In-Focus: Positional Battles

The Jets have roster depth, which means that there will be players grappling for starting jobs this August. A look at three positional battles to watch this summer.

Well, camp is here and that means there will be drama galore for the crew of Hard Knocks to film. We can't wait to see how these three positional battles break down as the Jets head to camp.

Shonn Grenne vs. Ladainian Tomlinson

In one corner Shonn Grenne, the bruising second year back that led the Jets from mediocre wildcard team to Super Bowl contender. In the other corner is Ladainian Tomlinson, the future Hall of Famer who has no real track record of greatness in the playoffs. After Greene's performance last post-season, one would have to think the job is his to lose, and the Jets have hinted at such. The question about the former Chargers' back is his age; Tomlinson is 31 and embarking on his tenth NFL season. Greene likely will see most of the carries with Tomlinson being used in situational spots and as a pass-catching threat out of the backfield.

But, we like the battle and the intensity that could be here since L.T. has something to prove after a disappointing run with San Diego last year. There is a very real chance that Tomlinson gets the nod as the starter to open the season on Monday night…

Laveranues Coles vs Every Other Jets Wide Receiver Not Named Braylon, Santonio, or Jerricho…

Given Laveranues Coles's track record with the Jets, one would have to guess he more or less just has to show up to make the final cut. Coles had his least productive full season as a pro last year in Cincinnati, but it should be noted that his 43 catches was over shadowed because the majority of balls were thrown in the direction of Chad Ochocinco. Coles had 840 receiving yards in his last full season as a Jet in 2008 and has gone over the thousand yard mark three times in his career.

While he was the top receiver with the team for awhile, he does however have a reputation for creating a stink as he did when Chad Pennington was traded and his own contract wasn't extended. That said, Rex is not Mangini and would not put up with such non-sense. Expect Coles to make the team, perhaps at the expense of David Clowney who had a good mini-camp.

Watching Coles battle to get in the receiver rotation will be an entertaining part of camp.

Shaun Ellis vs Vernon Gholston

This is a darkhorse battle to watch.

The consistent ten year veteran Shaun Ellis looks to hold off the physical colossus who is Vernon Gholston. A former first-round pick, Gholston has been a bust so far but the Jets are banking on a change this year.

Gholston now gets moved to defensive end with the hope this will resurrect his career – he did play the position while at The Ohio State University. The hope is that Gholston can thrive in a position he dominated from in college. Ellis, a two time pro bowler, has had a decent career and became a fan favorite after playing the AFC Championship game last year with a broken hand. If Gholston looks to take Ellis' spot, he really needs to make a splash in training camp and in the preseason. Ellis is stronger and more experienced at the position with a decent motor, but Gholston could be very fast and powerful coming off that edge.

We think that this battle might be more interesting than it appears on paper.

Matt Whitfield covers the Jets for GreenAndWhiteReport.com.


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