.
- Team execs are excited about Leonard Williams.
- The Jets have signed WR Jonathan Rumph.
This is certainly an exciting time to see the full team come together and practice for a couple of days, as the dearth of football information can be tough to take after the free agency frenzy. All the competitions and battles should be interesting, but most of all, the Jets hopefully come out of the minicamp without any more injuries.