With the Jets' spring season set to reach its conclusion after Wednesday's minicamp session, OC Mike LaFleur likes where Zach Wilson is a month out from his second NFL training camp.
"His focus has been in the right spot," LaFleur told reporters on Tuesday.
Wilson was solid in both team drills and 7-on-7 work Tuesday as practice included a connection over the middle to Corey Davis in front of rookie CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner in a two-minute drill. Earlier in a 7-on-7 situation, Wilson went to rookie WR Garrett Wilson when he bought some space in front of CB Bryce Hall. Just like early last season, Wilson and Davis have displayed good chemistry during OTAs and now into minicamp. Davis went up the ladder on one occasion to haul in Wilson rip on a route toward the boundary.
With 13 NFL games under his belt, Wilson is no longer the rookie in a sea of new.
"It's Year 1 for an offense, Year 1 for a staff, Year 1 for a rookie quarterback," LaFleur said. "Not only did he have to learn our terminology and our system, he had to learn just the difference between the college game and the NFL game. "You're trying to simulate that in May and June and the speed is one thing, but you come back in August and now the speed ramps up even a little bit more."
Now with familiarity with LaFleur, QB coach Rob Calabrese and much of the personnel around him, the beefed-up passer is in a much different spot in terms of his mental game.
"Just the fact that he knows what to expect come August, come September, you don't have to talk about that as much," LaFleur said. "You just try to dial in on what matters right now and that's making sure we are mastering our offense and our job as a quarterback. That's where I say his mindset and focus has been very cool to watch, very different from last year."
See the best images of the Green & White during the first practice of Mandatory Minicamp week at 1 Jets Drive.
Becton Returns to the Field
For the first time this offseason, Mekhi Becton suited up with his teammates. Becton, who recently celebrated the birth of son, Mekhi Jr, did get some football work in this offseason with OL guru Duke Manyweather.
"He looks good," LaFleur said. "It was good to see him yesterday, saw him just briefly. We had a staff function, so just able to dap it up, give him a big hug and ask him about his child."
Limited to action in the season opener last season, Becton, entering his third pro campaign, worked to the side today with the performance staff. Head coach Robert Saleh said Becton and George Fant, also limited to participation with the performance coaches, will compete for the left tackle job during training camp.
"We don't have the pads on right now," LaFleur said. "We have two more days of minicamp, which is really our OTA practices. There is no run game. That stuff will work itself out. Like Coach Saleh said back after the season, George has earned the right to go to left and compete there, but I'm not worried about that. The best two are going to be slotted where they may be and that will work itself out."
The tackle competition isn't likely to extend long into camp.
"The faster that you can stamp, hey this is what we feel is going to be best going into Week 1 vs. Baltimore, the faster we can do that, the better," LaFleur said. "I think it will play itself fairly quickly in terms of when we get back, we're rolling, we're running the football."
Extension of OTAs
In simplest terms, the only difference between the Jets organized team activities and minicamp practices are a mandatory tag.
"They've got their physicals Monday," Saleh said last week. "We're going to hold the same structure at practice. With the walk-throughs, it's really going to be the same."
In addition to Fant's and Becton's return, DT Sheldon Rankins was back along the defensive line.
WR Jeff Smith made a nice move on LB Quincy Williams to get some extra yards down the sideline on an end around. … Wilson nearly connected with Elijah Moore on a deep pass that was broken up by CB Justin Hardee. … Mike White was impressive, connecting with UDFA Keshunn Abram on a long catch and run that would have likely resulted in a touchdown. … Nickel CB Javelin Guidry had a nice day, applying sticky coverage on a deep pass intended for Calvin Jackson. … Near the end of practice, Wilson and the first-team offense were unsuccessful marching down the field in need of a field goal. … Today's final word goes to rookie CB Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner, who acquired No. 1 from veteran CB D.J. Reed for $50,000. "When I got the nickname Sauce, I had No. 1. It's all the little things and I feel like it best fits me."