Denzel Mims has had to wait his turn, after requesting a trade in the Summer Mims had been inactive for the first 6 games of the season. By all accounts, he’s been working his tail off on the practice field and in the meeting room with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur saying that Mims was more vocal in camp.
With Elijah Moore’s trade request last week, an opportunity presented itself for Mims to get on the field, and while he may not have had the receiving stats (1 reception for 4 yards), he made a huge difference to the outcome of the game. Mims threw a huge block to spring Breece Hall for his long touchdown run, the only Jets touchdown of the game, speaking to the official Jets website Mims said:
“I enjoyed that a lot. They preached on it all week, OK you got to get this block, get this block. When we got to the game, I actually blocked a different dude than I was supposed to. The first guy came down there fast, so I got someone else and it actually ended up being the right guy. I just took his head off and Breece got the TD.”
Head Coach Robert Saleh said: “I think Mims sealed that up pretty well for us. We got a stupid OPI [offensive pass interference] later from a great block by him, too, where he did the same thing. He did a great job on both of those and showing up and so I think those runs show when you are able to get a hold of a guy that’s that explosive and powerful, he can take it all the way, but that’s definitely a team effort right there.”
Mims has had a difficult journey so far in the NFL. He was dogged by injuries and sickness and then seemed to come under a little fire for not knowing all the receiver positions in 2021. After a promising rookie campaign that saw him catch 23 passes for 357 yards, he was limited to just 8 catches for 133 yards last season and has yet to find the end zone.
It can’t be easy seeing yourself tumble down the depth chart as you try and make an impression in the league, at points that seemed to weigh heavily on Mims last season, but he seems to be trending in the right direction this year despite only making his season debut in week 7. “Last year was pretty tough,” he said. “This year I kept my head straight, CD [Corey Davis, who may or may not play on Sunday] helped me out a lot. Just keep my head up, keep pushing and stay positive.”
Last week Mims confirmed that his trade request was still on the table, he simply wants to play and I think we can all understand and appreciate that stance. The difference between the Mims request and the Moore request is that Mims knew he wasn’t going to see the field, Moore, on the other hand, was a starter on a winning team, and the fact the team was winning didn’t seem to placate Moore who’d seen his targets diminish.
After the Denver game Coach Saleh said that Mims would have a big part to play the rest of the way, but if Corey Davis shakes his knee injury and Moore plays as expected, it’ll be interesting to see what the Jets do. Will they play him over Jeff Smith? Will they carry an extra receiver? Or will Mims have to head back to the inactive list? Things still aren’t ideal for Mims, but the team is winning and the 3rd year player appreciates that after a lot of losing.
“It’s always good to see the team win,” Mims said. “When the team is winning, everyone in the building is happy. It’s good to see success. A lot of guys teach, but when you lose a lot of guys don’t want to teach you. So right now, I’m just learning everywhere.”
“Just go out and play football. Whatever happens — happens. I can only control what I can control. It’s something I can’t forget. Play hard is all I can control, it’s what I focus on.”