With a new-look wide receivers corps that features new faces like Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims, Jets WRs coach Shawn Jefferson expects fierce competition in training camp. He said he room has the full gamut of wideouts and provided the 411 on his group.
Jamison Crowder led the Jets in receptions (78), yards (833) and touchdowns (6) in his first season with the Green & White. Jefferson said the 5'9", 177-pound Crowder is the rock of the group despite being soft-spoken.
"In our offense, that position is the catalyst of our offense," Jefferson said. "He's got to be witty, he's got to be creative, courageous on the inside because most of the work he does is over the middle where the linebackers are. … I think Sam really came to appreciate Jamison and Jamison to [appreciate] Sam. Those two had a connection and I'm looking forward to their growth in the offense in another year."
Speedster Migrating North
Hours after Robby Anderson departed to Carolina in free agency, Douglas brought in Perriman, who took off with the Bucs in the last five weeks of last season. In Weeks 13-17, the 6'2", 215-pounder ranked third in the NFL with 206 receiving yards. He also had 25 catches and 5 touchdowns.
"Sometimes receivers take a minute to get in the league and get their feet under them and everything," Jefferson said of the former first-round pick. "What you saw him do the second half of the season in Tampa, he exploded off the charts and I think everything slowed down for him. I'll give Tampa Bay credit. They used him how he's supposed to be used and that's downfield with his speed. He really showcased his skillset, so we're looking to build where he left off last year. He's going to be a great asset to our offense."
New Kid on the Block
In the draft, Douglas added Baylor's Mims (6'3" 207), who Jefferson said is confident and mature for his age. He also likes Mims' ability to come down with contested catches and mentality when he has the ball in his hands.
"As we started the virtual meetings, I started giving them tests and all the tests were based on a point system, so it was competitive among the group," he said. "I learned he's a very competitive guy. He picks up things quite well and his self-awareness is intact. Every time I give a test on a certain thing and he didn't get it, he's like, 'Coach, let's run that test back.' He wants to take it over again and run it back. That tells me he's going to work hard and if he doesn't get it, he's going to put the time in to get it. I'm certainly glad to have him. He adds another dimension to our offense as well."
See the New-Look Jets Wide Receiving Corps Working Out During Training Camp
Year 2 Jump
Vyncint Smith played in 13 games and started four after the Jets plucked him off the Texans practice squad last September. Smith had 17 receptions for 225 yards in addition to 52 yards on the ground and one score. In 2020, Jefferson expects Smith to have a better understanding of the offense.
"He started a couple games for us last year and Sam got comfortable with throwing him the ball," he said. "He made the most of his opportunity, so you have another guy that's familiar with the offense, he's got some plays up under his belt and he's coming back for a second round within this offense. His familiarity with the offense is going to help him this year."
Brains of the Bunch
Braxton Berrios was one of the NFL's best punt returners and added six receptions for 115 yards. A valedictorian at Miami (FL), Berrios' intelligence translates to the football classroom.
"Not only does he do a great job punt returning and in the slot, but Berrios knows all positions," Jefferson said. "There are a lot of times during the virtual meetings where I'm installing things and I'll say, 'Hey, Braxton, did I miss anything?' If I think I missed anything, he's like my check mark. He's a very sharp guy and he knows all positions."
The other receivers on the roster are Josh Malone, Jehu Chesson, Jeff Smith and undrafted free agents George Campbell and Lawrence Cager.