Super Bowl here they come.
Well, maybe not quite yet, but there is reason for optimism around the New York Jets. They had a strong offseason in terms of free agent signings and followed that up with a draft that, on paper, has added a couple impact performers who should immediately help the two-deep.
Now that minicamp is here, some real fun begins with a flurry of activity this week until things go dormant for a month. There will be a real sense of just how good this team can be over the course of the season and what their ceiling might be (Playoffs? We talking playoffs?). Tuesday when minicamp opens will be the start of all the hope, all the fun and just a little hand-wringing. After all, you can’t be a Jets fan without just a little worry, even when everything is going along well.
Metro New York’s ‘Three Slightly Bold Predictions’ heading into minicamp:
The Offense Will Run Gassers at Least Twice: Under new head coach Todd Bowles, the Jets have implemented a new motivational tactic: one period every practice has an extra competitive tweak to it as the loser of that period will have to run gassers. The defense, arguably a top three unit in the league, has dominated that session during OTAs and should do the same in minicamp. Usually this session that is up for grabs has a certain scenario (say, the offense scores in a two-minute drill) and if the mission remains unaccomplished, then the winning unit won’t have to run the sprints.
The smart money is on the offense running gassers twice this week. The defense has been just too good to bet the contrary.
Fitzpatrick Makes This a Competition: Remember all that talk two weeks ago after offensive coordinator Chan Gailey declared that Geno Smith was the starting quarterback? Well all that was walked back last week by Bowles, who said that Smith is the starter now but wouldn’t make him the Week 1 starter. Look for Fitzpatrick to have the better showing in minicamp, even as his reps might be limited as he continues to recover from last year’s season-ending leg injury. He has looked decent throughout OTAs and has a good control of the offense. He won’t win the job in June, nor should he, but after some disappointing work from Smith the past few weeks, Fitzpatrick can take a major step forward this week.
He’s in prime position to win the job as Smith has done nothing in offseason workouts to get a good grasp on this thing. His accuracy and ball placement is still not good and he takes too long to make decisions.
Fitzpatrick isn’t perfect, but he might just be the better option right now, even as Smith’s upside remains high.
Mo In Town: Just about the only negative so far this offseason is the contract situation with defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. He wants a new contract with a long list of zeroes at the end of it, something that is justified given the deal just handed out to Cam Jordan a week ago. Absent from all offseason workouts, Wilkerson would be wise to be in camp this week or else he faces a stiff fine. He should be there and likely will be there. The whispers are that he will be there.