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NY Jets: How Did It Get So Late So Soon?

The back of the roster spots are still up for grabs, but not for much longer.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

How did it get so late so soon?

It's night before it's afternoon.

My goodness how the time has flewn.

How did it get so late so soon?

Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

Dr. Seuss wrote those lines, contemplating in old age how time had flown by before he knew it.

Those lines might well apply to the Jets players on the roster bubble.  It still seems early, but it isn't.  The evaluation process is much closer to the end than the beginning.  In a week the Jets will play their second preseason game.  The starters and primary backups, the guys who have already largely locked in their roster spots, will go substantially farther in that game than in the first one, leaving the guys fighting for the last few precious spots on the 53 man roster substantially fewer snaps to showcase their talents.  A week later and it's the third preseason game, the dress rehearsal for the regular season.  There the starters will go deep into the second half.  The primary backups will take most of the remaining snaps, leaving almost no time for the scrubs to showcase their wares.  That leaves the final preseason game, a veritable scrubfest.  Here the bubble boys will get one final stage upon which to strut their stuff. However, if history is any indication, by then most of the roster decisions will already have been made.  How many times have we seen a scrub light it up in the fourth preseason game, only to end up on the cutting room floor?  For the most part there is nothing all but a select few players can do, positive or negative, in the final preseason game that will significantly alter their chances to make the final roster.  By then the evaluations are already largely complete, and for the most part the back of the pre-final-cuts 75 man roster types are auditioning for either practice squad signings or chances with other teams.

The last three preseason games provide fans an opportunity to see guys we wouldn't otherwise have much idea about, since these guys rarely see the field when the real games start.  For that reason they can be interesting.  They provide a first glance at some guys who might, if they're both fortunate and good, one day develop into significant roles with the Jets.  But for the players and coaches, particularly for the players on the roster bubble, it is already late.  The preseason games will not provide more than a few more quarters of legitimate evaluation for these guys.  Coaches have already been evaluating players through OTAs, minicamp and the first weeks of training camp.  Coaching opinions of the players are already hardening into what very soon will be all but irrevocable positions.  For guys who have had the misfortune of getting banged up at just the wrong time, like, for example, Wes Saxton, it may already be too late.  What is that old saying: you can't make the team from the training room?

There are about two and a half more weeks before the final preseason game.  The depth chart is already solidifying.  Impressions have already been made.  With each passing day the window to change a coach's mind and secure one of the last spots on the roster is inching closed.  For the guys on the bubble, it's already time to ask, how did it get so late so soon?