Robert Saleh's message to the Jets at the end of last season was "finish". After a slow start on Sunday, the team's fourth practice, the offense finished practice red hot in the red zone.
"Red-zone offense is always so hard because you either have to run it in or you have to put that ball in a place where only one person in the world can catch it because windows are really tight," Saleh said. "It's got to get in there quick, you have to be precise, so it's been really good for the offense, obviously. Aaron [Rodgers] does a great job threading the needle. Zach [Wilson] had a couple really good throws today in the red zone. It's been encouraging, but defensively we have to figure out how to close up those windows."
Rodgers threw a touchdown pass on consecutive plays, one to WR Garrett Wilson followed by TE Tyler Conklin. Wilson corralled Rodgers' pass in the back of the end zone and twisted his body to keep his feet in bounds.
"I'm always optimistic that the guys we draft that we'll be able to develop," Saleh said. "Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't, but we knew he was going to special and he just keeps elevating the bar." He added: "He's capable of as much as he wants to give."
TE Kenny Yeboah did his best to one-up Wilson in the red zone with a one-handed catch on a floater from Zach Wilson in the back of the end zone.
The offense was hot in the red area, but the defense won the competition period. Early in practice, S Jordan Whitehead broke up a deep pass from Rodgers to Allen Lazard. as D.J. Reed was in good coverage and the pass rush continued to wreak havoc throughout the day with several would-be sacks.
"As many great defensive lines I've been a part of," said John Franklin-Myers, who played on the Rams with Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, Dante Fowler, Michael Brockers and others, "I can truly say that this is the deepest D-line I've been a part of and the most unique."
Next Up: Pads
The Green & White's practices since reporting for camp last Wednesday have followed the contact rules of Phase 3 of the offseason program as an acclimation period. That changes on Tuesday when the pads come on after Monday's day off.
"You hope that nothing changes except for the noise of the collision obviously," said Saleh, who is pleased with the intensity level of the early practices. "You still want them to compete, you still want them going 100 miles per hour, you still want them to take care of one another in terms of learning how to practice as a pro, staying off the ground all that stuff. With pads, usually the intensity levels up a little bit but I've loved the way we've competed these first four days just going back and forth."
See the best photos from day four of 2023 Jets Training Camp.
T Duane Brown, who missed the first few days of training camp for personal reasons, did more work on the side. He remains on the physically unable to perform list and can be activated at any time. … UDFA Jason Brownlee had a highlight-reel catch, jumping over CB Brandin Echols down the sideline to reel in a Zach Wilson pass.
Aaron Rodgers ripped a ball over the middle to WR Allen Lazard for a big catch-and-run. … LB Jamien Sherwood also forced a fumble on RB Michael Carter. … RB Zonovan Knight had a chunk gain on the ground. … Chris Streveler dropped a sideline pass in the bucket to FB Nick Bawden, who has been active as a pass catcher early in camp.