Life in the NFL is about adjusting on the fly. Such was the case Thursday morning in Spartanburg, SC where the Jets and Panthers were scheduled to have their second of two joint practices. Mother Nature, however, had other plans as heavy rain and lightning forced a cancellation.
The teams decided to practice separately, and the Jets held their session at 10:45AM at Gibbs Stadium at Wofford College.
"It's very similar," HC Robert Saleh said of any changes to the practice script. "We were just going to do seven-on-seven and a two-minute drill with Carolina. Rather than doing it with them, we'll service one another in terms of one vs. ones, twos vs. twos and then we'll finish our practice."
Second-year WR Garrett Wilson returned to the field Thursday after missing roughly two weeks with an ankle injury. Wilson was quickly integrated back with the first-team offense and caught a short pass on the second team rep and later Aaron Rodgers went to the explosive target after a quick count. The offense won the competition period thanks to a connection from the veteran signal-caller to RB Bam Knight. Knight leaked out of the backfield and was uncovered as Rodgers dumped it off to the second-year back and he produced big yards after the catch. The group, however, couldn't find the end zone in the two-minute period.
Zach Wilson, who will start Saturday in the team's second preseason game, led the second team to a score. Down eight points on the plus-25-yard line and no timeouts, Wilson found undrafted free agent WR Xavier Gipson, who was wide open, on fourth down over the middle for a touchdown. On the two-point conversion, Wilson bought time and maneuvered the pocket before delivering a ball to Gipson in the back of the end zone for a successful conversion.
"You probably felt like [Wednesday] was not his best day and that's okay," Saleh said of Wilson. "He threw his first interception of camp. … You're always going to hit a bump in the road, I don't care how good of a quarterback you are. Just [want] to see him bounce back and continue and get back on track on the road he's been on. I'm excited about his direction. He's in such a great mindset, so it's just a matter of him just getting back on the horse and rolling."
See photos of the Jets during Thursday's training camp practice in South Carolina.
In one month and one day, the Jets will open regular season play at home against the Bills. There aren't a lot of open competitions on the offense for starting job, but that's not the case at tackle. Billy Turner and Max Mitchell continue to rotate at left and right tackle. Mitchell played LT Wednesday and Turner RT before switching Thursday. Veteran Duane Brown remains on PUP following offseason shoulder surgery.
Another name that could join the mix is versatile third-year OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, who played RG, RT and LT in consecutive weeks last season. Saleh said his preference is to play AVT at right guard, but the Jets' top five players will be in the lineup.
"You know my optimistic side will say we got time," Saleh said. "There's still a lot of pieces, we've got some cards in our back pocket that we can use, but as a coach, you want it done yesterday. We want these guys rolling, we want confidence, we want to start humming, but I also understand all the different moving parts and verbiage and new scheme."
The play of the day was a throw from QB Aaron Rodgers to WR Malik Taylor in front of the boundary. Rodgers rolled to his left and delivered a strike. CB D.J. Reed, who was in tight coverage on the connection, later broke up a pass intended for Taylor and forced a throwaway. … Rodgers and TE C.J. Uzomah had completions on consecutive plays as the first connect came off a pretty play-action misdirection. … S Adrian Amos registered a PD of a Zach Wilson pass intended for WR Xavier Gipson and the deflected ball was nearly intercepted by S Ashtyn Davis… Wilson and WR Irvin Charles had good chemistry throughout and they connected for a score in the end zone in the red-zone move-the-ball period. … After LB Quincy Williams stopped RB RB Michael Carter for a short gain in the red zone, CB Brandin Echols provided stingy coverage on Rodgers and forced a throw out of bounds. … CB Sauce Gardner (quad), DE Carl Lawson (back) and rookie T Carter Warren did not practice.