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NY Jets camp notes: Sauce’s superhuman traits, Zach Wilson’s perfect day

Underdog Jets, New York Jets Training Camp, Zach Wilson, Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, Wayne Chrebet
Underdog Jets, New York Jets Training Camp, Zach Wilson, Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, Wayne Chrebet, Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

The Big Mac isn’t the only menu item with special sauce

FLORHAM PARK, NJ—No, a man that tall should not be able to do that. A kid standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 190 pounds, coming equipped with 33.5-inch arms, simply should not have the ability to move his hips in such a freakish and agile fashion.

Yet … he can. And yes … he does.

New York Jets rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner is routinely proving that his change-of-direction and break-on-the-ball or out-of-T-step traits are insanely on point. One instance this past week saw Elijah Moore challenge the rook on an excellently-executed comeback route.

The result? It was as if the Cincinnati product ran the route better.

We know Gardner’s length makes him the perfect bail-technique corner, especially in the Robert Saleh Cover 3/quarters scheme. Think Richard Sherman near the line of scrimmage in a press situation, only to turn those hips and bail at the snap.

The speed and overall length allow a Sherman or a Gardner to play a safety-type position near the sideline in a deep-third or quarter area. (And please don’t think I’m comparing Gardner and Sherman right now; that’s the last thing that needs to happen. But in terms of each player’s prototype and talents, that visual allows for a great idea of what to expect.)

If Gardner can become a lockdown man-to-man cornerback in this league, watch out. And from all indications—even though he’s still splitting time with Bryce Hall on the first team—he has superhuman traits very few individuals could even dream of possessing.

It’s led to Gardner locking down nearly every man he’s assigned when it’s purely a 1v1 situation.

The way Gardner sinks his hips at his frame in a way that changes his course of movement, on a dime, is near-fictional. Better yet, don’t think Deion Sanders or “business decision” when run support is bandied about. Gardner is a willing and physical defender against the run.

Granted, Gardner has a long road ahead. There are still moments, playing within certain zone concepts, when Jets quarterbacks are completing balls nearest to his area. Quarterbacks will also look to target him early in the season.

In spite of any normal rookie moments and “welcome to the NFL” roadblocks, the Jets have a good one in this kid. Sauce Gardner comes to the party with superhuman traits that no 6-foot-3 cornerback should be so easily showcasing at this early stage of his career.

Zach Wilson’s perfect practice

According to many stat-trackers, Jets sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson finished Wednesday’s practice a perfect 8-for-8. Whether it was 11v11 teams or red zone team sessions, Wilson allowed the game to come to him (instead of the other way around).

Nothing was overly flashy—aside from a beautiful back-boundary touchdown to Moore (20-yard variety)—but No. 2 looked comfortable and made the correct reads.

After an off day on Thursday, Wilson turned around on Friday and didn’t put his best foot forward. New York’s defense took it to the offense all session long.

The moral of this story is quite simple: Do not overreact to any positive or negative piece of information about the Jets kid quarterback.

As long as Wilson figures out a way to not allow himself to get trapped in the mental-QB-breakdown-type swoon that plagued him post-Week 2 of his rookie season, things should progress nicely.

The Jets’ secondary is leading the charge

Considering each of the four assumed starters are all new—Sauce Gardner, Jordan Whitehead, D.J. Reed and Lamarcus Joyner (injury)—the team’s secondary is sitting pretty.

One rookie (although he is still rotating with Bryce Hall) coupled with a trio of veterans has featured a defensive back group that’s communicating tremendously on and off the field. Whether it’s exchanging responsibilities in match zones or communication presnap, this group is the top position room on the field for this organization.

Furthermore, Reed has been Gardner’s big brother thus far, shadowing him in many spots, especially when special teams break out and the two work on specific techniques.

Camp tweets and notes

Backup quarterback Joe Flacco continues to look good, as does Mike White. On one occasion this past week, Flacco scampered out of the pocket like Willie Beamen (not really).

Rookie Breece Hall has also looked impressive. Once this kid finds his spot and commits, he gets downhill like few backs can. In many ways, Hall is the perfect one-cut workhorse for a Mike LaFleur-schemed offense.

On Tuesday, rookie wideout Garrett Wilson provided the team with a scare. Working out of the slot, he fell down quickly after working his release. After limping to the sideline, it became obvious that he was fine (ankle).

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