On just the second play of the Jets’ third camp practice, RB Le’Veon Bell took a handoff from Sam Darnold and found daylight along the left side of the line. Bell decisively exploded through the hole, much to the delight of the fans, but his workout would soon be over. For the second consecutive day, Bell was forced to the locker room to take a drug test.
“Since he wasn’t here during the spring, they have to do it now during training camp,” said head coach Adam Gase, who later added, “There’s nothing we can do about it.”
The Jets will have Bell carry a heavy load in the regular season, but one of the most impressive performers early in camp has been Ty Montgomery. Listed as a RB-WR, Montgomery again turned in a solid day while lining up seemingly everywhere, catching passes from Sam Darnold and running the ball in between the tackles.
“When Le’Veon had to go in, we were low on numbers,” Gase said. “So, Ty might be around 165 pounds right now after today. We were trying to move all those guys. The good thing is it was good for them because that can happen in a real game. And any time you are thrown in with the ones, everything is real amplified.”
Best Images from Saturday's Open Practice at 1 Jets Drive
Montgomery carried the load today, but veterans Bilal Powell got more reps and Trenton Cannon, who showed off the wheels on a run up the gut, even got a couple of reps with the first team-offense. Gase, the team’s creative playcaller, has his unit working fast and Darnold is spreading the football around.
“I feel like towards the end, that last team period, we looked a little heavy-footed which is good. That’s what’s training camp is for is to get us really conditioned and push ourselves and almost get to that edge where you feel like you’re almost going to drop because you feel I’m in cement,” Gase said. “I felt guys were trying to push through that stuff, but I like the pace. I liked a lot of the plays that occurred. The line felt like they had some good juice to them. We hit a couple of runs there and you could tell they were feeling it.”
Montgomery, who found space on a number of occasions, including a gash up the gut after a read option, was an under-the-radar addition in free agency. But he’s a guy who can spell Bell and Gase also has the option of using them together to create mismatches.
“The offense shouldn’t skip a beat,” Montgomery said of him replacing Bell. “The offense shouldn’t feel that much different. It should still be an attack offense. The running back should still be explosive whether they’re running the ball of whether they’re running a route and catching the ball. It’s going to be a fun year, a fun offense.”
Two for Trumaine
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams continues to preach the need for takeaways and cornerback Trumaine Johnson obliged with a pair Saturday. He started the thievery by stepping in front of a Darnold pass over the middle intended for slot receiver Jamison Crowder.
“We were in man-to-man coverage and fortunately I had a safety over the top,” Johnson said. “I was just reading him and his stem. He went out and I went it. I have seen the route plenty of times and had to make a play.”
“That was a good play by Trumaine. I told him that’s why we probably only threw at you like three times over six years,” added Gase. “I didn’t realize he stayed over there. We were trying to pick on Poole a little bit. He had caused a couple of turnovers yesterday, so we tried to go after him and Trumaine stayed over there.”
Later in the session, Johnson added a fumble recovery. The 29-year-old No. 1 corner, who had four interceptions last season in just 10 games, has thrived under Williams before and displayed his football acumen on the pick.
“I know stems. I know when the receiver is about to catch the ball and when he’s not. It was a double move,” he said. “Crowder, he’s a hell of a receiver first off, let’s give him credit. As soon as he did what I call a stick-nine, I turned my eyes around and the ball was right there.”
Rookie Quinnen Williams participated in his first camp practice and got in with the first-team defense early in the opening team period… Veteran outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, who tied for the team lead with seven sacks last year, said he’s down to nine-percent body fat. “Even at home, I’ve got like a water filter so I always have water available,” he said. “I’m staying away from the juices and all that.” Jenkins, already in his fourth year out of Georgia, will be a good mentor for Jachai Polite, a third-round pick from Florida. “I just want to help him understand it’s a grind and you just have to keep your head up. You just have to keep your head up because when your number’s called, you have to be ready.” … Bronson Kafusi, a 6’6”, 275-pounder, again got some work with the first-unit defense along the defensive line. He is a long-limbed defender who brings a non-stop motor. Frankie Luvu also got some first-team run today at outside ‘backer and rookie Blake Cashman took some at inside LB. Williams is going to use plenty of personnel all year long… Safety Doug Middleton made a diving interception off a floated ball that Trevor Siemian threw under heavy duress…Greg Dortch, Quadree Henderson, Tim White, J.J. Jones and Jamison Crowder all took reps at punt returner.