Head Coach Robert Saleh, 6.15

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Brian Costello, New York Post: How does Mekhi (Becton) look?

Good, he’s here so that’s good.


(follow up) Is he in shape?

Working with the performance staff and all that stuff, it’s no different than every other player that’s come through here. Whether they’re in shape or not, they’re going to work with the performance staff just to get a gage of where they’re at and then from there we’ll go.


Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Did he show up at the weight that you wanted him to show up at?

I’m not going to get into those details, but he’s fine.


What is the plan for him going forward?

This week, it’s work with the performance staff. Then, obviously, he’s got the next 40 days to continue to work and get himself ready to play football.


Rich Cimini, ESPN: You expect him to be practicing when training camp starts?



Connor Hughes, The Athletic: As far as he’ll know, is the knee fine at this point and structurally okay and it’s just him getting in football shape?

Yes, structurally he’s fine. Again, it’s just him getting back into the overall football movements, in which he’s progressing into. He looks good and he’s just got to continue working.


Rich Cimini, ESPN: In terms of the grand scheme of things, how important is he to the offensive line and what you want to accomplish?

Every player is important to every position that we have. The NFL, the rosters are so small, every player matters. Obviously, we’re all aware of the talent that he possesses, the size, the athleticism, the physicality, all of it, and he’s really smart. So, having him on the offensive line to move people off their spots so the running back has running lanes and the quarter back can sit in the pocket and buy a hitch. So yeah, he’s important, and if he takes care of his business, like we know he can, he can be transcendent.


Bruce Beck, WNBC: What are you looking for from Zach (Wilson) in year two in terms of his development?

You ready for the cliché answer? Obviously, it’s well documented, he had a rough rookie year, I mean, we all did, including myself. Just in terms of growing, people are forgetting that he’s got a young offensive sporting cast. His receivers are young, his backs are young, the O-line is just gelling together, he’s young. So, for Zach, really, it’s just to continue to progress and becoming the starting quarterback and moving in the direction that we all know that he’s capable of. He doesn’t need to be Tom Brady this year. Now if ends up being that that’s awesome, but that’s not the expectation for him. The expectation is for him to continue to climb that mountain, that’s quarterback play in this league, and we all got his back. He’s got a supporting cast that’s working it’s tail off and from there it’s just piecing it together.


Corey Annan, NJ Advance Media: What has been your biggest impression of Zach Wilson this offseason?

He’s coming with a great mindset. He, obviously, physically re-made his body. Mentally which is the big part that we’re all really excited for. Again, it’s not that he’s a dumb kid at all, it’s hard for a rookie to come in and learn a scheme and learn an offense but he’s very decisive with the ball. He’s getting it to where it needs to go, his foot work is a lot cleaner and obviously, he’s going to ride the roller coaster of ups and downs as he continues to grow and master the offense, if you will. But he looks good, it’s been a really good and productive offseason for him.


Rich Cimini, ESPN: Another Mekhi question, when you guys get back during late July, will he be starting at left tackle?

We’ll figure that out here in the next couple of days.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Another Mekhi question. Surprise, surprise. The first thing everyone said about this guy since the draft is he’s big, that’s the thing that stands out. And he moves quick for a big guy, right? So, it seems like there’s this fine line between is he too big, is he the right size, so how do you walk that fine line with him where, to use your terms, it seems like his size is his superpower, but it can be…

It can be detrimental? It can be detrimental to everybody. It’s every position, we want you as big as you can be without sacrificing your speed. Mekhi is never going to fall short of strength, the guy is an extremely powerful man. But no different than a running back. We’re talking five pounds of a running back can alter his speed, a corner can alter all that, it’s no different. So, he’s got to find that, what is that line, and how aggressive can you be towards that line in terms of maintaining that size, while keeping the speed and the athleticism that we all recognized when he was drafted. So yeah, there is balance and he’s got to work with it. Now a guy his size has to work a little harder than most because his weight will fluctuate incredibly over a course of like three days, it’s fascinating. But he’s capable, he’s got the right mindset, he’s just got to piece it all together.


Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Do you believe that, I know you weren’t here for his first year, but some of the injury issues that he dealt with as a rookie and then the foot injury during the offseason last year and some of the other issues during, obviously, when the season started, that his inability to find that happy place with weight and size contributed to some of those injuries?

