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They need these practices . . .
The Jets can’t do what Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Pederson did.
“Pederson has canceled next week’s three-day, mandatory minicamp — at least for most of the team,” wrote the AP’s Mark Long. “Pederson essentially gave veterans an extra week of vacation before training camp next month. He also nixed the last of 10 organized team activities.”
This is a team with a new head coach (Pederson) and two new coordinators, Press Taylor (offense) and Mike Caldwell defense,
“The veterans are done, and they were thrilled,” Pederson said. “Listen, they worked extremely hard and we had great attendance all spring. The three-day extra minicamp back in April, and the guys are in a good spot. I felt it was the right time to give them a little extra rest before we get ready to get cranked up in July.”
Extra rest? They were already getting over a month off between now and training camp
And not only do they have a lot of new players trying to get on the same page, but Taylor and Caldwell have never been coordinators before.
If I’m I were running Jacksonville, my attitude would be, “We need all the work we can get.”
Remember, these practices are devoid of pads and contract (aside from inadvertent collisions), so they are like a classroom on the field, to teach the playbook and techniques, and also help the players get on the same page with teammates.
The Jets definitely have improved their talent this off-season in free agency and the draft, but man, do they have a lot of work to do, in their upcoming minicamp this week, and then in training camp and the preseason, getting ready for the regular season.
So Robert Saleh was smart to not do what Pederson is doing, and some other coaches, like in Philadephia, by pulling the plug on myriad practices you are allowed to have in the spring, as some kind of gift to the players.
The Jets players need every rep they can get leading up to the season, starting with the QB Zach Wilson (just like fellow second-year QB Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville).
Two big narratives this spring that you read a lot about are that Wilson has bulked up, and he has less voices in his ears in the QB room, with a pared-down QB coaching staff this year.
All that stuff is fine and dandy, but the most important things he needs to improve in Year Two involve reading defenses, improved progressive scans, accuracy and throwing more with anticipation.
He is working hard on these things, and these upcoming minicamp practices, should help. Every practice rep for a young QB is invaluable.
And another area the Jets need a lot of work involved pass defense, getting the linebackers and defensive back on the same page, improving their communication on the back end from last year, so there are less blown coverages this year.
While you can’t tackle in spring camps, so you don’t get any work on run defense, the back end can benefit a great deal. Since the offense is almost exclusively working on the passing game, the coverage guys get a lot of quality reps in these spring camps. Remember, often these spring camps are referred to as “Passing Camps.”
The Jets might have four new starters on the back end (Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, Jordan Whitehead and LaMarcus Joyner), so all these spring practices, whether they are OTAs or minicamps, are huge for this group. And as we mentioned the other day, the team’s linebacker coverage needs to take a quantum leap this season, so they need the work as well.
Who knows why Pederson did what he did, but the Jets will benefit from Saleh not doing the same thing.
June 13, 2022
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