I promise I won’t make this, focusing on the weird thing, a running theme throughout all of training camp. At least I hope I won’t. But when you end up getting invited to a private screening of an NFL practice, well yeah that’s going to be weird.
Due to the rain the Jets had to practice indoors. For obvious reasons media doesn’t get to be inside those same exact doors this year. We’re inside doors just down the hallway, in a separate room with a television hooked up to a livestream of practice. It was weird, but such is life today. We adapt and we move, so let’s get into practice.
Sam Darnold was sharp today – On Friday Sam Darnold just simply looked off. He was able to settle down a bit, then had receivers running the wrong routes, but he had an off-day. The thing was, everyone had an off day. Everyone was rusty, understandably so and to the point that we could quickly write it off as meaningless. And it’s still just training camp so what I’m about to say could also be meaningless, but Darnold threw the hell out of the ball today. Everything else around him still looked off, the rust was apparent everywhere else but Darnold was able to get right for today.
The play of the day was a 50-plus-yard-pass to Breshad Perriman, who beat newly acquired safety Bradley McDougald, for a touchdown. The trajectory of the throw was perfect, allowing Perriman to never break stride, mid corner-route, as the ball dropped directly into his hands before strolling into the end zone. After practice Perriman had all the praise for Darnold.
“I feel like Sam is great, man,” Perriman said. “His throwing ability is crazy, I love the way he throws the ball. The touch he has is unreal, (it’s) so receiver friendly. And just his personality, the way he’s able to take control of the room, and the offense, and the team. It’s crazy. And him being so reserved and laid back and still having that authority, when it’s time to go out there and let the bullets fly he can take control of the room very easy. I just like the way of how he leads and him as a quarterback, it’s a receiver’s dream.”
The downside was who Darnold was otherwise throwing to. Perriman, Crowder and Herndon were fine. But outside of that there’s just nothing there until Denzel Mims can get on the field. Which is exactly why the Jets just signed Chris Hogan. Who will bring a veteran presence and can be big help for these training camp practices at least.
This may surprise you, but the offensive line looks rough – Okay so it probably doesn’t surprise you. Also this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will stay looking rough, but I’ve seen this movie far too many times to expect a different ending this time around. There’s no doubt that they’ll improve as they get to know each other, learn the system and what it’s like to play with each other and for Darnold, but the ceiling still seems awfully low for this season.
The bright side is, Mekhi Becton. On Friday I didn’t have a good angle to see most of Becton’s reps, all I could really see was just how large of a human being he is. Today I got to watch his reps with a perfect view and that kid is smooth. Adam Gase praised the rookie for his ability to fit in and you can see the proof as he glided out of his stance and into his blocks with zero hesitation.
When Becton got drafted the potential was obvious, but it was more than reasonable to expect some rough patches at the start. Even Gase has been surprised at how smooth everything is going for the kid. A reporter asked if he got the sense that Becton was swimming right now?
“No, not even close,” Gase said. “It’s funny, he looks like he’s been doing this for a minute. I’m like you guys, anytime a rookie gets plugged into that starting offensive line, we all know it’s a lot, and especially going against the defense, our defense everyday you’re getting a lot of different looks. He looks comfortable to me. And he’s not making mistakes.
“I’ve been extremely impressed by how he’s operating as far as his knowledge of football, his he’s retaining things, acquiring the information, recalling it, and then at the same time executing, playing fast. He’s doing a really good job.”