Battle between safeties: It's on!

June, 14, 2013
6/14/13
9:00
AM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- One of the intriguing position battles for the Jets this summer will be at safety, as the team is in need of two new starters.

Newcomer Dawan Landry appears to be the favorite for one spot, and the other starting position appears to be a battle between 2012 late-round draft picks Josh Bush and Antonio Allen. Former Eagles second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett also figures to be in the mix as well.

Allen had been working with the first team during OTAs, but he found himself working with the second string during this week's minicamp, which concluded Thursday.

"It's no surprise. I've been going with the first team all OTAs and I guess minicamp, they put me with the second team," Allen said Thursday. "It's a learning experience. I'm not frowning upon it. I just got to work hard."

He added: "Whatever is going to help the team win, I guess. It might not be permanent, but it is for right now."

The Jets find themselves looking for new safeties after last season's starters, Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry, departed this offseason for Arizona and Indianapolis, respectively. The Jets also released veteran Eric Smith as part of their purge of veterans this offseason.

Allen, a seventh-round pick out of South Carolina, played in just seven games for the Jets last season and had six total tackles. Tuesday, it appeared he made an error which landed him in the doghouse for the minicamp. Allen did say he thought he had a pretty good camp "for the most part."

"[Defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman]'s a good coach, he knows what he's looking for," Allen said. "I'm just motivated to come back knowing the playbook a little bit more. Come back faster, stronger. Everything I can do to get that spot."

Allen said he will not be joining the team's defensive backs in California for the workouts hosted by Antonio Cromartie. He believes the vacant starting positions have created a great opportunity for him.

"Trust me, I got it locked in what I want to do," Allen said. "I'm working hard every day and trying to prepare myself for that position."

Bush, a sixth-round pick out of Wake Forest, has a little more experience than Allen. He played in all 16 games last season while recording a total of 11 tackles. The wildcard in the mix is Jarrett, who played in a total of 13 games with Philadelphia in 2011-12 before being released. The Eagles used the 54th pick of the 2011 Draft on Jarrett, although it didn't pan out as they expected.

"He's shown me some stuff," Allen said of Jarrett. "How he came in, he knew the playbook."

In addition to the two new starting safeties, the Jets are expected to use rookie first-round pick Dee Milliner as a starting outside cornerback. Just one season after having primarily a veteran-filled secondary, the Jets will rely on youngsters to help anchor their pass coverage. The Jets allowed the second-fewest passing yards last season, yielding just 189.8 yards per game.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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