Jets Gear Up For Tough Decisions With Regular Season Almost Here

The Jets are gearing up for not just their third preseason game, they also have some tough decisions to make with their roster.

These are indeed stressful times for a handful of hopefuls battling to avoid getting called into the coaches office and told to bring their playbook with them.

Head coach Todd Bowles will have his work cut out for him when he meets with his staff to decide who’ll make the team. Bowles, always prepared and measured with his comments, has had OTAs, training camp, and two preseason games to get a feel for what his roster will look like in September.

“I have a good idea, I have a very good idea,” said Bowles. “But it’s still tough. It’s still tough and you’ve still got two games to play. There’s a few spots I’m looking at and a few people I’m looking at. But for the most part I have a got a good idea. It doesn’t make it any easier.”

Bowles, in his second year as Jets head coach, played eight seasons in the NFL as a defensive safety. He’s also a former scout. Bowles knows exactly what he’s looking for in the type of players he wants to compete for a championship with, his experience as a scout is an added plus.

“It helped me a great deal,” said Bowles. “I don’t know if I would’ve been sharp on other things, especially the other side of the ball and both the defensive and offensive lines if I wasn’t a scout. It kind of taught you how to look at certain players and what to look for and what to look at. Without that experience, I think it would have been a little bit tougher for me.”

Bowles continues to downplay any talk of a controversy between Geno Smith and Bryce Petty for the number two backup quarterback position. The case can be made for cutting Smith and moving on with Petty as Ryan Fitzpatrick’s primary backup.

Smith, according to Bowles, will be the first quarterback off the bench this Saturday against the Giants. Teams, in the third week of preseason, usually play their starters at for at least one half.

Petty, who outplayed Smith  last week against the Redskins, may see limited duty in a mop-up role.

“It’s hard to get a gauge on the game,” Bowles said. “he played a lot last week and the week before. We’ve got to get our guys ready to play.

Bowles doesn’t tip his hand much when it comes to his plans, however it would appear based off his comments, that the backup quarterback spot is still Smith’s to lose.

Rookie quarterback Christian Hackenberg has yet to play in the preseason, he’ll most likely get some playing time in week four.

Hackenberg’s draft position, as a second rounder, makes him a near lock for making the roster. If the Jets decide to keep both Smith and Petty, it means they’ll carry four quarterbacks on the depth chart this season.

With so much attention on the quarterbacks, it’s easy to overlook position battles up and down the roster.

Jalin Marshall, Charone Peake, and Robby Anderson have opened eyes at wide receiver. Anderson’s a longshot to make the roster, however he’s come on strong in the preseason.

Tight end Jace Amaro could be on the bubble to make the team, the 2014 second-round draft pick came into camp needing to impress the coaches and show he’s healthy.

Amaro’s pass-catching ability is what landed him on the Jets’ radar, however he missed all of a last season with a shoulder injury.

The Jets’ offensive attack is centered around Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, and Eric Decker. Fitzpatrick will look to those three as his primary targets. Amaro is hoping to work his way into that mix, but he first has to make the team.

“For the most part, I’m pretty sure about the guys I’m keeping and not keeping,” said Bowles. There’s a few that I need to see, that still need to battle it out these last two ball games. That’s why they’re very important.”




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