5 Things to Watch: Jets Training Camp

With the New York Jets set to open training camp at the end of July, here are five things to watch once Gang Green arrives at SUNY Cortland.

1. Geno Smith vs. Mark Sanchez

It's not exactly the quarterback battle of the century, but the winner of this training camp signal-caller duel will carry the torch for the 2013 season. Sanchez will have one last opportunity to prove he can withstand the pressure of the Big Apple, while Smith can carry Gang Green into a new era under center. Rex Ryan's coaching fate could be tied to what player he picks to command the huddle, so it will be interesting to keep an eye on who gets the starting nod this summer.

2. Santonio Holmes' health

Still rehabbing from a LisFranc injury, Holmes admitted to reporters this week that his recovery has been anything but easy. The former Ohio State standout had to attend physical therapy to learn how to walk again before thinking about his eventual return to the gridiron. New York's receiving corps performed poorly throughout minicamp and with Holmes expected to begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list, Gang Green is between a rock and a hard place. While Holmes comes with his share of baggage and character concerns, there's no disputing the fact he's the team's top playmaker when healthy.

3. Marty-ball

With a new offensive coordinator at the helm, the Jets will have new blood and a renewed sense of hope following a dismal 2012 campaign. Former coordinator Tony Sparano, among other things, mismanaged Tim Tebow and lacked the creativity and play-calling skills necessary to ignite New York's tepid offensive attack. While the personnel hasn't vastly improved, a retooled running game and beefed up offensive line can't hurt Marty Mornhinweg's desire to run an efficient West Coast style offense.

4. Running Wild

The Jets ground and pound will have a fresh look this season with Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson headlining a backfield with dynamic potential in both the running game and passing game. Ivory is not the prototypical power back as his breakout speed in the open field, combined with his physicality can create nightmares for defenders. Goodson's scat-back style could provide a boost to the passing game as he is adept at catching the ball out of the backfield and shaking free for extra yards. The Jets could have a nice one-two punch at the top of the running back depth chart, and sprinkling in Bilal Powell periodically could keep opponents on their heels.

5. Prolific pass-rushers

A weakness of the team just a few seasons ago, the Jets' defensive line could be the most disruptive unit on the field this upcoming season. With defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson on the verge of Pro Bowl status, line mates Sheldon Richardson, Kenrick Ellis, Antonio Garay and hybrid outside linebacker Quinton Coples are capable of breaking down the quarterback pocket and forcing timely turnovers. With Ryan more actively involved in the defensive playcalls, looks for Gang Green's pass-rushers to have a breakout season in 2013.


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