Meanwhile, on defense . . . Remember the Jets’ hot-shot, pre-Sam Darnold rookie pair from last summer? They still are here, and safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye say they are ready for Year Two and better for the experience.
“Marcus and I, we’re definitely comfortable back there,” Adams said after practice in Richmond, Virginia, on Tuesday. “We’re making checks, we’re making calls, we’re having pre-snap reads, we’re out there to make as many plays as possible to help the defense.
“That’s what it’s about. It’s about playing as 11, playing together and having that one team, one heartbeat.”
Adams, the sixth overall pick in the 2017 draft, showed star potential as a rookie, and could well pair for years with Maye, the 39th overall pick.
Maye has been practicing, but the team is being careful with him as he recovers from offseason ankle surgery. He did not play in the preseason opener against the Falcons but might Thursday night against the Redskins.
“I feel pretty good, just taking it day-by-day,” he said. “Just coming out here getting my feeling back.”
The offense has gotten the majority of preseason attention because of Darnold, the rookie quarterback, but NFL rules require the Jets to play defense, too.
How’s that going? “We’re building, man,” Adams said. “We’re building each and every day. We’re competing hard. We just have to continue doing the little things the right way at all times and be consistent. As long as we do that, the sky’s the limit for the defense.”
While Adams and Maye got plenty of attention last season, it pales in comparison to the focus on Darnold. How does Adams think the new guy is handling things?
“He’s playing well, man,” Adams said. “We went through it as rookies. It’s going to be a lot of mistakes, and you just have to get over it. You have to move on and get better each and every day. He’s out there competing hard with the rest of those guys, Teddy [Bridgewater] and Uncle Josh [McCown]. We have three outstanding quarterbacks out there.”
Notes & quotes: The Jets placed backup offensive tackle Ben Ijalana on injured reserve Wednesday with a shoulder injury he suffered in this week's joint practices against the Redskins. The team then signed veteran center Gino Gradkowski. The offensive line has endured a series of injuries this summer, with left tackle Kelvin Beachum high on that list of concerns with a foot injury.