‘Denzel Mims is not a scheme fit’
New York Jets training camp is well underway, which means that a litany of popular narratives have already been lit with a match and spread around the internet like wildfire.
Denzel Mims has been the subject of a lot of criticism. He has been taking reps with the second and third-team offensive units since OTAs and has even been considered a possible trade or cut candidate by some members of the media.
As shocking as many of these angles are, I do think it would be wrong to question the validity of the reports coming out of Florham Park regarding Mims’ status. Multiple reporters have stated that they believe he is at the bottom depth chart and possibly on the roster bubble. His placement with the second and third-team offenses is a pure fact and has been since OTAs.
If everyone on the beat is saying these things, then there has to be smoke to the fire. There’s no pot-stirring going on. Mims is certainly in a bit of limbo right now, as surprising as that may be considering he was a second-round pick last year and showed a lot of promise when on the field.
However, I do think the narratives surrounding why Mims has fallen out of favor with the team are generally off-base.
A lot of fans suggest that Mims is not a fit in this scheme. I don’t agree with that.
Mims’ ability to create yards after the catch on in-breaking routes was his best trait last year. That plays excellently in Mike LaFleur’s offense. Plus, Mims’ high-quality blocking will be immensely valuable in a run-heavy offense that employs a bevy of condensed formations in which the blocking of the wide receivers is crucial.
There are a lot of similarities between Mims and Corey Davis, and I don’t see anyone complaining about Davis’ fit in the scheme.
Perhaps the Jets see Mims as too redundant to Davis for the two to start alongside one another. Even if that were the case, it would make sense to keep Mims around as the backup “X” receiver to Davis. He could also get rotational snaps in red-zone situations or as a part of four-receiver looks.
If Davis went down, Mims is the only receiver on the roster who could conceivably fill his place as the big-bodied “X” receiver with over-the-middle YAC capability. Outside of Mims and Davis, New York’s only other receivers who stand at 6-foot-3 or taller are Lawrence Cager and Josh Malone, and neither player is close to as talented as Mims.
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Mims does seem to be in a tough spot, but I don’t think his scheme fit is the reason. It doesn’t even seem like his on-field performance is the reason, either – there are plenty of videos and reports out there of Mims getting the job done against his second and third-team competition.
There could be something going on off the field that we do not know about.
‘This offensive line might be bad’
While the Jets’ offensive line surely has not performed well on the practice field – even since pads have come on – I think we need to remember that they are going up against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL.
In a study I conducted back in May, I compiled the statistics of the projected top-8 most-used players on every defensive line in the NFL. The Jets’ defensive line came out as the second-best unit in the league on paper, trailing only the Steelers’ group.
Quinnen Williams has been sidelined throughout camp thus far, weakening the group’s overall talent level, but it remains a tremendously talented unit without him.
Concern will be warranted if the offensive line (particularly Mekhi Becton) continues to struggle in the preseason. For now, I think we are just seeing a preview of what opposing offensive lines are going to look like against the Jets’ defensive line.
Related Article: Mekhi Becton’s pass protection deserves more praise (Film)
‘It’s time to worry about Zach Wilson’
The negative energy around Zach Wilson over the past few days has been completely ridiculous.
If Wilson had been sputtering throughout the entirety of this offseason, performing poorly on an extremely consistent basis during OTAs, minicamp, and training camp, then, sure, bite your nails all you want (although even if he were gruesomely bad it would be too early to panic).
This has not been the case, though. Wilson has enjoyed a perfectly fine offseason to this point. He has had plenty of “shaky” days and plenty of “great” days, according to reports. Days labeled as “awful” have been rare, and the reviews of his performance during OTAs and minicamp were overwhelmingly positive. He has been up and down.
That’s completely normal for a 22-year-old rookie.
In August 1983, a young quarterback named Dan Marino went completed 4 of 14 passes for 62 yards in his preseason debut.
On Aug. 1, 2018, it was reported that Patrick Mahomes had thrown seven interceptions over six training camp practices. This was going into his second season.
On Aug. 21, 2020, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn openly admitted that first-round pick Justin Herbert was having a rough time, stating, “Last couple days, he’s struggled a little bit … There’s a lot going on with the protections and when you start doing more third downs. There’s more volume in the offense right now.”
Oh, yeah, and this recently happened, too.
Trevor Lawrence’s 3rd pick of the day.
Picked off by DJ Daniel
— Jamal St. Cyr (@JStCyrTV) August 2, 2021
A rookie NFL quarterback taking his time to figure things out in practice is one of the most predictable things in life.
And Wilson hasn’t even been bad! If you go back and review the reports of Wilson’s performance on a daily basis, there is a healthy balance of good, bad, and mediocre. Plus, the Jets (and fans in attendance at practice) have routinely released videos of Wilson flashing exciting talent with highlight-reel throws into tight windows that are transferrable to real games.
As Aaron Rodgers once spelled out, “R-E-L-A-X.”
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