Youth Is Being Served At Jets Camp

FLORHAM PARK – Young quarterbacks and young receivers.

It will likely loom as the recurring theme of the Jets’ camp this summer. Due to fate and injury, the Jets will be looking to find the right combination to lead them through an interesting rebuilding project.

In many ways, this certainly won’t be easy.

Gone are Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall as well as quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who all formed an explosive attack in 2015. Marshall’s memory has been kept alive due to defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson’s verbal attack from their locker room feud.

Here are second-year veteran wide receiver Robbie Anderson as well as quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who both could be the new combination in the near future.

Anderson, who caught 42 passes last season, has emerged as the team’s top receiver due to the season-ending injury to Quincy Enuwa. The former Temple will need to step up his game as well as show some of the flash in his Owl days to make an impact.

Yet, Marshall’s future could also hit a snag. He is due in a Mimi court on Sept. 11 for a trial due to his May arrest for allegedly pushing a police officer at a music festival. He faces a felony charge of resisting an officer with violence.

Despite all of the obstacles, head coach Todd Bowles believes Marshall will be a force.

“He was a good route runner last year. We just had two guys that played underneath him in Brandon (Marshall) and Quincy with (Eric) Decker being hurt. We had a lot of underneath guys and Robby was the only one (that could) stretch the field so that’s what he did, but he was a good route runner a year ago.

“He’s fast and he’s tough. I’m not going to say he’s physical enough because he doesn’t weigh that much, but his speed kills and we’ll do things to put him in position to make some plays and we’ll play football.”

As for the quarterback situation, Hackenberg, who continues to creep along in his advancement as last year’s No. 2 red-shirt pick, recently was listed as the team’s No. 3 quarterback behind seasoned veteran Josh McCown and three-year pro Bryce Petty, who has been impressive in the opening weeks.

Still, it has become apparent that McCown will be the opening-day starter in spite of Bowles’ deflections.

There is also the connection issue between quarterback and receiver.

“It’s the second week of camp,” added Bowles. “We’re moving guys around and we’re getting them reps with different people. We’ve got Mo (Wilkerson), Leonard (Williams) and Sheldon (Richardson) reps with the second-team d-line. It doesn’t mean anything. We’re just getting guys used to playing with other people so when they get in the game, the timing isn’t as off as it would be.

“I can get a read on all of them. The receivers have nothing to do with the quarterbacks. They all have to play.”

Signs of chemistry can begin to rise to the surface when the Jets host Tennessee in their preseason opener Saturday night.

“It’s too early,” noted Bowles. “We haven’t played any games. I’ll let that play itself out. I don’t have any favorites after a week and a half of camp. We haven’t played any preseason games. I’m not determining who the second wideout or the third tackle is or anything like that before we play any games.”

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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