We have plenty to get to today with a new coach in the building, a pro bowl tackle visiting the Jets, and the green & white scrimmage in the books.
We’re going to use the Quick throw section for a G&W scrimmage and then get into the rest.
Zach Wilson finished the session with a stat line of 12-19, 100 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. The touchdown to Conklin was a very good throw, the interception to Del’shawn Phillips was pretty awful. Having spoken to a few people who attended and who I trust, they graded it as an OK performance from Zach. He missed a couple of big opportunities for the safe check-down option and his ball placement was sketchy. It’s hard to judge, but we’ll find out more against Philadelphia later this week.
In the race for the kicker spot, Greg Zuerlein connected on a 56-yard field goal, I’d say he’s comfortably ahead heading into the first pre-season game of the season.
Here's a name to watch out for, Will Parks. He's putting together an outstanding off-season and he continued that last night by picking off a pass from Mike White. Parks has good range and he flashed at times last season, the Jets don't have a lot of established talent at free safety and Parks has a very good chance to stick. I've heard more positives around Parks than I have Joyner, David and Pinnock combined.
Sauce Gardner is as advertised. He's a unicorn, I've actually never seen anyone like him before. He's tall and long, but he has the fluidity and athleticism of a much smaller corner. I'd say he's an All-Pro waiting to happen and if it happened in year one, I wouldn't be shocked. He's the real deal.
Tyler Conklin scored the touchdown and he looks as though he’s on his way to becoming the clear Jets TE1. He’s a complete tight end and the Jets were missing that last season as they trotted out the likes of Ryan Griffin. Conklin has the potential to be one of the better tight ends in the league, I’m not saying he’s a Kelce but he has top 10 potential.
A few injury notes. DJ Reed was missing with a slight hamstring issue, Connor McDermott was sidelined by an ankle injury that sounded a little more serious and, Mekhi Becton was on a pitch count as he works his way back from a season-ending injury.
Not really G&W related but there was a rumor going around that Denzel Mims had requested a trade. That is 100% false and no idea where that came from. Mims agent was visiting the Jets, but it wasn’t to request a trade.
Carl Lawson said that the defense are not ready to call Ahmad Gardner “sauce” just yet and that he has to earn that nickname by his performances on the field. I imagine the team will be calling him “sauce” by the end of the Baltimore game. It’s the veteran’s job to keep the rookies humble, but sooner or later he’s going to get that respect.
Duane Brown in the building
All off-season we’ve been arguing that a veteran offensive tackle was the cherry on top, not only a luxury but a necessity. Both Jets starting tackles are coming off injuries, and while George Fant and Mekhi Becton are currently healthy we saw last year how important it is to have depth along the offensive line.
A first-round pick of the Texans back in 2008, Brown reached 5 pro-bowls and was named a First Team All-Pro in 2012. It’s safe to assume his best years are behind him despite making the pro-bowl in 2021, I’m not sure how you make a Pro-Bowl after allowing 8 sacks but there you go. Reputation means a lot in the NFL.
The 8 sacks he allowed in 2021 were the most since his rookie season back in 2008 (11 sacks allowed), but he allowed three combined sacks over the 2019 & 2020 seasons, so he has recent success. Brown has always been one of those tackles who is as comfortable in the run game as pass game, and when asked about the visit Robert Saleh said the interest was mutual.
Interestingly for Brown, he’s never taken a single snap at right tackle in the NFL but does have over 13,000 snaps of experience at left tackle. If the Jets were to sign him to a contract they would need him to offer cover at both left and right tackle, if for example, if Becton went down with an injury, I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with them switching Fant to RT because he has experience there.
The below graph of PFF grades outlines the consistency we’ve seen from Brown over the years, with the most recent season being at the top:
Personally, I see Brown as the ideal final addition to the roster ahead of the season. A couple of weeks ago I saw coverage linebacker and veteran offensive tackle depth as the two main weaknesses on this roster. The signing of Kwon Alexander filled one gap and the addition of Brown could fill the other. Let’s get this done JD.
Pat Bastien in the house
The Jets added a coach over the weekend with Toledo linebackers coach joining as an offensive assistant according to reports out of the midwest. That’s somewhat surprising considering Bastien has coached exclusively on the defensive side of the ball over the course of his career.
Bastien is still in the early stages of his career but he’s already made pit stops in Central Florida (2014-15), Georgia Southern (2016-17), Southern (2018), Georgia (2018-19), Marshall (2020), and Western Kentucky (2021) before joining Toledo just before spring practice in 2022. He’ll leave the Rockets having never coached a game.
There is some overlap with the current Jets coaching staff with Bastien having been at Central Florida at the same time as current Jets QB coach Rob Calabrese. Back in 2017 247 sports named Bastien a member of their 30 under 30 in relation to the best up-and-coming talents in college football.
Head coach at Toledo Jason Candle was delighted to add Bastian to the staff earlier this off-season and no doubt he’ll be disappointed to lose him, but when the NFL comes calling it’s hard to stand in the way. Here’s what Candle had to say about Bastien when he was hired.
“Pat is an outstanding teacher and brings a lot of football knowledge to our program,” said Head Coach Jason Candle. “He’s been a part of some great defensive staffs. They had the No. 1 defense in the country when he was at Marshall, and he learned a lot under Coach (Kirby) Smart at Georgia when he was there. Those experiences are invaluable when it comes to the schematics of things on the chalkboard. Then you want to make it come to life in your relationships, and I think Pat really understands that part of it.”
“I’m really excited to be joining the staff at Toledo,” said Bastien. “I have great respect for the University, and for the tradition of success in the football program. I also have tremendous respect for Coach Candle and how he operates. He has built a great program and put together a really good staff. I can’t wait to pick up my sword and go to battle.”
When he was a cornerback coach at Marshall the Thundering Herd led the FBS in points allowed (13.0) while ranking fourth in rushing defense (95.5 yards), 11th in passing defense (183.9 yards), and second in total defense (279.4 yards), that’s pretty impressive.
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Zach had a solid outing. You should have been at the Green and White scrimmage. Your second hand reporting from “trusted friends” is more snarky than accurate. Zach has poise, leadership, accuracy, and good wheels. Very impressive outing. Check with “The Athletic” for better second hand analysis of Zach’s performance.