New York Jets rookie offensive lineman Cameron Clark received some first-team reps this past week, as he patiently awaits his shot.
New York Jets fans have seen Mekhi Becton, Denzel Mims, Ashtyn Davis, Jabari Zuniga, La’Mical Perine, Bryce Hall and Braden Mann. The two names missing are quarterback James Morgan and the man of the moment, offensive lineman Cameron Clark.
Morgan’s situation is understandable, but fans continue to wonder why Clark’s weekly status on the inactive list never changes. Alex Lewis‘s absence paved the way for an opening, but newcomer Pat Elflein took control at left guard. In the event of an injury, veteran Josh Andrews has usually filled the interior spot.
On Friday, head coach Adam Gase touched on Clark’s status by revealing that he has recently received some first-team reps.
“We keep sliding him in,” Gase said on his regularly-scheduled Friday Zoom call. “I think this week we actually, we had him rolling in there because some of the older guys we try to maybe give a rep off here and there in the offense/defense stuff and you know trying to slide him in there. Just trying to get him in position where, when it’s his opportunity, he is ready to go.”
Gase says 4th-rd OL Cameron Clark has gotten a few snaps with starters this week to give some guys rest.
"You don't want to just throw a rookie in there & he's not ready to go. He's done a good job of preparing himself. It's all about, hey, just keep getting those reps." #Jets
— Dennis Waszak Jr. (@DWAZ73) December 18, 2020
Clark, 23, has yet to experience NFL action. He found himself out of the mix earlier in the season thanks to injury, but to not see him in any game since remains one of the greater mysteries of the season (thanks to his fourth-round status).
It appears Gase is hesitant to use another rookie alongside Becton, courtesy of a question asked by the AP’s Dennis Waszak Jr. Gase explained that inserting a rookie next to Connor McGovern is a tricky thing when thinking pre-snap.
“Especially upfront in some interior stuff, there’s a lot of things going on in there, a lot of calls that need to be made, (so he) has to be on it with Connor (McGovern),” Gase said. “So you don’t want to just throw a rookie in there and he’s not ready to go.”
Yet, Elflein and Andrews haven’t exactly torn it up this season. Both Elflein and McGovern are dealing with injuries, but both practiced in-full Thursday afternoon—something that doesn’t bode well for Clark’s chances in Los Angeles this Sunday when the Jets take on the Rams.
Clark continues to patiently await his first opportunity while preparing himself diligently (by all accounts).
“I think he’s done a good job of preparing himself,” Gase added. “It’s just all about getting all those reps. The way things are going, after all these games, we need him to be ready because, I mean, he could be the next guy up.”
Gase doesn’t use players that do not fit his system. Thus, the in season trades? The absence of the Alphas, hmmm?
THE absence of so-called RB by COMMITEE? The use of TE’s? IS THERE AN O-COORDINATOR? WERE changes permitted at the line of scrimmage?
It’s a confusing one to see Clark not get a crack.
Clark, Hall, and Zuniga had injuries and COVID-19 offseason. Davis was playing well in his last few games before his season ending injury. I say that we should have some patience with the rookies folks.
One of the criticisms of Gase, is that players don’t develop under his watch ( regress ? ). Lewis could be done because of performance & CAP. Elflein could be a backup Center, but we understand why the Vikings parted ways with young OLineman. Think there should be a sense of urgency in Clark’s development, don’t see it from Gase. Clark could be horrendous but I’m heartened by the RB’s Johnson & Adams performance, after riding the bench all season. Hoping for the best