For the first time since Dec. 29, the Jets took the field with pads Monday and started to shake off the rust.
"We have a lot of things to clean up, keeping guys off the ground and making sure we practice the right way but at the same time playing physical," coach Adam Gase said. "It's obviously been the first time we've been in pads since December, but I did think the effort was there, the speed was there. We did a lot of good things as far as improvement. It was a short practice that was mandated through the NFL and NFLPA, the way they have this set up. Ninety minutes goes quick, but I do think we got some good work in. We have a lot of improvement to do."
The practice time will increase as laid out by the league and the players' association. The team will practice Tuesday-Thursday before an off day on Friday. On the field, the injury bug continues to bite. Linebacker James Burgess, who started 10 games for the Green & White last season and finished second on the team with 90 tackles, sustained a non-contact lower-back injury in individual drills.
"This is one thing that we talk about as a staff all the time," Gase said. "Injuries occur. We have the next-man-up philosophy. We try to put our players in the best position possible. When guys do go down and we do have some kind of change, we can't flinch as coaches. We just adjust what we're doing. We do everything we can to put those guys in the best position possible and sometimes it's through trial and error. Sometimes it's proven to us that you can do something or you can't. That comes through the entire time of training camp. When we hit the season, we should have a pretty good feel of who can do what and who we can use."
See the Top Photos from Monday's Practice at Training Camp
Things change in the blink of an eye in the NFL. Two weeks ago, inside linebacker was debatably the Jets' deepest position on paper. It's now a much different landscape. Starting LB C.J. Mosley opted out of the 2020 season, Avery Williamson is still on the physically unable to perform list, and with Burgess down, the room consists of Neville Hewitt, Blake Cashman and Patrick Onwuasor. Gase said he doesn't have a timeframe for Williamson's return, but noted he's increased his workload recently. Hewitt and Cashman took first-team reps Monday and Hewitt, who went from backup Will LB to starting Mike LB within two weeks last year because of injuries, is ready for an increased role.
"I'm a lot more comfortable playing Mike in the system my second year," he said. "I got a lot of experience last year and I believe that's going to help a lot. I'm ahead of where I was last year at this time. Now this is the time to work on the little things and continue to get better."
Players who did not practice on Monday: Burgess (back), OL Cameron Clark (shoulder), CB Pierre Desir (hamstring), DL Bronson Kaufusi (hamstring), WR Denzel Mims (hamstring), CB Brian Poole (dehydration), WR Vyncint Smith (core), TE Ross Travis (groin) and DL Jabari Zuniga (quad).
Rookie T Mekhi Becton got the best of Hewitt on the second level, but veteran Jordan Jenkins, who led the team with 8 sacks in 2019, beat Becton to the inside in the 1-on-1 period. ... Tight end Chris Herndon made a remarkable grab early in practice, but in the first team period, Marcus Maye did a nice job reading Herndon's route over the middle and knocked down the pass from QB Sam Darnold. ... Rookie S Ashtyn Davis showed off his track speed. David Fales tossed a deep ball down the sideline intended for WR Jehu Chesson, who was in 1-on-1 coverage with CB Quincy Wilson. Davis was the lone safety and made a nice read to get to the sideline in time to break up the pass. ... RB Josh Adams squeezed through a hole and broke through to the second level on a run play, but he later coughed up the rock near the end of practice and LB Frankie Luvu recovered.