The quarterback position on the New York Jets isn’t the only position with competition. Outside linebacker is also up for grabs, as made official by head coach Todd Bowles.
“It rotates a lot more because we have a lot more people to see. Inside backer, we kinda know everybody, except for two. Outside linebackers, the way we’re teaching them, what we’re teaching them, we kinda mix and match to see who can do what.”
That means Jordan Jenkins, who played 14 games and recorded 41 tackles last year, is fighting for a starting job. For this year’s training camp, the Jets have 13 linebackers on their roster. Jenkins, however, understands that it’s part of the job.
“Coach [Kevin] Green always make sure to tell us that nothing is promised, everything is earned. We’re having fun with it, and we like it that way because we don’t know who’s a starter, we just know we’re working and we’re trying to battle one another.”
It’s different from last year’s starting linebacker core that consisted of Jenkins, David Harris, Darron Lee, and Sheldon Richardson. Now there’s a variety of different players who bring their own strengths to the Jets.
“We’ve got some guys who are old and have a lot of knowledge and been around the block for a while,” Jenkins said. “We’ve got guys like Dylan [Donahue] and Connor [Harris] who are new. Everybody has their own sort of tool that identifies them as a good linebacker and it’s hard to put one on top of the other.”
But that’s not the only difference from last year.
“We have a lot more chemistry than we did last year,” Jenkins commented. “In coverage, we wouldn’t have to be near each other, we can hear each other’s voice without even looking at him. If one calls off a coverage, we already know exactly who it is and where it’s coming from because we have that much trust. We can get more calls and checks in than last year.”
At the end of the day, Jenkins is excited to get back to playing football and completing the first practice with pads on.
“It was intense. Guys were ready to put on some pads and tempers were already flaring yesterday, but today was a good day for pads. It was a day you got eased back into being in pads again. It was a good day of practice today.”