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Jets offensive struggles persist, other takeaways from practice with Buccaneers

Jets - Bucs training camp takeaways
New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) greets Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles during a joint practice in Florham Park, N.J., Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

FLORHAM PARK — The more things change, the more things stay the same for the New York Jets throughout training camp. 

Wednesday saw little change to the Jets offense, and another struggling performance followed against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in joint practice. It didn’t matter how good the defensive side looked on the other side of the field, it is clear that another day has gone by where New York’s offense failed to do much at all due to the struggles from their offensive line.

Outside of that, the Jets did have a productive practice outside of the six fights that took place in front of fans. We have more on our takeaways from Wednesday’s practice here.

Injury Update

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) celebrates with guard Laken Tomlinson (78) after scoring a touchdown.
Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) celebrates with guard Laken Tomlinson (78) after scoring a touchdown.AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Of course, even Aaron Rodgers understands that the biggest problem facing the Jets offensive line is the lack of continuity from the group. New York did not have three of five expected starters on the line at practice Wednesday due to different reasons. 

First, Laken Tomlinson was not at practice due to a lower leg injury. He’s considered day-to-day from Jets head coach Robert Saleh. The same can still be said Alijah Vera-Tucker who is nursing an ankle injury. Add in the fact that Duane Brown is still on the PUP list and the Jets are still very thin of starting offensive linemen able to practice at this time. 

On the defensive side, Carl Lawson is expected to ramp up at practice next week but is still dealing with a back injury.

Off-Field Scare

Outside of the multiple fights and offensive ineptitude, the Jets did receive a large scare in the middle of practice. Defensive backs coach Tony Oden collapsed on the ground and was taken off the field in a cart. He seemed to pull himself up and walk to the cart but it was a scare that left the large crowd at 1 Jets Drive very silent. 

Saleh later said that Oden is at the local hospital and is currently being evaluated.

Quarterbacks flash in 7v7

Jets and Aaron Rodgers have problem
Aaron Rodgers practices with Jets against PanthersAP Photos

New York’s 11-man offense may have had some struggles but the combination of Rodgers and Zach Wilson shredded the Buccanneers secondary in seven-on-seven work. Between the three quarterbacks on the roster, the Jets only had two incompletions the entire session and had plenty of big plays. 

Rodgers found Garrett Wilson deep to start the session where the Offensive Rookie of the Year made a finger-tips catch to haul it in. On the very next play, Zach Wilson found Irvin Charles for a deep touchdown. Other big plays soon followed to tight ends like CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin. 

It wasn’t the prettiest of days from the first team offense, but it’s good to know that the offensive line is the only cog that isn’t quite working right. When the quarterbacks have time to throw, they have been deadly all training camp. 

Calls for Mekhi Becton grow

Jets tackle Mekhi Becton speaks to the media at the NFL football team's practice facility.
Jets tackle Mekhi Becton speaks to the media at the NFL football team’s practice facility.AP Photo/Adam Hunger

It was hard not to hear the chant after the Jets starting quarterback was sacked six times in a 12-play sequence. 

“We want Becton” rang throughout the busy crowd at the Jets practice facility where fans had seen enough of the Billy Turner-Max Mitchell duo at tackle. 

Quite frankly, after Becton participated in another full practice where he did not need to come out, he looks above and beyond like the best tackle out there for the Jets the last few weeks While the team clearly is dealing with a lot of interior injuries, the fact that Mitchell and Turner have been unable to hold their blocks for more than two seconds at a time is extremely concerning and a big reason for the fan’s change. 

It even became apparent during one 11-on-11 play where the Bucs sent an obvious pressure, Rodgers had to blow the play dead, and he and Mitchell both argued over who was in charge of the blitz pickup. This isn’t to say the quarterback was showing up his teammate, but more to the realization that his patience is waning on several players who have not played up to snuff. 

Rodgers may have said that his concern level with the offensive line is “low” but New York needs answers on their offensive line, and they need them fast.

Dalvin Cook in attendance

To end on a positive note, the Jets newest acquisition was seen off to the side field as he visited the team to sign his new contract. Dalvin Cook is now officially a Jet and he should be at practice next week according to Saleh. The former Viking is going home to be a part of the birth of his child, and then he will be back with the organization. 

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