The three day mandatory minicamp for the Jets has come to a conclusion, and the players will be free to return home and resume their personal workouts in preparation for training camp in July. Here are some of the things that took place during camp:
Geno Smith started out camp reenacting the first Bills game from 2014, by throwing three interceptions, and causing mass hysteria among fans. The biggest issue with the interceptions were that it happened in the red zone, an area of much concern for the Jets, after finishing dead last in red zone efficiency last year. The interceptions rekindled the QB controversy, with backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick looking better on the first day of camp, albeit with an interception of his own. However, akin a phoenix, Geno rose from the ashes of No. 7 jerseys that were burned, and dominated the next two days of practice. Smith looked more comfortable in the offense, and even beat Darrelle Revis on a 70 yard throw, to Walter Powell. Most importantly, the stats for these practices don’t matter as much as Geno’s grasp of the offensive system, and the last two days of practice seem to indicate that he’s making strides, and learning from his mistakes. With a strong defense, good running game, and a talented group of WRs, Smith is the key to a successful season for the Jets.
The Return of Mo
Mo Wilkerson, reported to mandatory minicamp, albeit he still seemed to be upset at his contract situation. Wilkerson said all the right things about wanting to come back to the team, meet the new coaches, and players. The Jets should boast one of the top defensive lines in the league with the return of Wilkerson, causing headaches for opposing quarterbacks this season. Mo’s linemate, Sheldon Richardson, claimed that Wilkerson should get “Suh Money”, referencing the $100 million contract given to Ndamukong Suh by the Miami Dolphins this offseason. The Jets, however, hold the leverage in negotiations right now with Wilkerson, since he has one more year left on his rookie contract, and they can franchise tag Wilkerson after the upcoming season.
Brandon Marshall, made a great catch over Darrin Walls, in day 2 of minicamp, providing a glimpse of his abilities in the red zone. The Jets have lacked a true No. 1 WR for years, and the addition of Marshall could go a long way in solving the aforementioned redzone issues. Marshall, however did hurt his toe, sitting out day 3 of minicamp with a stubbed toe, however the team does not consider the injury serious. Marshall should be fully healed by the time training camp commences.
Dexter McDougle is back on the practice field, after sitting out last year with an ACL injury, and intercepted Geno Smith during day 1 of minicamp. McDougle impressed the Jets last year in training camp, and had a shot at being a starter before getting injured in practice during the preseason.
The Jets have an abundance of CBs this season, a stark difference from last year, when players like Marcus Williams were signed off the free agent market, and promptly inserted into the starting lineup. The Jets now have, Revis, Cromartie, Skrine, Milliner, McDougle, Walls, and Williams assembling a formidable depth chart at one of the most crucial spots of the Todd Bowles defense. Both Walls and Williams were highlighted by the first year head coach during his press conference, for being consistent during minicamp. There may not be another team in the league, that can boast this sort of talent at the CB position, be it the elite level talent at the top, nor the amount of overall talent in depth.
Shaq Evans, fighting for a roster spot, looked good in camp and made a nice catch in day 3 of minicamp. This is an improvement over last year, when Evans looked lost at training camp, after staying back at school to finish his courses. He is fighting for one the last spots on the roster, since Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, and Devin Smith are most likely locked into positions. Kerley, made a great catch in camp, as he looks to rebound from a down year in 2014. Devin Smith missed minicamp for personal reasons, as his girlfriend is expected to give birth this week. The speedster should be back in time for training camp, and ready to provide a deep threat the Jets have lacked since the ghost of Stephen Hill was seen running aimlessly down the sideline.
Zach Sudfeld is injured, and the extent of these injuries could end up serious. Sophomore Calvin Pryor was over-anxious and started to hit players during non contact drills, when the injury occurred. While Sudfeld may not be an important cog in the starting lineup, he did provide decent depth at the TE position, and seeing someone get injured because of contact in non contact drills is discouraging.
Jets’ first round pick, Leonard Williams got in some work with the first team in nickel packages during the minicamp. This is a very important development in where Williams might play this year, because the nickel package is very prominent in the Todd Bowles defense. He was the nickel package coach with the Browns from 2001 to 2003, and he does have a penchant for playing that personnel package from his days in Arizona.
News from other team’s camps:
- Miami Dolphins rookie first round WR Devante Parker had foot surgery to replace a screw that was inserted during a previous surgery on his left foot. The surgery limits Parker until training camp (and possibly more), and could make a dent in the revamped WR core for the Dolphins.
- The Eagles have released Evan Mathis, amid a contract dispute. The Pro Bowl guard was scheduled to make $5.5 million in the upcoming season, and $6 million in the following season. The Jets could have interest in the guard, but it’s unlikely that a deal gets done, because there are plenty of other teams with better cap space, that are also in need of a guard. He does have a connection to Todd Bowles, as Bowles was a coach with the Eagles in 2012, when Mathis was also on the team.
- Bears WR Marquess Wilson may not make the 53 man roster, so the situation could be interesting to monitor if the back end of the Jets WR group fails to impress. The 6’3” Wilson, ran a 51 forty yard dash at the combine, and does possess some potential.
- Browns QB Josh McCown seems all but a lock to be the starting quarterback for the start of the season. The Jets face off against the Browns in their season opener, so this should be music to their ears.
- Dolphins offensive lineman Brandon Albert may not be ready for Week 1. The Dolphins are thin in the offensive trenches, alas this is a situation that could have far reaching implications for the division rival.
- The Patriots are under investigation again, this time for the absence of Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler from OTAs, after he was late to the first practice of voluntary practice. The CBA precludes the punishment of a player for missing voluntary workouts. Please check in with our thread on the forums to receive up to the minute updates, and some humor.
- Sam Bradford is still “hobbled” during Eagles practice, while Mark Sanchez has been impressive so far. The news doesn’t affect the Jets quite as much, but it should make for an interesting preseason of QB battle for former Jet, Mark Sanchez.
The Jets have concluded their OTAs, while some other teams still have camps going on. The Jets escaped relatively healthy, with all of their core players healthy besides minor injuries. This upcoming training camp will be very important for the Jets as they instill new defensive and offensive schemes for the first time in many years. The QB battle between Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick, the stare down between Mo Wilkerson and Mike Maccagnan, and the implementation of Leonard Williams into the lineup should make this one of the most intriguing training camps in the league.