Ashtyn Davis, Marcus Maye
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

The New York Jets officially get back after it at Florham Park. Marcus Maye teaches while Ashtyn Davis shadows.

Robby Sabo

The New York Jets are officially back to business at the Atlantic Health Training Center.

Positional drills ruled the day. Team activities were not heavily featured, and when Adam Gase did run teams, very few plays (mainly rush schemes) were deployed.

Seven on seven wrapped up practice, but again, there was not much worthwhile action—a usual occurrence for day No. 1. A Sam Darnold-to-Le’Veon Bell throw in the flat due to tight downfield coverage kicked things off, and from there, few noteworthy reps took place.

The DBs

Marcus Maye can expect a much different season in 2020. Without Jamal Adams around, Gregg Williams will tinker with his defensive backfield until he finds the right identity.

Most of the principles we saw last year will stick this season. For example, the pre-snap movement and zone disguises will hold firm. Perhaps what will change are the players in those spots on a play-by-play basis.

On Friday, Williams deployed his safeties in a way that contrasts with the 2019 season look. Bradley McDougald may not necessarily man down the strong safety position in a rigid fashion. (Although, it’s far too early to believe that concretely.)

The uncertainty surrounding Maye’s possible versatility is legitimate considering Adams’ role next to Maye the previous three seasons. Remember, though: he did play low for two games a year ago (home against Miami and on the road in Baltimore) when Adams and Brian Poole both missed time.

He does possess the ability to do man down the strong safety spot and could elevate his game down in the dirty areas with more reps:

Rookie Ashtyn Davis experienced his first real practice action as a professional, and he was thrown right in there in certain situations. A few coverage looks during positional work featured Davis shadowing McDougald as the single-high or deep-half safety.

On one occasion, Davis and Maye were chatting it up about coverage. Maye, the veteran, was clearly in teacher mode with the young Cal product who comes to the party equipped with extraordinary athleticism.

Davis has no problem taking on pupil and team-first roles.

“I’m trying to learn the positions that I can, and I’ll be available,” Davis told reporters via Zoom after practice. “Whatever they ask me to do, I’ll do it.

“He’s (Maye) been here the longest. …so I’m just trying to learn the most I can from him.”

Mount Mekhi

The foremost important part of the Jets’ 2020 season deals directly with Joe Douglas’ first pick as general manager. If the mountain of a man progresses and produces the way the team envisions, Gase’s offense will be on the right track.

So far, so good (save for what the coaches see on tape), as Mekhi Becton was featured with the first team (along with Alex Lewis, Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten and George Fant).

In terms of how the offensive line can catch up while dealing with the limited reps during this pandemic, McGovern feels as though it will happen quickly.

“Knocking that rust off is going to happen fast,” McGovern told reporters after practice. “We’ve been doing so much mentally, (that) that translates to your body. Once you see it, you do it, and you see it again, and what you’re doing wrong, and what you need to fix.”

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Fans will gasp for serious air anytime injuries are touched upon, especially this early in camp. The list of notable players not participating (dressed without helmets) includes Frank Gore, Pierre Desir, Jabari Zuniga, and young Denzel Mims.

Veteran wideouts Jeff Smith and Vyncint Smith saw time with the first team alongside Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman. Whether or not Mims would have been thrown immediately into the fire is something we’ll have to monitor. Gase described Mims’ injury as something that popped up in the last day or two.

Mims, Gore, and Desir missed the day due to hamstrings while Zuniga was out with a quad. Gore’s hammy situation was more precautional, according to the second-year head coach.

“I thought today, great energy by the guys,” Gase said after practice. “You can see they’re excited to go out there, go against each other. It’s been a long time. (It’s) the first practice we’ve had since December.

“It was a good start for us (but) still a long way to go. Too many pre-snap penalties today.”

Darnold and Bell are ready

In a post-practice Zoom session, center Connor McGovern spoke about an interesting (yet extremely familiar) locker room topic. Some of the longer-tenured Jets have mentioned to him that the feel around Florham Park is “different.”

It’s an idea Douglas wants to see take form—as his culture-building mentality has yet to lose steam. This feeling was highlighted by how Darnold and Bell spoke to the fans through the Jets’ official Twitter account:

The Jets’ next practice open to the media is scheduled for Sunday morning.

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, developer and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor | Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (sold in 2020). SEO: XLM Email: robby.sabo[at]
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