Florham Park, NJ - It was plenty hot out today, but it damn near felt like fall compared to this weekend as for practice it was a rather uneventful that's short on meaningful observations but I got three main one to talk about.
1) Muhammad Wilkerson is back, mostly. Wilkersom was in for a handful of reps during the early portion of 11-on-11s, he's still clearly on a pitch count as only took parts in small portions of said drills but nonetheless he is obviously progressing to the point that we can expect to see him get some snaps by the time the Snoopy Bowl comes around if he doesn't get any this week in Washington. Steve McLendon also returned to participate in some 11-on-11 drills so the entire defensive line is starting to get healthy. Matt Forte ran some positional drills for the first time since camp began, he sat out team drills but after practice he told reporters he would "definitely" be ready for the Week One matchup against the Bengals.
While all those players did a little more in practice today, Brandon Marshall was not here. Todd Bowles confirmed it was an excused absence for Marshall and said he will play Friday night in Washington.
2) The Jets first-round draft pick this year had a quiet start to training camp this year, which is totally expected of a rookie inside linebacker, but besides a few blown coverages here and there he's performance had been quiet but not bad or anything. Since Darron Lee's impressive performance against the Jaguars he has continued to build and improve. You hear the cliché about "the game slowing down" for rookies making the adjustment to the NFL and you can clearly see why it's so a go to cliché when watching Lee these past few weeks. He doesn't make every play, no one does, but he seems to always be in the right place and he's sure making a lot of plays. His coverage has been better, he's been far more decisive in attacking running backs and today he even got some revenge on Tommy Bohanon for truck-sticking him the other day. Bohanon had himself a nice little run going, got about six or seven yards upfield and Lee came flying over and absolutely leveled the fullback.
Since the game against the Jaguars Lee has been seeing a lot more reps with the first-team, and while Bowles continues to stress that a lot of people are getting first-team reps because they like to rotate everyone, and it's true they do so it doesn't mean Lee is now a starter, Lee has definitely taken advantage of those reps and looks like he belongs out there.
3) With the defensive line starting to get fully healthy Leonard Williams continues to show why we should all expect him to continue to improve in his second year. Today Williams was a disruptive force throughout practice, he caused his share of pressure but it was against the run where he did most of his damage. Multiple times he broke through the offensive line to hit the running back behind the line of scrimmage. Williams has said he really wanted to focus on getting his sack numbers up but a tackle for a loss in the running game be kill an opposing drive just as easily.
Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (email@example.com)