The Jets' had an improved practice in their second of two joint sessions with the Packers, but it was overshadowed by DE Carl Lawson's early exit with a ruptured Achilles tendon. It was announced a few hours after practice that he will miss the 2021 season.
Lawson, who had been the team's most impressive player in training camp, came around the edge on a pass play and worked his way around LT Elgton Jenkins before collapsing to the grass. Several teammates and Packers players immediately huddled around Lawson, who signed with the Green & White in the offseason. He was carted off the field and did not return. Bryce Huff, who had a sack in last week's preseason game against the Giants, lined up in Lawson's spot for the remainder of practice.
"I actually just heard about it at the end of practice," Jets WR Corey Davis said. "He's one of our guys, you know what I'm saying. You never want to see anyone go down, especially a guy of that caliber. … I'm praying for him."
Lawson wasn't the only player to sustain an injury on Thursday. In the second-to-last period, the Jets and Packers were working on a special-teams drill when Jets' converted S Zane Lewis tried to split a double team and went down awkwardly. He will also miss the 2021 season with a torn patella tendon and sprained MCL.
DT Sheldon Rankins, another free-agent addition, limped off the field in the first team period and did not return because of a knee injury. He and WR Denzel Mims (hip) are considered day to day. Mims also left practice early.
See the Top Photos from Green Bay During the Final Joint Practice with the Packers
In Wednesday's two-minute drill to end practice, the Jets offense didn't find the end zone while Aaron Rodgers and the Packers did. On Thursday, the script was flipped. Wilson and the offense turned the ball over on downs on their first drive but found paydirt on the second.
With the offense's back against the wall after a false-start penalty, Wilson launched a ball down the right sideline that landed a hair too far of a diving Davis. Then on third-and-15, the pocket started to collapse on Wilson, who rolled right and fired back over the middle of the field to Braxton Berrios, who corraled the pass for a 45-yard touchdown.
"We started to pick it up a little bit, even more so from yesterday," Davis said. "The team seemed more like ourselves. Just kind of setting the tone, but obviously there's still some work to do. But we looked good towards the end of practice."
Those drives sandwiched the Packers' lone two-minute possession. With Rodgers under center, the 2020 NFL MVP misfired on a ball to WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who had a step on CB Bryce Hall. If the duo had connected, it would have likely resulted in a score. Rodgers, who threw 5 interceptions in his 2020 MVP season, dialed up WR Allen Lazard the next play with LB Jarrad Davis draped over him in coverage. Davis knocked the ball up and S Sharrod Neasman came away with an easy interception.
After two joint practices, the Jets will take on the Packers Saturday afternoon at Lambeau Field in their second preseason game. For Wilson, head coach Robert Saleh said the No. 2 overall pick's did a good job in the spirited practices, but still has areas to improve.
"Zach's got to learn to execute in the rhythm of the play, get the ball in and out of his hands as quickly as possible because he can alleviate some of the pressure of the offensive line by being decisive and being quick with his decision making," he said. Either way, I thought he did a really nice job. There was a couple things from a timing standpoint that they've been clicking on all cylinders during camp and yesterday were off a little bit. Maybe it was a little bit of nerves, but he made some really great throws."
The following Jets did not practice: CB Bless Austin,S Ashtyn Davis, T Chuma Edoga, TE Ryan Griffin, CB Justin Hardee, WR Elijah Moore, S Lamarcus Joyner, DL Kyle Phillips, CB Jason Pinnock and DL Jabari Zuniga. … DT Quinnen Wiliamsparticipated in team reps for the first time in training camp. Williams, who had offseason foot surgery and missed OTAs and minicamp, went through a practice-like simulation last Friday and has been gradually working up to this point. He will not play Saturday night. …
Zach Wilson, who displayed his excellent improvisational skills on the Braxton Berrios TD, was intercepted early in Thursday's session when All-Pro CB Jaire Alexander stepped in front of a pass intended for Jamison Crowder. … The Jets got hot during a red-zone period, scoring on three of four reps from inside the 10 as Mike White connected to Ty Johnson and Wilson hit RB Tevin Coleman in front of the pylon. Then Mike LaFleur dialed up a designed roll to the right for Wilson and he was on target to Corey Davis. …
With Austin not at practice, Isaiah Dunnworked with the first team across from Bryce Hall. … Wilson spent an entire special-teams period talking with Rodgers for a second consecutive day and the rookie looked like a veteran while getting pair of Packers to jump offsides. … Morgan Moses and George Fant received first-team reps at RT. … Saleh said that he expects the starters on both sides of the ball to get at least three or four series vs. the Packers. … The Jets have a walk-through on Friday; kickoff is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. Eastern on Saturday.