It was a small scuffle at the end of practice Friday, one of those football skirmishes involving massive lineman near the line of scrimmage that gets broken up before there’s time to comprehend how it started. The important thing is everybody on the Jets abided by the rules.
Or, abided by the lone rule.
“One rule – no punching,” coach Robert Saleh said. “They’re going to push, going to shove, it’s going to happen. They’re sick of each other, they’re sick of hearing the same calls from the coordinator. I think everyone is sick of each other at this point.”
The Jets have been together for 10 days at their practice facility for training camp, which followed a voluntary training camp at the same Florham Park location about two months prior. In between, quarterback Zach Wilson took some of his teammates on an Idaho retreat.
They’re getting feisty.
“We have one more week before we get to go to Philadelphia and see other humans,” Saleh said. “But rule one – don’t punch. It’s a 15-yard penalty and you get ejected from the game. So even with all the scrimmages that happened today, I didn’t see a punch.”
Beyond the restraining of fisticuffs, there have been some positive developments during camp – namely the defensive line’s ability to get to the quarterback – and another intrasquad scrimmage awaits Saturday night at MetLife Stadium. But Saleh is waiting for the preseason opener in Philadelphia on Aug. 12 before a big-picture assessment.
“They’re so used to one another. Obviously, it’s all part of the evaluation. But they’ve seen each other enough since OTAs,” Saleh said. “The (preseason games) is when we’ll be able to see a lot.”
In the meantime, the Jets will continue to battle each other.
“You want to see that. You want to see that fight and competitiveness,” wide receiver Braxton Berrios said. “As long as everybody does it the right way, you can break it up and go to the next play.”
Denzel Mims might be easy to count out as a top playmaker after two disappointing and hard-luck seasons.
But even from his current position deep on the projected wide-receiver depth chart, Mims, the 2020 second-round pick, is convinced his resurgence is
“I see myself on top. I put in enough work to be there,” Mims said Friday.
What does ‘on top’ mean?
“Starting,” he said.
It’s hard to envision given the acquisition of Garrett Wilson and the return of Corey Davis. There’s also Barrios, Elijah Moore and maybe Jeff Smith ahead of Mims in the receiving corps.
But Mims has benefitted from a strong training camp, which he credited with his first full offseason as a professional. His rookie offseason was scrapped because of the pandemic, and last year Mims was sidelined with a case of food poisoning.
“I always knew who I was. Just unfortunately I wasn’t able to be myself last year because I lost a lot of weight, I didn’t have the muscle in my legs and stuff like that, Mims said. “So that’s why I took the time and started working as soon as the season ended so I wouldn’t have issues like that. I feel like I hit a turning point Day 1 after last season because I felt myself.”
Mims said he lost 20 pounds because of the stomach issue and since ditched fast food.
Mims pointed to his arm muscle Friday to demonstrate the reward for eating healthier. Thus far, it’s translating well on the field with four catches on the first day of training camp and a 60-yard TD from Mike White on Tuesday.
“Because he’s so well conditioned right now, he’s doing things with his body that he hasn’t been doing in the past,” Saleh said. ” He’s come a a long way, a long way. He’s still got more in the tank. But he’s much improved.”
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Although Mims might find it tough to crack the roster, let alone the rotation, he won’t be satisfied with special teams cameos.
“I’ll do anything and everything I can to help the team win,” Mims said. “But I see myself as a starter.”
Coming off his All-Pro season as a kick returner, Berrios added some bleach to his look.
The 26-year-old went blonde in the summer and said he’s sticking to it through at least the season.
“I wanted something different. It was a fun camp thing at first but then I grew to like it,” Berrios said. “And I think I’m going to keep it. At least for the season.”
Naturally, Berrios has been teased a lot with Eminem references.
“That’s all I’ve heard,” he said.