NY Jets training camp midpoint updates
Yeah, I get it: You, the downtrodden New York Jets fan who longs for the day that featured Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez, and Santonio Holmes still can’t believe your eyes.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers wearing No. 8 for your team is something of pure fan fiction. Stuff like this isn’t supposed to happen; after all, these are the New York Jets.
Yet, it’s true; Rodgers is here and enjoying life. He even dropped a little dough on a new Montclair, NJ home and showcased a carefree attitude on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” a couple of nights ago.
It’s so true that fans still can’t believe their eyes, and we’re already through three full weeks of training camp.
With just two weeks to go until camp officially closes, and the Jets dealing with a rainy South Carolina, while down south for joint practices with the Carolina Panthers, there’s no better time than now to provide a training camp update in the old stock-up, stock-down format.
Stock up: Tony Adams
When viewing the defensive side of the New York Jets depth chart, one position stood out more anxiously than the rest—as it concerned worry.
With Jordan Whitehead manning down the strong safety spot, the Jets brought in Chuck Clark to hopefully lock down free safety. However, many wondered if Clark could be the true center-fielder Robert Saleh’s defense needed.
Since Clark went down, young Tony Adams has stepped up big time in camp. After first rotating with veteran Adrian Amos, Adams quickly showcased his east-west range in impressive fashion—exactly what this Jets defense needs from its single-high defender.
A particular play early in camp showed me that the kid has come a long way in recognizing coverages and progressing through reads. Against Aaron Rodgers, he allowed his primary read pass him while driving down on a secondary read in shutdown style.
Watching Tony Adams closely: Nice job on a team effort in forcing Rodgers to have nowhere to go. Without getting into the routes and concepts and coverages, he phenomenally jumped off his primary read and onto a secondary read to shut it down (driving down on to secondary read).…
— Robby Sabo (@RobbySabo) July 21, 2023
Stock down: Michael Carter
Through three weeks of training camp, it’s clear who’s currently winning the No. 1 running back battle—with Breece Hall still sidelined—and it’s not Michael Carter.
Although Carter still brings a unique skill set to the table, something’s lacking between the tackles. His immediate vision when seeking something inside just has not been there.
Stock up: Bam Knight
The man who is currently winning the running back battle is a youngster the kids call Bam. Zonovan Knight has made wonderful strides this summer, which certainly makes Robert Saleh happy the Jets decided to hang on to the UDFA last year.
Where Michael Carter lacks, Bam Knight excels.
It’s Knight’s between-the-tackles vision and slippery nature—coupled with a much more physical running style—that meshes much more nicely with this offensive line. It also appears as though Knight is much more comfortable running behind a fullback (Nick Bawden), which Nathaniel Hackett loves to deploy in his offense.
Stock down: Mekhi Becton
Although fourth-year offensive lineman Mekhi Becton is still participating in camp, things just don’t feel quite right.
Immediately impressing everybody with his massive weight loss and looking great physically, Becton quickly moved to what Saleh described as a “pitch count.” After looking pretty solid in the Hall of Fame Game against the Cleveland Browns, Becton was forced to leave via injury. (Although, it’s fair to also say his time on the field was nearing its conclusion anyway.)
In any event, the trust simply cannot be there with the Louisville product. Until he proves he can remain on the field consistently, Becton’s stock has to stay on the trending-down side.
Stock up: Garrett Wilson
Pay no mind to Garrett Wilson’s ankle injury. Happening to catch both him and Breece Hall in the rehab area last week made it apparent that both kids look tremendous.
— Robby Sabo (@RobbySabo) August 5, 2023
While Jets fans will be disappointed in my thoughts regarding Hall—I feel he may begin the season on the PUP list—nothing of the sort is in Wilson’s future.
The reason Garrett Wilson’s stock is trending upward is quite simple: He may catch over 736 footballs this season with Aaron Rodgers at the helm.
OK, 736 receptions may be a bit of a stretch, but assuming health, the Ohio State product is going to have one hell of a season due to the way his mind works with his quarterback’s football brain.
Aaron Rodgers plays the position in a way that carves up modern defenses. With the rules the way they are, Rodgers simply takes what the defense gives him.
He does things on the fly and without much warning, so having a wide receiver who thinks similarly is essential—and that’s exactly where Garrett Wilson comes in.
Beyond his raw talent and fluidity, Wilson is incredibly smart when reading defensive coverages as a whole. This means that his football IQ meshes perfectly with his new quarterback.
Expect Garrett Wilson to be a monster this season.