Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg and Randy Lange will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: What has stood out during Jets OTAs?
EA: Back at the turn of the century, I remember Herm Edwards taking the reins of the Jets. At that time, the Green & White called Weeb Ewbank Hall home, which was located on the Hofstra University campus in Hempstead, NY. When players flashed during the spring, he'd talk about guys being on the "all-Hofstra team." It was a funny line but impactful because Edwards' point was there was a significant difference between voluntary non-padded workouts and professional football games. Fast forward a couple of decades and first-year Jets' Head Coach Robert Saleh has told his players that no one makes the team in OTAs and everything gets real when the pads come on. There is a lot of learning going on right now as far as verbiage, as the players are absorbing new systems and in many instances working alongside different teammates and figuring out their styles. On the field, Saleh exudes a calm and confidence with both coaches and players alike. He lets his coaches coach and he observes in a calculated manner. He is a towering figure who is a positive presence and doesn't have to speak loudly to command attention. The fire burns, but this is a methodical teacher at heart who exhibits faith in his staff. And something else that has flown under the radar is the differences we are seeing in activation periods as the Jets are excited about Dr. Brad DeWeese and their new athletic care and performance department. And to come full circle, Edwards recently said, "It all starts with the quarterback, once you get that piece in place, you can build the rest of the team." Zach Wilson has impressed early, but he and the Jets know there is a long way to go.
EG: How comfortable the rookies look. Let's start with QB Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick. Head Coach Robert Saleh said "the ball hasn't hit the ground a lot" in rookie minicamp and the same holds true in OTAs. Wilson has looked comfortable in the offense, showing off both his live arm and knack for touch. Earlier this week he threw a ball in the bucket to Keelan Cole down the sideline before firing a missile over the middle to Braxton Berrios a few plays later. While still a rookie, I think it's safe to say he's progressing well. Cole and Berrios have both been impressive in OTAs, too. Both Michael Carter and Michael Carter II have been impressive, too. On offense, it's clear one of Carter's strengths is his stop-start ability and his vision. He has experience in the outside-zone scheme and it shows. He broke a long run earlier this week that had the offense cheering both on the field and the players on the sideline. Remember there's no contact, so take everything with a grain of salt. Carter II received praise from Saleh in rookie minicamp for his ability to quickly process and learn, and that's shown at times on the field. Carter II came up with an interception in the end zone off a deflected pass and has flashed in coverage at nickel. Jason Pinnock also had a nice pass breakup earlier this week. It's difficult to evaluate the bigger guys like OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, LBs Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen until the pads come on, but overall the rookies have been impressive in a short amount of time.
See the Best Images from Friday's OTA Practice
RL: What has stood out for me is C.J. Mosley. Yes, it's too early to conclude anything, the pads won't go on for almost two months, talk is cheap. But it's great to see No. 57 back on the field, moving well, looking and sounding quietly confident. He's not the first NFL player to miss almost two seasons of play and of course some never come back from that but others come back as good as new. And as Mosley said recently about a teeny tiny chip on his shoulder: "When I get back on the field, I want to make sure they're respecting the name again. ... I've just got to make sure I do my job." His job? Well, he's not a sacker, nor will he likely be asked to be one in the Robert Saleh/Jeff Ulbrich 4-3. But even after sitting out 30 of the Jets' last 32 games, from 2014-20 he's still tied for 7th among NFL linebackers in pass defenses (37), 14th in tackles (583) and 5th in takeaways (10 INTs, 6 FRs). Mosley's a playmaker, the glue that can hold a front four and a back four together, and it's good to see him feeling like he's still got plenty of plays left in him.