Two weeks of camp are in the books, story lines and camp position battles are a plenty.
I've had my eyes on many players this preseason and tonight they'll be put under the microscope just a little bit more. As I've said countless times before, my favorite part of preseason is not seeing the first team offense/defense take the field. It's not even watching our early round rookies. It's seeing the guys who know they have to impress every practice, every carry, every game to see their name on the final 53.
That opportunity continues tonight.... and here's a list of specifically who and what I'll be watching:
1) The Battle of the Big Boys: Harrison vs Tevaseu
Damon Harrison has had a good showing in camp so far. He's a wide-bodied, massive DT that can handle the double team and control the line of scrimmage with an athletic ability that can't be taught. Looking to see if he can translate this skill on the field tonight and possibly take Martin Tevaseu's spot on the final roster or at least earn a spot on the practice squad.
2) A Look Into The Future - Allen & Bush
Yeremiah Bell and Laron Landry were solid off season signings and should hopefully help to sure the safety nightmare every Jet fan has suffered through. Tanny & Co. made even more wishes come true this April by addressing the Safety position and drafting Josh Bush and 7th Round steal of the century Antonio Allen. Allen has surpassed Bush in camp thus far, I'm looking forward to seeing this young safety tandem roam the backfield tonight.
3) Who Gets A Catchy Nickname and the #5 Spot?
After a great camp performance, I'd be surprised to see anyone but Ellis Lankster listed as the #4 CB this season. But who's taking #5? I'm not interested in seeing Posey or Trufant. I'm keeping my eyes on UDFA's Ryan Steed and Donnie Fletcher. Steed was originally projected as a high draft pick but a slow combine time squashed those dreams. He's been limited in camp and tonight will have lots to prove. Fletcher on the other hand had caught the attention of many at camp, seeing some looks at safety as well as CB. One is great at man coverage, one is better in zone. Which one if any steals that #5 spot away from the "little guys"?
4) There's no Dowtin He Can Play
It's almost a crime that Marcus Dowtin has been held out of training camp practice as of late. "The Hybrid" is one of those players whose versatility all over the field just can't be overlooked. He's spent sometime with the safeties this preseason and is the perfect fit in the direction Rex's defense is going. Looking to see if he can beat out a inconsistent Josh Mauga or hard-hitting Bellore for a spot.
5) Speedy McSpeedster vs The 7th Round Mystery
I didn't believe until I saw it live at Cortland but the Dexter Jackson rumors are true. He's fast and can catch whatever is thrown at him, and is a pretty speedy punt returner too. To gain his spot as the #6 WR this year he may have to beat out 7th round pick Jordan White. 90% of fans fell in love with his stat sheet on April 29th but entering camp with an injury has kept him from showing the talent everyone is expecting him to have. Let's see what both can do vs Bengals tonight.
6) Scotty McKnight Didn't Ball with Sanchez at USC - Patrick Turner did.
Why am I keeping an eye on Patrick Turner? Because I've been a big fan of his for years. His size, skill and chemistry with Sanchez is entirely underrated. I fully expect him to make the roster and hope tonight he continues to impress and earn more field time this season.
and lastly..... there's one player I'll be watching on the Bengals and here's why.....
7) The Prototypical Slot Receiver - Jordan Shipley
If there's one team that has enough depth at the wide receiver position it's the Cincinnati Bengals. Fans have been searching high and low for decent options since the Jets wide receivers suddenly came down with the injury bug. Despite coming back from a knee injury that kept him out last season, I'd like to add Shipley's name to the mix. Tonight I'm hoping our defense helps our cause and gets this natural slot receiver cut. May Sanu, Green and Jones shine so I can finally get the Texas boy in Green & White since it didn't happen in the 2010 draft like I hoped.