Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange and Caroline Hendershot will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: Where do the Jets stand two weeks into training camp?
EA: Young, confident, deep and healthy. Last season, Jets rookies/first-year players led the league in games started (76) and finished second in the league in snaps (5,675). That group that got its scars last season and played in closer games down the stretch has added three rookies who look ready to make significant, immediate impacts in CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, WR Garrett Wilson and RB Breece Hall. Gardner is long, physical and he has an exceptional motor, Wilson is a great athlete with burst and range who can run after the catch, while Hall is a complete back who will be a perfect complement for Michael Carter. The depth of this defensive line, with Carl Lawson healthy, draft picks Jermaine Johnson and Micheal Clemons, free-agent signees Jacob Martin, Vinny Curry and Solomon Thomas, is outstanding. If the Jets win on early downs, they will be nasty on quarterbacks from the first quarter to the final whistle. That Kwon Alexander, a veteran with juice, signing was a really nice move by GM Joe Douglas. This is the best the WR and CB groups have looked from top to bottom in a long time. The offensive line doesn't have quite the depth of the defensive line, but DT Sheldon Rankins said this week that the DL won't face a better unit from left to right throughout the season. Finally, QB Zach Wilson is starting to heat up and the Jets are healthy. As former Jets HC Herman Edwards used to say of his beloved Lakers back in the day, "It's all good in Inglewood." So far, so good.
EG: The Jets are in a good spot two weeks into camp. Both the offense and defense have had their moments in the first two weeks, which is a good sign. The competition has been heightened the past few practices and as HC Robert Saleh said, they're sick of each other. I think we'll know more Friday night against the Eagles, but at the same time, preseason games have to be taken with a grain of salt. What's encouraging to me is that the rookies have all flashed, too. Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson, Jermaine Johnson and Breece Hall have all received first-team reps at times and all of them seem to be transitioning well. Gardner and Hall, in particular, have caught my eye. Hall's speed and vision was apparent at Saturday night's Green & White practice and Gardner hasn't gotten beat much, especially deep. I'm excited to see him -- and the team -- practice against the Falcons and Giants in the coming weeks. Lastly, the depth on this team is much better than it has been in recent years. The Jets will have to let go good players on cutdown days, but that's a good problem to have. The team is off to a good start in training camp
See the Green & White on the field at MetLife Stadium.
RL: At the moment, they're standing pretty tall. Just ask them. C.J. Mosley on his team: "We're definitely excited to take the necessary steps to accomplish what we've all come here to do." Quincy Williams about the linebackers: "We're going to be scary." C.J. Uzomah on the TEs: "This is one of the best groups I've ever been a part of." Solomon Thomas on the D-line: "I think our potential is out the ceiling, it's up in space." Ahmad Gardner on his CB group: "I know we've got a lot of great talent. Everybody's feeling it." OC Mike LaFleur on the O-line: "I think we have the potential to be really, really good." I'm glad they feel that way, but with that kind of confidence, they need to get up to top speed quickly. Maybe it was a good development that the D, after beating up on the O in last year's Green & White Practice, played the O a little more evenly Saturday night. That could mean the offense is better, while the defense, as Mosley said after the practice, "has some things to work on but definitely there were some positive signs." We'll know more in less than a week when they play at the Eagles, but at this spot on the summer calendar, the Jets, fingers crossed, are making progress.
CH: The biggest thing two weeks into training camp is that the experience of last season has helped this team. The returnees and new addition to the Green & White have been looking sharp at practices. After incorporating pads this past week, QB Zach Wilson has looked more decisive, had more time in the pocket, and has shown he is not afraid to run with the ball. Even the returning WR core of Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Braxton Berrios have all looked that much more comfortable. OC Mike LaFleur said this week: "You're not teaching just from ground zero. These guys came in during OTAs and had a good idea of what this offense is supposed to be about." They have continued to build on their foundation from last season. Even the new additions from free agency and the draft have had immediate impact. S Jordan Whitehead was receiving praise from Coach Saleh, who called him "a home run" while CB Sauce Gardner has been alternating first team reps with CB Bryce Hall and showing off his length and speed. From what I've seen these last two weeks, the Jets are far ahead of where they were this time last year.