A surprising plot twist no one saw coming, the NFL world turning on New York Jets second-year wide receiver Denzel Mims.
The former Baylor product battled a lot of adversity in his rookie season from injuries (forced him to miss seven games) to coaching ineptitude (Adam Gase need I say more?)
Despite all of those trials and tribulations, Mims finished the year with 23 receptions for 357 yards and he didn’t register a touchdown.
The arrow was seemingly pointing up heading into the offseason, but as we approach Week 1 vs the Carolina Panthers, the arrow has shifted completely.
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A Series of Unfortunate Events
Mims heading into the offseason programs had a bad plate of salmon from the Jets cafeteria and contracted food poisoning. That caused him to lose over 20 pounds and put him behind the eight-ball.
The details behind the severe side effects Mims dealt with are graphic:
- Vomited for over two weeks and required medical treatment because of an intestinal infection.
- Specifically, his weight went from 217 pounds to just 197.
That forced him to miss most of the voluntary portion of the offseason and obviously set him back for training camp.
That would have been enough to put anyone behind, let alone someone who was learning a completely different offense that was asking him to do new things he is unfamiliar with.
With Mims’ struggles recovering from his battle with food poisoning and drops in practice, people jumped to some wild conclusions.
Could Mims be traded or heck even straight-up released just a year removed from being a second-round draft choice?
The illness and learning a brand new scheme were glossed over by people making these statements but were much bigger factors than originally given credit for.
A Rejuvenated Feeling of Optimism
After all that, Mims put the blinders on and controlled what he could control.
During the preseason opener vs the New York Giants, Mims showed off all the tools that originally impressed the Jets when they drafted him No. 59 overall in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft.
“Denzel was obviously battling some sickness through OTAs but was really progressing well,” Gang Green general manager Joe Douglas during his open availability with the media. “You guys saw it during the Giants game in the second half making some big-time plays. We really liked the strong progressions he was making through training camp. Prior to the Green Bay game, he suffered a hip flexor and that was a bit of a down point. Although he has battled back and Mims is fully healthy and we are very excited to have Denzel. I mean his talent, explosiveness, size, catch-radius, strong hands, you saw all of that and it has been on full display. He is someone we are really excited to work with and develop.”
On top of all the time Mims missed and the passes he dropped, analysts speculated that Mims wasn’t a good scheme fit for what new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur wanted in his offense.
This Shanahan-style attack prides itself on yards after the catch and smaller shiftier receivers.
Although good coaches don’t force players to fit the scheme, they adapt their scheme to the talent they have available.
If the Jets coaching staff can’t find a way to utilize a 6-foot-3, 207-pound big-bodied wideout, that’s an inditement on them, not the player.
Mims showed a ton of promise despite injuries and terrible coaching around him in 2020. He can be a red-zone weapon, a bigger slot to mix things up, and a physical wideout that can help in the run game.
Now there are no more excuses. Mims is “fully healthy” heading into the season opener and he’s ready to remind everyone exactly what kind of football player and talent he is.
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