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Jets Set to Wrap Up the Offseason Program with Mandatory Minicamp

DC Jeff Ulbrich Says QB Aaron Rodgers Has 'Found Some Sort of Fountain of Youth'


After concluding OTAs and their voluntary portion of the offseason, the Jets will hold their annual mandatory minicamp this week at 1 Jets Drive. With the regular season opener vs. the 49ers fewer than three months away, the Jets have plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about the season ahead.

But the Green & White don't need to look far to be reminded how quickly things can change on the roster. Safety Chuck Clark, acquired from Baltimore in a trade last March, was lost for the season when he sustained a torn ACL on the last play of OTAs in 2023.

"Got up, walked away, walked off the field," he told reporters last week. "I mean, if you see the video, I actually ran back to the sidelines, so didn't know. That happened on a Friday, came back in on a Monday and it was like, yeah, that had happened. So, I went the whole weekend moving around the house, my car, this is natural football game soreness, it's going to be good by the weekend. I couldn't believe it when it did happen, like I wasn't accepting it, like I'm moving around, it's just not true. So, yeah, last play."

After completing OTAs this spring, Clark's minicamp snaps will be a first for him with the Jets. QB Aaron Rodgers, who sustained an Achilles tendon tear four snaps into this Jets' regular season debut vs. the Bills last September, has been sharp as ever throughout the spring. He recently estimated he's at about 90% and has dazzled with the legendary live arm and trademark no-look passes.

"He has found some sort of fountain of youth because I don't ever see a different version of him," said DC Jeff Ulbrich. "He's the same guy I saw the last four weeks of the season when he was dicing us up in the scout team stuff. He's got something figured out, whatever it is, but it's just, I don't see any velocity off the ball. I don't see a lack of movement. He's got the same personality that pisses you off during the week and then you love on Sundays. So, I can't wait to actually get an opportunity to be part of a season with him, as opposed to four plays."

The Jets finished No. 4 and No. 3 in total defense in 2022 and '23, respectively. While there will be competition at safety this summer and there have been significant changes along the defensive line, there are stars on every level with DT Quinnen Williams, edge rusher Hasson Reddick (Jermaine Johnson is emerging), LBs Quincy Williams and C.J. Mosley, and arguably the top CB trio in football with Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed and Michael Carter II. But how much would this group benefit from a healthy Rodgers directing an offense that was also decimated by injuries along the offensive line in 2023?

"I think from speaking for the offense," said HC Robert Saleh. "I think all of it's been good, it's been tied together. There's more, a lot more clarity on what it would look like regardless of who is at quarterback. And for that, I think we've experienced a lot of growth in that regard, which has been a good thing."

Saleh has spent more time with the offense this spring and Rodgers has said the former defensive coordinator has "added a lot of interesting stuff" that people will be able to see throughout OTAs and training camp.

"The fact that he has all that knowledge on defense, it helps us on offense, like how can we scheme something up and verse this coverage and all the match that you all play and the way that you all have figured it out," said WR Garrett Wilson. "You see teams around the league trying to mimic what he's done."

See all of the best photos from OTA No. 9 during the 2024 offseason program.

Reddick, one of the league's most productive pass rushers, could make his practice debut in mandatory camp. Saleh told reporters last week the Jets know the former Philly defender is working his tail off to get to where he needs to be.

"I absolutely see him as a guy that can play every single down," Ulbrich said of Reddick. "Although he is a little undersized, he's great with leverage, hand placement. He understands how to play the position, both as a pass rusher, obviously, from the sack production, but obviously from an edge-setting standpoint and the beauty of it is we have such a diverse group."

The Jets have a diverse group of players overall, grizzled veterans, first- and second-year players looking to make jumps and a foundational group of third-year pros highlighted by Gardner, Wilson, Johnson and Breece Hall.

"Year 3 is when they learn balance between their newfound fame, the money in their bank account, the social media stuff, the branding, and the family part of it, and then the football part of it," Saleh said. "They learn how to balance all of that, so they can keep the main thing the main thing, which is being a great football player."

The Jets have a lot of good football players, but good health will continue to be paramount in minicamp, into the summer and beyond.

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