The new-look Jets, debuting their practice jerseys for the first time, opened training camp Thursday in Florham Park with a two-plus hour workout that featured both good pace and high energy.
"It's a one day at a time process. It's not something that's going to happen overnight," said first-year head coach Adam Gase. "You have to grind, you have to work every day to get better. We need to get better, we need to stay healthy, we need to make sure we keep coming together as a group. It's going to take a lot of things for us just to get to that first game and make sure we're ready to go."
The players didn't have to wait long to get on the field. Following a breakfast and positional meetings, they dressed in the locker room prior to 8:00 a.m. and were outside for a walk thru by 8:25.
"It's much better 8:45 in the morning than it is at 1:30," said veteran DL Henry Anderson of the practice time. "We get our work in but everything's efficient. We're not wasting any time. It's good to be moving the whole time we're out here."
Top Images from the First Practice of 2019 Training Camp
Running back Le'Veon Bell, who showed up to camp in excellent shape and completed the conditioning run a pair of times, took a handoff from Sam Darnold on the second rep of team drills. Bell spun off a defender, found a hole and high-stepped his way for good yardage into the secondary.
"It felt good to get back out there with my teammates," he told reporters. "Just camp, the whole camp environment. It just felt good, getting up in the morning, getting the body right, having a long day. You just have to enjoy the process."
Later in practice, Robby Anderson hauled in a toss from Darnold on a crossing route. Anderson, eager to be showcased in Gase's attack, was delighted to find out former Steelers' wideout Hines Ward would be a coaching intern during training camp. On Day 1, Anderson worked with Ward off to the side during a special teams period.
"That's a great resource," he said of Ward. "He's done it to a high level consistently, future Hall of Famer. So what else can I ask for?"
The Green & White will practice one more time before the physicality picks up on Saturday with the team's first padded practice.
"We're just trying to do good job of making sure we're tight as a group and we learn each other. This is a new group," Gase said. "It's not the same team from last year, it's a different coaching staff and some guys have worked together and some haven't. We're all trying to learn each other better than what we did in the spring. We weren't all together — we were hit or miss as far as how many guys were here all the time and that's part of the offseason. Now we're all together and we just have to keep learning each together and keep finding ways to get better."
Corners In the Deep End
Brian Poole, the former Falcons DB who is atop the depth chart at nickel cornerback, opened up camp on the active/non-football-injury list. But Poole, replaced on the first team by third-year pro Arthur Maulet, won't be gone long.
"Hopefully we get him back tomorrow," Gase said of Poole. "We were giving him an extra day, kind of doing a little extra conditioning and make sure he's good to go. But we should have him out there very soon."
The Jets, who lined up Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts outside the numbers, have a lot of question marks at the position as the group features a lot of inexperience.
"We need some of these young guys to come along quickly," Gase said. "We knew coming in that we had two guys who were veteran players. We have a lot of young guys and a lot of guys with no experience. We're thin and we need guys to develop quickly We're going to need guys to play well in the preseason and practice well and step up."
A First Catch
The first reception of camp? That went to Eric Tomlinson as the man best known for his blocking prowess came down with a short pass from Darnold. In the days leading up to camp, GM Joe Douglas signed a pair of tight ends in Ryan Griffin and Temuchin Hodges. Second-year tight end Chris Herndon will be suspended the team's first four games and the team needed more depth.
"I think we only had four guys at the time and that position for us is one we like to use. We like to use multiple tight end sets and we need some guys out there. We were lucky enough to get some guys who have played a little bit," Gase said. "For us, the more competition we can add and the more depth we can add at that spot because it's a tough position to play. It's probably one of the harder positions to play on offense outside quarterback."
Despite his scheduled absence, Herndon is expected to get a healthy amount of work throughout the summer.
"I want him working. He's a young player that needs reps and he's going to be a big part of our offense when he gets back," Gase said. "We need him to have a good training camp. We need him to stay focus on the task at hand."
With Marcus Maye on the PUP list, Rontez Miles got the call in the defensive backfield alongside Jamal Adams… The team worked on first and second down situations during team periods… Outside 'backer Frankie Luvu came up with the first interception of camp, picking off a Davis Webb ball over the middle… Jamison Crowder showed his explosion from the slot position, finding holes in the defense and picking up yards after the catch on a few occasions… Right guard Brian Winters was excused from camp for a very good personal reason and replaced in the lineup by veteran Tom Compton.