Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Take 5: Jets vets on the bubble
By Rich Cimini
Vladimir Ducasse's Jets scholarship is over. Can he finally make an impact in 2013?
Continuing our "Take 5" series, we look at which veteran players will be fighting for jobs in training camp. It will be an intense camp, as GM John Idzik has been singing the "competition" song from the moment he arrived. Here's our list of those whose jobs are the most tenuous:
1. G/T Vladimir Ducasse: This is a make-or-break year for the former second-round pick. His biggest ally, former GM Mike Tannenbaum, is gone, meaning his scholarship has expired. Ducasse played every position except center during the offseason, helping his chances. But with three draft picks and improved depth, he'll actually have to earn his spot.
2. QB Greg McElroy: Former seventh-round picks don't get to hang around forever. This will be McElroy's third year, and he's battling Matt Simms for the No. 3 job -- if there is a No. 3 job. QBs coach David Lee has been trying to get him to take more chances, throwing downfield instead of opting for check-downs.
3. WR Clyde Gates: Rex Ryan keeps telling everyone that Gates is one of the fastest players in the league. He might be right, but even when he's healthy (which hasn't been often), Gates doesn't play to his speed. He's here because former OC Tony Sparano liked him from their days in Miami. Now Sparano is in Oakland. By the end of August, they could be reunited.
4. TE Konrad Reuland: The arrival of Kellen Winslow Jr. could jeopardize Reuland's spot on the roster. They're basically the same type of player -- pass-catching tight ends. Reuland's fate could be tied to Winslow's health; a chronic knee condition makes it 50-50 that the former Pro Bowler lasts through training camp.
5. RB Bilal Powell: The Jets acquired two backs in the offseason, Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson, an indication they don't view Powell as a long-term answer. The same could be said of Joe McKnight, but he has value as a kickoff returner. Powell has to find a niche. His value increases if Goodson is suspended for his recent arrest.