The Jets wrapped up their mandatory minicamp on Wednesday as the team will break for more than a month before returning to Florham Park for training camp.
"I think guys are in a really good place," HC Robert Saleh said. "We're obviously further along this year than we were last year. Guys are understanding exactly what they're being asked in all three phases whether it's special teams, offense and defense from a schematic standpoint. The language barrier of having a new staff and new players. You can see Zach [Wilson], he'll make a throw and he already knows what Rob [Calabrese] and Mike [LaFleur] are going to tell him. He's like I know and he'll point to where he needs to."
Saleh and the staff made a few changes to their spring approach in Year 2, reducing the number of 11-on-11 periods. The Green & White were able to average 30 more reps per day compared to last year ,and the team plans to modify its approach to training camp, changing the number of days they'll be "grinding consecutively." That will be decided Thursday morning.
"The fact that we were able to get Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, minicamp, it's beneficial to the coaches to be able to master how they want to present the information," Saleh said. "It's beneficial to the players to hear it as many ways as possible and to see different clips, to see them doing it, to see the other teams doing it, all of it is beneficial. Another opportunity to master the schemes has been extremely beneficial."
See photos of the Green & White on the field during the second practice of Mandatory Minicamp week at 1 Jets Drive.
Zach Wilson, Jeff Smith End Spring on a High Note
Second-year QB Zach Wilson has looked more decisive throughout the spring and had one of his better practices in the team's final minicamp session. He began the first team period by completing a ball to Elijah Moore on the sideline with No. 4 overall pick Sauce Gardner in coverage. Wilson threw the ball before Moore started his break, showing the chemistry between the second-year pros. Veteran Jeff Smith was the most productive receiver in practice. Smith got behind the defense on the second play and Wilson hit him in stride for a long score. The duo later connected on another deep pass in the same spot as Smith reeled in the pass one handed for the score with Isaiah Dunn in coverage that caused the sideline to erupt.
"That boy has been ballin'," Moore said of Smith. "It just opens everything up. Today's practice was very contagious. One person makes a play and it's like a trickle effect. Everybody is going to keep ballin'. That's how we expect to be in the game on Sundays."
Wilson checked the necessary boxes in the spring and showed he's poised to make a jump in Year 2 even though he's yet to put on pads since the season finale at Buffalo. Wilson, 22, is the centerpiece of a young nucleus of playmakers looking to change the culture and narrative of the Jets.
TE C.J. Uzomah, 29, WR Corey Davis, 27, WR Braxton Berrios, 26, and TE Tyler Conklin, 26, are the veterans of the bunch. Moore, WR Garrett Wilson, RB Michael Carter and RB Breece Hall, all who are expected to have significant roles in 2022, are all younger than 24 years old.
"Everything comes down to reps," Saleh said. "This team, this locker room, is not short of people who want to work hard, who love ball and want to work their absolute tails off. It is not short of those guys at all."
TE Tyler Conklin had another impressive practice, reeling in a touchdown in the red-zone period. Zach Wilson looked for Conklin earlier in the workout, but S Jordan Whitehead laid out to break up the pass. … Denzel Mims, whom OC Mike LaFleur said is in the best shape he's seen him, came down with a deep ball from Mike White with Isaiah Dunn in good coverage. Dunn later broke up a deep pass in the 2-minute period intended for Tarik Black … Sauce Gardner came down with a red-zone interception late in practice that would have been returned for a touchdown. He also broke up a Wilson deep pass intended for Corey Davis.