Tuesday's practice included a pair of firsts – the first with pads and Aaron Rodgers' first interception in training camp, which fell into the hands of No. 1, Sauce Gardner.
"I won't get too much into detail," Robert Saleh said of the play, "but there was a little execution error from an offensive standpoint."
Rodgers' pass was intended for Jeremy Ruckert. The ball sailed over the second-year tight end and fell into the hands of the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
The offense and defense went back and forth during practice, but the former pulled away for the win in the final period. Rodgers, Zach Wilson and Chris Streveler each led their units to a touchdown. Rodgers connected with WR Garrett Wilson down the sideline for a 35-yard picture-perfect score with Michael Carter II in coverage. Earlier that drive, CB D.J. Reed broke up a deep pass intended for WR Corey Davis and LB Quincy Williams and S Tony Adams were in great coverage of Mecole Hardman Jr. on another deep ball.
Undrafted free agent WR Xavier Gipson put the second-team offense in the end zone on an end-around, while fellow UDFA WR Jerome Kapp hauled in a pass, with the third team, in the corner of the end zone with Ashtyn Davis draped over him.
The defensive staff, as a result, did 20 pushups.
"The drill at the end, offense move the ball period from the 35-yard line," Saleh said. "If they score a touchdown then the defensive staff does pushups. The defensive players had to carry the pads in and vice versa. So the coaches, we still have to do pushups. I do pushups for both sides to be clear on that one."
Mitchell Making His Move
Max Mitchell, drafted to be a developmental player, was forced into the starting lineup out of the gate his rookie season. Entering Week 4, Mitchell had taken the most snaps among any rookie tackle with 232.
"Last year it was one of those deals where we had to start him cause of all the carnage we had in the offensive-line room, " HC Robert Saleh said Tuesday. "And I'm not going to pretend like there weren't some sleepless nights where we were worried about whether or not he'd be able to perform, but then he goes out there and performs. It's like 'Oh, that wasn't bad.' "
Mitchell, who started 13 games at RT for Louisiana in 2021, was drafted in the fourth round. He first went to injured reserve after sustaining a knee injury against the Steelers in Week 4. Mitchell returned from injured reserve in late November only to play in two more games before his first pro campaign was ended due to blood clots.
"He got better and better and better and unfortunately he had his ailment, but you trust a guy like him because he's going to figure it out," Saleh said. "Just pure grit and grind. As I said before, he's kind of old school in that every single play is so important to him. He's going to learn it and he's going to keep fighting no matter how bad the play is or the play before, he drops it and goes to the next one and he'll continue fighting. I love his mental makeup and who he is as an individual, and he's earned that trust by being thrust into a fire last year when we didn't think he was ready and kind of had to do it by necessity and proved that he's capable."
Early on in camp, Mitchell has worked with the first-team offense. Veteran T Duane Brown remains on the PUP list.
See the best images from the first fully padded practice of 2023 at Jets Training Camp.
Jets Hall of Fame RB Curtis Martin attended Tuesday's practice. Martin, whose 10,302 rush yards and 12,741 yards from scrimmage rank No. 1 in franchise history, spent some time watching the workout with Chairman Woody Johnson and he also caught up with Paul Hackett, the former Jets offensive coordinator who is the father of current Jets OC Nathaniel Hackett. At 50, Martin still looks as good as ever and has stayed in shape with a routine that includes boxing and yoga.
Early in practice, DT Quinnen Williams got out in space and corralled Zonovan 'Bam' Knight for a loss near the line of scrimmage after a screen. … FB Nick Bawden has been active in the pass game throughout the first week of camp. … K Greg Zuerlein made 4 of his 6 field-goal attempts. … DL Quinton Jefferson and LB Jermaine Johnson converged on a QB pressure. … While the defense has recovered a few fumbles this summer, the Sauce Gardner INT was the defense's first. The Jets had 12 INTs last season. The final word goes to HC Robert Saleh on the Aaron Rodgers: "The guy glows in the dark, so he's a pretty damn good quarterback."