Throughout the season, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Randy Lange, Ethan Greenberg and Olivia Landis will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year’s Jets.
Today’s question: What have we learned after one week of training camp?
EA: Sam Darnold has the “it” factor. Borrowing a line from head coach Adam Gase, he can throw the piss out of the ball and he can do so from anywhere and from any angle. But the comments from the coaching staff and his teammates have made it clear that Darnold — even at 22 — is a natural leader and everyone has a great belief in the young signal-caller. Darnold isn’t cocky, but he’s super competitive and jumping out of the skin to get going. He’s ready to roll and he’s had a strong start to camp. Gase is a creative playcaller and he has his unit playing with pace. Ty Montgomery might have gone under the radar as a free agent signing, but this guy can do so many things on the football field. Gase will have a multitude of options with these backs in the pass game as well as on the ground. Le’Veon Bell, who ran the conditioning test twice, arrived at 1JD in amazing share. Jamison Crowder has excellent short-area quickness AND he can rip it into another gear down the field. Kelechi Osemele has embraced his role as the clear tone-setter up front.
The Jets should have one of the most talented and deepest defensive lines in football with Leonard Williams, Steve McLendon, Quinnen Williams and Henry Anderson. Bronson Kaufusi is also getting mixed in with first team during some packages. C.J. Mosley has a ton on his plate in Gregg Williams’ defense, but there is nobody you’d rather have in the middle at inside linebacker. Across the way from Jordan Jenkins, Brandon Copeland, Harvey Langi and Frankie Luvu have all received reps with the ones. Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts have done some good things on the outside and Jamal Adams is an absolute stud. The third-year safety, an instinctive force, has excelled in coverage with a number of pass defenses and he approaches every rep like it’s his last.
The battles at returner and backup quarterback will continue to stay in focus as will the competition in terms of depth. Tackle Chuma Edoga, a third-round pick out of USC, linebacker Blake Cashman, a fifth-rounder from Minnesota, corner Arthur Maulet, wideouts Deontay Burnett and Greg Dortch, an undrafted signee from Wake Forest vying for the punt-return role, all have had their moments.
See the Top Images from the First Five Practices During Jets Camp
EG: A lot, obviously, but this team is aggressive on both sides of the ball. Offensively, watching Sam Darnold push the ball downfield is fun to watch. Darnold seems comfortable, confident and decisive, all of which are qualities you want to see in a young quarterback. The running backs will be used a lot in this offense. Yes, Bell still has it. Ty Montgomery has been very impressive, too. And, by the way, Trenton Cannon may be faster than advertised. That’s a deep group and I’m interested to see how that plays out in the preseason. At receiver, how the depth chart shakes out after Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa and Jamison Crowder is a good battle to watch. When Crowder exited Monday’s practice with a foot injury, Deontay Burnett stepped in his spot. Burnett has had a nice start to camp.
Defensively, also aggressive, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering Gregg Williams’ reputation. Earlier in the spring, Trumaine Johnson said it was “bounce-back time” in 2019 and, so far, he’s delivered. Johnson has had a solid start to camp as has his counterpart, Darryl Roberts. Roberts has had a strong few practice after Enunwa made a pair of highlight-reel catches early with Roberts in coverage. Leonard Williams has also made a number of plays, rookie LB Blake Cashman has received a handful of first-team reps. I think this defense will be fun to watch in 2019. I could go on forever, but overall, the fast tempo and competitiveness between offense and defense has created a tangible buzz around this Jets team and fans have a justifiable reason to be excited.
OL: The observation that stands out most from the first week of camp has been Sam Darnold’s progression from year one. He is more confident and continues to impress with his work ethic. He is developing into a leader on this team, commanding the huddle and giving direction, and is committed to learning what makes his teammates tick. In the first week he mentioned how important it was to understand each of the players and interact with them individually, because every player responds differently. When I think of the 22-year-old QB, one word comes to mind: mature. Oh yah, and according to Adam Gase he can “throw the piss out of the ball,” too.
The WR group has also stood out with Robby Anderson expressing the desire to better his game, putting extra work in with Steelers great Hines Ward. Jamison Crowder has proved himself a popular and dependable target for Darnold and has shined through Week 1. The running back depth is going to provide Darnold and the offense plenty of options with Le’Veon Bell—who insisted in week one he didn’t feel any rust after returning from a year away—leading the way.
When it comes to the defense, I’ve been saying this for a while: the Jets defensive line depth is going to wreak some havoc this season. It’s been fun to watch Quinnen Williams get some reps, but the vets are leading the way and keeping the offense on their toes. C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson make a great duo in the middle and are doing a good job commanding the defense under Gregg Williams, who addressed the fans one practice and got them hyped before the day even started. And finally, we take a look at the defensive backs who have been tearing it up. Trumaine Johnson started his ‘bounce-back’ season with a good read and interception early in camp. Darryl Roberts has shown his competitiveness, battling back-and-forth with Quincy Enunwa and Jamal Adams has been, well, Jamal Adams. He’s loud, energetic, and has very obviously been doing his homework because he’s been all over the field making plays.