The 2020 second-round pick had high expectations entering his sophomore campaign, but things started off on the wrong foot as a bout with food poisoning sidelined Mims throughout the majority of OTAs. It also caused the Baylor product to lose 20 pounds, with physicality being a key aspect of his game.
In a press conference on August 11, the young wide-out explained that the nasty illness came from some bad salmon that he ate at the team facility. He also spoke on how the unforeseen issue set him back in camp.
“I feel like I’m getting a lot more comfortable. I missed most of [OTAs] due to my illness so I got a lot of catching up to do, but I feel like I’m more comfortable with the system, I know the system, I know what [the coaches] want,” Mims told reporters.
While some have said that the wide receiver’s skill set doesn’t match this offense, others have stood by Mims, hoping he’ll adapt once he picks up the playbook. For whatever reason, the second-year pro has become a polzarizing debate amongst Jets fans, and one beat reporter decided to set the record straight during an epic rant.
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Hughes Clears the Air
“The Jets seemed to favor [Keelan] Cole over Mims this offseason, likely because he’s more of a scheme fit,” Hughes explained in the article, adding that “if he wants to start, he needs to prove himself to a new coaching staff.”
Since then, the beat reporter has backed his stance on many different occasions, which has apparently drawn the ire of a contingent of Mims loyalists on social media. During his Can’t Wait podcast, Hughes unloaded on them.
“I’ve never seen a player have such like a loyal, like out of nowhere, loyal [following]. Like I’ve been attacked ruthlessly for just writing what I’ve seen… Here’s the thing, when he returned from the food poisoning that he got from the salmon he was still rotating in with the ones and working with the twos, so he was the second-team receiver and would rotate in with the ones at OTAs and minicamp. Towards the end of minicamp it was just the twos, no ones. At training camp, it suddenly became no ones, just twos, sometimes threes. A week ago it was only threes, sometimes he’d be working with the twos, he never saw any reps with Zach Wilson at all. Now at least he’s starting to — with the third group of receivers — rotate in, but here’s the thing that I keep telling people — everyone’s like oh, Denzel Mims caught a touchdown, you hate Denzel Mims — I don’t hate Denzel Mims, I’ve observed and written everything that I’ve seen. There are five receivers that go in before Denzel Mims, five receivers, that makes him the sixth receiver. Does he sometimes rotate in with Zach Wilson? Yeah he sometimes rotates in with Zach Wilson, when he’s next to the sixth receiver who’s rotated in with Zach Wilson. We have not seen Denzel Mims and Elijah Moore, we have not seen Denzel Mims and Corey Davis, we have not seen Denzel Mims with the first grouping of receivers. He’s played sometimes with the quarterback when he’s rotated in with the fifth and sixth guys, so what I tweeted was — someone asked me where do I see Denzel Mims on this roster — I said, the sixth wide receiver cause that’s the grouping he’s paired with this entire time or if the Jets decide to trade him for somebody else where he’s going to be a better fit in the offense. I don’t care [when] all these people that are on Twitter are like — oh you don’t know what this offense needs — yeah dude I do, because I’ve talked to a ton of people over in the NFC West who designed defenses, and tried to design defenses, to shut down this 49ers offense… what it needs is route-runners that are great yards after catch guys… that’s why Corey Davis, a great route-runner works. That’s why they went out and they prioritized Elijah Moore to basically be their Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel. That’s what they want. Denzel Mims is a linear player, Denzel Mims is a great 50/50 guy, Denzel Mims is a great guy who is so fast that he can outrun people deep, he can’t get open. You want to know how I know? I walked off the field with a referee that covered the practice… a referee for this team for 20-something years, he looked at me and he goes, man that No. 8, Elijah Moore, kid’s gonna be pretty damn good. No. 11 [Mims], couldn’t get open against me… I’m not making this s*** up, this isn’t my head looking at him. I talk to people, that’s part of my job. I talk to people in this field, I talk to people in this business, I talk to coaches, I talk to scouts to get an idea of what makes this guy good and what makes the guy bad. It’s not that he’s a bad player, he’s a great linear player, he’s great at making contested catches, he’s a great deep threat. That’s why Joe Douglas drafted him, because that’s what Adam Gase wanted his receivers to do. It’s a new scheme, it’s a different scheme, and I’m sorry but if he was this great route-runner or he was this perfect player, he wouldn’t be working sixth in the rotation. That’s just a fact.”
Hughes actually continues on for another two minutes or so, if you can believe that, and honestly he’s not wrong with any of what he says throughout. The speech in its entirety was about eight minutes long and I truly recommend listening to the whole thing from start to finish (around the 23-minute mark to the 31-minute mark).
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Can Mims Overcome the Rough Start & Scheme Fit?
Mims told reporters that he doesn’t worry about the scheme fit, being that he’s in the system already doing everything he can to improve. The wide-out even said that he’s been getting extra reps with Wilson and the other quarterbacks every chance he gets.
He said: “After practice, before practice, I try to get extra work with the QBs. I mean I don’t know if y’all see but during practice when I’m not in I catch with the quarterbacks to make sure we’re on the same page, to do everything I can to make sure I’m ready.”
On the follow-up, Mims clarified that he chooses to do that on his own, meaning the coaches do not ask him to catch on the side.
It’s easy to feel for the Baylor product, who went from star rookie playmaker to third-team offense in the snap of a finger — especially when he’s clearly working hard to get back to where he was a season ago.
Wilson commented on the second-year player; “He’s got that fire right now man, and he just wants to be great, he’s really just trying to show everybody what he can do.”
“You can’t lose confidence in yourself in this game,” Mims replied when asked about his mindset, “[if] you lose confidence in yourself, you ain’t going to be a good player.”
The wide receiver also acknowledged the dedicated fanbase that always seems to cheer for him everytime he catches a pass. “I feel like they are behind me. They always showed me love when they see me, and I greatly appreciate that, we have [some] of the best fans and I couldn’t ask for any better [ones].”