The rapid-fire changing of phases is about to kick into another gear this weekend for the Jets. The team will reduce its training camp roster of 80 to 53 players on the Active/Inactive list by Saturday at 4 p.m. That will be followed by a waivers claiming period that will end at noon Sunday, and then finally the Green & White will construct a 16-player practice squad.
"It's unusual because you have so many guys who can go on the practice squad this year," said Head Coach Adam Gase. "I'm sure we'll end up having about five really tough decisions to make."
While playing in a pandemic, the league's expanded practice squad can include six veterans with an unlimited number of accrued seasons. A practice-squad player can sign with another club at any point, but the Jets and all 32 teams will be allowed to protect as many as four practice-squad players each week.
"This season is going to be different than anything any of us have ever experienced," Gase said Wednesday. "It's all going to be about work in progress and who keeps getting better throughout the season [and] who can stay healthy throughout the season. We just have to do everything we can to keep working to get better."
The Jets have discussed a number of options for the season including a quarterback quarantine. Several clubs have thought of keeping one quarterback in isolation, so they can have a signal-caller ready if the virus was caught by two or three quarterbacks on the roster.
"You want to be smart because you're not really sure where this is going to go," Gase said. "We're going to start traveling to road games, staying at a hotel [and] coming back. This is another step that we're going to have to take, which we haven't done yet. There is some unknown here. That's the tough part. We have to try [and] figure this all out over the next couple of days."
See the Best Photos from Wednesday's Practice at Training Camp
Thursday's practice will essentially mark the completion of the most unique training camp in Jets and NFL history. Instead of practically living in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center from early in the morning until mid-evening, players are coming in for practice and then going to their homes or hotel rooms for virtual meetings. Veteran DL Henry Anderson has been a fan of the virtual classroom, staying engaged in meetings and using his personal space to stretch and work with the foam roller.
"You can do that a little bit easier when you have your own space and you're at home as opposed to being in a meeting room," he said. "I know I enjoy that part of it, my legs feel a lot better than they typically would at this point in training camp."
The Jets had to alter their schedule only once this summer due to COVID-19. Testing irregularities led to 10 false-positive results and a canceled walk-through, but the Jets' sole canceled practiced was a choice as the organization decided to spend four hours discussing racial inequality and using their platform to fight for social justice. On Tuesday, the NFL and NFLPA reported that 58,621 tests were administered to 8,739 players and team personnel between Aug. 21 and Aug. 29. There were four new confirmed positive tests among players and six new confirmed positives among other personnel.
"It's hard to imagine that there wouldn't be a small little outbreak here or there, but knock on wood that hasn't happened yet," Anderson said. "You have to credit the NFL for coming up with the protocols that they've been really successful so far. It's been awesome."
WRs Denzel Mims (hamstring) and Lawrence Cager (knee), CB Pierre Desir (hamstring) and T Conor McDermott (knee) all participated in individual drills. ... "It feels amazing," Mims told reporters. "It feels real good to go out here and compete at practice and get back in a rhythm, get my feet wet a little bit and catch some balls and be out there with my teammates." ... Rookie OL Cameron Clark sustained a knee injury during the workout and will be evaluated. … Players who did not practice Wednesday: OLBTarell Basham(ankle), WR Braxton Berrios (low back), G Alex Lewis (shoulder), S Marcus Maye (calf), LB Patrick Onwuasor (knee), RB La'Mical Perine (ankle), WR Breshad Perriman(knee), WR Jeff Smith (shoulder), WRVyncint Smith (core) and DL Jabari Zuniga(quad). ... The Jets had hoped to get Perriman back last weekend, but the former Buccaneers target continues to deal with some swelling in his knee. "I was way off on that," Head Coach Adam Gase said. "I really thought he was going to be back. We're just trying to make sure he feels good." … Donte Moncrief got in a few reps with the first team and hauled in a long ball down the sideline from Sam Darnold. ... Fellow wideout Jehu Chesson made one of the best grabs in camp, hauling in a one-hander from Darnold despite tight coverage applied from CB Quincy Wilson. … With Lewis out due to shoulder soreness and Greg Van Roten (oblique) on a pitch count, the Jets turned to Josh Andrews and Jonotthan Harrison up front. Likewise, in the defensive backfield, Ashtyn Davis has been getting first-team reps with the team taking a cautionary approach with Maye.