EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Zach Wilson took a snap during 11-on-11 drills at MetLife Stadium on Saturday and quickly scanned the field. The New York Jets quarterback wasted little time, finding his new safety blanket, tight end Tyler Conklin, streaking up the field.
In front of thousands of Jets fans at the team’s annual “Green & White Scrimmage” in the Meadowlands, Wilson uncorked a laser throw down the seam to Conklin, who zoomed down the field to pick up roughly 20 yards. The pair of playmakers have found instant chemistry during the first two weeks of training camp, and their connection was put on display in front of the crowd at their home stadium.
Jets’ Green & White Scrimmage: Zach Wilson and Tyler Conklin have impressive chemistry already
Wilson started strong on Saturday, connecting with Conklin for first-down gains on two of his first three passes. He also fired an impressive shot to wideout Jeff Smith to pick up another set of would-be downs. While those were situational plays from the 25-yard line, it was a strong start for the first-team offense and Wilson.
When the full-on scrimmage started, Wilson immediately went to the air. He connected with tight end C.J. Uzomah — who, like Conklin, was a free agent addition in March — for seven yards. Later in the drive, Wilson connected with veteran wideout Corey Davis on a screen pass, and the playmaker picked up 14 yards.
Wilson capped the first drive with a 10-yard touchdown toss to — you guessed it — Conklin. This relationship is worth watching throughout the summer and into the season, as the Jets need this duo to be a big part of their offense.
On the second drive of the scrimmage, Wilson started the series by firing a laser throw to wideout Braxton Berrios for a first down. He then went back to Conklin for another passing gain later in the drive. Wilson likes working the middle of the field, and fantasy football folks should buy stock in Conklin and Berrios this season.
After intermission, Wilson started to falter a bit. He had a near-pick dropped by cornerback Bryce Hall, who jumped a route by rookie Garrett Wilson. Immediately after that mishap, the QB was picked off by linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips over the middle. The ball was intended for Uzomah.
Finally, Wilson led the offense on a two-minute drill. He connected on his first three passes, with the first going to Davis before back-to-back tosses to Conklin. The drive began to fall apart on the next throw, as Wilson hit a wide-open Davis in the hands, but the wideout dropped the ball. While he connected to Uzomah on the next play, the drive eventually got to a 4th-and-7 scenario where Wilson overthrew Davis, who was tightly covered by first-round pick Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner down the sideline.
Wilson’s chemistry with Conklin was the highlight of the evening, as the pair didn’t have a letdown despite routine connections. While Wilson had back-to-back poor plays after “halftime,” he looked accurate and efficient for most of the night. Overall, it was a solid outing for the QB1.
Jets’ backfield could be pretty good
The Jets have a nice young backfield. During the scrimmage, which was essentially a two-hand touch session, rookie Breece Hall and incumbent starter Michael Carter shined. They both showed impressive burst and vision on runs. While the physicality of the scrimmage was not live, the running backs ran hard and looked the part.
The competition for carries will be interesting as the summer moves along because Hall and Carter are repeatedly head-to-head on big plays. La’Mical Perine also had some moments with the second-team offense.
Hall, the team’s second-round pick in April, is a violent runner with an impressive mix of burst and balance out of the backfield. His ability to cut and surge up the field was put on display throughout the night.
Robert Saleh discusses the Jets’ interest in Duane Brown
Several hours before practice, ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported that former Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks left tackle Duane Brown was visiting the Jets on Saturday and would attend the scrimmage at MetLife Stadium. Brown was seen on the sideline chatting with Jets players, head coach Robert Saleh, and members of the front office.
Following the scrimmage, Saleh spoke about the Jets’ interest in Brown. While a deal isn’t done, both sides seem like an ideal match, especially if Brown is slated to be the team’s swing tackle.
“Anytime you have a chance to add a Pro Bowler, like him, and add to the depth of our roster, we’re always going to search, far and wide,” Saleh said. “There’s interest on both sides, obviously, and [GM Joe Douglas] has been working on that for a little bit. We’ll see where everyone is at in regards to that conversation … everything else, in regards to that, will come from Joe.”
Jets backup left tackle Connor McDermott went down with an ankle injury on the third play of the scrimmage. He was helped off the field by trainers. McDermott rotated at left tackle with George Fant before the injury. McDermott was replaced permanently by Chuma Edoga.
Cornerback D.J. Reed (hamstring) didn’t participate in the scrimmage. Wearing a backward hat on the sideline, the Jets’ top cornerback watched the action on the defensive side of the field. He still wore a jersey, though, so it was easy to spot him.
Defensive end Vinny Curry (hamstring) and running back Ty Johnson (hamstring) also continued to miss practice.
Quick Hits from the Jets’ Green & White Scrimmage
- Rookie wideout Calvin Jackson looked very quick in the open field. He caught a screen pass from backup QB Joe Flacco and nearly picked up a touchdown after turning on the — wait for it — jets. Flacco later hit Jackson for a touchdown on a 3-yard connection on the same drive. Jackson got wide open in the corner of the end zone.
- Former second-round pick, wideout Denzel Mims, has been the subject of trade rumors this summer. On Saturday, he made a nice effort to come back for the ball on a 12-yard connection with Flacco during the scrimmage. Mims worked with the second-team offense during the practice.
- Veteran safety Will Parks ended the scrimmage with a pick-six on a pass from third-string QB Mike White.
- Right tackle Mehki Becton was on a pitch count during the scrimmage, according to Saleh. Fourth-round pick Max Mitchell rotated into the first-team offense at right tackle.
- Wideouts Jeff Smith, Elijah Moore, and Rashard Davis had drops. Davis and Berrios also had drops with the starters.
- Defensive linemen John Franklin-Myers and Carl Lawson clearly teamed up for a “sack” on Zach Wilson, but the whistle never blew. Fellow defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins scored a “sack” on a play that was actually blown dead during the two-minute drill late in practice.
- Safety Tony Adams made an impressive immediate story on a catch by running back Zonovan Knight. White hit Knight in the flat, and Adams immediately came up and stopped him after a minor gain. The entire defensive sideline erupted after the play.
- The northeast leg of the PFN Training Camp Tour will continue on Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field as the Philadelphia Eagles will host their annual practice in front of a stadium full of fans.