The Jets practiced bright and early Monday morning, and Sam Darnold and Adam Gase spoke afterwards. Here are some of the key points that stood out:
The most notable bit of news from Monday's practice was the absence of defensive end Leonard Williams due to a hip injury. Gase confirmed that the injury is a recent one, and not a prevalent, nagging ailment.
"We decided to take him out, not have him practice today," Gase said. "Kind of had some irritation in his hip, so we're just doing some preventative things, rehab-type stuff. It just came up the other day. I think he was playing through it, and we were kind of like, let's slow him down make sure that he's good."
The Jets also got some good injury news, as left tackle Kelvin Beachum returned to practice today. Beachum left practice early on Friday and missed Saturday's practice with a sprained ankle, but is working his way back.
"It seemed like he was alright," Gase said. "I'm sure he wasn't feeling 100 percent, but I think he wanted to get back out there as soon as possible."
Nose tackle Steve McLendon also missed practice, but was excused for personal reasons.
Jets fans are expecting Darnold to take a big leap this year, but as far as the Jets organization is concerned, he already has. Darnold's arm strength has noticeably improved this year, something that he attributes to a more routine offseason schedule.
"In the past, going through the draft and the combine and all that stuff, I felt like I was pushing it maybe a little too much early on because I had to," Darnold said. "I was trying to be at my peak performance for pro day. And, when you're trying to get ready for an NFL season, that's not when you want to be at your peak performance. So I think for me, it's about getting ready and right now I feel great heading into the year, so I'm right where I want to be."
Gase has observed the change too, and that's just coming off a two-game sample size when he faced him as Miami's head coach.
"It looks like he has more velocity this year, that's just from my perspective," Gase said. "I don't think I realized how strong his arm was.
"He's not the kind of quarterback that you're looking to protect, we're kind of looking to turn him loose and let him work the offense and get on the ball and use the running game to help him. There's no limitations on him, and it's fun as a play-caller."
Center of Attention
Ryan Kalil showed up for his first day of work as a Jet yesterday, and both Darnold and Gase are excited to get to work with the new center. Darnold particularly praised the job his boss did in recruiting Kalil for his off-the-field impact.
"I'm not one to grade Joe Douglas on how he's been doing, but he obviously knows what he's doing and he's been doing a great job so far," Darnold said. "As long as we can continue to get great guys in the locker room like that, obviously Ryan's a great player, but having good guys in the locker room is a key for us."
Kalil was mainly an observer today, as Jonotthan Harrison continued to take the first-team reps with Kalil watching. That should change once Kalil gets the playbook down.
Thursday's Game Plan
After almost two weeks of training camp, the Jets will finally be able to strap on the pads and play a different team on Thursday night, when they'll face the New York Giants in the first preseason game. Although Gase didn't reveal how long the starters will play (if it all), he dropped a hint from his Miami days that the starters will see at least some time.
"It always depends on the injury situation," Gase said. "The majority of the time, we've played our first group in the first quarter, and then the next week we've gone almost a full half. It always depends on where we're at injury-wise, how we're coming together, it's been different as far as starters go every year.
"We have a young team and this is our first year in the program, so we need to play a little bit."