New York Jets training camp of 2018 will bring incredible position battles to the table especially one big one in particular.
Working within the team set or breaking off into positionals, it matters very little. Every football employee on all 32 National Football League franchises abides by the same universal code.
Love, root on and protect your teammates, yet look to bash their faces in during the late July days leading into August for money and professional careers are firmly on the line. Though the Charmin-soft nature of today has taken away certain nastiness guarantees such as two-a-days and grueling, hard-hitting practices in 98-degree weather, no sport could possibly match the “in-team” competitiveness football brings to the table.
Teammates are literally the enemy until that 53-man roster is finalized. In Florham Park, New Jersey, the New York Jets are no exception.
The following is the top position battles to look forward to at Jets camp with one exception: the battle we wish existed.
The Battle We Wish Existed: LT, LG, RG, RT
That’s right. All four starters (other than center) along that offensive line should be at least feeling a little bit of heat coming from behind. It’s simply not the case. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a weaker O-line in NFL history in which so many starting spots were guaranteed prior to training camp.
Travis Swanson represents the only legit backup O-lineman on the squad and he’s a center. This means he’s behind Spencer Long, the newcomer to the group. He can also play guard (which could put a little heat on James Carpenter and Brian Winters), but won’t be enough.
At tackle, forget about it. There just isn’t any competition for Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell and it’s unfortunate due to the competitive nature of this NFL unit as a whole. O-linemen thrive within a competitive environment.
Pro Football Focus’s overall ranking of 31 for this Jets O-line is pretty much where they should begin the year. Mega talent was needed to fix the unit. Not patchwork. The Dave Gettleman approach (in snagging Nate Solder and Will Hernandez) was the essential move this past offseason to ensure the team is properly built from the trenches out.
The Jets greatest hope is that Long in favor of Wesley Johnson makes a world of difference and the unit, in unison, plays far better together than the talent of each of its parts.