When you as an NFL player lose an offseason of having the ability to condition and keep yourself in shape and all that, you’re going to be at a disadvantage. It’s the same thing that happened to Mimsy (Denzel Mims), you miss an entire OTA, you’re really not able to put in the work that you need to, to come in in-shape, so in training camp, you’re already at a deficit. So, you’re playing catch up and when you’re playing catch up, scientifically you’re already putting yourself at risk of being injured. Then it’s just a matter of time before the wheels fall off because you’re exhausted, you’re grinding through things, your muscles are tired and you’re straining to try to find those extra yards. And then you get hurt, and it just trickles down and that’s usually what happens to guys that get hurt in the offseason. It just lingers. So, hopefully, just through this offseason, it’s being a lot of training, a lot of trying to get in shape, a lot of stabilizing of the knee. Again, he’s got six weeks to grind, show up in camp, and get ready to roll.


Nora Princiotti, The Ringer/Spotify: Do you ever worry about just incremental gains and making progress? There are so many teams in the league right now that seem to be so aggressive about going all in in these short sprints. You guys have a young team, you’ve been building through the draft, do you think that there is sort of an equally viable method to doing that incrementally and just going one year at a time trying to make progress that way?  

Depends, the teams that have been ultra-aggressive have the established quarterback and so they’re throwing in all their chips while they’re at the, not necessarily at the end of their career, but that they’ve got these quarterbacks whether they’re in their rookie contracts or not. We have a really young team, our receivers are young, our quarterback is young, our backs are young, even the back end on the defense is young. And I know we tried to be aggressive with Tyreek (Hill), obviously, with working the trademark and all that so we were trying to get in there too because we do have faith in our quarterback. Some things work out, some things don’t, but with the youth of this team and having the luxury to allow it to grow and gain another year of experience allows us to have that little bit in the tank to be aggressive when we need to be.


Nora Princiotti, The Ringer/Spotify:  Heading into break for you guys, for you, just thinking about this team as a whole, so what’s that state of the Jets before training camp at this point now?

I think the guys are at a really good place. We’re obviously further along this year then we were last year. Guys are understanding exactly what they’re being asked in all three phases whether its special teams, offense, and defense. From a schematic standpoint, the language barrier of having a new staff and new players is down where you could see Zach, he’ll make a throw and he already knows what Rob (Calabrese) and Mike (LaFleur) are going to tell him. He’s like I know, and he’ll point to where he needs to. Same thing with the o-line and d-line, all the way across the board, so that’s the biggest part. The communication barrier has been fantastic but, obviously, I’m an optimist, I think we’re in a really good place. I really do. What it looks like from a results standpoint, that’s for all y’all to judge, but we’re a lot further along this year than we were a year ago.



Connor Hughes, The Athletic: We were only at four of the OTA practices but based off those and what we saw yesterday, it seemed like yesterday was one of Zach’s best days.  What did you see and how have you seen the progression from him line up?

Same thing, it’s no different. I know you guys have caught him on a couple of days where it hasn’t been fantastic. Not to make excuses for him but there’s a whole lot of elements that go into a play. But the decisiveness, the accuracy, the footwork, the eye placement. On top of that the receivers with the way they are running the routes. They look as fresh as they’ve been, they’re operating with speed and jumping off the ball. There were a lot of really good things offensively and the timing was just clicking. And when it does click, and we are all on the same page, and rhythm is good then it can be explosive. With Zach it was just a matter of everything coming together with regards to play call, timing, receivers, all of it. That’s what excites you because you know what it can look like and now, we just have to create that consistency.


Bruce Beck, WNBC: How different are you in year two? Do you feel even more equipped to handle this challenge?

Yeah, the big difference is understanding the media schedule in New York. (laughter) Otherwise, it’s fine, it’s more administrative but just trying to find balance. I feel like I’m getting better in that regard. Just got to keep getting better.


Al Iannazzone, Newsday: What do you think is the biggest thing you’ve accomplished this offseason?

