The battle for the backup offensive tackle positions is going to be interesting this summer. If recently signed former Dolphin Brent Smith's knee problems are in the past, he's a lock to make the team and serve as the backup swing tackle (the first guy off the bench if either starting tackle is injured). After that, there could be three players battling for one spot. The Jets have a tackle in NFL Europe in Chris Smith, who they think is a sleeper. He was a tight end in college, who the Jets coverted to left tackle last summer. He is a 6-8, 300 pounder with tremendous athleticism. You see, even after putting on an extra 50 pounds to play tackle, he kept much of the athletic ability and mobility he displayed as a college tight end at Cal-Davis. The playing experience in NFL Europe is just what he needs. There is only so much you can learn in practice - he needed game action. Battling Smith for the last tackle spot will be two of the better undrafted free agents the Jets signed -Indiana's Bobby Brandt and Tennessee's Will Ofenheusle. Brandt is another former tight end who made the successful transition to the offensive line. He played tight end his first two years for the Hoosiers. He's a very good 6-6, 300 pound athlete. Ofenheusle carried a draftable grade on many draft boards, but was viewed as a medical risk (knee arthritis). The Jets think his knees will be okay and view him as an excellent undrafted free agent signing. He's a 6-7, 320 pound mountain of a man who plays with a mean streak. Smith would have to be considered the favorite to emerge from the group of three years tackles, but expect one of the runners-up to land on the practice squad . . .
Another positive aspect of quarterback Brooks Bollinger is the fact that his father is a coach. Not just a coach, but an offensive assistant. A few years ago he was the offensive coordinator at the University of North Dakota. So, much like Chad Pennington, who's father is also a coach, Bollinger comes to the Jets very high on the growth curve. He showed that at the mini-camp, absorbing his assignments at an impressive pace. Rob Bollinger did some good work with this son. But one thing Bollinger needs to work on is his delivery. He has poor mechanics which is evident in his sidearm release. According to one scout, he drops his elbow too much when delivering the ball. Having a top quarterback coach like Paul Hackett coaching him, should help him improve his mechanics. Whether you like Hackett or not, it's undeniable that he's a superb quarterback teacher. Just ask Pennington. Hackett did a wonderful job developing the Jets signal-caller into what he is today . . .
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