Head Coach Robert Saleh, 7.27

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Brian Costello, New York Post: Evaluation of the first day?

Good first day. That’s about it. We’re (in) acclimation period, so it’s phase three rules of OTAs, have a little bit more tempo with o-line and d-line being in there, but it’s all the same.


Connor Hughes: Can you talk a little bit about the work Mekhi (Becton) put in between when he left off at mini camp and when he showed up yesterday?

We felt it was really good that he was here working with our doctors, working with our trainers, working with the strength and conditioning staff, and really worked him through the program of what we felt was required – not required, but needed, really – to get him to regain some of that functional strength and stabilize the knee and get him prepared to play football. So, credit to him. He’s been out here. Obviously, he’s got the child and sacrificed some of that time to be here and get himself ready. So, credit to him.  


Connor Hughes: It looks visually like he’s lost a pretty substantial amount of weight from when was up on podium at mini camp and we saw the photos of report day, did he really drop some weight in those forty days?

I’m not going to get too much into the weight. He got himself into football shape, really. He’s a gifted athlete. He’s a gifted man. Really excited about the direction he’s going. Obviously, like everybody, we all still have a long way to go, but he definitely took a good step forward.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: How long was he here before training camp working with your people?

He was here from mini camp on. He took a week for the Fourth of July, but he’s been here.


Al Iannazzone, Newsday: What does a healthy Mekhi do for you guys?

I think we all recognize that he’s pretty damn good, and him being on the offensive line, along with the three interior guys we have and George (Fant). It’s a pretty damn good offensive line, and a healthy Mekhi is special.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Is he your right tackle or is that still up in the air?

No, he’s going to be our right tackle and we’re going to have George over there at left.


Otis Livingston, WCBS: Now that you have a year under your belt, how have you changed? How much easier or different is this training camp for you personally?

Managing the administrative stuff is a lot easier, so I can get back to watching film and doing what got me here in the first place, and that’s scheme. Being able to manage the schedule – that’s pretty much it.


Connor Hughes, The Athletic: How did Mekhi take it when you told him you’re now the right tackle and Fant’s the left tackle?

He was good. George is good. They’re fine. We just sat down and just talked about it. We don’t want those guys jumping back and forth. We made a decision that’s best for the team. George had a fantastic year last year at left tackle. Mekhi is a gifted young man who can do both. Doesn’t mean Mekhi’s left tackle days are over, but right now he’s young enough to – just like AVT (Alijah Vera-Tucker) – to make that transition. We really like those two next to each other. We got a really cool group.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Historically, there’s a certain prestige with left tackle. There’s more money with left tackle. Did you have to talk Mekhi through that at all?

He’s got a long way, he’s still on his rookie deal. It’s going to take care of itself. I don’t think there’s a big difference between left tackle and right tackle because Von Miller doesn’t care. Von Miller can work both ways. All the great pass rushers, being with the group that we had in San Francisco, same thing with Carl (Lawson). If they feel like there’s a weak link in the offensive line, I promise that’s where they’re going to go. Whether you’re left, right, it doesn’t matter. You’re right, in the old days it was always right is the defensive end, left is the offense looks at it. They’re so gifted as pass rushers that they’re everywhere. So, having two bookends like we do, we’re very fortunate.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Other than George playing there last year, were there any other football reasons why you felt best going with this arrangement?

George just fills. He’s very, very comfortable and feels much more comfortable on the left side and performed much better on the left side. He’s got the athleticism to play the left side – as does Becton. It was just a matter of what was a better combination in terms of offensive line and just grouping the guys together. The veterans, Laken Tomlinson being at left guard, working with George, and AVT at right guard working with Mekhi and piecing all of that together felt like that was the best combination and place for all of them.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Is there any apprehension about putting AVT and Becton next to each other simply because you have two guys learning new spots?

No, because it’s all verbiage. It’s really just getting used to the movement. Especially since they’ve been – AVT in his case has been doing this since OTAs. Personally, I’m excited about the right side. You have a couple of potential All-Pros in my opinion. They are two fantastic young players. Then, you got two veterans on the other side. It’s a cool combination and a cool group.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Is there any difference in the run game and pass game playing side to side for those positions?

Our offensive line and what we look for is obviously a lot of athleticism. We’re a zone scheme, so we’re running. It’s not a lot of man blocking where we’re trying to push people off the line of scrimmage. Everything is lateral and working up and having the athleticism to work to the second level and catch backers and all of that stuff. All the way across the board, they all have the athleticism to do what we’re asking them to do. Like I said, it’s just a matter of letting these guys to start to work together so we can get that continuity.


Connor Hughes: How good does it feel to get Carl back out there on defense?

Oh, man. It feels awesome to get the d-line working again. D-line and o-line competing. Carl – he’s a freak. I’m telling you he was ready to practice at OTAs, it’s just we have to protect Carl from Carl in terms of the amount of work he has to do because he won’t stop unless we tell him to stop. So, were excited to have him back.


Connor Hughes: When players sometimes suffer injuries like that, they can return the next year, but sometimes they aren’t the same player until 24 months later. Is there anything you can do to make it so that he is the guy you want him to be, that he is fully recovered for this year? Do you see a sense that he is fully recovered for this season?

That’s a really good question. Carl’s game is actually much more power than anything. He still has all the power and strength and all of that stuff. As he acclimates and gets comfortable and is working through his movements, he’ll return to form. There’s no way I’d be able to tell you one way or another until we get pads on, but he looks good. He looks good.


Brian Costello, New York Post: When Zach (Wilson) was drafted and pretty much whenever any quarterback gets drafted here, talk about what it’s like to play in New York and what comes with it. He’s gone through that a little bit in the last two weeks. How do you think he’s handled himself in the spotlight of a New York quarterback?

I think he does a great job handling the media, especially for his age and where he comes from – a tight knit family. I think he’s very mature, he’s very wise, and he is very thoughtful in his words. I think he does a really good job with the media.


Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: How did Mekhi do today? Was he able to make it through the whole practice? How did you pace him today?

Slight pitch count in terms of reps. We didn’t want to give him a full load of reps, so we pitch counted the reps. Thought he did a really nice job, battled through some, big man, little bit of heat, first time he’s practiced in over a year. Pleased with his first day.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: What was the thought on adding the fourth quarterback?

They throw the ball so darn much. Giving another man an opportunity to play in those fourth quarter preseason games and showcase what they got. It’s just another opportunity to get a gentleman in here and give him a chance to compete.


Connor Hughes: This is kind of silly, but what were those big black things on all the helmets?

It was voted on. It’s a mandate for o-linemen, d-linemen, tight ends, linebackers, and that’s it. Really just the box. They’re really like shock absorbers to help eliminate concussions. It’s mandatory all the way through the second preseason game that they have to wear it. They’re not going to wear it in the preseason game, obviously. But, whenever we have helmets on in practice, they have to wear it.


Connor Hughes: (Follow Up) Including pads? When you all are in full pads?

They have to wear it.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Tevin Coleman, what landed him on NFI?

He’s got an illness he’s dealing with. He’s just a little sick.


Kris Rhim, New York Times: Is there anything specific that you’re working on this year that may be different from last year as you approach this season to help prepare this team to be better than they were last year?

For me, it’s repetition. It’s not trying to reinvent the wheel. Obviously, you’re going to make tweaks to your scheme and practice, and you’re going to have little minor things that you do, but at the same time you really want to stay as consistent as you can so they understand the messaging, they understand the scheme, they understand the standard and what’s expected out of all of them. And you hope that they take the ownership you want them to take so they can master it and get better organically.