Over the last few weeks I've noticed a slight philosophical shift in the team's focus. It isn't something that wasn't there before, but I think that nowadays it is something that's much more emphasized. It is a slight cultural shift in how the Jets approach player development and team-building. The veterans have become more involved in getting the younger guys up to speed. And because of that, we'll see more and more situations like the Shaun Ellis and J-Co cuts/non-re-signings. The Jets will demand more out of their younger players sooner. They will expect more contribution, and they will hold the veterans accountable for their development.
Like I said, this isn't really something new. But I think its something that's becoming more of a point of focus, and I think it will be a cultural phenomenon that will have huge dividends. This summer we've seen story after story about a veteran taking responsibility for the development of a younger guy. Whether its Revis taking Wilson under his wing; Devito bringing along Wilkerson; Tomlinson showing the RB group the ropes and how to prepare; Holmes taking an extra hour after practice (in the rain) to talk about route-running to a group of young receivers. And we've also seen the FO letting the old savvy vets that might have something left take a walk so that there's room for the youngins to get some game reps and develop.
I think having Jason slowed Jamaal’s progress down a little bit. He was able to play some and we always found when he was in there, things happened. Jamaal is an explosive guy, he’s very strong and has the best get-off of our defensive ends... From a pass rush standpoint we felt we had a pretty good guy here and we need to give him a chance to play.
We got [Wilkerson] a playbook, got him some film to watch, called Mike DeVito, gave Mike DeVito his phone number and said, “Take this kid under your wing”. So he really came in here with a decent base already.
I think, with Joe [McKnight], going into his second year, he’s leaps and bounds from how he started last year, just in terms of understanding the system and the way he’s working. He knows how we practice. He knows how we work and that’s been terrific. He’s such a great athlete, though, I think you’ll see us try to move him around a little bit and try to put him in different spots. I think that’ll be great.
I think with Jeremy (Kerley), Jeremy is a guy that has showed up every day and just made play-after-play. With some of the other guys being out to start the camp, he’s gotten a lot of reps with the ones. He’s earned those reps.
I think this is very encouraging. Many have opined in histrionic fashion over the loss these aging and rapidly declining vets over the last few years. But I think that this is the right approach. Do your homework, trust your draft, trust your coaches to developing the young talent, and hold the veterans accountable for their development. Keep the team as young and as dynamic as possible. By creating expectations from their younger players, and systematically creating an environment for their development and success, the Jets very well may be poised for a long reign over the AFC East.