What do you make of this training camp?
This is a weird year. There are no fans at training camp and no preseason games; we are basically finding out about our team as it was done 40 years ago. Back then you had to rely on shoddy TV reporting that looked to find an angle rather than give pertinent information to the viewer about the team. Of course here at GGN we do have the twitter widget and our own Newman104 to give us camp updates. I personally prefer Newman’s reporting which includes his own special insights; that keen birds eye view of our own Newman104 gives GGN readers an observation the rest of the Jets communities don’t have.
There are rules changes for the 2020 season and only the 2020 season
Teams can carry up to 16 players on their practice squad, including 6 veteran players of any length of playing time. This means if the Jets want to put a long time veteran like Steve McLendon on the practice squad they can do so. Also teams can designate 4 players on the practice squad they want to protect from the league. They have until Tuesday of each week during the season to do so. Once a player is protected he cannot be signed to the active roster of another team that week.
A team can call up a player from the practice squad as late as 90 minutes before a game. This gives the teams a chance to check the health of their players prior to leaving the hotel, then replacing any player who may fall ill.
There is a Covid-19/reserve list for players who become infected. I am sure the guidelines for this will change with new scientific revelations whenever they find new information.
NFL teams can fine players $50,000 for failure to submit to a Covid/19 test.
A quick trivia question....
Which Jets defensive lineman played the most snaps in 2019? (Answer later)
Does Sam Darnold have enough receiver talent to show his true abilities?
Let’s look at the receivers the Jets have
A 6’ 2” 212 lbs receiver with excellent speed (4.25/40 on Pro day), yet the Jets are his fourth team in five years. He has started a grand total of 10 games in that time. He has a career catch rate of 48.7%, and he’s averaged about 24 receptions a year. Five TDs and 25 receptions of his career 11 TDs and 95 receptions have come in his last 5 games (of 51 career games). Is he overrated or is he just starting to show his talent?
A 6’ 3” 206 lbs receiver who also has excellent speed (4.38/40) to go along with near 34” arms. He had the best 3-cone drill of any player at the combine (6.66 sec), which shows top notch agility. He has supreme talent but he has been sidelined with a hamstring injury.
A 5’ 9” 177 lbs receiver who was the go to receiver on the Jets last year. Crowder played primarily from the slot. He is quicker than fast (4.56/40) yet he seems to always get open. He has 299 receptions in 72 career games with 78 receptions for the Jets last year.
A 6’ 3” 202 lbs receiver from tiny Limestone College who turned heads at the University of South Carolina pro day by running a 4.36/40 with a 39.5 inch vertical. Smith is still considered a raw receiver who has 22 receptions for 316 yards and 1 TD in 20 career games. He has been injured more than he has practiced this camp.
A 5’ 9” 190 lbs receiver who was the Jets primary punt returner last year. Berrios is also fast (4.44/40) with great agility (6.72 3-cone drill). He returned all 21 punts last year for the Jets and he caught 6 passes for 115 yards. He is expected to be the backup slot receiver to Jamison Crowder for the Jets in 2020.
A 6’ 1” 210 lbs receiver (4.50/40 speed) who is 33 years old and entering journeyman status in the NFL. He has played in 95 career games with 202 receptions and 18 TDs. He can still play effective football but he is now a bottom of the roster type player who has virtually zero upside apart from a single outlier game from time to time.
A 6’ 3” 205 lbs receiver who is also fast (4.40/40) yet has played a mere 20 games in 3 years, recording only 7 receptions for 75 yards with a single TD. He has been healthy this camp and getting him reps, but so far he has been reportedly outplayed by UDFA Jeff Smith.
A 6’ 2” 204 lbs receiver who again is fast (4.47/40) but to date it has not helped him on the field. He has been active for 24 games in 2 years but has only 3 receptions for 25 yards to show for it. He will need to do something special this camp to not be a practice squad guy.
A 6’ 1” 195 lbs receiver who has speed (4.40/40), Smith was a UDFA who spent most of the 2019 season on the Jets practice squad, then played 14 snaps against the Ravens before injuring an ankle which put him on injured reserve for the rest of the year. He is said to be having an excellent camp so far this summer so we will see what comes of that.
Lawrence Cager and George Campbell
Cager is a 6’ 5” 220 UDFA in 2020 from Georgia, and Campbell is a 6’ 4” 183 lbs UDFA in 2020 from West Virginia. They are two long shots to make the active roster but may have a chance on the practice squad if they show something in camp.
I ask again, does Sam Darnold have enough receiver talent to show his true abilities?
Will Chris Herndon return to the form of his rookie season?
Herndon is the playmaker with the highest ceiling of the Jets tight ends. Is his lost sophomore year an aberration or was the aberration his rookie year?
Will the offensive line become a strength instead of a weakness?
Joe Douglas was truthful when he espoused an emphasis on building the offensive line in the off season. His hard work reshaped the entire line. The Jets’ 2020 first round pick was left tackle Mekhi Becton. In free agency Douglas signed a center rated #5 in pass protection last year in Connor McGovern. Douglas also signed free agent guard Greg Van Roten and free agent right tackle George Fant, and re-signed free agent guard Alex Lewis, making for a completely revamped starting offensive line. Talent is a key but the offensive line must play together to be successful. More so than any other group on a football field, cohesion is the key to proper blocking and protection. Will those five starters, along with 2019 third round pick tackle Chuma Edoga and 2020 fourth round pick guard Cameron Clark make a cohesive unit?
Can the defense overcome the loss of All-Pro Jamal Adams?
A polarizing figure to some fans, Adams was nonetheless a monster on the football field who made teams fear his play. Although not ferocious, Adams was effective in making big plays. Can the group of Marcus Maye, Bradley McDougald and Ashtyn Davis recreate some of the intensity and big plays that Adams provided?
Answer to trivia question
UDFA rookie Kyle Phillips led all Jets defensive linemen with 558 snaps. Quinnen Williams was second with 521 snaps. Williams missed three games and struggled all year with an ankle injury. Phillips played in every game except the first.
Will the defensive line dominate this year?
Foley Fatukasi, Kyle Phillips and even Nathan Shepherd showed very well last year. With Quinnen Williams healthy, a possible bounce back year from Henry Anderson and rookie Jabari Zuniga, this is a very deep defensive line. They should all be fresh with so many bodies. Can Gregg Williams spin his magic to make this group a top 5 defensive line in the NFL?
Will Special teams be special or mediocre?
The Jets drafted a punter in Braden Mann who is supposed to be great. Will kickers Sam Ficken or Brett Maher step up to become at least serviceable?
These are just some of the questions that need to be answered. If the season goes on as planned then we will find out all and more, but where is the fun in that? Put down what you think will happen before it happens, that way all here on GGN can see your prognostication prowess. Let us and everyone know what you think.
Also what will the Jets record be? Will we finish in first place? Or at least ahead of the Patriots? Let us know in the comments.
And GO JETS!