FLORHAM PARK, NJ - With training camp winding down to a close so is much of the excitement that comes with the beginning of camp. There were no shoulder pads, so no hitting, and the injuries are piling up so much that it’s hard to keep track of them all.
With just two more practices until camp breaks, and the preseason game always referred to as the dress rehearsal game against the Giants on Saturday night, many of the players positioned at the bottom of the depth chart are running out of time to make a big enough impression to earn a roster spot. Other players who might have thought their position was solidified are finding that they are actually falling down the depth chart and possibly right off the roster.
With every Chris Owusu and Quincy Enunwa playing their way up the depth chart you find a Jeremy Kerley possibly slipping down the chart and a Shaquelle Evans in danger of losing any roster spot at all. Players like Oday Aboushi, who played fairly decently last season, slip all the way to the third-team and is in real danger of not making the final 53-man roster.
Today’s practice didn’t do much, if anything, to shake up the depth chart but the totality of all the injuries is making it clear that there is going to have to be some roster shuffling to make up for the injuries that many of us didn’t see coming.
Geno Smith rejoined his teammates out on the practice field today but he was extremely limited. Smith didn’t do any throwing, just some light jogging, but his injury forced the Jets to sign veteran Matt Flynn leaving the Jets to have to carry four quarterbacks when the cuts are made to create the final 53. Which means one less spot is available to be claimed.
Owusu also rejoined his teammates and was able to participate in practice but he had to don the red no-contact jersey during the team portions of practice. As Owusu is still working his way out of the concussion protocol, Kerley is stuck in the middle of the protocol and wasn’t able join his teammates outside today.
Lorenzo Mauldin, Ben Ijalana and Evans were all held out of practice with injuries while Muhammad Wilkerson returned to a full participant in practice and Calvin Pryorrejoined the team after dealing with a death in the family. It’s a constant revolving door, some guys in and some guys out, that will make selecting the final 53-man roster even more difficult than normal for Todd Bowles.
As for the players who did practice today Bryce Petty and Ryan Fitzpatrick did some good things but also some really bad and it’s becoming more and more apparent that the offense will have to be scaled down to adjust to Fitzpatrick’s limited arm strength. This should have been clear, to anyone who has watched Fitzpatrick play quarterback throughout his nine-year career, from the start but each practice brings more of a reminder of his limitations.
Petty has the arm strength to make all the throws, and he showed that off again today as he had a really solid practice overall, but he's still too far off from being able to run an NFL offense and beat NFL defenses.
Leonard Williams was able to build on the momentum he created against the Falcons last Friday night as he had a disruptive practice. Jason Babin stood out with a few speed rushes off the edge and Dexter McDougle flashed his aggressive style and even stuck his face in the fan diagnosing running plays early and stepping up to fill the hole to stop the running back.
On offense Enunwa showed that all the first-team reps he has been getting is starting to pay dividends as he lined up all over the field, made tough catches, showing off his strong hands, going across the middle and doing a good job as an extra blocker in the running game.
There is no practice tomorrow as they start to make the move to the regular season schedule. Practice will resume on Wednesday and Thursday will be the last official practice of training camp before the Giants game Saturday night.