Training camp practices and preseason games may not seem like much, but they've given first-year Jets coach Todd Bowles a strong sense of what he's got on his roster.
"I have a pretty good idea of what we have with the exception of about three or four guys," he said this week in advance of Saturday night's "Snoopy Bowl" against the Giants. "I have a good idea about everybody else . . . I understand what we can be and I know what kind of work we have ahead of us . . . "
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It remains to be seen whether the revamped 2015 Jets will be a playoff-caliber team by season's end, however. Despite upgrades in the secondary and at wide receiver, the question marks surrounding the quarterback spot are still there, even with a veteran in Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the offense.
But there's optimism inside the building, Willie Colon said. And as far as the players are concerned, it's justified.
"Yeah, there is [optimism]," the right guard said. "But right now, we haven't started fast in the two games we've played and that's kind of hurting us a little bit. We've got to start fast. Obviously, we've got to stop the penalties. That's killing us. But overall, running the ball, I think Chris Ivory is having an amazing camp. I thought Fitz has stepped in and done an amazing job. I thought the defense is coming along. And as an offensive line, our job is to just set the tone."
On one hand, the game against the Giants is meaningless from the standpoint of win-loss records. But it'll be the final preseason test for offensive and defensive starters who still are trying to jell.
"A lot of these games, stuff that is not expected is going to happen during the game," Fitzpatrick said of the Jets' offense, "whether it's a new blitz or a new issue we didn't foresee that's going to come up in the first half and some of the first few series. We've got to be able to talk about it on the sideline, adjust and go out there and try to overcome the issue. . . . Just to go out there and continue to work on the timing, the communication, those will be the biggest things for us."
Bowles feels good about where his team is headed. "I see we have potential to have a good team," he said, "but we have to jell and the chemistry has to come together. It's OK to have pieces. And I understand what those pieces are, but I know where we need to get to. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we do have the talent to get there."