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Clyde Gates: 2013 and Beyond

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Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Frequently before the season starts, you will hear about somebody who has made vast improvements in OTA's, training camp, and/or preseason games. Since football teams play on only 16 of the 365 days of the year, there is plenty of time to overthink things. You might say, "Well it means something if he is showing improvement." It really doesn't, though. All that matters is whether a player carries the performance into the real games, and every year we see success before the real bullets start flying does not necessarily have correlation to regular season success.

Clyde Gates was one of those guys. He had a great offseason. Rex Ryan even proclaimed him the offensive MVP early in training camp. His route running was supposed to be vastly improved. He was ready to make a contribution.

Then the season started, and the only contributions he made were negative. Most notably in a Week 2 loss to the Patriots, he failed to hold onto the ball in the end zone and later dropped a pass that could have gone for a big gain. Gates is fast, but he is living proof that speed is only one asset for a wide receiver. Having speed helps, but it alone does not make a good receiver. Gates is shaky in almost every other area, including route running and holding onto the ball. He doubled as a kickoff return man, but showed little in the way of vision or ability to change directions to make people miss. He ended up being placed on IR in October.

I don't want to kick Gates when he is down. He became a whipping boy with the Jets fanbase after the New England game. I do, however, think we have seen enough to conclude Gates is probably not going to develop into a quality NFL player. Even if he is only under contract for $645,000 in 2014, I think that money and the spot in training camp can be better used. I say the Jets should move on.

What do you think?