Jets look to close gap with rest of AFC East: ‘We’re better’

Head coach Robert Saleh made the Jets’ offseason mission clear shortly after their final game against the Bills last season: to close the gap in the AFC East.

The Jets haven’t won a division game since 2019 and Saleh revealed the team needed to start catching up with the Bills, Patriots and Dolphins.

After the Jets’ offseason signings, does he think the gap is closing?

“We’re better,” Saleh said Tuesday after the team’s second organized team activity training session. “I know we’re getting better. were young. We are a year older. We brought some really cool pieces, a lot of guys that represent the right things that live and breathe football. Now it’s just a matter of gaining that continuity and that confidence and playing one game at a time again.”

The Jets took the field Tuesday for the first session open to the media with these new toys on display. Zach Wilson threw to new receiver Garrett Wilson and tight ends CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin. Sauce Gardner showed his coverage skills and DJ Reed made a nice pass separation on a throw from Wilson to Elijah Moore.

Robert Saleah watches Breece Hall, 20, walk a pattern during Jets practice.
Robert Saleah watches Breece Hall, 20, walk a pattern during Jets practice.
Bill Kostron

Alijah Vera-Tucker said he didn’t hesitate when coaches asked him to move from left guard, where he played as a rookie, to right guard after the team signed veteran Laken Tomlinson to play at left .

Vera-Tucker said he was “hyped” about the team adding Tomlinson, and when Saleh and offensive line coach John Benton called him about a position change, it was an easy decision.

“They asked me if I was comfortable transferring to the Right Guard. I said yes straight away,” Vera-Tucker said. “I got some experience there, two years at USC. That’s where I’ve switched positions for the last three, four years now. I’m pretty used to it.”

Several members of the 2019 draft class have asked for new contracts this offseason, and some are staying away from their team’s voluntary offseason programs. But Jets DT Quinnen Williams, No. 3 overall this year, has made no noise about wanting a new deal. He is expected to earn $4.9 million this season.

“I just think the contract will take care of itself, the money will take care of itself,” Williams said. “I’m playing this game primarily for the love of the game, so money isn’t a big thing on my heart or mind right now. I just want to be the best footballer on the field that I can be.”

OT Mekhi Becton was not with the OTA. His first child was born a few days ago and the Jets knew he wouldn’t be there. … OT George Fant (knee) and DE Carl Lawson (Achilles) were off the field while recovering from surgeries. DT Sheldon Rankins was also off the field while TE Jermey Ruckert (foot), CB Brandin Echols (unknown) and LB Jamien Sherwood (Achilles) worked with the coaches on an ancillary field. Jets look to close gap with rest of AFC East: ‘We’re better’


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