The NY Jets took part in an ‘ugly’ scrimmage on Wednesday. We take a look at six takeaways.
The NY Jets completed their first scrimmage of training camp on Wednesday and it’s safe to say that things could’ve gone better.
From more injuries to a disastrous showing from the starters, the Jets certainly had their struggles on Wednesday. But with less than three weeks until Week 1, there’s no time to sit and ponder what went wrong.
Of course, one of the biggest talking points coming out of Wednesday’s scrimmage will undoubtedly be the story developing with Le’Veon Bell — more on that later.
But while things definitely went wrong, there were still a few positive takeaways as well. Certain players saw increased playing time indicating that their stock is on the rise.
Meanwhile, the injury updates weren’t all bad either as a couple of players made significant strides in their recoveries. There were a lot of takeaways, but not all of them were bad.
With a little over two weeks to go until the start of the regular season, each practice means more than the last. The closer we get to Week 1, the better indication we will have of where this Jets team stands.
With that, let’s take a look at six takeaways from Wednesday’s scrimmage.
Next: Injury update and new backup QB
1. NY Jets’ injury update
A number of starters left Wednesday’s practice early with injuries. Starting right guard Greg Van Roten injured his oblique and was replaced by rookie Cameron Clark, who returned to practice. Outside linebacker Tarell Basham will be out a couple of weeks with an ankle injury.
But the one most people will be talking about is the “injury” to Le’Veon Bell. We’ll discuss this further later, but head coach Adam Gase reported that Bell was removed with hamstring tightness. However, the former All-Pro running back disputed that claim.
The extend of Van Roten’s injury is unknown, but Basham’s status for Week 1 is in question following his injury. Meanwhile, wide receiver Lawrence Cager will undergo an MRI on his knee after it swelled up overnight.
Apparently, the injury is more serious than the team initially believed.
At least some good news is that Denzel Mims was doing some light running on the sidelines for the first time since his injury. A return for the second-round pick could be in the near future.
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2. The NY Jets have a new QB2
Sam Darnold and the first-team offense struggled to get much going on Wednesday, but the backups found a little more success.
And while each of Mike White, David Fales, and James Morgan had their chance to lead the second-team offense, it was White who got the first crack at it and ultimately played the best.
White has somewhat quietly had a really strong camp and he continues to impress with every opportunity he’s given. With Joe Flacco’s status for Week 1 uncertain, the Jets will have to decide on a backup quarterback for at least the first couple of weeks.
And despite being the heavy underdog going into camp, White has vastly outplayed his adversaries.
If Wednesday’s scrimmage was any indication, he seems to be the favorite for the backup quarterback job as of right now.
Next: The starters get demolished
3. The NY Jets’ backups dominate
The Jets’ starters had a rough day on Wednesday. It wasn’t just the offense or the defense that was outplayed by the backups — it was both of them.
As told by Connor Hughes of The Athletic, the backups finished the scrimmage with a 27-0 rout of the starters. That’s not ideal for a team about to play its first regular-season game in a little more than two weeks.
The first-team offense turned the ball over multiple times while the first-team defense was carved up by Mike White and the backups. The run defense didn’t look much better either as they surrendered multiple long runs on the day.
Does this mean the Jets’ backups are really good or their starters are really bad? That’s for you to decide.
Either way, this wasn’t the showing the Jets were looking for.
4. An ugly day for the NY Jets’ offense
While the first-team defense struggled, the worst unit of the day was undoubtedly the first-team offense which looked as inept as it has all training camp.
The first three offensive possessions resulted in a three-and-out, a fumble, and an interception. Altogether, the offense turned the ball over on half of their six possessions, punted the ball on the other three, and scored a total of zero points.
The offense managed just five first downs. This came against the Jets’ second-team defense.
Sam Darnold had an underwhelming day throwing an errant ball straight into the hands of an awaiting Ashtyn Davis who took it to the house for a pick-six — although it’s debated whether or not he actually scored.
Ultimately, the Jets’ offense looked completely incapable of moving the ball against the team’s backup defenders.
Gase certainly has a lot of work to do before the season starts.
Next: Le'Veon Bell debacle
5. Why was Le’Veon Bell pulled from the NY Jets’ scrimmage?
The biggest takeaway from Wednesday’s scrimmage will undoubtedly be the confusion and dispute surrounding Le’Veon Bell’s status.
Gase claims that Bell, who played only three series, was removed due to hamstring tightness. But shortly following the practice, Bell took to Twitter to dispute that and seemed to indicate that he was very unhappy with his playing time.
The Jets’ head coach stood by his claim and told reporters that Bell “never wants to come out of practice” and that “somebody has to force him.” And that’s seemingly what Gase ended up doing.
No one knows what to believe, but it’s unlikely this is the last we will hear of it.
6. La’Mical Perine sees time with the NY Jets’ first-team offense
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While Bell was on the sideline, the likes of Frank Gore and La’Mical Perine received reps with the first-team offense. For Perine, this was the first time this had happened all summer.
And the rookie fourth-round pick quickly made the most of his opportunity.
On his very first rep with the starters, Perine burst through the left side of the offensive line and broke off a long 36-yard gain. This came after he ripped off a massive 79-yard touchdown run earlier in the day where he made one cut and was off to the races.
That run came against the Jets’ starting defense — a defense that ranked second against the run in 2019.
Perine excelled when given the opportunity to play with the starters and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Jets continue to give him more touches in the future.
Hopefully, it doesn’t come at the expense of Bell, however.