The media was present at New York Jets OTAs for the first time on May 24 but there wasn’t too much to report.
According to various members of the NYJ beat and head coach Robert Saleh himself, the Jets will take a lighter approach this offseason in an effort to limit needless injuries. Having said that, the spotlight did catch a few rookies and key players like quarterback Zach Wilson — who Saleh referred to as “thick.”
There was also one first-team addition to the starting lineup that caught the eye of fans on social media.
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Pinnock Starts at Free Safety
It’s important to note that it is very early in the offseason, and veteran Lamarcus Joyner is coming off a season-ending tricep injury, but second-year defensive back Jason Pinnock was getting first-team reps at free safety on May 24.
After struggling to fit in as a cornerback at the NFL level, the Pittsburgh product welcomed the position change to safety during his rookie campaign. The Jets had injuries at the time and it was a chance at playing time. Not long after, Pinnock thrived.
Now, he’s getting first-team reps at OTAs. The Athletic’s Connor Hughes shared the starting defense with Jets Twitter and Heavy’s own Michael Obermuller noted the surprising development.
“Forget Sauce [Gardner] for a moment rookies have to earn it. The big takeaway here is Jason Pinnock starting over Lamarcus Joyner – something I’d love to see progress in training camp,” the quote tweet read.
Many Gang Green supporters seemed to agree with this sentiment based on the reactions but even if Joyner does end up starting, this is still significant.
Heading into the offseason, some had Pinnock third or fourth on their unofficial depth charts despite his late-season breakout at the safety position — behind players like Elijah Riley or Ashtyn Davis. This information from Hughes settles one debate: Pinnock is no afterthought in 2022.
It appears the second-year prospect could be in the running for a starting gig but at the very least, he’s rising on the depth chart and honing in on a prime backup role. Considering Joyner is 31 years old and less reliable than he once was, this is very good news for the Jets.
And who knows, maybe that missing piece at free safety was on the roster all along. Coach Saleh always talks about seizing the opportunity when the reps come your way and sometimes all it takes is one moment with your foot in the door.
As we all know, a lot can happen in a New York minute.
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Day 1 & 2 in the Books
At the request of fans, the Jets official Twitter account put together a video compilation for the first day of OTAs.
It included Pinnock himself, fellow safety Jordan Whitehead, wide receiver Elijah Moore, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, linebacker C.J. Mosley, Zach Wilson to Garrett Wilson, rookie Micheal Clemons, long snapper Thomas Hennessy, defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers, rookie Breece Hall, and the offensive linemen “being violent.”
It was some great work from the social media team but there was also a job well done from beat reporters DJ Bien-Aime and Hughes. As always, their play-by-play on Twitter was just what the diehards needed on a May afternoon.
Here were some of the early highlights from camp:
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