The Jets began three weeks of OTAs this week, ramping up things in terms of practice intensity.
After light workouts in the first two phases of the offseason, Phase 3 has something that resembles a real practice. The media will have access to four of the 10 sessions to watch the 2023 Jets for the first time.
, of course, but these practices are not really about the stars.
The most interesting thing to note is how players who are fighting for starting jobs or roster spots perform. Jobs won’t be won in the spring, but you can set yourself up for a bigger look in training camp if you perform well in these OTAs.
Here are five players whose roles on the 2023 Jets are up in the air and can make a move this spring (in alphabetical order):
OT Mekhi Becton
I’m not sure how much we’ll see of Becton on the field. He is coming off knee surgery, so my guess is he’ll be working on the side.
But Becton needs to win over a coaching staff that has only seen him for one game and now is dealing with Becton .
My sense is the team expects to get nothing out of Becton because that is what they have gotten from him so far in his career.
Becton’s work this spring needs to happen in the classroom and in meetings with the coaches whose trust he needs to regain.
Once the club reaches training camp, the story will be where Becton lines up, and he can set himself up for a better role when that time comes with a good spring.
RB Michael Carter
One of the biggest mysteries of the 2022 season is what happened to Carter.
He showed a ton of potential as a rookie, but had .
Carter appeared to lose confidence after Breece Hall became the lead back, and then wasn’t given the chance to carry the load even after Hall was injured. The Jets instead traded for James Robinson and turned to Zonovan Knight later in the season.
New offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett likes to run the ball, and the Jets are going to need a committee of backs, especially early in the season as Hall works his way back from a torn ACL.
Though it’s hard to show much in OTAs on the line of scrimmage, skill players get chances to flash in these practices. Carter needs to show his ability to catch passes out of the backfield and convince Hackett that he should be the top back while Hall is out.
DE Jermaine Johnson
The Jets had two Rookies of the Year last season, which may be why it felt as if some people forgot Johnson also was a first-round pick last spring.
The Jets have a heavy rotation at edge rusher, which left Johnson last season. He still ended up with 2 ½ sacks.
This year, the Jets to a group that includes Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, Micheal Clemons and Bryce Huff. That is a lot of edge rushers fighting for playing time.
This is a critical time for Johnson to prove that he deserves a bigger role in 2023.
WR Denzel Mims
I thought about this recently: If you had told me in the that in two years Mims would still be on the team and Elijah Moore would not be, I would have told you that you were nuts. But here we are.
It feels as if there is nothing Mims can really do to win over this coaching staff. There is a new coordinator and wide receivers coach, however, so maybe he has a chance.
Mims’ best opportunity is to have some great practices, get praised by the coaches, written about by the beat writers and then maybe a team will trade for him.
The Jets won’t get much in exchange for Mims, but maybe they can deal for a player from another team who also is heading toward getting cut.
TE Jeremy Ruckert
Ruckert did not do much on offense as a rookie. He played mostly special teams.
Ruckert is still behind C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin on the depth chart, which got a bit deeper after the Jets added Zack Kuntz, an intriguing prospect, in the draft.
Ruckert is not going anywhere, but can he convince the coaches he should have a bigger role on offense? That is the main question around him.
He is a good blocker, but now he has to show some ability as a receiver to take playing time away from the veterans.
Want to catch a game? The Jets schedule with links to buy tickets can be found here.
Out of sight, not out of mind
The Quinnen Williams contract situation has generated some headlines lately, but everyone needs to realize there is no real impetus for the Jets to get this done now.
I don’t think the Jets are fazed at all that he is skipping the voluntary offseason program.
Williams is a veteran who has played in this defense for the two previous years, and he plays a position that does not get a whole lot of work in OTAs.
The Jets appear to be fine waiting until July to get a contract done for Williams.
If Williams is not signed entering training camp, that is when things get interesting. His decision to is just part of the contract dance. No one should overreact to it.
There is no doubt a deal will get done for Williams, and the Jets don’t have to be in any rush.
The Jets open the season against the Bills on “Monday Night Football” in what should be one of the most anticipated season openers in Jets history.
But this is hardly the first time the Jets will open the year against their division rival. The Bills and Jets have faced off 14 times to start the season, including in the very first game for both teams. Here is a look at their history of season openers:
Sept. 13, 2020 (Bills Stadium): Bills 27, Jets 17
Sept. 8, 2019 (MetLife Stadium): Bill 17, Jets 16 Sept. 10, 2017 (New Era Field): Bills 21, Jets 12 Sept. 9, 2012 (MetLife Stadium): Jets 48, Bills 28 Sept. 8, 2002 (Ralph Wilson Stadium): Jets 37, Bills 31 (OT) Sept. 4, 1994 (Rich Stadium): Jets 23, Bills 3 Sept. 13, 1987 (Rich Stadium): Jets 31, Bills 28 Sept. 7, 1986 (Rich Stadium): Jets 28, Bills 24 Sept. 6, 1981 (Rich Stadium): Bills 31, Jets 0 Sept. 21, 1975 (Rich Stadium): Bills 42, Jets 14 Sept. 17, 1972 (War Memorial Stadium): Jets 41, Bills 24 Sept. 14, 1969 (War Memorial Stadium): Jets 33, Bills 19 Sept. 10, 1967 (War Memorial Stadium): Bills 20, Jets 17 Sept. 11, 1960 (Polo Grounds): Jets 27, Bills 3
Source: Pro Football Reference