The New York Jets recently held their rookie minicamp for all their new draft picks. Head coach Todd Bowles revealed that only happened for one reason.
The New York Jets held their annual rookie minicamp in their normal fashion, but shock waves were sent around the NFL. New Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase went with a unique strategy when it came to his team’s approach:
“Gase didn’t put the rookies on the field for offense vs. defense work, which is what traditionally happens at rookie minicamps. He was sensitive to the fatigue players experience after they play a bowl game, train for and participate in the NFL scouting combine and pro days, fly around the nation to interview with various NFL teams, and then fly to the town of the team that drafts them.”
“So, the Dolphins had their rookies start Friday with classroom work, followed by an introduction to the weight room and a session about dealing with the adjustment to the NFL, including dealing with media. Then it was off to meet with sports science experts, the player engagement personnel, a guest speaker (an unnamed former NFL player), dinner and more classroom time.” (via The Sun Sentinel’s Dolphins reporter Chris Perkins)
A unique approach for sure especially when considering last year during the rookie minicamp, Jacksonville Jaguars’ first round pick Dante Fowler tore his ACL on a non-contact injury.
Anything teams can do to protect their investments will always take precedent. Thanks to the New York Jets Media Relations Department, Bowles was asked about that new take by Gase:
On the Dolphins approach during rookie minicamp of not having the players practice…
Quite a few people have done it, I’ve done it before. There are a couple of teams that I’ve been with where sometimes you don’t have enough people to do the process and sometimes you have to get too many tryout guys to go through the process, and sometimes you just start fresh with the veterans. It’s been going on for a while.
Bowles nearly pulled an identical card with his own rookie minicamp. The only reason he didn’t was because of his new rookie quarterback he says.
On his thoughts on that approach to rookie minicamp and whether he consider doing that this year…
Yeah, I did, I thought about it. And I’ve said all this before, if we didn’t draft a quarterback I wasn’t going to have one either, but when you draft a quarterback, they have to go through the process and learn. It’s good for them to go through the three days. Everyone else, you’re going to see their work in camp. But the quarterback has to get acclimated mentally.
Their new rookie quarterback Christian Hackenberg is just getting his feet wet in the NFL. This rookie minicamp was his first opportunity to throw around the pigskin in a green and white uniform and get use to the New York media.
From what all the coaches and analysts are saying it seems that Hackenberg ideally will sit out the 2016 season to learn the ebbs and flows of an NFL offense. His brain needs to be re-calibrated after getting knocked around due to uneven offensive line play during his collegiate career at Penn State.
Bowles said in this same presser that quarterbacks who take that kind of punishment can get shell shocked. He doesn’t think it’ll affect Hackenberg at the next level saying “he’s played through a lot of things” and that he wasn’t worried about it.