Camp preview: Secondary

July, 24, 2013
7/24/13
10:35
AM ET
Breaking down the Jets, position by position, as they prepare for training camp. Camp opens Thursday; this is the final installment in the series:

Position: Secondary

[+] EnlargeDee Milliner
AP Photo/Bill KostrounWill Dee Milliner be ready to start by Week 1?
Projected starters: Antonio Cromartie, Dee Milliner, Dawan Landry, Josh Bush

Projected reserves: Kyle Wilson, Aaron Berry, Ellis Lankster, Antonio Allen, Darrin Walls, Jaiquawn Jarrett

New faces: Milliner, Landry, Jarrett

The departed: Darrelle Revis, LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, Eric Smith

Player to watch: Milliner, naturally. He was the ninth overall pick in the draft and, ostensibly, will replace Revis. He will eventually replace Wilson as a starter, allowing Wilson to return to his nickel role. Whether that happens by Week 1 remains to be seen. Milliner, who underwent shoulder surgery in March, missed the entire offseason. When he's up to speed, Milliner has a chance to be special. He's fundamentally sound and not afraid to tackle. He doesn't have elite ball skills, but his cover skills should translate nicely in the Jets' man-to-man schemes.

Potential strength: Depth at cornerback. The Jets traded the best cornerback in the NFL to the Bucs -- Revis, in case you didn't know -- but they will survive because of Cromartie, Milliner and Wilson. Nowadays, you need three good corners in the pass-happy NFL. The Jets should be able to line up against any team without having to be afraid -- assuming Cromartie can duplicate last season's performance as the No. 1 corner.

Potential weakness: The Jets overhauled the safety position, letting LaRon Landry and Bell walk out the door. The replacements are Dawan Landry (LaRon's older brother) and ... well, that's a good question. Bush and Allen, both second-year players, are the leading candidates for the other starting job. Take your pick: Bush is better against the pass; Allen is the better run defender. Neither is a blue-chipper. Maybe new DBs coach Tim McDonald, a former All-Pro, still has something left in the tank.

Wild card: Rex Ryan and new defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, a former secondary coach, are smart cookies when it comes to camouflaging weaknesses. Maybe, just maybe, they can coach around the safety issue, using extra corners in the sub packages. That's not a far-fetched idea, considering their three AFC East opponents employ spread offenses. The back end of Ryan's defenses is built around the corners, not the safeties.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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