The next and final step of the Jets’ offseason begins Tuesday with their two-day mandatory minicamp. It is the last chance for new coach Robert Saleh to get his team ready before training camp commences in late July.
Saleh has already overseen 10 OTA practices and weeks of workouts. Now, he gets two more days with his team before everyone scatters for a five-week break before the training camp.
“We’re not going to do anything different,” Saleh said about minicamp versus OTA practices. “I know we get more time with the guys. The only thing we’ll probably add is a little bit more to the walk-throughs, just so we can go through all the different scenarios, all the different situations that you don’t really work through in OTAs. Like goal line, stuff where the contact gets a little bit heavier, we’ll go through a walk-through setting and just create situations, Hail Mary, all the plays that happen once or twice a year. Just go through that checklist. That’s basically the difference. Otherwise, the practices will be the same.”
The Jets have undergone massive changes in recent months from a new coaching staff to major personnel changes, highlighted by the drafting of quarterback Zach Wilson with the No. 2-overall pick in April’s draft.
Wilson has looked good during the OTA practices the media has been permitted to watch. He’s had ups and downs, but has looked decisive and shown the talent that the Jets fell in love with. While Wilson will get tested further in these two days, there is only so much pressure the Jets can put on him during non-padded practices. The real test begins when the games begin.
“We’re still learning,” Saleh said when asked what he has learned about Wilson. “I’d love to give you an answer on that one right now, but there’s going to be so much more to learn, and your best learning comes through adversity and conflict. Obviously, [in] OTAs, everything has been feel-good. Everyone’s excited about everything that’s happening around the organization. Until we actually hit adversity, will we be able to learn more about each other and how we handle things. I’d shortchange you if I was to give you an answer now.”
Saleh is expected to have his full squad in Florham Park for the minicamp. Safety Marcus Maye reported on Monday after skipping the voluntary portion of the spring. Maye and the Jets are discussing a long-term contract. The Jets placed the franchise tag on Maye, giving them a July 15 deadline to work out a new contract or he will play on the $10.6 million tag. Even though Maye is present, he may not do much in practice as the Jets may want to avoid rushing him into too many drills after not seeing him this spring.
Another contract situation was resolved Monday when wide receiver Jamison Crowder agreed to a pay cut. The Jets and Crowder restructured his deal, according to a source. The Jets could have released Crowder if he did not agree to a reduction from his $10 million salary. Like Maye, it would be surprising if Crowder jumped right into practice Tuesday. The Jets will likely take it slow with him.
The minicamp is another chance for Saleh and his coaches to go over what they have taught this spring. The Jets have an entirely new offensive and defensive system to learn, so repetition will be key.
“To this point, obviously, the main installations are done; they’re installed,” Saleh said. “Now, the game-day installation, and what happens on game day, the different nuances that’ll start coming once preseason games happen. There’s a teaching progression, so, the entire offense and the entire defense are not in, but the teaching of our techniques, and the teaching of our fundamentals, and the process at which we do things, those have been installed. Right now, they’re just out there practicing and they’re on repeat.”