The Jets concluded Phase 2 of their offseason program this week. That will set the stage for a Phase 3 from May 23 to June 16 that, finally, resembles football. Teams can hold 10 days of organized team activities (OTAs), and while no live contact is permitted, players can work through seven-on-seven, nine-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills. Basically, two-hand touch.
The Jets’ first media-open practice is on Tuesday. Earlier this week, we previewed what we’d be watching on offense. Now, let’s take a look at the defense.
That reworked secondary
The Jets survived their secondary for stints last year, but that’s more a testament to the coaching staff. Each weekly game plan centered on protecting their corners, knowing that asking them to play on an island would have disastrous consequences. They were able to do that with Marcus Maye at safety. Not so much when he suffered a season-ending injury.
General manager Joe Douglas used a significant amount of his offseason resources rebuilding the backend. Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols were New York’s two starters last year. They’re No. 4 and 5 on the depth chart now. Rookie Sauce Gardner (the No. 4 pick) and veteran D.J. Reed (signed in free agency) will be the two outside. Michael Carter, drafted a year ago, returns in the slot. They’re protected back deep by free-agent signing Jordan Whitehead and the re-signed Lamarcus Joyner.
It will be fun to watch the secondary and receivers go against each other throughout the offseason, beginning with next week’s OTAs. Whether it’s one-on-one, seven-on-seven or 11-on-11, Gardner, Reed and Carter will see endless reps against Corey Davis, Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson. There’s so much talent and potential with both groupings.
I can’t believe we’ve reached a point when that sentence isn’t written in jest.