In the lead-up to training camp, NewYorkJets.com will be breaking down the key storylines for each position group. Today, we look at the defensive backs.
Talent on Paper
The Jets' secondary has been transformed the past two offseasons and could be the team's strongest unit. With the addition of cornerback Trumaine Johnson, the re-signing of Morris Claiborne and projected growth of second-year safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson is excited about the potential of New Jack City.
"When I was in St. Louis, we had a pretty good group in Rodney McLeod, Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson, T.J. McDonald and Lamarcus Joyner," Wilson said. "That was a pretty good group, but this one can stand up right next to them."
Take It or Keep It
Wilson prides himself in cultivating a competitive group from top to bottom and this year is no different. Each member of the secondary has to earn his spot once the pads come on in training camp.
"There are no starters right now. We'll see who lines up the first game," Wilson said. "They all compete and they understand when they come to work — they're coming to either take a job or keep their job. That's our approach."
All in the Eyes
Despite playing well his rookie season, Adams feels like he's ready to make a big impact for the Green & White in Year 2. The 2017 No. 6 overall pick ranked third on the team with 83 tackles, nine of which went for loss. He also tallied two sacks, three quarterback hits, five pass defenses and one forced fumble. Coach Wilson said, "If you see right, you do right." And if the spring is any indication, Adams is on the right track.
"His eyes are better, he's communicating a lot better and he's playing faster," Wilson said. "I just expect him to grow. It's his second year. He's still learning on the job and you learn by doing. He'll be a better player."
Best Shots of the Safeties at Media Day and on the Field
With prominent names in the back end and on the outside, it could be easy to forget about the inside man Buster Skrine. Skrine, who plays one of the toughest positions in football at the nickel, ranked second on the Jets with 10 pass defenses last year and played perhaps his best football since joining the Green & White.
"Well if you look back, Buster really had one game where penalties showed up," Wilson said. "Buster had an outstanding season. He's getting better, he's working on the little things. He'll be just fine."
Maye's Injury Status
The 2017 second-round pick hurt his ankle in the season finale and didn't participate in OTAs or minicamp, but believes he'll be ready for the start of camp. The Florida product said doctors will have final say and when Maye returns to the field, head coach Todd Bowles expects a sharper, more decisive player.
"Sometimes when a player gets hurt, he can see the game from the sideline from a different vantage point whereas if he were healthy and you put him on the field, he doesn't catch it as quick," Bowles said. "He's getting a lot of mental reps on the sideline and time will tell when he comes back how much he learned."
Top Photos of the Jets CB Unit at Multimedia Day and On the Field
New Kid on the Block
It will be interesting to see how Jets' sixth-round pick Parry Nickerson adapts to life at next level. The speedy Nickerson was a playmaker in college as he recorded 47 pass defenses and 16 interceptions in four years at Tulane and the 5'10", 182-pounder will work both on the outside and at nickel behind Skrine in training camp.
"I don't think corners are just one-dimensional guys," Wilson said. "The more you can do, the better opportunity you have to play, the better opportunity you have to stay in the league longer."