Wayne Chrebet discusses the New York Jets’ first practices of OTAs
Chrebet and Jets X-Factor founder/editor Robby Sabo’s latest edition of the Underdog Jets podcast comes shortly after the two took in the team’s organized team activities on One Jets Drive. In perhaps a departure from the often dreary atmosphere that green gridiron affairs usually carry, optimism and swagger were the main takeaways from their observations of the first 2022 activities on One Jets Drive.
“The cause for optimism is great right now. Even at this time of year, you can see that it’s contagious,” Chrebet said of the young Jets in the early stanzas. “It sounds like none of them are complaining either. Guys are bouncing around guys coming out of the facility, the clubhouse, smiling, smiling before, smiling after. That’s (a sign of) healthy competition this time of year.
“So far, so good. There’s good timing with the receivers and Zach (Wilson) and everybody’s happy,” Chrebet continued, concurring with Sabo’s claims of a quick pace paved with great communication. “No one’s saying we’re working too hard, or we’re doing this or doing that. That’s a huge step, going into training camp, being prepared for how it’s going to be.”
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Optimism has been the defining emotion of the Jets’ offseason, one that has produced high-profile youngsters of both a drafted and returning nature. It appeared to slightly wane after the release of the 2022 schedule earlier this month when the powers-that-be threw playoff opponents at the Jets in six of their first ten games.
Chrebet, while rebuking those who took the schedule release as an opportunity to pile on the historically downtrodden Jets, believes that producing excess optimism during OTAs will build confidence that carries into fall.
“They’re working hard and they believe in themselves. You got to start fast in this league and I think this is a good step in doing that,” Chrebet said.
“You’re always going to have naysayers and people like that. But they’re never going to be held responsible when they’re going to be 6-4 or whatever it is 10 games in or whatnot…It remains to be seen how these guys become pros. But I think everybody’s in agreement that we are a much better team now than when we ended the season.”
The biggest produces of optimism were a pair of first-rounders: last year’s top choice Zach Wilson, for whom the 2022 offseason splurge was commenced, became one of the most talked-about memes through a newly formed “thick” physique, while Chrebet was enthralled by the swagger of the latest first-round newcomer Sauce Gardner.
When it comes to Wilson, set to enter his second season as the Jets’ franchise quarterback, Chrebet feels like the most important thing that he can do during this stretch is to further cement his spot as the team’s leader.
“He needs to go in there as like a team captain, as a leader, because they’re going to follow him. You’re going to follow him in the good times and then, the dredges of training camp, when things are the toughest, he needs to lead by example,” Chrebet said.
Surprisingly, Chrebet feels like the thrower’s uncanny quest to become the ultimate New York sports fan will help get the tri-state area on his side and boost his confidence for the road ahead.
“Go out there and be seen and know represent New York. I always rooted for all the New Jersey, New York teams. I’m not a believer that you can only (root for) the Jets or Giants or Yankees or Mets or Rangers or Islanders, whatever. It’s nice to see him there. Nice to see him getting great ovations…good for him taking advantage of New York.”
As for Gardner, even the cheeriest Jets fan would have a major issue with labeling him the second coming of Darrelle Revis at this point in time. But Chrebet responded to Sabo’s analysis of the Cincinnati alum as “cocky but also humble in a way” by invoking the legendary defender’s name.
“(Revis was) confident, not really cocky at all, but he would say that it was Revis Island, this (star receiver) I’m facing this week, I’m going to shut him down. You need that,” Chrebet said. “Any good player that has played that position, whether it’s to the magnitude of Deion (Sanders) you know how he was, or someone who was quiet as Revis. That confidence is there and it seems like Sauce has that from day one.”
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags