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New York Jets practice notes: Defense dominates, offensive line struggles

Quinnen Williams, Marcus Maye, Arthur Maulet
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Thursday’s practice featured the New York Jets going full pads for the first time and a dominant defense that ran over the offensive line.

The first play of team sessions foreshadowed everything. A Le’Veon Bell mid-to-outside zone went straight at the right side of Gregg Williams‘ defense. Edge man Jordan Jenkins blew it up on the play-side, while Quinnen Williams busted through for the tackle for loss.

It was just the first of many poor offensive line reps on the day.

The New York Jets went full pads for the first time this summer Thursday morning. After looking to catch up with injuries a bit, Adam Gase finally extended the practice to two hours and plenty of thumping.

Perhaps Gase wants a do-over.

Pressure was constantly in Sam Darnold’s face all morning. Yet, when the young quarterback had time to throw, he generally misfired. There was a slant to Jeff Smith that saw him miss high. There was an inn-cut to Chris Herndon that completely missed the mark. The Jets’ defensive coverage was unmistakable.

Not only did the left side of Mekhi Becton and Alex Lewis struggle, but the right side did as well. Henry Anderson abused Greg Van Roten on a split-zone play-action that would have featured Darnold on his backside in a live situation.

Gase fully admits how tough it is when one side of the ball completely dominates the other for the entirety of teams.

“Yeah, it’s tough,” Gase told reporters after practice. “When you’re the play-caller, the competitive side of you, you want to win everyday. But, for our team, that would never be good because that means we’re struggling on one side of the ball.”

For Gase to feel that balanced approach, his offense will need to come out swinging this weekend (or when the second full-pad day arrives). After all, it’s always tough to judge an offensive line without full pads. A non-live situation rarely tells the entire story in the trenches. Thursday, however, provided our first real peek under the offensive line hood and it was not pretty.

Most onlookers would expect it to take time for a unit that flipped four starters. Right now, it looks like it will take more time than initially expected.

The defensive trio

Slowly but surely, a defensive trio is emerging: Quinnen Williams, Jordan Jenkins and Marcus Maye.

This is not the same Maye whose main concern was staying on the field. After a full season a year ago—returning from an injury-plagued 2018—the Florida product seems to have let loose.

He’s now in a more active spot on the defensive (with Jamal Adams gone), and thus far, he’s taking advantage of the situation. Whether it’s halves, deep-third, man on the tight end, flat-to-curl or even rushing the passer, 2020 will feature a brand-new Marcus Maye. Gregg Williams even had Maye take a few single-high (free safety) reps with the second team Thursday.

New York Jets, Jets X-Factor

The previously-mentioned Quinnen Williams continues to shine, but what’s making it easier for the man is the guy next to him. Jordan Jenkins looks complete.

While Jenkins will never come to the party with incredible hips that can play in space, his experience is starting to pile up. A savvier Jenkins has taken to the practice field this year (as opposed to last) and it’s showing up in spades.

Without Adams and C.J. Mosley, this is the emerging defensive trio the team needs to continue to see separate itself from the pack.

Javelin Guidry

Of all the undrafted free agents on the field, speedy Javelin Guidry may be the lead horse at the moment. The Utah product who ran a blazing 4.29-second 40-yard dash at the combine may fill a specific role for the defense and probably on special teams.

Standing 5-foot-9 with incredible feet and quickness, he plays the slot corner in a fashion most guys just cannot. On Thursday, he made a couple of plays (passes defended) but also gave up an out-route with his back turned as he attempted to get depth in a curl-flat situation.

Big pops

Building off Wednesday’s practice, the Jets got a few more licks on Thursday. Bradley McDougald drilled slot receiver Jamison Crowder on one play after he snagged a reception in a sit situation.

McDougald dropped down from his usual high look and laid the shifty Jets weapon out on the ground.

Elsewhere, Ashtyn Davis continues to finish plays—which is a coach’s dream at any level. On a play that saw Jehu Chesson catch a slant, Davis sunk his hips, kept his feet and drove through while lifting Chesson off the ground. The Cal product literally lifted Chesson off the ground and held him up for a couple of seconds prior to gracefully letting his feet back down to Earth.

Mike White impresses

Quarterback Mike White continues to impress. With Joe Flacco still on the sidelines, David Fales and James Morgan began camp sharing No. 2 duties. Now, White is starting to assume the No. 2 role behind Darnold in many ways.

He connected on a touchdown with newcomer Chris Hogan and remains confident every time he drops back. White showcased incredible placement on a player later in team sessions.

With rookie corner Lamar Jackson in solid position (overtop, sort of threatening the inside), White threw it with confidence (into coverage) but hit the receiver’s outside shoulder instead of leading him to the inside (where the coverage was leaning).

Fales and Morgan are clearly training White at the moment (in terms of pure-play on the field).


The Jets received good news on offensive lineman Conor McDermott, whose MRI must have come back clean. Gase listed him as “week-to-week.”

Cameron Clark, Denzel Mims, Pierre Desir, Jabari Zuniga, James Burgess Jr. and Brian Poole all remain out while Braxton Berrios missed Thursday due to personal reasons. Considering Poole has now been out for at least three practices with dehydration, it’s becoming a bit concerning. Gase spoke about the situation after practice.

“He’s getting better,” Gase said. “I think we’re taking this slow because it was a situation where a lot of those guys were pretty nervous about how the way things kind of happened after practice. It kind of caught everybody a little off-guard.

“We gotta find a way to make sure he’s in a good place and we can get him on the field, and compress things the right way where he can finish practice.”

Two new players enter the injured fray in Matthias Farley (hamstring) and Jordan Willis (knee), who were both banged up Thursday.

The Jets will take Friday off before getting back after it Saturday.

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