FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Football is in the air, it felt like a typical fall day and the New York Jets were out on the practice field together for their first full practice in front of the media in 2018. Most of the practice was installs and plays being run at half-speed with no real contact but it’s a start and before we know it they’ll be lining up for games at MetLife Stadium for games that count.
Because of the nature of these practices there’s not a lot meaningful you can take away from today, but we here at JetsInsider know that you want the information anyway so we’ll squeeze all the interesting we can out of today’s practice for you.
QB group – No need to waste any time, let’s get right to what you care about the most. Sam Darnold looked like a rookie today, but that’s okay because he is a rookie, a 20-year-old rookie at that. Darnold struggled in 11-on-11s early in practice, wildly missing throw after throw. For some reason his legs seemed to be getting stuck in the grass and he would sling the ball with all upper body movement leading to passes sailing 10 yards away from anyone. He bounced back at the end of practice, in 7-on-7s he was delivering strikes with plenty of zip on the ball as he started to plant and drive with his legs, he did have an interception where he through it directly to Kacy Rodgers II with no receiver in the vicinity but overall he seemed to be settling in. It wasn’t a great day for the rookie, but it also wasn’t anything to worry about, his best throw of the day came as he rolled out to his left and ripped a laser 20-25 yards down the sideline to Tre McBride but McBride couldn’t bring the pass in despite it being right at his hands.
Teddy Bridgewater looked great out there, as great as one can look in these practices. He did not seem to be bothered by his knee at all, he wasn’t limited in the least and he threw the ball with plenty of zip. He seemed comfortable with his knee and comfortable with the playbook. He wasn’t perfect or overwhelmingly spectacular but if all you knew about him was what you saw today you wouldn’t have any concerns about his knee and you’d think he has a really good chance to win the starting job because he was the best quarterback on the field today.
Josh McCown was Josh McCown, exactly what you’d expect and Christian Hackenberg was, well he was there. Hackenberg took exactly zero reps in team drills and only about three or four reps in individual drills. After practice he talked about the changes he’s made to his throwing motion but he didn’t throw enough passes for us to notice it. There’s really no sense in him still being on this roster, the Jets should release him and let him sign elsewhere where he might be able to get a rep or two. At this point it feels like they’re just keeping him around to be a training camp arm, but they can get plenty of people to do that job. Between trying to prepare a rookie quarterback and trying to see what Bridgewater can do in a short period of time there simply isn’t going to be many reps for Hackenberg and even if they came up with a plan to get him a handful here or there that would only take away reps from the others.
Quincy Enunwa is back (mostly) – After having a breakout season in 2016 Quincy Enunwa suffered a season-ending neck injury in the preseason last year. Neck injuries sound scary and Enunwa confirmed to JetsInsider that it was indeed a scary injury to deal with (we’ll have more on this talk with Enunwa in an article later in the week but let’s just say he’s not here for you people that are out here slandering the Jets receiver group), but he said he feels great and has no limitations and it showed as he ran routes in individual and looked like his old self. Enunwa said the plan is for them to bring him along slowly, let him do some individual drills for now but they’re going to hold him out of team drills until training camp starts but that’s just a precautionary measure and they want to slowly get him back to running around with a helmet on before throwing him out there for team drills.
Coach Maye – Marcus Maye didn’t practice with the team either today, still rehabbing his ankle but he made sure he was involved in today’s practice. He sat on the sidelines calling out coverages to his teammates, telling his teammates what routes to look for and coaching them up when they went to the sidelines. NFL rules don’t allow us to report what the players say on the field but he had some hilarious and incredibly accurate scouting report information on the Jets receivers that he shared with the new big-signing cornerback, Truman Johnson (Johnson also stood out right off the bat as he picked off Josh McCown on the second play of 11-on-11s).
Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of JetsInsider.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)