It was 87 degrees and sunny in Florham Park, N.J., but that didn't stop more than 1,400 fans from showing up to the Atlantic Health Training Center this morning to take in the final open training camp practice of the season.
On a hot day, the quarterback battle was an even hotter topic of conversation. Opinions varied widely on who fans think will be the best man for the job once the season gets under way.
"I think Mark Sanchez gives us the best chance to win, but he has to be more consistent and can't turn the ball over," said John Bonello of New Egypt, N.J.
Noam, from Spring Valley, N.Y., agrees with John that Sanchez should start the season as the QB, but if he were the head coach, he'd be holding a tight leash on his signalcaller.
"I think Sanchez should end up starting the first three games," Noam said, "and if he doesn't do well, then [Geno] Smith should come in. If he does OK for the first three games, then keep him going and see how he does."
If you're too patient with a struggling quarterback, Noam said, "your season's going to be done already" by the time you make a change.
While head coach Rex Ryan has said Sanchez and Smith are fighting for the starting spot, some fans believe Greg McElroy should also be in the running.
"I think McElroy should start," Barry Weintrob from Brooklyn, N.Y., said. "McElroy's not perfect, but he's consistent. He's earned the right to the starting job, and I think he should get it."
Christa, from Parsippany, N.J., came out to practice to watch a different position — the cornerbacks. While her favorite players are rookie Dee Milliner and veteran Antonio Cromartie, she likes what she's seen out of another pair of CBs on the roster as well.
"I think there's a lot of talent with Kyle Wilson," she said. "I've seen him at kick returns and he does pretty well with that. I've also seen him play safety. He's a guy that can play everywhere. I also saw Ellis Lankster play really well on Saturday. I'm really interested in seeing how that competition works out."
Bonello has attended training camp every year since the late Eighties, or "before there were fences," as he said. His favorite part of camp is keeping an eye on an "unsung hero" who's on the roster bubble.
"I remember when [Wayne] Chrebet made the team," he said, "watching him and all the 'oohs' and 'aahs' and what not. It's always fun to have somebody to root for." This year he's rooting for the local kid, WR Ryan Spadola from Howell, N.J.
Fan expectations for our team range from hoping for a high draft pick to making a run in the playoffs and everything in between.
"I'd like to see improvement from our youth and basically look toward the future," said Kyle Maslin from Morristown, N.J. "I don't think they're a playoff team this year because they just don't have enough talent at the skill positions."
Bilal Siddiqui of Jersey City, N.J., also views this season as a rebuilding year.
"I'm not going to look at wins and losses, only player development," Bilal said. "For me, I have my eye on eight or nine players. If they can take another step, I think we could be set for 2014."