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Which Jets Player Has Stood Out Early in Training Camp?

Aaron Rodgers, Garrett Wilson Impress in First Handful of Practices, Among Others


Throughout the offseason, reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange, Caroline Hendershot and John Pullano will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.

Today's question: Which Jets player has stood out early in training camp?

EA: Aaron Rodgers has been as good as advertised. Before tweaking his ankle at Thursday's practice, Garrett Wilson was off to a torrid start at camp. He is explosive at every level and his matchups with Sauce Gardner have been must-sees. But for this exercise, I'll go with Michael Carter II. It takes a special breed to play the nickel position at a high level and Carter fits that description. Gardner was quick to point out this summer that Carter II doesn't get enough credit for his contributions to the defense. Carter II loves to tackle and be in the action and he's responsible for covering in space in the middle of rush-hour traffic. He's popped at camp with some deft PDs, and MCII is always around the ball. He's also gotten stronger, adding 9 pounds (184 to 193) to his frame for the rigors ahead. Does anyone in the NFL have a cornerback trio that rivals Gardner, D.J. Reed and Carter II? I don't think so.

EG: Garrett Wilson. Before he sustained an ankle injury early in Thursday's practice, the second-year wideout was moving at a different pace than last season. He looked so comfortable after being in Nathaniel Hackett's offense for only a few months, and the chemistry between Wilson and QB Aaron Rodgers was apparent. Rodgers said earlier this week that you almost expect Wilson to make the wow plays repeatedly because of his athletic ability. The No. 10 overall pick last year is a "juicy" route runner according to HC Robert Saleh. Wilson has repeatedly made defenders look silly early in camp, twisting them in the opposite direction where he was going. After 83 receptions, 1,103 yards and 4 touchdowns as a rookie, I could see Wilson's numbers taking a significant jump this season with Rodgers at the helm. He has all the makings of a dominant receiver and it's shown early in camp.

See the top images from Thursday's open practice at Jets Training Camp practice on a steamy day.

RL: A lot of players have stood out but let's not overlook the obvious. Aaron Rodgers may demur and say it's not really "his" offense, but the 2003 training camp is surely his camp. It starts with his crisp dropback and quick release, so quick that Carl Lawson "complains" that he can't work on his game when Rodgers is on his game.  ARod is hitting all of his receivers, whether it be WR Garrett Wilson, TE Tyler Conklin or undrafted FA WR Jason Brownlee, with different speeds and different arm slots. As he said the other day, he's still got assets, among them his pump fake and his multidirectional throws on the run. No. 8 talks with everyone, on offense and on defense, so much that one might think he's running for office. But it's not just talk, it's the two-way conversations. Rodgers, much like he said he was and was reported to be in Green Bay, seems to be taking North Jersey and Manhattan, whether it's teammates or the chefs in the team facility's kitchen. Rodgers keeps saying he's having a blast, he loves it here, he loves his teammates. Any notes of insincerity? Not a one. Now what happens for the rest of August and then September through January has yet to unfold. But in first weeks of training camp, Rodgers has been the standout as advertised.

CH: Easy answer (other than Aaron Rodgers), Jermaine Johnson. As everyone has seen, Johnson came back this year bigger, stronger and faster. HC Robert Saleh said he likes Johnson's mindset, his confidence and his competitive spirit this year. Even Quinnen Williams said that Johnson put in the necessary work this offseason and he thinks Johnson will have a breakout year in his second season with the Jets. As for Johnson, he said he doesn't listen to the outside noise or expectations, he just wants to give his all every day and not let his teammates down. Now that the pads have come on and more 1-on-1 drills are being integrated into practice, I'm excited to see how far Johnson can take his talents this year. 

JP: Not the most talked about player in the Jets secondary --playing with All-Pro CB Sauce Gardner and Super Bowl champion S Jordan Whitehead -- but in his second season with the Jets, undrafted free agent S Tony Adams has looked sharp in coverage. During the second week of practice, on a free play after an offside flag, QB Aaron Rodgers threw a deep pass and Adams made a leaping interception. "I wanted to tell TA 'Man, nice play on that interception'," Rodgers said. Head Coach Robert Saleh cited Adams' drive and mental makeup for his development. "Undrafted free agent, unseeded, a bunch of guys who we all thought weren't going to make the team last year, made it impossible for us to cut him," Saleh said. Adams made his first career start in Week 18 last season, had 12 tackles in 104 snaps over the final two games. He has played mostly with the first team defense during camp and will certainly compete for the starting job.

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