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New York Jets preseason primer

2006 season recap

First-year success
In his first season as a head coach, former Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini lived up to his reputation as the boy-genius pupil of Bill Belichick, coaching the Jets to a 10-6 record and a wild-card playoff berth. Their 17-14 victory over the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Week 10 was the first of six victories in their last eight games. The Patriots ultimately got their retribution, defeating the Jets 37-16 in the first round of the playoffs.

Key camp questions

Will Mangini's motivational magic be as effective in his second season?
The young head coach survived a mini-mutiny in training camp last summer, and the Jets went above and beyond everyone's expectations. His unique and interesting motivational techniques last season -- using boxing videos and military personnel -- earned him the nickname "Mangenius." As he enters his second season, the question will be whether his players will keep responding. If they do, the Jets could be on their way to building something special. If they don't, Mangini magic will be revealed as just so much gimmickry.

Can Thomas Jones return the Jets' running game to the Curtis Martin glory days?
Some experts are saying the Jets' acquisition of the former Bears running back was the steal of the offseason. If Jones can provide the consistency the Jets lacked in the running game last season, when they shuffled between Leon Washington, Kevan Barlow and Cedric Houston, that steal could pay off big.

Will unhappy guard Pete Kendall become a distraction?
The veteran Kendall has been very vocal about wanting a new contract, even demanding a trade in June. If his situation carries over into training camp, it could threaten the newfound chemistry in the Jets' locker room. And if he holds out or otherwise doesn't return to the team, a young offensive line could find its progress stunted.

Key position battle

Backup quarterback
Starter Chad Pennington quieted all his doubters last season by coming off a second operation on his throwing shoulder to throw for more than 3,000 yards and lead the Jets to the playoffs. In the event he is re-injured, though, Kellen Clemens and Marques Tuiasosopo will battle for a very important backup spot.

Rookie spotlight

Darrelle Revis
Considering that the Jets traded three draft picks in order to move up to get him, Revis should compete immediately for a starting spot. The Jets hope the cornerback out of Pittsburgh can add some playmaking potential to a thin defensive backfield.

Player on the spot

Jonathan Vilma
Vilma looked out of place at times last season in Mangini's 3-4 system. Although he led the team in tackles, the Jets nevertheless ranked 24th in the league against the run. He'll need to get a lot more comfortable in the new system if the team hopes to shore up a shaky run defense.

Fantasy focus

Thomas Jones
A productive veteran who has rushed for 1,200-plus yards with 15 total touchdowns over the past two seasons, Jones gives the Jets their first legitimate fantasy runner since Curtis Martin. He should be considered a viable No. 2 fantasy back and is well worth a second- to third-round draft choice.

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