The New York Jets kicked off the first day of OTAs and it’s safe to say this is going to be an intriguing offseason.
At the end of these New York Jets OTAs, not much can be taken from what happens on the field. The mental aspects of the game, getting your feet wet in some of the new philosophies, etc.
So lets dive right in.
Just a comment to pull from defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers: he said that Leonard Williams‘ development not only as a player, but as a leader, is tangible. Williams has made a concerted effort to be more of a vocal leader.
That’s really important for a team that cut a glut of its’ veteran leadership, so other guys have to step up.
Now to the big story everyone wants to talk about, Christian Hackenberg.
So apparently Hackenberg looked bad in shorts throwing around the pigskin during Day 1. Naturally, Jets fans and media have already started running with this story.
To be fair though, this is nonsense late May. That’s exactly why fans have the perception they do of Hack.
Everyone crucified him for the way he performed in practice and preseason games last season as well.
During the media session, head coach Todd Bowles joked about how many passes Hackenberg got in the trash can. So guys, lets not overreact one way or another to how good someone looks in shorts.
If he goes 10-for-10 and looks great next week, keep the same mindset. There’s a lot of steps in this process — 10 OTA sessions that build from shorts, to light contact, break, and then training camp with pads.
At the end of the day, Hackenberg’s mettle will be tested on the field during the regular season, and not a minute before.
John Morton’s First Appearance With the Media
Believe it or not, this was the first opportunity that Jets’ offensive coordinator, John Morton has spoken with the media. He had some things to say and repeated the word “competition” a lot. Must be a zing word he worked on with the PR guy before he stepped up to the podium.
So what kind of offense will Morton be running?
We’ll have to wait for the season opener, because Morton refused to put “a label” on what the Jets are doing. Although he did say that every week will be different and that the offense will morph and adapt on a weekly basis.
He also said that the themes of the offense include “taking care of the football.” He spit out a stat saying “82 percent of the games you win is directly correlated to you winning the turnover battle.”
Another question perhaps on the minds of Jets fans everywhere — why did he take this job?
This isn’t exactly the most attractive job on the market. Speaking of market, New York is the biggest on planet Earth, expectations are high, patience is short and there’s an eternal quarterback problem — so why the Jets?
The Opportunity For Opportunity
Apparently as Morton revealed in the presser, he had never interviewed for an offensive coordinator job prior to the Jets flying him in. So he continued to reiterate he thought this was an amazing opportunity and after “being a position coach for the last 19 years, I thought it was about time.”
Some other notes and quotes:
- The quarterback rotation will be a three-way split. Each guy will get his equal opportunity to show what he can do.
- Morton has a small connection to Josh McCown during both of their stints with the San Francisco 49ers. He said good things and likes that McCown is a hyper competitor and a great leader.
- He also gave a glowing review of his quarterback’s coach, Jeremy Bates, saying he’s a great coach. They worked together at USC and came from a similar background working with coach Jon Gruden.
Speaking of Bates, he will be on the sideline during the games. Morton will be in the booth and has stayed in the booth his entire coaching career.
One of my favorite quotes came when he was asked what traits he was looking for from his eventual starting quarterback.
“Take care of the ball and move the chains.”
Fans learned Morton’s philosophy for the running back rotation and it’ll be exactly that, a running back by committee to keep the guys fresh.
Special Teams Coordinator Brant Boyer
- Lachlan Edwards has had “dramatic improvements.”
- Kicking competition is “wide open.”
- In a self-analysis of last season he said that he was “too soft.” Boyer claimed he wasn’t as aggressive as he wanted to be in the game. Expect that to change this season.
Head Coach Todd Bowles
Jets’ safety Calvin Pryor was MIA, but Bowles didn’t seem phased. “These are voluntary, no one has to tell me whether they’re showing up. We coach the guys that are here.”
Some more rapid fire notes and quotes include:
- First day impressions: a lot of mistakes (expected), energetic, fast-paced
- Eric Decker looked really good and showed he’s healthy. “No one was touching him, so (the) real test will be in-game action.”
— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) May 23, 2017
This is unusual because he usually likes to have a guy heading into camp, but apparently he’s keeping things fresh this year.
There were some interesting comments from one Sheldon Richardson on the locker room chemistry of last season.
— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) May 23, 2017
When Bowles was asked about what Richardson said to the media, “he had no reaction to it.” The follow up question about Brandon Marshall’s aura in the locker room came up, but Bowles just shot it down saying there wasn’t an issue there.
Quick injury updates…
- Injury updates at
#JetsOTAs: ArDarius Stewart ( @neversleepon13) and @KelvinBeachumJr are knicked up, didn’t participate #Jets
- Decker wore a red no-contact jersey, but is recovering well from hip and shoulder surgeries, should be ready to go by camp.
- Robby Anderson was a full-go, despite all the concert drama.
Bryce Petty and Hackenberg had restrictions in terms of media availability, that’ll change in the coming weeks.