The Jets have begun Phase 3. That means Organized Team Activity practices are under way at the Atlantic Health Training Center. And head coach Robert Saleh likes what he's seen so far.
"We've got an unbelievable turnout, a lot of great, positive vibes out there," Saleh told reporters before Tuesday's second OTA practice. "We're excited about that."
And about one of the players that many fans and media want to hear about, Saleh is equally upbeat.
"You'll see him," the second-year HC said of his second-year QB, Zach Wilson. "He looks good, he looks confident, his shoulders are back, he's not caved in. He's confident, he's smiling, he's vocal. You can always tell the confidence level and their understanding of what they're being asked to do by the volume of their voice. And he's getting pretty loud."
Of course, demeanor is important but not all-important in the NFL. And Saleh described what he saw of Wilson from the three weeks of Phase 2 workouts and Monday's first OTA practice.
"It's only been one day with Phase 3," Saleh said. "If we go through Phase 2, he clearly has a much better understanding — not to say he didn't have an understanding before but it just clicks differently in year two. Yesterday was a really cool day. He was very decisive, got the ball where it needed to get to. You just see little things in his game. And as we install more and put more of a load not only on his teammates but on himself, you'll see the amount of growth that we've made."
That growth for the entire Jets team will be addressed in our practice report later today and in the reports throughout the remainder of the OTAs, mandatory minicamp and on into the start of training camp. But as Saleh reminded, the OTAs are less a time for the physical nature of football and more a time to work "from the neck up."
"Football is unique in the sense that you actually have to play the sport to get good at it," he said. "So everything about OTAs is really about technique, fundamentals. The violence part of it's not there because you don't have pads. But it's being able to refamiliarize yourself with the scheme, there's a lot of self-scout that's taken place, introducing new concepts to guys and trying to build off of what we did a year ago."
So no one on the outside will get a really crisp, clear picture of how Zach Wilson looks running Saleh's and OC Mike LaFleur's scheme in year two until late July, when training camp begins. But for now, Saleh's report on his signal-caller echoes with his "great, positive vibes" for his entire team.
"You can tell Zach's in a great mental space," Saleh said. "He's speaking the right language, he's saying the right things, he's doing the right things off the field with regard to who he's surrounding himself with. So we're really excited about where he's at. Now it's just a matter of continuing the growth with regards to the football aspect of it and seeing how far he can take it."