Minicamp is mostly about the arduous process of learning the playbook and applying it on the field as a team. The 2018 Jets came together for the first time ever this week, and now in their second practice they tried to get more comfortable running their offense. They have their work cut out for them. Coach Bowles has a tough decision ahead of him too, deciding whether to start the surprising McCown, the unknown in Bridgewater, or the untested and possibly unprepared in Darnold. While Coach Bowles didn’t speak too long about any of the quarterbacks, Coach Bates was quite talkative about one quarterback in particular.
Sam Darnold’s Progress– When Coach Bates was asked about Darnold’s progress in regard to limiting turnovers, Bates said that most of his problems stem from his gunslinger mentality, and that is something they had been focusing on. “[Darnold] doesn’t have to force the ball into tight windows like he did when he was at USC. In the NFL, you try to take what the defense gives you.” Darnold got plenty of looks today, and it seemed like Bates’ words were echoing in his helmet. He completed four passes to his check down or screen option. Two were able to turn up field for big plays and they were all looked like the right read with no other clear downfield threat. A couple of times Darnold was caught holding on to the ball too long and took a sack. Some of that could be the revamped secondary, or the absences of stud receivers Quincy Enunwa and Terrelle Pryor.
Injured, Hungry WR’s– Terrelle Pryor is finally out of his walking boot and showed up to minicamp looking to make his presence felt. He can’t do it on the field just yet, but he’s doing everything he can off of it. When he arrived, he was a cut-four fielding balls for the one-on-one drills between receivers and defensive backs and talking to the receivers as they returned from the drills. He later made his rounds on the sidelines, talking to seemingly everyone and lingering to have a lengthy conversation with fellow newcomer to the Jets Sam Darnold. Quincy Enunwa was finally given back his helmet and looked determined to put it to good use. Bowles and the Jets are bringing him along slowly, presumably to limit any lingering effects from the neck injury and not as a response to anything new. Enunwa was held from full-team drills but made the most of his free time and ran sprints while the team ran plays. After he was done running he stalked the sidelines, watching his teammates practice, brow furrowed, ready to return to action.
Jamal Adams, Defensive Leader-After practice, when asked about what was going to keep him up at night about this team, Coach Bowles, ever cool, responded “Well, nothing during vacation. After that ends, the thing that concerns me is chemistry.” To help form chemistry, a team needs a vocal leader. For the offense, Josh McCown has a calming, father like presence with the offense. On the defensive side, players look to Jamal Adams. Despite dropping a diving interception attempt in the end zone, Adams had a good practice in coverage. After seemingly every play, Adams was jawing at whichever offensive player he was covering. Jermaine Kearse, who had to put up with Adams a good amount, had to remind him that they aren’t in pads yet, and implied that if in fact they were able to hit each other, that the play might have turned out different. Adams brought an energy and a swagger to the field that electrified his teammates on an otherwise dull and cloudy day, especially for the offense. Hopefully on day 3 the offense can start to see the sunshine behind the coverage, but Adams and Co. are never going to make it easy.