FLORHAM PARK — We’re just a week away before the Jets conclude their off-season program before training camp but that doesn’t mean the excitement has stopped within the halls of 1 Jets Drive.
Aaron Rodgers returned to practice for the first time since injuring his calf last week, while several mainstays continued to develop and bring energy to what was another competitive practice.
Several players stood out throughout Tuesday afternoon’s practice so let’s go over some of the biggest takeaways from Florham Park.
Rodgers shows why the Jets brought him in
Jets’ Head coach Robert Saleh talked before practice about how Rodgers has already made some “wow” throws throughout workouts. Even though Tuesday afternoon was a pretty mellow day for the quarterback, it was at the end of practice that showed why the Hall-of-Famer is here.
During red zone work, Rodgers went 2-4 with three scores (the last rep was a penalty but he had already ran in for the score). One of the incompletions was dropped but the highlight certainly was a jump-ball thrown by Rodgers to Garrett Wilson that the second-year receiver outmuscled DJ Reed for the score. It was a perfect throw and catch and a microcosm of how good the Rodgers-Wilson duo could be in 2023.
In total, Rodgers was 6-9 passing on the day and showed just why he was brought in.
Jermaine Johnson looks good in individual work
A lot has been said about how good first-round pick Will McDonald has looked in specific drills but Jermaine Johnson really excelled Tuesday afternoon.
Johnson repeatedly got the best in individual drills focusing on quickness and “bendability” while also bringing a fiery attitude to workouts. He also had a couple of wins during 11v11 work to show just how quicker he was from last year.
If the Jets can get better production from Johnson in his second year, the team’s defensive line will be even more formidable than they already are.
Wilson has inconsistent day
While Rodgers did not take part during team sessions, his backup performed reasonably well.
Wilson went 5-5 during 11v11 work and had solid ball placement with each throw. Multiple completions went to Allen Lazard and Garrett Wilson. A big difference for Wilson’s placement on Tuesday that he clearly threw players open as opposed to the opposite that had been an issue for the quarterback throughout his early career. It was one of the few days the media has been available where the offense consistently won over the defense during 11v11 work.
That wasn’t the case though when the groups went into the red zone. Wilson went 1-4 during seven-on-sevens in the red zone with several inaccurate throws. While Wilson showed how he has grown during full-team work, that particular drill showed the bad sides of Wilson’s career.
I think Wilson had a good day overall, but the red zone period was not a good one for him.
Starting Offensive Line Updates
Position battles won’t be decided during voluntary OTAs – let’s get that out of the way right now. So while the starting line may look a certain way today, that doesn’t mean it’ll be the group that opens the season.
That being said, free agent acquisition Wes Schweitzer started at center during practice while Connor McGovern backed him up. Second round pick Joe Tippmann was not seen on the field during team scrimmages.
On the tackle side, Max Mitchell took first team reps on the left side while Billy Turner was on the right.
Both Duane Brown and Mekhi Becton are still recovering from injuries last season for the Jets so it’s not surprising that both did not take first or second team reps today.
The Jets didn’t have any injuries suffered to key starters Tuesday afternoon but did have an injury scare during team work. Diontae Spencer took a hard hit after completing a catch in 11v11 work and stayed down for a considerable time while trainers looked at him.
While Spencer later walked off under his own power, it couldn’t have been good to see a physical play like that during voltunary work without hitting for the rest of the team.
On the other side, Breece Hall was seen running off to the side as he continues to rehab from his torn ACL he suffered last season.