By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com
The Jets and Giants finished their first official week of training camp, and they are faced with many similar scenarios.
Yes, they both have young aspiring quarterbacks, head coaches who are under rising degrees of scrutiny (we know about Gase and watch for a future piece on Judge), highly regarded running backs, and the list can go on.
Then there is the wide receiver position. Or the lack of depth there.
As of Wednesday afternoon, both teams were relatively razor thin at the position, the Jets looking extremely gaunt.
In the spring, the Jets appeared to have an arsenal for quarterback Sam Darnold, who likely will remain a pass-first option in Gase’s offense.
Quincy Enunwa was going to be the hybrid receiver/tight end complement after the team acquired deep-ball threat Breshad Perriman to replace Robbie Anderson. They still had slot receiver Jamison Crowder and brought in Ex-Redskin Josh Doctson. Draft pick Denzel Mims was the perfect finishing touch.
That’s when it looked good on paper.
In May, Enunwa was placed on the PUP list (physically unable to perform) due to his neck issues, and backup Josh Bellamy was also lost for the season. Earlier this month, Enunwa was released with two years left on a $36 million deal.
Doctson decided to opt out due to CO-VID19, and Mims pulled a hamstring when practices began. Vyncint Smith, who made a splash last year, suffered a core injury and will miss the first month of the season.
When the whirlwind settled, the Jets were left with Perriman on the other, Crowder in the slot, and a host of candidates better suited for special teams that a starting role, all running routes in Florham Park.
Braxton Berrios, the return specialist, could see action, and the rest of the core is Jeff Smith, Josh Malone , Jehu Chesson, and George Campbell.
The team did ink veteran receiver Chris Hogan, who gained his notoriety through New England’s Super Bowl runs. Demaryius Thomas, who had talks with the club in the spring about returning, is still on the market along with ex-Bear Taylor Gabriel, who looms as an immediate solution among a large cast still available.
Farther east in the Meadowlands, the Giants seem secure with the trio of Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton back in the fold for quarterback Daniel Jones.
Like the Jets, the question will be their depth.
They suffered a major blow when led special teamer Cody Core to a torn Achilles. Corey Coleman, who spent last year on the injured list, could fill the role. There also is Alex Bachman, CJ Board, Tony Brown, Derrick Dillon, Austin Mack, David Sills, and Binjimen Victor, all of whom need to prove their stance.
However, the Giants could hold a high ace in tight end Evan Engram, who can provide a major impact if he stays healthy.
Darnold and Jones will be throwing the ball plenty with their prescribed offenses this fall.
This is a totally different environment with the effects of the CO-VID cloud hovering over camps and the ever-present threat of playing opting out because of it.
For both teams on the doorstep of the next level, depth at receiver will be a key, and it also will be a huge determining factor on how they get there.