FLORHAM PARK — The New York Jets are back on the practice field Tuesday morning and there’s plenty to watch as the team enters the next phase of their offseason work.
While most teams are preparing for the end of voluntary workouts, Jets head coach Robert Saleh confirmed that the team has canceled the mandatory portion of minicamp next week due to the team participating in the Hall-of-Fame game in early August, and starting training camp earlier.
An extra week off for the players though wasn’t the only thing on the head coach’s mind with two of his star players not being on the practice field in recent weeks.
Aaron Rodgers Injury Update
Rodgers’ strained calf has been the talk of 1 Jets Drive over the last few weeks with the quarterback being off the practice field last week. The recovery has since gone well though and Rodgers is expected to be participating in seven-on-seven work and specific quarterback drills through the rest of OTAs.
Saleh later announced that the Jets will not have their franchise quarterback participate in 11v11 work to protect his legs.
“There’s been some ‘wow’ moments… He has the discipline to bring it back in the moment,” Saleh said of his quarterback.
Rodgers suffered the calf injury back in late May during workouts in which the 39-year-old was pushing weights around.
Will McDonald Continues to Impress
While many draft analysts were surprised when New York selected Will McDonald IV with the 15th overall selection, the Jets continue to be impressed with the player through the first month of practices.
“Will looks the part. I love his personality. He’s a dude, man. He’s got tremendous length and bend, It’s freakish, his bendability. There are things from a development thing that he’s going through, but I love where he’s at right now,” Saleh explained.
McDonald has competed heavily with Jermaine Johnson throughout the last few practices and is expected to be part of the defensive line rotation.
Carl Lawson Recovery Status
Lawson has been a tremendous grab for the Jets since signing a three-year deal with the team back in 2021 but the pass-rushing dynamo hasn’t always been able to stay on the field. After suffering a torn Achilles injury during training camp in his first year with New York, the former Bengal responded with a seven-sack season in 2022.
The road to recovery has had his head coach impressed and comparing him to a future Hall-of-Famer.
“My personal experience would be Richard Sherman, who had the Achilles injury, we signed him (in San Francisco) and that first year, he had a decent year but he was nowhere near where we remember him. In that second year removed it was like he was back…just learning about Achilles’ injury, it’s a two-year injury. Yesterday was the first day we’ve seen him (Lawson) and I’m really excited about what he can do two years removed from that injury,” Saleh said.
Lawson is entering the final year of his contract with the Jets but could be in for a big year with New York’s defense.
Left Tackle position battle
One of the biggest position battles for the Jets entering training camp this year will be centered around the left tackle position. Both long-time veteran Duane Brown, and former first-round pick Mekhi Becton have both publicly championed for their candidacy for the role.
To the coaching staff though, the best player at each position will end up getting the start along the offensive line.
“Everything will be taken into consideration once we start to settle in on which five we role into to start the season,” Saleh said of his offensive line.
Last week Brown spoke publicly saying that he hadn’t played on the right side of the line since his college days at Virginia Tech. While the Jets head coach refused to state who would end up getting most of the team reps during practices, he did acknowledge that “Duane will be a hard out anyways.”