Denzel Mims has been a hot topic for New York Jets fans all summer.
The 2020 second-round pick has fallen in the depth chart since the start of OTAs and to many, the drop has been somewhat unexplainable. Don’t get me wrong, the coaching staff has given reasons.
- Mims ability as a route-runner.
- The speed at which he’s learned the playbook after his illness.
- His lack of versatility, both on special teams and at wide receiver (only knows Corey Davis’ role).
Jets supporters just have not always agreed with them. When Mims has taken the field, the results have generally been positive. During the preseason game against the New York Giants, he led the receiving core with three catches for 51 yards. Then in Week 1, the Baylor product immediately caught a 40-yard pass once he finally got some snaps.
The second-year player was not heard from again after that, at least until Week 4 (inactive Weeks 2 and 3). With a couple of injuries within the wide receiver room, Mims was given 10 snaps against the Tennessee Titans but received zero targets from Zach Wilson.
Now Elijah Moore and Jeff Smith are working their way back from their one-week absence, which begs the obvious question, will Mims be relegated right back to the inactive list once they return?
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Saleh Non-Committal on Mims
This should come as no surprise, but head coach Robert Saleh was non-committal on whether or not Mims might play in Week 5 during his October 6 press conference.
“I’ll never make a promise I can’t keep,” began Saleh, “but he is, if he’s putting in the work the way he is then he should be active. But it’s not just the receiver room that he’s competing against, there’s the linebackers, the safeties, the corners, [we’re] trying to get people involved in making sure that we’re good at all three phases — offense, defense and special teams — but yeah, he’s been earning that right.”
Saleh also noted earlier that he would be “upset if [Mims] wasn’t frustrated” about his playing time. “He is a competitive young man, he’s been fantastic throughout this whole process and he’s been deliberate in practice… this isn’t an indictment on Denzel, it’s just that there [are] guys right now who have been available… it’s more of a credit to the room itself than it is an indictment on Denzel.”
From the sound of it, we won’t see much action from Mims in London — if any. The wide receiver addressed the media on October 7 and shared his thoughts on the matter.
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Mims Opens up on Playing Time
For the first time since August, Mims spoke to reporters and he answered all the touchy questions. The interview began with a simple one, what has it felt like to battle for snaps?
“It’s been different,” said Mims, “but my goal, since I’m on the sidelines, is [to] be supportive.”
The wide receiver did admit that this has all been frustrating: “Of course it’s frustrating, I’m a competitive player. Of course, every player wants to start [and] be a starter but everything [doesn’t always] go your way. I just got to control what I can control and just come in each and every day and put good things on tape and hold my head high.”
He was also pretty candid about his relationship with the coaching staff, explaining that none of this has been “punitive” and that they’ve remained transparent throughout the entire process.
Mims elaborated: “Nah, it’s just [that] I got sick in OTAs and [that] put me back a big step, you know, a big way [because this is] a completely different playbook so I was behind compared to everyone else but I’m coming along, I’m getting there — well I think I’m there, I’m ready you know, just got to continue to do everything I can to improve.”
It wasn’t the only time that the Baylor product told reporters he was prepared for more playing time. Later on, he stated very clearly: “Oh yeah, I’m caught up, I’m ready,” when asked about his progress. Mims also shut down trade talks, saying that he’s “not worried about that.”
The wide receiver proclaimed that he’s never lacked confidence, adding that he does lean on God “each and every day,” as well as veteran receivers like Keelan Cole, Davis and Jamison Crowder. “As of right now, I should be playing,” Mims revealed after the media inferred that he might be inactive in Week 5.
“Every day is a test,” the young athlete concluded, “just a test to see how I react, but my reaction is I gotta keep [moving] forward.”