New York Jets ReSet by Joseph Haas: Pre-Training Camp Report
THE HUNTED: With his hold on the right tackle position the epitome of tenuousness, noone can blame current starter Wayne Hunter if he’s getting less sleep these days in the wake of yet another acquisition by the Jets at his position. Training camp will open July 26th with the team bringing in the stiffest competition to date for the starting right tackle job, or is it? Jeff Otah has had a career marred by injuries and over the last few seasons he’s missed 31 of his last 35 games due to either knee, back or concussion symptoms. A player with such promise coming out of the University of Pittsburgh, that the Carolina Panthers sent their head coach and general manager to his Pro Day, eventually moving up in the 2008 NFL Draft to pick him at nineteen.
It’s been speculated that injury hasn’t been the only thing holding Otah from getting playing time in the last few seasons.
Darin Gantt, a longtime writer on the Panthers beat with the Rock Hill Herald and current contributor for Profootballtalk, described the swap for a conditional seventh rounder this way, “If the Jets doctors have a cure for soft, they have a steal!” Can one team’s malcontent and seemingly unmotivated player become another team’s impact player and the answer at a need position… let’s ask Aaron Maybin.
Entering the 2008 draft, Jeff Otah was considered by scouts to be the top prospect at the position. The Jets are hoping they acquired the young, talented lineman with plenty of upside, and not the player the Panthers have endured through the last three seasons.
P.U.P: The New York Jets have placed three projected contributors for this season on the physically unable to perform (P.U.P) list to open training camp. It’s no surprise recently acquired safety LaRon Landry is on the P.U.P list, as he is still recovering from an achilles injury the Jets were aware of when signing him. Rookie receiver Jordan White made the P.U.P list with a fractured foot, his fifth metatarsals to be exact. Both are projected to be back in pads by the start of the season. The third player… is a bit of a surprise. Rookie pass-rusher and stud athlete Demario Davis tweaked a hamstring during organized team activities last month and has been slow to heal. I see this as more of a precautionary move, giving a player whose main asset is his speed and agility, time to get back to 100%. Hamstrings are tough though, and if not completely healed, can linger, nag and can become an issue later in the year. No need to push it just yet; a smart move by Gang Green.
PRESEASON: The fun begins August 10th on the road in Cincinnati against the Bengals, followed by back-to-back home tilts against the Super Bowl Champion cotenants August 18th, and the Carolina Panthers on August 26th. The Green and White close the preseason on the road against Michael Vick and the dynastic Philadelphia Eagles August 30th.
Photo: A snapshot from this year’s Jets West
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