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Jets hopeful group can change culture for ‘next 10 years’ with training camp starting

Robert Saleh’s honeymoon as Jets head coach is over. Entering his second season, fans will be expecting results.

When the Jets report to training camp Tuesday, the good vibes of this offseason will continue. It is Saleh’s job to make sure the work of the next five weeks produces wins when the season starts on Sept. 11 against the Ravens.

“I’m an optimist, I think we’re in a really good place. I really do,” Saleh said in June. “What it looks like from a results standpoint, that’s for all y’all to judge, but we’re a lot further along this year than we were a year ago.”

The Jets have been at the bottom of the NFL for the last decade. Fans know the drill — the last playoff appearance was in 2010 and the last winning season was in 2015. They are starved for some success. This offseason provided hope with what looks like a strong draft, including three first-round picks, and some key additions in free agency.

But the Jets have had hopeful springs and summers before that resulted in disappointing falls and winters. These Jets are convinced they can be the ones that turn the program around.

“I really think this team is capable of changing our culture for the next 10 years,” linebacker CJ Mosley said in June. “A lot of guys on this team, a lot of coaches that are coaching for this team now, since they’ve been alive, they haven’t heard a lot of good things about the Jets. And now we have the narrative, we have the chance, we have the ability to really change that mindset for the next 10 years for the future of this organization.”

CJ Mosley wants to change the Jets culture ‘for the next 10 years’
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All of that starts this week in Florham Park. The Jets report to camp Tuesday and have their first practice Wednesday. They have preseason games with the Eagles, Falcons and Giants next month as well as joint practices with the Falcons and Giants.

All eyes will be on second-year quarterback Zach Wilson to see if he looks ready to make a jump in Year 2 after a disappointing rookie season.

“It’s well-documented, I had a rough rookie year, I mean, we all did, including myself,” Saleh said. “Just in terms of growing, people are forgetting that he’s got a young offensive supporting cast. His receivers of him are young, his backs are young, the O-line is just jelling together, he’s young. So, for Zach, really, it’s just to continue to progress and become the starting quarterback and moving in the direction that we all know that he’s capable of.

“He doesn’t need to be Tom Brady this year. Now if it ends up being that, that’s awesome, but that’s not the expectation for him. The expectation is for him to continue to climb that mountain, that’s quarterback play in this league, and we all got his back from him. He’s got a supporting cast that’s working its tail off and from there it’s just piecing it together.”

Zach Wilson
bill kostroun

The Jets added wide receiver Garrett Wilson along with tight ends CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, and guard Laken Tomlinson to bolster the quarterback’s supporting cast. Now, the Jets need to see if that translates to better play from the young quarterback.

“For me, it’s how can I just go in there and make the best decision to put my team in the best position,” Zach Wilson said. “Really, that’s all that matters. How can I just do what the coaches are asking me and my time will come to do the off-schedule stuff. It’s really playing within the offense is where I need to have the biggest leap, just my progressions, getting through them cleanly, getting the ball out of my hands, giving it to guys and let them go make plays.”

Wilson’s play won’t be the only storyline in camp. The battle at left tackle between Mekhi Becton and George Fant, the return of defensive end Carl Lawson and the revamped secondary are a few others that will generate headlines.

Training camp is a time for hope, and the Jets have more this year than in recent memory. Saleh needs to make sure that the hope of July leads to success in September.


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