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New York Jets’ Wednesday practice noticeably energized, physical

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 24: Head coach Adam Gase of the New York Jets stands on the sidelines during their preseason game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium on August 24, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

The New York Jets practiced in a much more energized and physical fashion Wednesday afternoon in Florham Park, NJ.

FLORHAM PARK, NJ—This Wednesday in Florham Park, NJ contrasted with previous practice sessions. A country club-type feel it was not. Instead, players were flying around, smacking one-man sleds and doing everything in a hurry.

Hey, NFL practices will never mirror the grit and toughness that’s seen in college and high school—or NFL sessions from two, three or four decades ago, for that matter—but this one stood out from the crowd.

The New York Jets’ first practice since their terrible 31-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers this past Sunday featured energy and physicality.

While many expected Adam Gase’s unit to struggle this season, not many expected Gregg Williams’s unit to match that level of expected putridness. That idea has become reality after just two games.

New York is tied for the NFL lead in missed tackles, with 29, per PFF. Only the Kansas City Chiefs can claim the same number. After a poor technique effort in Orchard Park, NY in Week 1, the defense followed it up against the Niners at home last Sunday.

Following the game, safety Bradley McDougald cited “slow practices” as something the team needed to get fixed in a hurry, via Jeane’ Coakley of SNY. Avery Williamson agreed with his teammate while on WFAN Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday morning, Gase didn’t acknowledge those thoughts completely but did claim he’s willing to adapt to players’ wishes or listen to concerns.

“Yeah, I mean everybody has a different feel of how practice goes,” Gase told the media before practice. We’re heading into Week 3 here. If that’s the feeling that they have, we have a chance to really kind of ramp it up and make sure that we’re doing what we need to do in individual and pick up the tempo. I haven’t necessarily felt that. When I watch our guys, I feel like guys are flying around, they’re chasing the ball.”

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The embattled Jets head man also mentioned that Williamson communicated with him about those on-air comments.

“He (Williamson) just he just said that he said something about how they practice on defense,” Gase said. “He said he felt like what he said wasn’t really what was reported. I don’t know, I told him it is what it is.”

Nearly every positional grouping showcased an uptempo look Wednesday. For instance, the defensive backs really got to work on tackling. They hit the one-man sled and focused on keeping their feet while driving.

They even broke out the tackle ring:

One of the struggling defensive backs is Pierre Desir, a man who’s set to return to the organization he knew prior to signing with the Jets. Sunday’s Week 3 matchup in Indianapolis against the Colts isn’t so much about him, but rather the Jets attempting to go 1-0 this week with the “one week at a time mentality.”

Proper fundamentals and tackling the correct way is a big deal in the building at this very moment.

“It’s a big emphasis,” Desir said of the Jets’ focus on tackling. “If we made a couple of those tackles (in the San Fran game), those big plays wouldn’t happen, (and) we’d put ourselves in a better position.”

Gregg Williams and the rest of the coaching staff better hope a finely-tuned practice week is the medicine that solves this team’s sickness. The Colts currently rank seventh in passing and feature a young Jonathan Taylor at running back.

Tackling that kid will be the defense’s first priority Sunday. Hopefully, a noticeable uptick in tempo and physicality on Wednesday is the start of something better for the New York Jets.

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