FLORHAM PARK, N.J. –- Nearly a month into his first training camp, Todd Bowles thinks he has a good grip on what the New York Jets are and perhaps can be this season.
“I have a pretty good idea what we have,” Bowles said as the team broke training camp on Thursday. “With the exception of three or four guys, I have a good idea of everybody else. I understand what we can be. I know what kind of work we have ahead of us but I have a good idea of what we have.”
“I see we have potential to have a good team,” the first-year coach added. “But we got to gel and the chemistry has to come together. It is OK to have pieces but I understand what those pieces are and we have a lot of work ahead of us but we do have the talent to get there.”
On Saturday, Bowles may get a better idea of what he has on offense as the starters are expected to play the first half and perhaps a little into the third quarter against the New York Giants.
With the Jets expecting to have a stingy defense, the offense will have to hold up its end and Saturday should give the Jets a better idea of what they have on the offensive side.
The third preseason game is when teams use their starters the most and that means this will be Ryan Fitzpatrick’s biggest opportunity of the preseason to show what he can do with his familiarity of offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s offense and with the receiving tandem of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.
“A lot of these games, stuff that is not expected is going to happen during the (third) game whether it is a new blitz or a new issue we didn’t foresee that is going to come up,” Fitzpatrick said. “So we got to be able to talk about it on the sideline and adjust and overcome the issue. Those are good things to work through.”
Fitzpatrick wants to work on his timing with his receivers and adjusting to different coverages. Considering that the starters won’t play much in the final preseason game –- if at all in some cases –- the Jets’ offense knows this will be good indicator of how much more work it needs.
“This weekend will be a truest test to see where we are at not only as a team but as position groups,” Decker said. “It has gotten better day by day. Now the true test will be going against someone else for a full half and a couple of series.”
Since taking over for the injured Geno Smith, Fitzpatrick has gotten more comfortable with his receivers and his timing according to Bowles.
Certainly Fitzpatrick’s familiarity with Gailey’s system –- the two were together in Buffalo for three seasons –- has been helpful.
“He is a guy who knows the system well, he has played a lot of football so he is comfortable in the huddle,” Decker said. “Not a lot of things shake him… You got to be poised in very critical situations.
“He’s got his fundamentals, he knows how to read defense, he is savvy, he makes the right throws and checks at the line, he is a guy that is going to put us in the right position a lot more than the other way. Just nice to have someone of his caliber, intelligence and savvy to be leading us offensively.”
Decker said the passing game will be able to measure progress on Saturday by how many completions are made.
“It’s the small thing that a lot of people don’t see,” Decker said. “Certain throws, getting open in this league is difficult. Getting open could be a yard or two yards. Having the ball in the right spot and him knowing where you will be on specific routes, and having that success in practice and game really determines progress.”
Regardless of how well the Jets do against the Giants, Bowles has a good idea of what he’s coaching entering this season.
So is he happy with what he thinks he has?
“Yeah,” Bowles said. “I’m very happy.”