After Jets RB Le'Veon Bell came out of Wednesday's scrimmage, Jets head coach Adam Gase said the club limited him to a few reps because of hamstring tightness. Bell then took to social media and said his hamstrings were fine and it was tough to get loose while standing around. After the Jets practiced Saturday, Gase told reporters that the two men were able to clear the air.
"I was caught off guard a little bit, but we had a good talk," Gase said. "I told him I felt like our relationship was way better than him going on social media and him just being able to come talk to me. We talked about a lot of stuff, we talked about some things that maybe we can do a little different. He understood kind of how I was going to do some things in practice.
"For me, he's a veteran player who has been around for a while. When I explained some things to him, he understood what I've been trying to do at practice. He knows we're kind of trying to thread the needle on quite a few things with reps and making sure we are doing a good job of getting guys in the right shape heading into Week 1. This is unfamiliar territory to all of us. We're just trying to find the best way to get ourselves ready for the first game of the year."
Bell carries the mentality of a workhorse, so he can't get enough reps. The Jets do have quality depth in the backfield with Frank Gore and rookie La'Mical Perine and Gase has faulted himself for putting Bell in precarious positions early last season when Sam Darnold was out with mono.
"If the ones had 12 reps, he's willing to stay in 12 reps," Gase said. "As a coaching staff, we're trying to look from 50,000 feet. There is a long season. I felt like one of the things I did a poor job of last year was that first month of the year was grinding him to the point where he couldn't have felt great that back half of the season. Just trying to do the right thing and make sure we're ready to go Week 1 and we can go 16-plus."
See the Top Images from the Second Week of Practices at 2020 Jets Camp
The Jets continue to be hamstrung at wide receiver. Already minus Vyncint Smith (core), Denzel Mims (hamstring), Breshad Perriman (knee) and Lawrence Cager (knee), the Jets lost another WR early in practice when Jeff Smith sustained a shoulder injury during a 7-on-7 drill. While Smith will have an MRI Saturday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported veteran receiver Donte Moncrief had reached an agreement in principle to join the team. The 6-2, 216-pound Moncrief, who has 21 TDs in 77 career games, won't sign a contract until he undergoes COVID-19 testing and passes a physical.
"You're looking at a guy who is able to move pretty good," said Gase of Moncrief, who posted a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash before the 2014 NFL Draft. "He has some experience in the league and he shouldn't have a problem picking up the offense. It will probably happen pretty quick for him. When you haven't seen a guy live, it's hard to say what a guy is going to be in this offense."
As the juggling continues on the outside, Darnold's favorite targets in practice continue to be TE Chris Herndon and WR Jamison Crowder.
"It's always going to come down to he's going to find a couple of dudes we all know he's going to go to when it's crunch time whether it's Herndon or Crowder," Gase said. "Those two guys seem to show up all the time. Lev and Frank and Perine and those guys are working some different routes and we're trying to expand that library there. With the receivers going down, hey maybe we have to focus more on throwing to the tight ends and throwing more to the backs. We're just going to keep trying to open it up for him and see what our best combination is heading into the season."
Players who did not practice Saturday: RB Josh Adams (hamstring), OLB Tarell Basham (ankle), WR Lawrence Cager (knee), CB Pierre Desir (hamstring), S Matthias Farley (hamstring), OL Conor McDermott (knee), WR Denzel Mims (hamstring), WR Breshad Perriman (knee), CB Brian Poole (dehydration) and DL Jabari Zuniga (quad). Poole, who had a helmet on and moved around well, is nearing a return. "I think Poole, we're in that last phase where we're about to get him working in individuals, so we're progressing the right way."… The Green & White will move to MetLife Stadium for Sunday's session. "I think it's going to be more of a practice than a scrimmage," Gase said. "Really what we're trying to do is show the guys how our stadium is going to be and how it is going to be set-up. There are some different things we have to go through just with the social distancing from how we're going to do everything from getting there. getting ready (and) coming out. We'll try to give guys a little feel of what halftime is going to be like. We have a bunch of rookies who have never been through an NFL halftime." In a late-game situation during the final period, Marcus Maye negated scoring attempts from Sam Darnold to Chris Herndon on consecutive plays in opposite corners of the end zone. The Maye-Herndon matchup has been one of the top competitions in camp when they are singled up against each other. … With Adams still out, the Jets sent a conditional draft pick to the Dolphins Friday in exchange for RB Kalen Ballage. In 2018, Ballage averaged 5.3 Yds/Att under Gase in Miami. "The guy played a lot of special teams for me in the past. He's done some gunner work and some return work."