Jets Training Camp Preview: Important questions and position battles await new-look offense in 2023

Jets introduced Aaron Rodgers as new QB
New York Jets’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers, third from right, poses for a picture with general manger Joe Douglas, left, president Hymie Elhai, second from left, co-owner Christopher Johnson, third from left, owner Woody Johnson, second from right, and head coach Robert Saleh, right, after an NFL football press conference at the Jets’ training facility in Florham Park, N.J., Wednesday, April 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
AP Photos

We’re less than a week away until the New York Jets open up their training camp for the third time in the Robert Saleh era.

Expectations now couldn’t be higher thanks to a massive upgrade at quarterback, and young players growing into their own amongst the best in the league. With a playoff berth the bare minimum that will be allowed, New York enters arguably their most important training camp in franchise history. 

Jets Aaron Rodgers injury
CORRECTS CITY AND STATE – New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) speaks with team personnel after performing weighted drills that led to favoring his lower legs at the NFL football team’s practice facility, Tuesday, May 23, 2023, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)AP Photos

From top position battles to the biggest questions, we have the full breakdown of what to expect in Florham Park next week at the start of Jets training camp. 

Projected Starting Lineup

QB: Aaron Rodgers

RB: Breece Hall*

WR: Garrett Wilson

WR: Allen Lazard

WR: Mecole Hardman

TE: Jeremy Ruckert

LT: Duane Brown*

LG: Laken Tomlinson

C: Connor McGovern

RG: Alijah Vera-Tucker

RT: Mekhi Becton

*= Enters camp with injury

Top Position Battles

LT: Duane Brown vs. Mekhi Becton vs. Max Mitchell

Arguably the biggest camp battle this year in New York resides at left tackle. The loser will probably be pushed to play on the right side or be the swing tackle. Brown had over a decade of NFL experience and has commanded the respect of the coaching staff since he signed on last season. It’ll be hard to beat him out knowing that. Former first-round pick Mekhi Becton has certainly put in the work off the field to be considered though. The Louisville product has played well when healthy – but that hasn’t been the case in two years. Both he and Brown are rehabbing injuries entering camp – another key point. 

Max Mitchell, a mid-round pick, looked good in spurts last year but is probably going to be the swing tackle to start 2023. 

None of the players competing for the left tackle spot want to be playing a different position, so the fallout of this competition will be very interesting to watch. 

C: Wes Schweitzer vs. Connor McGovern vs. Joe Tippmann

It may not be a good thing that the Jets have two position battles along the offensive line. Current second-round rookie Joe Tippmann had plenty of pedigree and should get some game action this year- even if it’s later in the season. Schweitzer and McGovern are two players that were brought in (or back in the case of McGovern) to compete for a starting role. Both have plenty of NFL starts under their belt, and both should be solid if either wins the job in camp. Either way, with Rodgers now at quarterback, it’s incredibly important to have a good center in front of him. 

Slot: Mecole Hardman vs. Corey Davis vs. Denzel Mims

A lot of people have been surprised that New York kept Corey Davis this offseason following the signings of Mecole Hardman and Allen Lazard. There seems to be an overabundance of pass catchers on the Jets and that could make for some difficult situations. If one or two of these candidates plays well during the preseason, that could make them a trade candidate for a team looking for help at receiver. With Hardman penciled in as the opening-day starter though, it means that there’s going to be plenty of competition for Rodger’s services. 

Questions to Watch

How much does Aaron Rodgers still have left?

It’s the biggest question surrounding this regime in New York. If Rodgers shows he can still be the dynamic thrower of the football that he has been, the Jets’ playoff drought will be over. If not, New York is probably going to be looking for a new coaching staff and general manager. 

A lot is riding on this move this season. 

Is the Offensive line fixed?

Protecting a Hall-of-Fame, but aging quarterback is priority number one for the Jets this season. All things considered, they did a good job of providing the necessary depth at each position while not overwhelming their cap situation. This is one of those questions that won’t truly be answered until the end of the year due to all the different factors that affect an NFL season. That being said, the Jets are expected to be healthier and more talented than they have been along the offensive line in years. 

Will Breece Hall be ready for Week 1? 

Dalvin Cook remains an option in free agency solely because Gang Green isn’t 100% on Hall being ready for Week 1 following his ACL injury last year. While we don’t expect to see much, if any of the young back in camp, the Jets would be smart to make sure he won’t be run into the ground once he’s brought in. This is another one of those questions that will surround New York throughout camp, but won’t truly be answered until the end, or if the Jets bring in another top running back. 

Just how “fixed” is Zach Wilson?

This may not be the most important question anymore for the Jets, but it’s certainly one that will be answered over the next few months. Rodgers won’t be expected to play a lot during the preseason and may not be in attendance for every practice. Still, Wilson has a chance here to show that once Rodgers ends up leaving, he deserves a shot to redeem himself. Wilson had his moments in OTAs but still needs to be more consistent. We will see how much he’s improved under Nathaniel Hackett and Rodgers over the next month. 

Jets quarterbacks having fun
New York Jets quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, left, and Zach Wilson warm-up at the NFL football team’s training facility in Florham Park, N.J., Tuesday, June 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)AP Photos

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