Last week, Will Parks was released by the Dolphins on Tuesday and the veteran safety signed with Jets on Wednesday. By Sunday, he was in the starting lineup contributing for a Jets defense ravaged by Covid and injury. The well-traveled Parks, who has been on four different rosters the past year, views his frequent moves as an advantage.
"It just makes it easier throughout the whole process when you're out there on the field," Parks said this week after registering 5 tackles and 1 PD in the Jets' 26-21 win over the Jaguars. "With my kind of versatility of being able to see football from so many angles, it always makes my job a whole lot easier transitioning to new defenses. I just use it to my advantage."
Parks' professional career began with the Denver Broncos when the Arizona product was selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Parks appeared in 62 games for the Broncos from 2016-19 before short stints with the Eagles (2020), the Broncos a second time, the Chiefs (2021) and the 49ers (2021). In late November, Parks was signed by the Dolphins off the 49ers' practice squad. He has 180 career tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, 13 PDs, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery.
"I just signed here last Wednesday, I don't know if that transition happens where a guy goes out and starts immediately, but it's also just a testament to my focus and my preparation throughout the week and honing in on the details." he said "[The coaches] expect you to get it now, so that's kind of been my focus and my M.O. throughout my whole career and it's gotten me here thus far. So, I'm definitely appreciative and grateful, but it's just a blessing when you have a great staff."
His preparation throughout the week showed in his Jets' debut vs. Jacksonville. Pro Football Focus gave Parks the highest grade for any Jets defender after he played 85.7% of the snaps and finished with 4 solo tackles (1 assist) and 1 PD.
"We're excited about Will. All it takes is one game, right?" said head coach Robert Saleh. "Credit to him and the coaching staff, for the extra hours they put in to get ready for Sunday. He, in his very short time already, earned the benefit of the doubt. We're really looking forward to working with him more."
Parks is already looking forward to contributing for the Green and White again this weekend as the Jets go up against one of the greatest players of all time, Tom Brady.
"I think the biggest thing that we have to do this week is just be us," Parks said. "Obviously, we know (No.) 12 is going down as one of the best quarterbacks, if not the best to ever play the football game, but I think the first thing is just the motivation to go up against him."
Against Jacksonville, Parks and rookie DB Jason Pinnock became the eighth and ninth starters for the Jets at safety this season. Ashtyn Davis has come off the Covid list, Elijah Riley is full-go after a concussion in Miami and the Jets are hopeful Sharrod Neasman will return soon as well, so the depth should be better against the defending champion Buccaneers.
The experienced Parks (27) will continued to be prepared no matter his role on Sunday against Brady and company.
"I think the preparation this week should be an extra 10% if not 100%," he said. "Your workouts should be at 100%, that's throughout every week, but a guy like [Tom Brady] brings a little extra juice to the table. So, I'm excited to go up against him."