Michael Carter headlined the best players of the NY Jets' Thursday practice.
Michael Carter, NY Jets, Getty Images

Michael Carter, run game flash on Thursday

Despite being a fourth-round rookie, North Carolina product Michael Carter appears to be the early front-runner to snag the top spot on the New York Jets‘ running back depth chart.

His Thursday practice was a positive step towards accomplishing that goal.

Carter showed some passing-game value with a 60-yard touchdown reception on a short pass from Mike White.

Pass-catching is an underrated part of Carter’s game. In 2020, Carter picked up 278 receiving yards over 138 routes run, giving him an average of 1.95 yards per route run that ranked at the 95th percentile among qualified FBS running backs.

Carter got some momentum going as a rusher, too.

Carter was not the only running back who made noise on Thursday. Little-known Austin Walter put himself on the map with a home run.

Walter only has one regular-season rush attempt over five career games, but he got a significant amount of action with Mike LaFleur‘s 49ers in the 2019 preseason. The Rice product carried the ball 36 times for 125 yards (3.5 average) and one touchdown.

Ty Johnson and La’Mical Perine got involved in the fun.

Johnson described the dynamic between the players in the running back room, explaining their desire to make one another better and how their varying skill sets help them do that.

“It’s just been really great to have all those guys around, it’s been fun because I like learning, I like learning what other guys are thinking, what other guys are seeing. So, it’s been really great, and having all these guys who can do different things, it’s just like, ‘how can I add that to my game?’, ‘how can I help him with his game?’, so it’s been really fun,” Johnson said.

The linebackers steal the spotlight

Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich had to be jumping for joy on Thursday. The two former linebacker coaches witnessed a day full of standout plays from C.J. Mosley, Jarrad Davis, and even Blake Cashman.

Letting Jets fans know that he is alive and well, Cashman reinserted his name into the Twitter world with a pick-six off of a dropped pass by Walter (thrown by James Morgan).

Jarrad Davis has had a fairly quiet camp so far. That is often a good thing for the linebacker position; it at least means he is not getting burnt in coverage or missing tackles.

Davis finally made a highlight-reel play on Thursday as he recorded an interception off of Zach Wilson.

C.J. Mosley has lost weight and is flying around in coverage as the middle linebacker in Saleh and Ulbrich’s 4-3 defense. He might be able to put together a Fred Warner type of season in the passing game with the combination of his newfound agility and his excellent fundamentals.

Zach Wilson update

Wilson’s Thursday practice seemed to be a mixed bag. He threw an interception to Jarrad Davis as noted above, but still made his fair share of impressive plays.

Corey Davis started to get a connection going with Wilson.

It is easy to picture Wilson and Davis enjoying a lot of success in the intermediate range. Both players thrive in that area of the field.

Wilson had an adjusted completion percentage (which accounts for drops, throwaways, etc.) of 72.0% on intermediate passes (10-19 yards downfield) in 2020, ranking 10th-best among FBS quarterbacks. Davis ranked third among wide receivers with 35.2 receiving yards per game on intermediate-range receptions in the 2020 regular season.

Meanwhile, spectacular plays by Elijah Moore have become a routine occurrence.

Injury updates

John Franklin-Myers, Daniel Brown, and Alex Lewis left Thursday’s practice. Robert Saleh provided updates afterward.

It’s the shoulder for Franklin-Myers, the left hamstring for Brown, and a head injury for Lewis.

The Jets have Friday off. They will head to MetLife Stadium on Saturday night for the Green and White Scrimmage, which is open to fans.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at]jetsxfactor.com - Twitter: @Michael_Nania

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Jimjets
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Jimjets

Hope JFM shoulder not serious.