The Jets have a new quarterback in the fold, and he is young. How will this change the dynamics of the QB room?
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Take a peek at what’s going on with the New York Jets:
1. A lot of green: The Jets’ quarterback room is arguably the youngest in the league. How old are you? To put it another way, no one, even the coaches, can relate personal tales of the days of the rotary phone.
The Jets are without a quarterback coach after the death of assistant Greg Knapp, 58, the resident wise man. It’s significant because, as everyone knows, the organization’s top focus is the development of coveted youngster Zach Wilson.
Mike LaFleur, a 34-year-old offensive coordinator and playcaller, is in charge of the group. Rob Calabrese, 31, is the Jets’ quarterbacks coach. He is a first-time position coach.
Coach Robert Saleh, who specializes on the defensive side of the ball, was relying on Knapp to prepare Wilson, Mike White, and James Morgan, who had never played in a regular season game. They are 23.7 years old on average. Knapp brings 25 years of coaching expertise to the table, having tutored quarterbacks such as Steve Young and Peyton Manning, both of whom are Pro Football Hall of Famers.
Wilson’s lack of experience, according to ESPN commentator and former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky.
“Imagine having to learn to ride a bike with no one who knows how to do it, no one who can teach you, and no one who can show you,” Orlovsky added.
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The Jets aren’t going to replace Knapp outright, but they will re-allocate the coaches’ responsibilities. They’ll go back to a conventional structure, with the quarterbacks working with the coordinator and position coach, according to Saleh. According to Saleh, Knapp’s status as a passing-game expert was a “plus” for the team. Maybe, but Knapp was the most important person in the room.
Saleh expects LaFleur, the younger brother of Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur, to be a more experienced coach than he is. After seven years of working with San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, LaFleur is on his own, with no experienced mentor.
“I understand he’s a young coach,” Saleh said, “but he’s progressed in terms of what he’s learned and the people he’s been around since he began coaching.”
2. Playbook with a silver lining: During Wilson’s absence, White and Morgan shared repetitions, providing the coaches and front office a closer look at the two young quarterbacks. White wasn’t very good, but he outperformed Morgan by a significant margin. White is the frontrunner to be the regular season QB2 unless they import a veteran, which Saleh seems to be averse to.
That would set up a fascinating decision: would Morgan be cut with the intention of bringing him back for the practice squad? He’d be subject to waivers, and Joe Douglas, the general manager, may not want to jeopardize one of his draft picks. Carrying three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster is an option, but it seems like a waste of a roster place.
Morgan, a Florida International fourth-round selection in 2020, was an intriguing choice at the time. And it hasn’t held up well over time.
3. Money matters: Wilson’s $35 million guarantee (for the duration of his deal) is the fourth-highest in club history, behind only C.J. Mosley ($43 million), Darrelle Revis ($39 million), and Muhammad Wilkerson ($37 million). These were the sums that were promised when the contract was signed.
Wilson surpassed defensive tackle Quinnen Williams ($32.5 million) as the highest-paid rookie.
C.J. Mosley, a linebacker who signed a five-year contract with the Jets in March 2019, has only appeared in two games for the team. USA Today Sports/Vincent Carchietta
4. Incredible shrinking linebacker: Mosley, who weighed 250 pounds when he last played in 2019, reported to training camp at 231, his Alabama college weight. He seems to be a completely different guy.
Mosley has a lot to prove after opting out in 2020 and missing 14 games in 2019, and he sounds fired up to prove he’s still the player who made four Pro Bowls with the Baltimore Ravens. It’s always the same game when he watches clips of himself on TV: his stunning Jets debut against the Buffalo Bills in the 2019 season opener. That feels like a long time ago.
“I’m ready to put fresh highlights on tape because I’m weary of watching the same highlights for the last two years,” he added. “Various physical types, different feelings in the body, different defenses, mentalities, and mindsets. Everyone watched that game, and this year and in the years ahead, it will be much greater.”
Over the last two years, Mosley has earned a lot of money ($29 million) while collecting a lot of rust. It may take him a few weeks to chip it off, but in 2021 he will surprise a few people.
5. Musical kickers: A Jets training camp wouldn’t be complete without a tale about the team’s hunt for a place-kicker. In the last two seasons, they’ve gone through four regular-season kickers: Kaare Vedvik, Sam Ficken, Sergio Castillo, and Chase McLaughlin. Now that Ficken, who was inconsistent throughout camp, is gone, the team will have a new kicker this season. The current battle pits rookie Chris Naggar against newcomer Matt Ammendola, who spent the spring with the Carolina Panthers.
Since Jason Myers reached the Pro Bowl in 2018, the Jets haven’t had a decent kicker. They let him go as a free agent and have yet to make amends.
During training camp in Florham Park, New Jersey, Jets fans are getting a chance to see some of their favorite players on the field. AP Photo/Rich Schultz
6. Carter country: After four padless sessions, the Jets will don their full uniforms on Monday, according to purists, marking the official start of training camp. Michael Carter, the rookie running back, is the guy I’m most excited to watch, since he looked fantastic in the first few days. He had a talent for locating light, and he could slip through gaps and become vertical with a quick burst.
But please reserve your applause. When there is no actual hitting, evaluating running backs is difficult. On Monday, the intensity will be increased, and it will be much greater in the preseason games. Watch out for the fourth-round selection from North Carolina, who may play a big role.
7. Big Blue in the year 22? The Jets are doing joint practices with the Packers and Philadelphia Eagles, two of their preseason opponents. Why not include the New York Giants as well? In fact, they had discussions with the Giants about collaborating on practice sessions. Saleh expressed optimism that they would be able to pull it off next year.
The final Jets-Giants practice will be remembered by longtime fans. It was a day characterized by numerous clashes and a screaming battle between Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson and Giants coach Tom Coughlin in Albany, New York, in 2005. I was there and saw the whole thing; it was as though the Jets were determined to play the neighborhood bully. Memories, memories, memories.
The NFL season is almost approaching. The most pressing questions going into training camp, as well as roster predictions for all 32 clubs, are listed below. Continue reading » • Complete schedule for 2021 | Depth charts » • NFL Transactions | NFL Injuries | NFL News »
The Jets face the Giants in their first preseason game on August 14.
8. From Motown to New York: Linebacker Jarrad Davis is the epitome of the “change-of-scenery” athlete. The 2017 first-round selection had a difficult time with the Detroit Lions for four seasons, to the point that he said, “I really considered walking away, dude.”
He was benched and labeled “burned out,” claiming that football had taken over his life. It couldn’t have been pleasant playing for Matt Patricia, a grumpy Bill Belichick want tobe who was far out of his depth. Davis, in a nutshell, was an unhappy person. Players have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Jets in the past, most notably quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who said that his second season with the team in 2016 almost ruined his love of sport.
Davis, who visited a therapist to help him cope with some mental problems, said he feels re-energized under Saleh’s leadership, adding that the Jets’ 4-3 system is a perfect fit for his skill set. In the NFL, culture and system fit are very essential. The Jets’ starting strongside linebacker, Davis, is off to a new start. A career turnaround would definitely improve the Jets’ image, which has recently resembled that of the Lions.
Denzel Mims is no better than sixth in the wide receiver pecking order, according to the crystal ball. He was a second-round selection in 2020. This is a story to keep an eye on this summer.
Last but not least: “He had this brightness that drew people to him because he let it show. He never had a bad day in the short time we were in OTAs together. I wish I could have spent more time with him. I believe everyone does.” — on Knapp, guard Greg Van Roten
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