John Idzik's mantra has always been 'compete.' A bit vague, correct? However, looking deeper into Idzik's mantra, you see the blueprint for Idzik's plan to have players compete. All over the roster, there are players battling for starting jobs. Most of these players are still on rookie contracts, and hungry as ever for a chance to earn a pay day, and a ticket to the show. Looking at the Jets' biggest three position battles, you will see the competition for a starting job is still up in the air, heading into training camp.
1. Michael Vick vs. Geno Smith
Now, is this the closest quarterback competition we have seen with the Jets?
However, this is the most important position on the field, and the battle will be extremely entertaining, even if it is Smith's job to lose.
Vick is an extremely popular player with a ton of success in this league, and a familiarity with the Jets' playbook. However, Smith is coming off a solid rookie season, and the Jets have a lot more invested in him. Last year the excuse was lack of offensive talent. This year, the Jets added a variety of playmakers in the off-season, so this time Geno is left without an excuse if he plays poorly, and if he plays poorly, you may see Michael Vick under Center by week 1.
My Bet: Geno Smith
2. The No. 2 Receiver
As Decker mans the No. 1 slot, and Kerley's size limits him to the slot, who will be split outside opposite of Decker? Right now it's a long running competition between everyone left in the pot: Stephen Hill, David Nelson, Jacoby Ford, Jalen Sanders, and Shaq Evans.
Hill has started the previous two seasons, and the former second round pick out of Georgia Tech has failed to show remotely anything scouts expected out of him coming out of the draft.
His height/weight/speed combination becomes rather useless as he struggles with his hands as well as fighting for balls in the air. His lack of toughness makes him a legit possibility to be released before the season even begins. Ford is a player who showed a ton of potential in Oakland before facing injuries that have slowed his career down.
The 4.3 speed of Ford has been decimated after all his injuries, and questions remain if he can return back to his rookie season form. Now, the 2 rookies offer a variety of different skill sets. My bet is the 4th round rookie out of UCLA, Shaq Evans, to take the starting job week one. He's a very reliable player with good size, and a great catching radius.
My bet: Shaquelle Evans
3. The Cornerback Position:
Overall, it's the Jets' biggest area of concern. After an emergence in the last four games, can Dee Milliner be trusted over the long haul of a 16 game season to become the Jets' No. 1 Cornerback?
He really came into his form over the last four games, but is a player with multiple injury concerns dating back to his time in Alabama. Dimitri Patterson looks the part to start opposite Milliner, but he's another player with injury concerns. The ninth Year veteran is coming into the season with only 1 year of playing all 16 games. In the last three years, he's only played 15 games combined.
Darrin Walls surprised a lot this past season, and Rex Ryan has hailed him as 'The Closer' of the Jets' cornerback situation, so there is a chance he can start. Kyle Wilson has been an utter disappointment as a starting corner, so he should be relegated to the slot. It's a very uneasy position for Gang Green, and anyone on the roster at CB has a chance to start at corner for this football team.