FLORHAM PARK, NJ — A look at what’s going on around the New York Jets:
1. Here they come again: Everyone knows the Jets have a strange history when it comes to developing quarterbacks, and one of the reasons is because they can’t keep them out of the coach’s room.
For the second time in 10 months, Zach Wilson is looking at the possibility of missing regular season games with a right knee injury. While the Jets haven’t ruled him out for Game 1, the most realistic scenario is that Joe Flacco starts a game or two. One of Wilson’s knocks during the 2021 draft process was his durability (shoulder surgery and a thumb injury in college), and he’s done nothing to change that narrative.
Wilson, who missed four games last season, can’t improve if he’s dealing with injured starters and shutouts. He’s still playing young (see: his unnecessary fight Friday night that led to the injury), and the only thing that can change is time and repetition. The same happened to Sam Darnold, who missed three games in 2018 (foot), three in 2019 (mono) and four in 2020 (shoulder).
If we were to list the quarterbacks whose careers were sabotaged by injuries, start with Joe Namath in the early 1970s. Another example is Chad Pennington, who was on his way to big things before shoulder injuries in 2004 and 2005. Mark Sanchez’s Jets career ended with a shoulder injury in 2013, all and that it was already underway.
The last quarterback to start every game in a season? Ryan Fitzpatrick, 2015. Fitz Magic indeed.
Flacco, 37, hasn’t won a start since 2019, but he’s a seasoned pro who will make the right decisions. His lack of mobility will limit the offense, of course. Yes, he outplayed Wilson a few days before training camp, but let’s be real: No one is going to show up on Sept. 11 at MetLife Stadium to see Flacco lead the offense.
Wilson’s injury, while not a full-blown disaster, is a bummer. The franchise is all too familiar with this feeling.
2. Frustrated Mims: It was an unusual sight: The other day there was catcher Denzel Mims talking to Saleh in the middle of the field, away from the rest of the players… during practice It’s rare to see a player in Saleh’s space. A few days later, they had another one-on-one conversation on the field during a break. They have also had private chats behind the scenes.
Something is happening. Mims, who has already expressed his belief that he’s good enough to start, isn’t happy with his chances.
“Yes, he expresses it and he should express it,” Saleh said before the preseason opener. “If he didn’t think he was a starter, I would think there would be a serious problem. . . . He’s getting better and he’s expressing frustration, but at the same time he’s not bothered by his day-to-day approach. Which is great.”
On Friday night, Mims capped off a strange week with a mixed performance. He had two catches for 25 yards, but also had a drop and an illegal formation penalty. He played just 15 offensive snaps, none with the starters. He was the seventh wide receiver to enter the game. The strange thing is that he got a lot of positive feedback from the coaches in the run-up to the game, the sources said.
Mims has not requested a trade, although it is believed that some teams would be interested if general manager Joe Douglas decided to shop him. Mims lives just a few miles from the Dallas Cowboys facility, and everyone knows the Cowboys are hurting at receiver, even though they have expressed confidence in their current group.
It’s hard to imagine Douglas giving up a 2020 second-round pick, but if the right offer comes along…who knows? Right now, his spot on the roster is in jeopardy.
3. Historically injured: You’d be hard-pressed to find many players who have had worse injury luck than Mekhi Becton (knee), who is expected to miss the season, a source said. Consider his first three seasons:
2020: 14 games played.
2021: one match.
No offensive lineman drafted in the top 15 since 1990 will have played in fewer games than Becton over his first three seasons if he misses all of 2022, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The last player with fewer games was John Clay, selected 15th overall by the Raiders in 1987. He played in just 12 games over his first two seasons, never reaching a third year.
While Saleh said “Becton’s journey is not over,” it’s fair to wonder about his future. He is operated on for the second time on his right knee, both with the kneecap. That, combined with the history of weight and conditioning issues, will surely make the comeback more difficult.
Defensive end Carl Lawson, who has overcome two ACL surgeries and a torn Achilles, knows how grueling rehab can be. He said Becton faces “a tough road,” especially if he pays attention to the negativity on social media. “It might cloud their judgment, it might not,” he said. “I don’t know what his story will be. If you want something, you find a way to sacrifice what you can and go get it.”
4. Easy does it: One of the keys to the success of newly signed offensive tackle Duane Brown will be managing his practice reps. He’ll be 37 when the season begins, with 12,529 career snaps on the odometer. His knees are creaky, so he needs to rest. The Seattle Seahawks did a great job last season, getting 17 starts out of him.
Brown sat out 20 of 51 regular-season practices, according to official injury reports. There was only one week where I practiced every day. In almost every case, he wasn’t listed with an injury, just a “rest” day.
The Jets are thought to have a similar plan. The downside is that, being new to the team and the system, you need to practice as much as possible. There are just 12 training camp practices left before he begins his Week 1 preparation, including just seven in pads. The clock is ticking.
5. Entry: Williams’ agent, Nicole Lynn of Klutch Sports, visited the Jets’ facility six days ago to meet with Douglas. No, that doesn’t mean a contract extension is imminent. Both parties have an open line of communication and a touch base at times; it’s been a few months.
Williams, entering his fourth season, is eligible for a new contract for the first time. With his fifth-year option, he’s under contract through 2023, so there’s no sense of urgency for the Jets. Williams can improve his bargaining position with a monster year, and people around the team said he’s having a great camp.
6. Second race: Speaking of agents, former Jets GM Mike Maccagnan is now a registered agent, according to the NFLPA directory. No word on whether he has clients.
7. The Richmond Pipeline: When Douglas needs an offensive tackle, look to Richmond, Virginia. Consider:
Becton, Brown and Morgan Moses, a 2021 free agent signing, were born and attended high school in the Richmond area. It’s clear that Douglas has an affinity for the city. He too was born and raised in the area. where did you go to college The University of Richmond, of course.
Memo to all Richmond natives with offensive line experience: send game tapes to Douglas.
8. The last word: “Have a legendary day.” — linebacker Kwon Alexander at the end of each media session