When discussing the New York Jets with the 2018 regular season at hand, Todd Bowles took the Benjamin Franklin approach of, "Well done is better than well said."
"We will be ready. You're never ready until you play," the fourth-year head coach told reporters as the preseason came to a fitting conclusion in Philadelphia, a city synonymous with Franklin. "We have to go out and play. I'm not one to sit up here and talk and say, 'Rah, Rah, Rah.' We go out and play and we prove our worth. There's no sense in talking about it."
Starting next Monday night in Detroit, Bowles will his guide his club on an early journey that will include three games in 11 days: at Detroit (9/10), vs. Miami (9/16) and at Cleveland (9/20). The Green & White got down to 53 players over the weekend with versatility emphasized in regard to the final decisions.
"When you get down to the last couple guys, it's more value. There could be a guy at one spot that could be better, but the guy at the other spot gives you more jobs on Sunday," Bowles said. "That's why I said it's the best 53 until it's the right 53. It is the best for the starters and some key backups and then it's the right 53 in terms of value for the team. Every position was going against each other for those last three or four spots so to speak, so it will be hard to say positions, but all of them had their opportunity to go against each other because the last three or four spots that have to be filled have to be value picks."
OL (9): Kelvin Beachum, James Carpenter, Spencer Long, Brian Winters, Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, Dakota Dozier, Jonotthan Harrison, Ben Braden
Analysis: With the regular season in mind, the Jets took a cautious approach with Beachum after the left tackle sustained a foot injury early in camp. Although Beachum didn't get any game reps in the exhibition season, he did work with the first-team offense at practice as the summer wrapped up. Brent Qvale steps into Ben Ijalana's critical role as the swing tackle in the bullpen after the latter headed to injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Long takes over in the middle and a healthy Winters believes he'll be a different player in 2018.
TE (4): Eric Tomlinson, Chris Herndon, Jordan Leggett, Neal Sterling
Analysis: The Jets have reason to be excited about this group. Tomlinson provides the blocking prowess, Sterling has impressive athleticism and Leggett flashes with the hands. Herndon, a fourth-round pick whose production got better every year at Miami, has an excellent skill set. A smooth route runner with good hands, he could be poised to contribute immediately.
WR (6): Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, Quincy Enunwa, Terrelle Pryor, Charone Peake, Andre Roberts (KR)
Analysis: Kearse has an abdomen injury that Bowles has described as day-to-day, week-to-week. If he misses any time, it will be interesting to see how the Jets line up in 3-WR sets. Does Enunwa handle the slot with Pryor moving outside the numbers? Both Peake and Roberts make the cut because of their special teams value.
RB/FB (5): Bilal Powell, Isaiah Crowell, Elijah McGuire, Trenton Cannon, Lawrence Thomas
Analysis: The Powell and Crowell combination will get the bulk of the action. McGuire, who suffered a foot injury on the first day of training camp, has already been ruled out for Week 1. Thomas quietly had a good camp and remains the team's only fullback.
QB (2): Sam Darnold, Josh McCown
Analysis: Despite the constant speculation, Bowles has not named a starting quarterback. McCown, who started 13 games last season, has been impressed with the rookie's work ethic.
"We'll see how it goes," McCown said. "I think the work that he put in that room; his time; the diligence that he's had on a daily basis to commit himself to getting better. He works so hard at it [and] spends the extra time. He's able to take what we've done, the extra work we've put in, and it manifests itself on the field. I think all that time will be well served."
DL (6): Leonard Williams, Steve McLendon, Nathan Shepherd, Mike Pennel, Henry Anderson, Folorunso Fatukasi
Analysis: A sore leg kept McLendon on the sideline this preseason. If he's ready to go, the Jets line up with McLendon in the middle flanked by Williams and the rookie Shepherd. The Big Cat could be poised for large things considering he's healthy entering the regular season. He won't come off the field often in a line that favors a rotational system.
LB (6): Darron Lee, Avery Williamson, Jordan Jenkins, Josh Martin, Neville Hewitt, Brandon Copeland
Analysis: Hewitt was all over the field in the preseason, earning the backup role behind Lee and Williamson. Copeland, the former Lion who won't have to wait long for his return to the Motor City, was given some first-team run in camp.
CB (7): Trumaine Johnson, Morris Claiborne, Buster Skrine, Darryl Roberts, Parry Nickerson, Juston Burris, Derrick Jones
Analysis: Johnson is one of the biggest cornerbacks in football. At 6'2", 213 pounds, he will cast a shadow on a number of wideouts. He and Claiborne will take care of the outside and Skrine (with Nickerson as an understudy) will continue to patrol the middle. Special teams helped Burris make it and "Bones" Jones was as improved as anyone on the entire roster.
S (5): Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Doug Middleton, Terrence Brooks, J.J. Wilcox
Analysis: Maye, who was on a pitch count in camp, got some valuable game reps against the Giants. It's not often you carry five safeties, but this speaks to the veteran depth behind the young studs.
Specialists (3): K Jason Myers, P Lachlan Edwards & LS: Thomas Hennessy
Analysis: The kicking competition effectively ended when Myers nailed a 58-yarder in Philly.
NOTE: ILB Kevin Pierre-Louis (1 Game), WR ArDarius Stewart (2 Games) & CB Rashard Robinson (4 Games) will serve suspensions to start the regular season. S Rontez Miles is on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list and would be eligible to be activated after six games.