I stopped by the Jets Green and White Game in scenic Cortland, New York. The SUNY Cortland campus that hosted the event is beautiful and the school did a great job coordinating the event. This is the first stop in the Chaches tour of training camps in the Northeast. Reports from the Eagles camp at Lehigh University and the Giants camp at SUNY Albany. I will conclude my tour with a report from the Fantasy Football Convention in Atlantic City.
The first question on everyone’s mind when they think about the Jets is what sort of impact Tim Tebow will make this year as the backup quarterback. As far as the actual quarterback play during the scrimmage, neither Mark Sanchez nor Tim Tebow did much through the air, so there wasn’t much to make a determination on who had the better scrimmage. Tony Sparano likes to run the ball and the play selection in the scrimmage mirrored this preference. The Jets ran the ball more than 50% of the plays from scrimmage. There were a few pass plays called for Tebow which turned into run plays due to tight coverage on underneath receivers and a solid pass rush by the Jets, which at times was supplemented by blitzing linebackers. The Jets didn’t feature any “Wildcat” plays during the scrimmage, but did use Tebow in his punt protector roll to run a fake which involved Tim throwing to a wide open receiver for first down yardage. This could pose problems for the opposition’s special teams, since they will have to game plan for this and it could limit their ability to set up returns against the Jets. Tebow’s value will be determined on whether or not he is given the Jets’ red zone snaps (or if in the unlikely event that he is able to supplant Sanchez as the starter). If he is, consider him a low tier QB2, but if not, his weekly point generation will warrant a low tier QB3 status.
Mark Sanchez looked OK during the practice. He will probably be worthy of a bye week QB spot on most fantasy teams, particularly with Tebow poaching game time from Sanchez. Sanchez seems very comfortable throwing short and intermediate distance routes and his completions in the scrimmage were almost all less than 15 yards. He had a touchdown pass on a check down on an improvised play after pass protection broke down and he had to elude the rush on by rolling to the left. Mark protected the ball well and didn’t have a turnover, although the Jet’s backup center had a rough day snapping the ball as there were several high shotgun snaps (one each for Sanchez and Tebow and another to either Greg McElroy or Matt Simms) and a few botched under center exchanges to Tebow. The Jets should hope that Nick Mangold remains healthy this year as there is a marked drop off in talent between Mangold and his backup.
Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight looked OK during the scrimmage. Greene didn’t break any long runs, but had a few solid runs of about 5 yards. McKnight was able to break a run over 10 yards, but fumbled on the play while getting tackled. Both should get plenty of chances this year in Coach Sparano’s offense, but shouldn’t be counted on to lead a fantasy team’s rushing attack. Greene should be a mid tier RB2 selection and McKnight low tier RB3.
Santonio Holmes is by far the Jet’s best receiver and showed that during the Green and White game. He had a few catches, but nothing downfield. He still should be considered a low tier WR1/top tier WR2. I didn’t see much from Chaz Schillens, I don’t recall him being targeted in the Jets limited passing game. I was pleasantly surprised by the play of Patrick Turner. The former 2005 #2 high school prospect, as determined by Rivals.com, looked like the Jets’ number 2 receiver behind Holmes. If this holds throughout the remainder of training camp, Turner should be worthy of a low tier WR3 to mid tier WR4 rating, depending on how the Jets passing game develops. Dustin Keller made an impressive diving catch, hauling the ball in just before it hit the ground. He should remain a mid tier TE1 as long as Sanchez remains the starter, as Tight End routes fall firmly in the wheel house of Sanchez’s game.
Look for Josh Brown to win the kicking battle over Nick Folk. Brown has a cannon for a leg and booted a 70 yard field goal during warm ups. He also had enough height on an extra point attempt to clear the top of the safety net behind the uprights and drive the ball onto the roof of the field house behind the football field. Folk was making his kicks, but the difference in leg strength was apparent. With the difficult kicking conditions in East Rutherford, going with the kicker with the best leg strength should be a no brainer. The Jets offense should keep its kicker from having a lot of extra point attempts, but the offense could bog down enough in field goal range to make the kicker worthy of a low tier K1 status.
The Jets defense looked great in the scrimmage, but I wasn’t able to tell if it was a product of superior play, or because they were playing the Jets offense. That being said, the defense features Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, two ball hawking playmakers in the secondary. The Jets defense should have plenty of takeaways, but I’m not sure if the defense has improved its pass rush enough to generate sack points. The pass rush looked good against the Jets offensive line, but Nick Mangold was watching the Olympics and the offensive line has problems last year. It was hard to gauge how much the Jets defensive line had improved (although they did use an occasional blitz to put pressure on the quarterbacks). The defense should be a mid tier DEF1 this upcoming season.