The 2017 New York Jets boast a ton of unfamiliar faces as Todd Bowles has his work cut out for him entering his third campaign at the helm. Expectations are probably at an all-time low as fans should only expect a few wins, but this is a decision that will pay off in years to come and probably the smartest thing the franchise has done this decade. To steal the mantra of the 76ers, “TRUST THE PROCESS.”
I made my way to the Jets practice facility in Florham Park, NJ for practice number five and it was a noticeably smaller crowd than usual for camp without the attractions of big name superstar players. The tempo of the two and a half hour session was still very upbeat while battling the brutal afternoon sun.
Some things never change with this organization, the offense seems to be way behind the defense in the early stages of the 2017 campaign, which is understandable as new offensive coordinator John Morton looks to install a brand new system. The former New Orleans Saints wide receivers coach lost his voice by the end of the practice screaming at players as multiple false starts and missed assignments took place.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 4, 2017
Josh McCown took the bulk of the reps with Christian Hackenberg not far behind. Both struggled to find receivers and took an unofficial “12 sacks” on the day. Behind Quincy Enunwa the Jets will struggle to find pass catching production, I really have no idea who will step up but someone’s got to catch passes, right?! Matt Forte sat to the side as he is still out with a hamstring ailment. Bilal Powell looked very shifty and should make for a solid fantasy player behind a sneaky good offensive line this season.
“I’m done w training camp so I’m not sure what it’s like”
“I was looking forward to lining up against you”😂 –@mowilkerson
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) August 3, 2017
This unit looks to be ahead of schedule as the group full of youth continues to get a hold of Todd Bowles’ system. Leonard Williams wreaked havoc in the backfield all day, blowing up Bilal Powell on one noticeable run, which got his teammates and the crowd going. After making the Pro-Bowl last season, look for Big Cat to evolve into a superstar. The secondary also looked improved as our top two picks Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye will hopefully make for a talented safety tandem in years to come. Adams hurt his ankle in 7 on 7 and is not practicing today, but tweeted that he is good. Cowboys transplant Morris Claiborne looks to be the vocal leader of the secondary with a young but talented group behind him.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 4, 2017
Finally, the Jets are going to use a roster spot for a return man that we will not have to worry about with Lucky Whitehead, who seems to already be a fan-favorite donning the number 8 and rocking pink dyed dreads. With the departure of Nick Folk, Chandler Catanzaro was brought in and he looked god-awful missing multiple kicks within 50 yards. Count on him to lose us a couple games this year.
Session number 5 came to a conclusion around 4:25 as Coach Bowles had the players run multiple gassers as a team. This didn’t stop a bunch of the players from coming over to sign autographs, take pictures and chop it up with the fans until after 5 P.M. With the smaller crowd it made for more intimate interactions, as everyone could get signatures without trampling people and get to ask their favorite players whatever they wanted.
Jamal Adams is going to be a star off the field, he took the most time out of anyone signing whatever or taking selfies. He told me the secondary group is going with the nickname of popular movie “New Jack City” for the upcoming season.
Leonard Williams was snagging kids out of the stands to take pictures with, which made for a hysterical scene for the 6’5″ nearly 300 pounder. Lucky Whitehead informed me he ended up getting his dog back, who is with him in New Jersey.
2nd round pick Marcus Maye definitely got after it at the University of Florida, when I asked him about the scene down there, his face lit up and said that “it’s the place to be.” Fans kept asking Christian Hackenberg “What are Saturday for?” to which he obliged. The women in the crowd all wanted selfies with the stud QB.
Josh McCown rocked Air Jordan “Oreo” IV cleats for practice, which was such a surprise to see the 38-year-old in the freshest footwear on the field. I knew McCown has been well-traveled so he answered my best wide-out he’s ever played with question with a multitude of players. “There’s been a lot over the years. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin for sure. Steve Smith, who is here today. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery while I was in Chicago as well.”
That’s a wrap from Jets camp, remember to trust the process people. See everyone week one!