Head coach Robert Saleh made the Jets’ offseason mission clear shortly after the final game against the Bills last season: close the gap in the AFC East.
The Jets have not won a division game since 2019 and Saleh made it known that the team had to start catching up to the Bills, Patriots and Dolphins.
After the offseason additions the Jets have made, does he think the gap is closing?
“We’re better,” Saleh said Tuesday after the team’s second organized team activity practice. “I know we’re going to be better. We’re young. We’re a year older. We brought in some really cool pieces, a lot of guys who stand for the right stuff, who live and breathe football. Now it’s just a matter of trying to gain that continuity and confidence and again, just take it one game at a time.”
The Jets took the field on Tuesday for the first session open to the media with those new toys on display. Zach Wilson was throwing to new receiver Garrett Wilson and tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin. Sauce Gardner showed his skills in coverage and D.J. Reed made a nice pass breakup on a throw from Wilson to Elijah Moore.
Alijah Vera-Tucker said he did not hesitate when the coaches asked him to move from left guard, where he played as a rookie, to right guard after the team signed veteran Laken Tomlinson to play on the left side.
Vera-Tucker said he was “hyped” about the team adding Tomlinson and when Saleh and offensive line coach John Benton called him about switching positions, it was an easy decision.
“They asked me if I felt comfortable moving to right guard. I immediately said yes,” Vera-Tucker said. “I had a couple of experiences there, two years at USC. At this point, I’ve been switching positions now the last three, four years. I’m pretty used to it.”
Several members of the 2019 draft class have asked for new contracts this offseason and some are staying away from their team’s voluntary offseason programs. But Jets DT Quinnen Williams, the No. 3 overall pick that year, has not made any noise about wanting a new deal. He is scheduled to make $4.9 million this season.
“I just believe the contract is going to handle itself, the money is going to handle itself,” Williams said. “I play this game for the love of the game, first and foremost, so money is not a big thing on my heart or on my mind right now. I just want to be the best football player on the field that I can be.”
OT Mekhi Becton was not at the OTA. His first child was born a few days ago and the Jets knew he would not be there. … OT George Fant (knee) and DE Carl Lawson (Achilles) were not on the field as they recover from surgeries. DT Sheldon Rankins also was not on the field, while TE Jermey Ruckert (foot), CB Brandin Echols (unknown) and LB Jamien Sherwood (Achilles) were working with the trainers on a side field.