FLORHAM PARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 23: Mekhi Becton #77 of the New York Jets runs drills at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on August 23, 2020 in Florham Park, New Jersey.
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The New York Jets offensive line finally showcases some nastiness, and as a result, fights ensue during Sunday’s practice.

Sabo Live From Florham park

FLORHAM PARK, NJ—One offensive big heavy lines up against a defensive lineman. Man on man, hat on hat—what transpires next is all about raw, physical skill. Strength and agility will win.

Right? No.

Much more factors into the equation. Speak with a talent evaluator and gather thoughts on what it takes to succeed at the professional football level. An individual’s mindset is crucial, especially when playing in the trenches.

On a lovely Sunday morning in Florham Park, NJ, the New York Jets offensive line finally showcased a specific mindset Joe Douglas enjoys seeing in his unit. An attitude loaded with nastiness ruled the day, and it forced the defense to come out swinging.

Two major scuffles broke out Sunday. The first featured a Le’Veon Bell run to the left side that had the left side of the line and right side of the defensive front getting into it.

The two major participants were tough to spot, thanks to the humanity involved, but left guard Alex Lewis needed to be held back from the outer part of the scrum.

This marked the real first pushback by an offense that’s been mostly dominated by its other half all camp.

“The big guys started getting a little irritated with each other,” head coach Adam Gase told reporters after practice. “It’s good to see both sides of the ball not backing down.”

Head coaching philosophies differ in the “training camp fight” aspect of things. For Gase, it’s pretty simple: showing that fire is nice, but be smart and execute.

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“It kind of got to that back-half of practice where it was getting a little hot,” Gase added. “Both sides had to go back and line back up, refocus on what they were trying to do and execute the defense and execute the offensive play. That’s the big thing. As long as it doesn’t happen every day, every period, occasionally, things go down, and we gotta be smart, but it’s good to see the fire they have.”

A play or two later, the two sides got into it again, this time with Jordan Jenkins, Neville Hewitt, Greg Van Roten and that man, Lewis, once again taking a starring role.

Avery Williamson, who returned to practice for the first time since last year’s ACL injury, noticed his defensive teammate really involved in the extracurricular activities.

“He (Jenkins) was doing some jiu-jitsu moves out there,” Williamson jokingly told reporters after practice. “Stay away from him.”

Critically, the offensive run on the play that led to the second major scuffle was a beauty. The O-line has struggled to create push against Gregg Williams’ front all camp long. Whether it was a zone or gap concept, Trevon Wesco buried Steve McLendon in the backfield (split-zone flash or wham) and Bell found a huge hole in the B-gap in between Van Roten and George Fant.

The Passing Game Dominated Early

Although Adam Gase focused on the rushing attack for a good chunk of practice, it was a dominant aerial show early.

Sam Darnold, Mike White and David Fales all looked comfortable while picking apart Williams’ coverages. Chris Hogan made a nice one-handed grab over the middle and scampered for a big gain.

Braxton Berrios caught a 5-8 yard curl-stick and ran for a huge YAC touchdown (50-60 yards).

Breshad Perriman missed practice with a knee situation Sunday. It does not appear to be serious, but his absence opened the door for other wideouts to get in the mix.

During various reps, Hogan, Jeff Smith, Josh Malone and young Lawrence Cager all saw time with the first team. Cager, yet again, impressed everybody in a particular spot on the field.

Nearing the end of practice, Cager lept to make a near-touchdown grab in the back corner of the end zone—a place everybody should label his “office.” The 6-foot-5 kid is coming on strong and Gase is feeding him the ball in the red zone.

Sam Darnold Remains Inconsistent

Judging a quarterback in practice is always a tricky ordeal. So much is unknown about the route concepts, the protection and the quarterback’s progressions.

Nonetheless, Sam Darnold is not lighting the world on fire.

Newcomer Bradley McDougald picked No. 14 on a terrible decision. Looking for Jeff Smith on what looked to be a dig (some sort of inn-cut or curl), Darnold never saw McDougald dropping low from his single-high pre-snap look.

There could have been miscommunication on the play, but Gase cited poor footwork on the part of his quarterback.

“We gotta clean up something with his footwork,” Gase said. “We did have a little leakage. When I saw him throw it, it was one of those ones where ‘I’m not sure if he would have gotten this one off if it was a real game.’ But he did help him (McDougald) with hit footwork. It’s what allowed the ball to take off on him a little bit. That’ll be something we learn from when we go back to study the film.”

News and Notes, Injuries

  • Avery Williamson, Ryan Griffin and Daniel Brown all returned to practice in-full (team sessions).
  • As previously mentioned, Breshad Perriman was out there, but he missed practice with a knee situation. He should be fine and Gase expects him to be back at practice Monday.
  • Brian Poole was spotted on the field for the first time since he went down with the dehydration tag. He did not participate in any form of practice. The Jets admit to taking things extremely slow with their slot corner.
  • Denzel Mims (hamstring), Pierre Desir (hamstring), Jabari Zuniga (quad), James Burgess Jr. (back) and Brian Poole (dehydration) remained out of practice.
  • The Jets were forced to cancel a walkthrough Saturday night due to the 10 false-positives that came from the New Jersey lab.

The happy birthday song played over through the speakers just as team stretches began. Nobody knows for sure whose birthday the song was celebrating, but the two best guesses are outside linebackers coach Joe Vitt and Kobe Bryan, who was born on Aug. 23, 1978.

The Jets are scheduled for a walkthrough Monday 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]jetsxfactor.com
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