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NFL training camp primer: 5 questions for Jets

Cornerback Darrelle Revis looks on during Jets minicamp

Cornerback Darrelle Revis looks on during Jets minicamp at their training facility in Florham Park, N.J. (June 14, 2010) Photo Credit: Joe Epstein

With the Jets preparing to open training camp in two weeks, here's a quick primer to help count down the days.

1. Why won't owner Woody Johnson and GM Mike Tannenbaum show them the money?


If you're going to build a true Super Bowl contender, you couldn't start with two better young players than cornerback Darrelle Revis and center Nick Mangold in terms of character and ability.

They are regarded as the best at their positions in the NFL, and inside linebacker David Harris, who will be a free agent after this season, is another young core guy who should be locked up for a long time.

Johnson says it's not about slow PSL sales at New Meadowlands Stadium, but it could be about waiting to see what kind of collective bargaining agreement NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will get and trying not to overpay in advance, especially since Revis' contract has three seasons remaining. Still, if you want to win now, why mess with the heads of your best players and leaders?

2. Will HBO's "Hard Knocks" reality series on Jets training camp set bold-talking coach Rex Ryan up for a hard fall?

No NFL coach wants to live as large as Ryan, who picked up right where his outspoken father, Buddy, left off a few years back with the Bears and Eagles. He undoubtedly has given the franchise some swagger for the first time in forever, and he backed it up with the league's No. 1 defense and No. 1 rushing game.

But understand that every team on the Jets' schedule will be primed to take their best shot at the big talkers from New York, and that starts in the AFC East, where the Jets only were 2-4.

3. Are Ryan and Tannenbaum reaching for the stars with all the daring changes they've made or playing with dynamite?

Start with the decision to unplug nine-time Pro Bowl left guard Alan Faneca and 1,402-yard rusher Thomas Jones from the offense to save about $14 million, and then add the decision to let reliable veteran kicker Jay Feely walk to create a roster opening to sign aging pass-rushing OLB Jason Taylor.

The risk-taking began with the trade last season for WR Braylon Edwards and has continued with the additions of such high-profile personalities as WR Santonio Holmes, CB Antonio Cromartie and RB LaDainian Tomlinson. The star power is blinding, but can Ryan keep them all in line?

4. The Jets carried QB Mark Sanchez through a rocky rookie year, but can he start to carry the offense in his second year with an improved receiving corps?

If they got to the AFC title game with Sanchez throwing 20 interceptions in a limited passing game, the Jets' offense should be far more versatile with a more experienced Sanchez. Running back Shonn Greene will be the focal point early on, but when Holmes completes his four-game suspension for substance abuse, Sanchez should be ready to open up the passing game a bit and balance the offense.

5. Can the Jets really get away with starting unproven second-round pick Vladimir Ducasse at Faneca's left guard spot, and what might they expect from first-round CB Kyle Wilson?

At 6-5, 330 pounds, Ducasse is a tremendous physical specimen, but wow, what a dropoff in experience and know-how. There will be growing pains, and second-year man Matt Slauson could get the call if Ducasse isn't up to it. Coming out of pass-happy Boise State, CB Wilson seems more prepared to jump into the NFL fire in what figures to be a major role as a nickel corner.

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