It's no secret that the Jets are in rebuilding mode, and it's still unclear who will be their starting signal-caller when they open the regular season on September 1. New York's quarterback dilemma is just the tip of the iceberg as the depth chart is littered with question marks and inexperienced players across the board.
Some critics have casted doubt on Rex Ryan's future in the Big Apple following two straight seasons on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. Owner Woody Johnson has stated publicly that Ryan isn't on the hot seat this upcoming season, but it's hard to imagine a change won't be made if Gang Green endures another sub-par season.
Aside from the budding competition under center, running back will be a key position to watch as newcomers Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson will likely split time in the backfield, while third year tailback Bilal Powell provides quality depth and a much-needed insurance policy. With Santonio Holmes still rehabbing his LisFranc injury, the Jets are paper thin at wide receiver and will rely heavily on Stephen Hill to rebound from an injury riddled 2012 campaign.
Rookie cornerback Dee Milliner will have huge shoes to fill after the Jets traded away All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis. With expectations at an all-time low in the Rex Ryan era, if the Jets can stay in the playoff mix, it could end up saving Ryan's job and restore faith to a fan base that has become disenchanted with the state of its beloved franchse.
Quarterback: Geno Smith
Turnovers were Mark Sanchez's undoing last season and will ultimately force him to lose the starting job in 2013. With quarterback guru David Lee and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg in the fold, the coaching staff has a zero tolerance policy for the costly mistakes and mental errors that Sanchez has committed over the course of his career. Gang Green will turn the page with Geno Smith, and they will endure some growing pains, but Jets fans would rather see them groom their quarterback of the future instead of watching Sanchez make the same bone-headed mistakes.
Tight End: Jeff Cumberland
With Dustin Keller taking his talents to South Beach, long-time Jet Jeff Cumberland will become the team's new starting tight end. Gang Green gambled on Kellen Winslow Jr. in free agency, but neither he or Cumberland are dominant at the point of attack, which could open the door for Conrad Reuland or Hayden Smith on running downs.
Fullback: Tommy Bohanon
New York's seventh round draft pick impressed the coaching staff during rookie minicamp and looks to have a stranglehold on the starting job. With Lex Hilliard showed ball security issues and a penchant for dropped passes last year, and the Jets seem ready to let the bullish Bohanon pave the way for Gang Green's ballcarriers in 2013.
Right Guard: Stephen Peterman
Competing with embattled guard Vladimir Ducasse, Peterman brings a toughness and physicality to a Jets' offensive line that was inconsistent at times last year. The nine-year journeyman is the front-runner heading into training camp and looks to be the best available option at guard for New York this season.
Free Safety: Josh Bush
With one year under his belt, the former Wake Forest standout is ready to take the next step and assume the starting role left behind by Yeremiah Bell. Blessed with blazing speed and athleticism, Bush will need to study the nuances of Rex Ryan's exotic schemes in order for the Jets defense to return to elite status.
Right Cornerback: Dee Milliner
It's never easy replacing a future first ballot Hall-of-Famer, but Milliner has shown NFL scout some major upside and promise. The former Crimson Tide star is physical at the line of scrimmage and capable of making game-changing tackles with ease. Gang Green landed a budding superstar with the No. 9 overall pick in April's draft.
Right Defensive End: Sheldon Richardson Some draft pundits believe Richardson was one of the major steals of the 2013 NFL draft class. Ryan plans to capitalize on the Missouri alum's versatility by dropping him back into pass coverage in order to keep opposing quarterbacks off balance. Look for Richardson to contend with Muhammad Wilkerson for the title of Jets' sack leader this year.
Preseason Record: 2-2