The NY Jets returned to the gridiron on Saturday. We look at three takeaways from that practice.
The NY Jets returned to the practice field on Saturday after a much-needed day off on Friday. The first week of training camp practices paved the way for a number of impressive standouts.
But it wasn’t all good news for Gang Green.
A few notable players went down with injuries leaving the Jets a little banged up as the week came to a close. Friday’s practice served as a temporary rest period for a team that was certainly in need of one.
And the results were evident as the Jets returned on Saturday and put together a rather successful day of practice.
Some injured players returned — more on that later — while a few others shined despite not making much noise throughout training camp thus far.
Other notable standouts who we won’t be discussing were Blessuan Austin who intercepted Sam Darnold, tight ends Chris Herndon and Trevon Wesco who continued their impressive summers, and wide receiver Jehu Chesson who scored a touchdown and made a few nice grabs.
Also of note is that defensive lineman Bronson Kaufusi — who impressed in his brief stint with the team last year — has officially switched to tight end. Given the Jets’ depth on the defensive line, that’s probably for the best.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the three most notable takeaways from Saturday’s practice.
Next: 3. Mike White impresses
3. Mike White impressing with the NY Jets
The Jets’ quarterback situation seemed rather straightforward heading into the summer.
Sam Darnold was the unquestioned starter with veteran Joe Flacco expected to serve as the primary backup upon his early-season return. The only real competition was supposed to be between David Fales and fourth-round pick James Morgan for the third-string role.
That player was also expected to serve as Darnold’s backup until Flacco returned from his injury. But all of a sudden, a new name might be emerging as a contender.
Former fifth-round pick Mike White has been turning some heads in training camp and he had perhaps his best day of the summer on Saturday.
White tore up the third-string defense including finding Lawrence Cager for a highlight-reel touchdown in the back of the end zone. That came after a number of impressive throws to both Josh Malone and La’Mical Perine.
His performance even has some speculating whether he could surpass both Fales and Morgan for that third-string job.
A fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 NFL Draft, White was signed by the Jets last September and he spent the majority of the season on the practice squad.
At this rate, it seems as though he could be headed for another practice-squad stint. That is, if he doesn’t steal the third-string job away from Fales and Morgan.
Next: 2. Jets getting healthier
2. The NY Jets are getting healthier
Perhaps the most promising news to come out of Saturday’s practice was the return of three players who had previously been on injury lists.
Each of the three participated in Saturday’s practice, albeit only in individual drills. Head coach Adam Gase said that the team will ease them back into team drills.
This is excellent news for a Jets team that has been dealing with a few nagging injuries. The returns of Griffin and Williamson, in particular, are encouraging given their roles on the team.
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The likes of Denzel Mims, Pierre Desir, and others still sat out, but Gase said that he expects many of the team’s injured players to return next week. Expect that to be the case with both of them.
It wasn’t all good news for the Jets, however, as three more players were added to the injury report. Linebacker Patrick Onwuasor injured his knee, running back Josh Adams went down with a hamstring injury, and defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers hurt his groin.
Onwuasor’s might be the most troublesome as it was a non-contact injury he suffered while chasing reserve tight end Ross Travis. He was able to walk off under his own power, albeit gingerly.
Those new injuries are worth monitoring, but from an overall perspective, the team appears to be getting healthier.
Next: 1. Lawrence Cager finally shows up
1. NY Jets’ wide receiver Lawrence Cager finally shows up
Jets fans had been waiting for one of the team’s young wideouts to make an impression in training camp. Given the severe lack of depth at the position, it seemed surprising that it hadn’t happened yet.
But on Saturday, fans finally get their wish.
Undrafted rookie Lawrence Cager finally showed up making not one but two leaping end zone grabs that resulted in touchdowns — the latter came on the final play of practice.
The former Georgia star had gone mostly unnoticed during the first week of camp but finally made some plays on Saturday while working with the third-team offense.
At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, Cager was able to show off his massive size and impressive jump-ball ability twice coming down with touchdowns by leaping over defenders.
He did bobble the first one — and came down out of bounds if you ask the defense — but was able to regroup and secure the ball as he hit the ground.
Cager has struggled to separate thus far and his hands certainly need a lot of work. But he showed on Saturday exactly what made him arguably the Jets’ most intriguing undrafted pickup.
His red-zone ability is evident and if the Jets could manage to harness his size and natural talent, they could have a real player on their hands.
Look for Cager to get more involved in the coming days as he looks to push for one of the final roster spots.