We’ve done a ton of Denzel Mims coverage in 2021. The New York Jets’ second-rounder from a year ago has not received playing time in Mike LaFleur’s offense, which is odd considering the franchise’s situation.
They’re in the midst of a rebuild and the coaching staff has emphasized developing the youth. The Baylor product should be included in that category but instead, it’s felt like the team has made a concerted effort to keep him off the field.
A recent Jeff Smith concussion has helped Mims find his way onto the active gameday roster, but that hasn’t exactly solved the issue. Snaps and targets are still few and far between for the second-year player and that means his opportunities are limited.
During the first half of the 27-20 Week 5 defeat in London, Mims was riding the bench once again when a teammate publicly advocated for him to receive more looks.
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Mekhi Becton Backs Mims
In a bit of a shocker, injured left tackle Mekhi Becton tweeted out his support for Mims.
“UNLEASH MIMS!!!!” Proclaimed the big-man known as the ‘Big Ticket.’ There’s nothing wrong with cheering on a teammate, especially one that came out of the same rookie class, but this tweet was so much more.
Like everyone else, Becton knows the situation Mims is in and this tweet could easily be seen as a statement of dissension from the former first-rounder. Bart Scott inferred that the blocker could be speaking for a contingent of the locker room and he and LaFleur have had a bit of a rocky relationship themselves. This summer, the Jets OC made some curious comments about his left tackle.
“He’s not playing at his best and he knows that,” LaFleur stated candidly, “he’s a good dude and he’s going to work through all this stuff.” When asked about the remarks, Becton responded that he was “confused” by them.
“I’m not going to lie, I was a little confused by it,” Becton replied, “it is what it is, I overcame it.” No one is denying that Robert Saleh is a well-liked player’s coach, but LaFleur has had a tougher time connecting with a few of his stars on offense.
The coordinator seems like he means well but for whatever reason, something hasn’t clicked on his side of the ball. At times, the offense has seemed lethargic and unmotivated under the first-time play-caller, which has been reminiscent of Adam Gase. That lack of enthusiasm has included dropped passes, poor blocking, needless penalties and incorrect routes.
Add in the obvious discord between LaFleur and the two 2020 draft picks and you have a major problem that’s forming. Oh, by the way, none of this will assist rookie quarterback Zach Wilson.
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Mims Proves He Belongs in London
In the second half of Week 5, Mims finally got some burn. He received three targets against the Atlanta Falcons, catching two of them for a total of 33 receiving yards. His best reception went for an explosive 27-yard run-after-catch.
If the receiver wants to get back in LaFleur’s good graces he’s going to have to continue to impress. In London, he finished third on the team in yardage behind Corey Davis and Keelan Cole.
At this point, Mims has consistently outplayed teammates like Elijah Moore and Smith, yet the staff continues to roll with the excuse that the Baylor product doesn’t know the playbook or do enough on special teams. It’s time to forget all of that and just let the kid play.
Coach Saleh said he’s going to “work [his] tail off” over the bye week to figure out a solution to the offensive woes. If he’s willing to try anything as he alluded, this could be a fantastic opportunity to integrate Mims back into the fold.
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