Roster re-check: Jobs on the line

August, 8, 2013
8/08/13
4:00
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Rex Ryan said there's more roster uncertainty than he's ever experienced, so predicting the final 53 is tougher than usual. Here's a breakdown of where it stands as the Jets prepare to open the preseason Friday night in Detroit:

QUARTERBACK

Safe Bets: Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Greg McElroy

Bubble: Matt Simms

Analysis: The starting job remains up in the air. Simms' arm strength still intrigues the coaches.

RUNNING BACK

Safe Bets: Bilal Powell, Chris Ivory, Joe McKnight

Bubble: Mike Goodson, Lex Hilliard, Tommy Bohanon, John Griffin, Chad Spann, Mossis Madu

Analysis: Goodson's future in football is a huge question mark. Bohanon, a rookie, is giving Hilliard a run for the fullback job. McKnight will stick because of his return ability. Griffin is challenging for a spot.

WIDE RECEIVER

Safe Bets: Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Braylon Edwards, Clyde Gates

Bubble: Ben Obomanu, Ryan Spadola, Joseph Collins, K.J. Stroud, Titus Ryan, Zach Rogers, Michael Campbell

Analysis: A lot hinges on Holmes' availability. The odds of him being ready for Week 1 are remote. They will have to decide whether to carry him on the 53 or place him on PUP (six games). There's a spirited battle for the fifth/sixth job. Special-teams ability will be the deciding factor.

TIGHT END

Safe Bets: Jeff Cumberland, Kellen Winslow

Bubble: Konrad Reuland, Hayden Smith, Chris Pantale, Mike Shanahan

Analysis: Because of his knee, Winslow falls between "safe bets" and "bubble." They don't have a true blocking tight end. Keep in mind that Bohanon can play tight end as well.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Safe Bets: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Stephen Peterman, Nick Mangold, Willie Colon, Austin Howard, Brian Winters, Vladimir Ducasse, Oday Aboushi

Bubble: Caleb Schlauderaff, Dalton Freeman, Will Campbell, Dennis Landolt, J.B. Shugarts, Trey Gilleo, Erik Cook

Analysis: The starting lineup is pretty set -- unless Winters comes on strong to challenge Peterman. The key question is backup center, as Schlauderaff struggles with his shotgun snaps.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Safe Bets: Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Sheldon Richardson, Antonio Garay

Bubble: Damon Harrison, Tevita Finau, Leger Douzable, Junior Aumavae, Lanier Coleman

Analysis: It's a thin, four-man rotation at the top. They need another player or two to step up. Quinton Coples will play on the line even though he's listed as a linebacker.

LINEBACKER

Safe Bets: David Harris, Demario Davis, Quinton Coples, Calvin Pace, Antwan Barnes, Garrett McIntyre, Nick Bellore

Bubble: Ricky Sapp, Josh Mauga, JoJo Dickson, Danny Lansanah, Jacquies Smith, Troy Davis, Sean Progar-Jackson

Analysis: Great competition for the backup jobs. Sapp, finally healthy, is having a terrific camp and has a good chance to stick. They could end up keeping nine.

SECONDARY

Safe Bets: Antonio Cromartie, Dee Milliner, Kyle Wilson, Dawan Landry, Antonio Allen, Darrin Walls

Bubble: Ellis Lankster, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Josh Bush, Isaiah Trufant, Bret Lockett, Donnie Fletcher, Royce Adams, Rontez Miles, Mike Edwards

Analysis: There haven't been this many questions in the secondary in a long time. The sleeper here is Jarrett, who could push an unspectacular Allen out of a starting job. They will go five or six deep at corner.

SPECIALISTS

Safe Bets: Nick Folk (PK), Robert Malone (P), Tanner Purdum (LS)

Bubble: Billy Cundiff (PK), Ryan Quigley (P), Pat Scales (LS)

Analysis: Cundiff got off to a slow start, but he's coming on and could make it interesting. Quigley punted well in the scrimmage.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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