Entering his second season as head coach of the New York Jets, Robert Saleh brings the positive vibes with him each day to One Jets Drive. Before his team took the field for its second OTA of the spring, Saleh was asked about the possibility of closing the gap in 2022 and his thoughts on the roster in late May.
"We're better," he said of the metropolitan area's AFC representative that finished 4-13 in 2021. "I know we're going to be better. We're young, we're a year older. We brought in some really cool pieces, a lot of guys who stand for the right stuff, who live and breathe football. Now, it's just a matter of trying to gain that continuity and confidence and just take it one game at a time."
No bluster from the Jets' leader, just an acknowledgement that the roster has significantly improved this offseason through free agency and the draft. Plus, last year's rookies are a year older and Saleh, OC Mike LaFleur, DC Jeff Ulbrich and STC Brant Boyer head a staff that had minimal personnel changes.
"It slows down for sure," Saleh said. "And it's always better when it's the same person having the ability to make the adjustments off of what they put out there, players and coaches alike. It's a lot easier to make those adjustments seamlessly and to add onto it where players understand the language, building upon a foundation that was started and making adjustments that make sense to what you are trying to accomplish schematically."
With players in shorts and helmets, the emphasis in these voluntary OTAs will be on the neck up. There were no 11-on-11 drills on Tuesday in a session that featured a lot of 7-on-7 work while the offensive and defensive lines went through the paces on opposite ends of the grass.
See the Jets on the field during the second OTA practice of 2022.
When asked about rep allotment in Phase III, Saleh said there would be nothing to read between the lines.
"We split it up," he said. "If there is a 10-play period, I believe the reps are 5, 3, 2 in terms of the split. But it's the quarterback getting those reps from a quarterback's standpoint and from there, you as a position coach give the guys the work that the need. So, you'll see a perceived "one" take 3 out of the 5 and then split through."
Among the Jets not in attendance for the voluntary workout included Ts Mekhi Becton and George Fant, DE Carl Lawson and DT Sheldon Rankins. TE Jeremy Ruckert, ILB Jamien Sherwood, CB Brandin Echols were amongst the small group working to the side with trainers.
Saleh said of Becton: "They just had their baby, so obviously he's tending to that which is far more important than this."
WR Corey Davis, who was placed on injured reserve in December with a groin injury, was a full participant and made a couple of catches early in 7-on-7 work including a rip from second-year QB Zach Wilson. … Wilson, who put on a few pounds this offseason, connected with RBMichael Carter on the play of the day. The athletic signal-caller scrambled right and delivered a laser down the field to Carter, who had 36 receptions his rookie season, and No. 32 flashed sticky mitts with the grab for 20-plus yards. … The Jets' athleticism at cornerback was noticeable as veteran newcomer D.J. Reed broke up a Wilson pass near the sideline that was intended for WR Elijah Moore. … Rookie Sauce Gardner stayed tight on his receiver during one 7-on-7 rep, forcing a Wilson scramble. … D.J. Montgomery, who re-signed with the team on Monday, had a nice day catching a pair of ropes from Wilson and Joe Flacco over the middle.
The Jets have 10 scheduled OTAs before the team's veteran mandatory minicamp will commence on June 14. … When asked about his team's 2022 schedule, Saleh kept things close to the vest. "Got a home opener, that's a hell of a deal," he said with smile in regard to the Jets' 9/11 date vs. the Ravens at MetLife Stadium. "Baltimore does present a unique offense, so having that time to study it is a plus." … Tuesday's final words go to DE Vinny Curry, who re-signed with the Green & White after missing last season following a ruptured spleen and blood clots. "I missed it all. I never took it for granted, but just being laid up like that, that moment was scary and it really showed what the game means to you."