Zach Wilson Has 'Great Mindset' Entering Year 2
Among coaches and teammates, second-year QB Zach Wilson has been described as "beefy," "thick," "more decisive," "super special" and more. He transformed his body (reported to OTAs at 221 pounds) and looked more comfortable on the field.
"He's coming with a great mindset," HC Robert Saleh said. "He, obviously, physically re-made his body. Mentally, which is the big part that we're all really excited for. Again, it's not that he's a dumb kid at all. It's hard for a rookie to come in and learn a scheme, learn an offense, but he's very decisive with the ball. He's getting it to where it needs to go, his footwork is a lot cleaner and obviously, he's going to ride the roller coaster of ups and downs as he continues to grow and master the offense, if you will. But he looks good. It's been a really good and productive offseason for him."
Camp Battle on the Horizon
The Jets' left tackle spot is up for grabs. Mekhi Becton, who took 48 snaps before sustaining a season-ending knee injury, and George Fant, who started 15 games at LT in 2021, will compete for the job. Both tackles are recovering from injury and missed OTAs, but reported for minicamp. Becton worked with the strength and performance staff this week and will be ready to take the field at the start of training camp. Saleh said that Fant would be healthy for the start of training camp, too. Becton and Fant have experience starting at left and right tackle -- Becton played 12 games at RT at Lousville and Fant started 14 games on the right for the Green & White in 2020, his first with the team.
"I think I said a couple weeks ago, but that stuff always plays itself out," OC Mike LaFleur said. "We got a lot of work coming in training camp. We don't have the pads on right now. We got two more days of minicamp, which is really OTA practices. There is no run game. That stuff will work itself out. Like Coach Saleh said, after last season George has earned the right to go to left and compete there. But again, I'm not worried about it. The best two are going to be slotted where they may be, and that stuff will work itself out."
The Jets' two top-10 picks -- CB Sauce Gardner and WR Garrett Wilson -- flashed during the spring. Gardner, who did not allow a touchdown reception in more than 1,000 snaps at Cincinnati, finished minicamp on a high note by picking off QB Zach Wilson in the red zone and taking it back 100 yards for the score.
"That he doesn't repeat errors," DC Jeff Ulbrich said of what stands out about the No. 4 overall selection in 2022. "He's a guy that is so hungry to learn. If he gets beat, most of the time he just figures it out on his own because he has such a good football brain, a thirst for the game and a thirst to get better and learn and grow.
"He's going to have his lumps and his rookie moments which they all do, but at the same time there's not going be a lot of them. Probably less than most."
Wilson has quickly made an impression on his coaches and teammates. LaFleur has been impressed by Wilson's attention to detail as he imporves his craft and Wilson's quarterback, Zach Wilson, said the No. 10 overall pick has been a sponge throughout the spring.
"He's soaking it up, he's learning a bunch," he said. "With being a rookie, just like me last year, you can't really show exactly what you got until you can line up correctly and be confident in what you're doing. He's going through that learning stage still, but he's a quick learner. You can see the talent jump off the page, he's a really good player. He definitely has the skills, the toolset and definitely the mindset to be great.
"He's got the right mindset, a freakish ability in the air to find the ball and going to camp this year I think he can be a great weapon for us."
Lawson Gearing Up for Takeoff
The next time the Green & White take the field for training camp, DL Carl Lawson could put on pads for the first time since rupturing an Achilles tendon in a joint practice against the Packers last August. Lawson worked with the strength and performance staff during the spring and feels ready to return.
"I'm good to go," he said. "I'll be ready to go anytime my name is called. Even on one leg I was ready to go. But it's up to the trainers. I've had a major injury before and I came back better. This is no different. I don't plan on not being better. Who knows? But I plan on being better than what I was."
Other players working with the trainers to end the spring were TE C.J. Uzomah, CB D.J. Reed, LB Jamien Sherwood, CB/S Brandin Echols and rookie TE Jeremy Ruckert.
"We've been clean this entire offseason," Saleh said. "Had a couple of nicks and bruises here and there for the most part. It's been really good, we've made some fundamental changes as you guys have seen."
See photos of the Green & White on the field during the second practice of Mandatory Minicamp week at 1 Jets Drive.
More Format Changes
The Jets changed the format of their OTAs and minicamp with the intent of preserving the energy of their linemen. They were, as a result, able to average 30 more reps per day than last year. Saleh said there will be changes to the training camp structure as well.
"Obviously, we're not modifying the contact and all that, that's got to happen," he said. "But the just the amount of days that we are grinding consecutively is going to be modified. Those schedules, to answer your next question, is going to be decided [Thursday] morning."