Everything comes down to reps. This team, this locker room, is not short of people who want to work hard and who love ball and work their absolute tails off. It’s not short of those guys at all. Any time you can get out there and get through the install again and again. In this minicamp we’re doing it again, in training camp they’ll get it again. So, we are trying to hit them as many times as we can. Going back to square one and do it again, go back to square one, do it again. Because in the game plan you’re going to go back to square one and do it again and try to fit it all in a week. The fact that we are able to get phase one, phase two, phase three, minicamp, it’s beneficial. It’s beneficial to the coaches to be able to master how they want to present the information. It’s beneficial to the players that hear it as many ways as possible and to see different clips, see them doing it and to see other teams doing it, all of it is beneficial. To answer your question, another opportunity to master the schemes has been extremely beneficial.

Rich Cimini, ESPN: At the end of the season, you talked about trying to cut down on injuries this year. Have you noticed any change in the offseason? Obviously, you scale back some of these workouts, have you noticed any reduction in injuries and how will this play out in training camp? Will you adjust your training camp schedule to be mindful of the injury rate?

If your question jinxes today, we are going to have a problem. (joking) We’ve been clean this entire offseason. Had a couple of nicks and bruises here and there but for the most part… Ohh God Rich, I swear, you might make me cancel practice man. (joking) But no, it’s been really good, we’ve made some fundamental changes as you guys have seen. We still feel like we are getting in a lot of good work, and we are averaging 30 more reps per day than we did a year ago, believe it or not. When we include the walkthroughs, the jogthroughs, and then obviously the seven on sevens. Training camp is also going to be modified some. Obviously, we’re not modifying the contact and all that, that’s got to happen. But the just the amount of days that we are grinding consecutively is going to be modified. Those schedules, to answer your next question, is going to be decided tomorrow morning.


Connor Hughes, The Athletic: You guys in recent weeks have had several notable veterans in with Riley (Reiff), Larry (Ogunjobi), and Kwon (Alexander). Has anything changed with them in terms of progression towards potential deals or are they still deciding what they want?

Joe (Douglas) is working through all of it. That would be a better question for Joe, but I know he’s working on all of it.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Your mention about Zach before saying he doesn’t have to be Tom Brady, doesn’t have to carry the team, I’m sure you’ve relayed that to him. Is that a tough message to get through a quarterback’s head? I’m sure he wants to be Tom Brady and he wants to be the hero.

I think Zach’s ceiling is exactly what I think he thinks a ceiling is, which is no limit to what we think he’s capable of. I mean that genuinely. To try to blow through the ceiling without really being a master of the 101 aspect of football is unfair to himself. To continue taking those steps for him, yeah, he’s a competitor, he wants explosive plays. He wants, like you said, to be the best quarterback in league day one. We all want to be the best at what we do. But for him, it’s not about being the best today, it’s about your best today and whatever your best is today, trust that its good enough and that you can grow into whatever you are to maximize. I believe it’s going to be special, just got to continue growing.


Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance Media: Going back to Mekhi, when you open the left tackle competition, that can be something that can be jarring to a young player. Did you feel like you had to talk to him about it and how do you feel he’s responding to it?

Mekhi is a pro, I think pros also respect each other and I think he respects what George (Fant) did. That’s what gets lost in this whole thing. I get a lot of the focus is on Mekhi, but I do think it’s a disservice to what George did a year ago and the work that he put in and the work he’s putting in this year and this offseason. For as much as we talk about one aspect let’s not forget about how good of a job George did and make sure we give credit to where credit is due.


Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance Media: Do you expect George to be fully ready to return for camp and everything?

Yeah, absolutely.


DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: You mentioned how at a couple of OTA practices that Zach didn’t look fantastic. Some of that has to do with the defense. How much better is the defense now compared to where it was last year.

It is hard to tell because we are front driven. Do I think D.J. Reed, Jordan Whitehead, and all the additions, another year of maturation for Bryce Hall, I know (Brandin) Echols has been on the mend, but Michael Carter II, all of our young guys, C.J. (Mosley) looks fantastic. Quincy (Williams) looks really good. We’re getting Lamarcus Joyner back there. Ashtyn (Davis) is a lot more comfortable, so is JP (Jason Pinnock). I’m forgetting somebody, I’m sure. But again, the language barrier, the communication barrier is down, and they just look faster. The windows are tighter, the communication is better. Now when we get the front in there and how disruptive can we get up front so the back end can be more aggressive, we’ll find out in training camp.