Florham Park, NJ - Two practices down, one to go before the Jets start their five week vacation until training camp begins. Geno Smith continues to be far and away the best quarterback on the field, Brandon Marshall is still among the best receivers in the league and it shows everyday in practice and the Jets, as a team, continue to look more comfortable in their, offensive and defensive, systems in year two. Veteran players as well as some younger guys continue to standout and below are three observations from today's practice.
Sheldon Richardson did whatever he wanted - Muhammad Wilkerson obviously is still not here but you couldn't tell with the way the defensive line bullied the offensive line today. In particular Sheldon Richardson simply manhandled everyone that tried to get in his way. Single teams, double teams, it didn't matter. It didn't matter that they weren't in pads, Richardson came to dominate today and dominate he did.
For those that are still wondering why the Jets aren't willing to match Wilkerson's asking price on a long-term deal, Richardson is the answer. Yes, Leonard Williams plays a part as well because the three of them can't all play the two positions they are best suited for and the control Williams on his rookie deal for four more years, but really they don't want to pay Wilkerson because they are going to have to pay Richardson soon. They aren't going to dump two gigantic contracts on the defensive line and if they are only going to pay one of them they will pay the quicker, more versatile player in Richardson. Last season they used Richardson out of position as an outside linebacker a lot, in order to get all three players on the field at the same time, and you could see some of that this year but expect to see more of Richardson on the defensive line this year and just sit back, watch and enjoy how disruptive he will be.
Charone Peake and Jalin Marshall continue to impress - Jalin Marshall followed up yesterday's standout performance with an even better practice today. Quincy Enunwa appeared to slightly hurt himself (Todd Bowles said Enunwa just "got shaken up") and with Kenbrell Thompkins not here today Jalin got his share of first-team reps and made them count. Early in red zone drills Jalin made two great plays to get open and make the catch in the end zone. If Jalin keeps playing like this he won't have to worry about the practice squad he could actually find his way onto the final 53-man active roster.
While Jalin has stolen the show these past two practices Charone Peake has continued his solid performance throughout all of the offseason camps. Peake is running smooth, clean routes and consistently getting open and catching everything thrown in his direction. Obviously it's early in the offseason and they haven't even played with pads yet but Mike Maccagnan looks like he found to steals in this year's draft class, with Peake in the seventh and Jalin as an undrafted free agent.
Jets have so much depth at receiver and linebacker - Remember how thin the Jets were at the receiver and linebacker position last season? They struggled to find a reliable third receiving option all season and outside of David Harris, and Erin Henderson later in the season, the Jets got a solid and reliable Calvin Pace but basically nothing else. This year all that has changed as the depth at both positions is incredibly strong.
At linebacker the still have Harris and Henderson leading the way, drafted Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins, have Lorenzo Mauldin looking strong entering his second season and added Freddie Bishop III and Bruce Carter, who have both flashed plenty, and they still have Trevor Reilly and Taiwan Jones who will now be left to scrap and claw their way to find a spot on this roster.
At receiver the Jets of course still have Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, they expect Enunwa to contribute more, will eventually get Devin Smith back from his injury, plus they get tight ends Jace Amaro and Zach Sudfeld back and looking good after their injuries last season, and as mentioned above the addition of the impressive rookies Peake and Jalin Marshall. Chandler Worthy, the second year receiver out of Troy, also continues to have a strong offseason and Thompkins gives them another veteran option to work with. It will be interesting to see if one specific guy emerges as the third receiving option this year, but it's clear that if they stay healthy this will be the deepest receiver group this team has had in years, decades even.
Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)