Remember when Mangini brought in that old-school, best-player-plays approach that was actually refreshing during his first year? Well, Rex ain't much different, as he was willing to bench a once hometown favorite Kerry Rhodes, no matter how crazy it made him look (well, at 4-6, and claiming you can still win the Superbowl, to many people, you can't look much crazier). Here's the biggest spots that could change between now and the end of August.
1. Vladimir Ducasse vs. Matt Slauson for starting LG - Maybe the most recently publicized of contests, the fight for being the replacement to future HOF Alan Faneca is going to be tighter than you think. While Ducasse is a raw prospect, he has all of the tools to be an eventual starter. Don't count out Slauson just yet. The coaching staff loves his toughness and physicality, and he has some game experience, going in for Nick Mangold at center for a few plays against Tampa. I do expect Ducasse to eventually take over, however, it just may nor be right away.
2. Jerricho Cotchery vs. Santonio Holmes for 2nd WR spot - I think it is safe to say Braylon will earn a spot, barring some kind of severe case of the drops that really gets out of control. The question is who will line up on the other side. What will probably happen is a rotation when Santonio comes back from his suspension. Jehrico and Santonio are two similiar types of recievers; good hands, good route runners, good after the catch. I would say Jehrico is the "safer" choice, he has developed a relationship with Sanchez and is always reliable on 3rd downs. Santonio, however, is much faster and more big-play ability. Should be interesting to watch.
3. Brodney Pool vs. Eric Smith vs. Donovan Warren for starting FS spot - Pool was brought in for a reason, and he will be the starter, assuming all goes well. But that's the key, for all to go well, Pool must stay healthy, and Pool has been riddled with concussions during his time in Cleveland. Eric Smith has proven that, while he is not much of a ball-hawk, he can fill the role. Donovan Warren wasn't drafted because he lacks elite speed, which is why he may be a nice fit at FS.
4. Kellen Clemens vs. Whoever else is on the Depth Chart (Brunell?) for backup QB - Watching Kellen play against Tampa last year, we all had the same thought: We are so lucky we're playing against Tampa this week. It wasn't pretty, and it completely changed the attitude the Jets had toward Kellen. If the Jets do bring in Brunell, he will backup, and Kellen's future will be up in the air.
5. Dwight Lowery vs. Marquice Cole for 4th CB spot - On paper, you would assume Lowrey, who started at CB for a good chunk of the '09 season, would just get pushed down the chart to the 4th spot. But that 4th corner is usually playing inside, against slot receivers, which is not Lowrey's strong suit. Cole has shown a lot, and this could go either way.