It took Jets WR Denzel Mims longer than expected to make his Jets debut, but he hit the ground running. After recovering from two hamstring injuries, Mims made his first start in Week 7 against the Bills. He has 22 receptions for 342 yards (15.5 avg) and had at least 40 yards in his first games. That streak was snapped last week against the Rams when he had 3 receptions for 18 yards.
"I think he's grown and matured very quickly for the fact that he missed a lot of time at the beginning of the year," Head Coach Adam Gase said. "I love how inquisitive he is about everything. He tries to do things right, he tries to make sure that he understands his lane at times. I think he respects the veteran players and tries to do all those little things right that really probably a lot of people don't notice.
"I've been really impressed with him. When we first got going and he was hurt, I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out when he was going to be back. The more I've been around him, he has done nothing but impress me just because he practices hard, he tries to learn everything, he takes coaching whether it's hard or just talking to him. He asksquestions, he wants to do the right thing, he wants to be in the right spot for the quarterback. I can't be more pleased with how he's developed and it's a shame that we just didn't have him earlier."
See the Top Images from Practice Leading Up to Week 16
Business as UsualFor the first 14 weeks of the season, the Jets have kept their heads down and worked in search of what was an elusive first victory. After the team won last Sunday at Los Angeles, nothing has changed this week according to QB Sam Darnold.
"You'd think so, but for us, we've just continued to work," he said. "Obviously, [practice is] lively. Guys are hyped out there, but it's fun. Practice is fun. It has been all year. I know we haven't had the results we've wanted the first 13 weeks. We're just going to continue to come out to practice with great energy because if you don't it makes for a really young year and we know that. We have really good guys in the locker room to be able to come out with great energy and come out with great practices."
The injury bug continues to bite the Jets defense as both DL Quinnen Williams and LB Harvey Langi were placed on injured reserve earlier this week. The Jets will face the NFL's No. 3 rushing offense (152.6 yds/g) this Sunday with RBs Nick Chubb (931 yards) and Kareem Hunt (793 yards).
"They have two guys who can get a lot of things done, so it's going to be a challenge," interim defensive coordinator Frank Bush said. "We're going to have to do some things inside that are slightly different than what we've done because we don't have Quinnen. We're going to have to load up the box at times and move people around at other times. Do some things that will maybe get them off schedule a little bit in their run game. At the end of the day, we have to hit the guys up front, get them knocked back and try to tackle these backs."
On the LB shuffle, he added: "Fortunately, Bryce Hager and some of those other kids have been in the room, but it's a challenge. It's disheartening because Harvey was coming along at such a fast pace. He was bringing us a spark when he played. Then all of sudden to not have him, he was an emotional leader and brought a lot of energy. Now we're going with Bryce and he's been in the room. He understands what we're doing and we trust him. He's going to play and I think he'll be fine."
DL Nathan Shepherd could be in line to receive more snaps with Williams on IR. Shepherd had his best game of the season last week against the Rams: 1 sack, 1 QB hits and 2 TFLs.
"He made a lot of plays," Gase said. "He was splitting double teams, he was getting back there, he was being disruptive. A lot of that stuff is some stuff we see in practice a lot. For whatever reason, it transferred this game. He did a really good job. … Hopefully that'll carry over to this next game."