OPEN CAMP: July 25, Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, Florham Park, New Jersey.
LAST YEAR: Another poor showing cost coach Todd Bowles his job — and, months later, general manager Mike Maccagnan was gone, too. Jets failed to make playoffs in four straight seasons under Bowles and Maccagnan, so team chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson turned to Adam Gase as new coach when season ended. Johnson then made stunning move to fire Maccagnan in May, just weeks after GM oversaw draft and free agency period. Johnson hired touted former Eagles executive Joe Douglas to take over roster. Rookie QB Sam Darnold struggled early in 2018, injured foot and missed three games. Darnold came back with impressive finish in final four games, throwing six TDs and just one INT with 64% completion percentage. Second-year safety Jamal Adams blossomed into one of league’s best while being selected to first Pro Bowl. Another bright spot was play of Jets’ long-beleaguered special teams, which produced Pro Bowl picks in kick returner Andre Roberts and kicker Jason Myers — who both later left in free agency.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Douglas, Gase, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, RB Le’Veon Bell, LB C.J. Mosley, WR Jamison Crowder, LG Kelechi Osemele, rookie DL Quinnen Williams, CB Brian Poole, WR-RB Ty Montgomery, rookie OLB Jachai Polite, WR Josh Bellamy, QB Trevor Siemian, K Chandler Catanzaro.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: WR-KR Roberts, K Myers, RB Isaiah Crowell, LG James Carpenter, CB Buster Skrine, CB Morris Claiborne, S Terrence Brooks.
CAMP NEEDS: Gase loves Darnold’s natural instincts on field, so all eyes will be on how they work together — with Darnold’s continued development priority No. 1. Bell will also be huge focus after he sat out last season with Steelers in contract dispute. He was at mandatory minicamp, but skipped voluntary workouts to work with personal trainer. Key will be how Gase incorporates Bell into offense, and how offensive line builds comfort level with his patient running style. Other positions to monitor: center, with Jonotthan Harrison the apparent starter; cornerback, with Trumaine Johnson coming off bad first year with Jets and career backup Darryl Roberts slated to start; and outside linebacker with Polite, Jordan Jenkins and Brandon Copeland all looking to provide consistent pass rush. Rookie Quinnen Williams, No. 3 overall pick, has chance to be immediate starter.
EXPECTATIONS: There’s revitalized feeling around team with influx of lots of new faces, from GM to coach to all over roster. Hope is that dynamic between Gase and Darnold will be overwhelmingly positive, and having Bell in backfield could also have major effect on young QB’s development. There are lots of questions heading into camp, but Jets have enough talented pieces to cause optimism about at least making run for first playoff berth since 2010 season.
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