Florham Park, NJ – The news of the day is obviously about the Jets cutting David Harris, after a full practice where the veteran linebacker took his usual first-team reps, but I’ll have more on that later tonight. Today marked the first day of the final week of voluntary OTAs, and the last day for media attendance, with mandatory OTAs beginning next week. As usual, it was a quiet day on the field with players practicing in shorts and no pads and I’ll be repeating myself on some of these observations but your going to get them. You’ll love one of them, hate another one and we’ll see what I come up with for the third.

1) Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye look damn comfortable – It’s just OTAs so believe me I’m not jumping to any conclusions here, but it is really impressive how comfortable the two rookie safeties look out there. Adams has impressively stood out in every practice we’ve seen thus far, today he did it again but he had some company as Maye looked just as good.

It started with Josh McCown trying to hit Austin Seferian-Jenkins on a 15-yard out, but Adams and Maye had the tight end bracketed and both were able to reach in to knock the pass away (Adams got there just a tick before Maye). A couple of plays later McCown tried to go back to Seferian-Jenkins with Adams covering him one-on-one and once again it did not workout for McCown as Adams was able to climb the proverbial ladder and swat the pass away. As Christian Hackenberg came on and Adams and Maye went to the sidelines with the rest of the first-team defense, Seferian-Jenkins breathed a sigh of relief and found himself open for a completed pass with Ronald Martin in coverage. Later in the practice Hackenberg tried to fit in a tight pass in the corner of the end zone, but Maye wasn’t having it and easily swatted the pass away after having tight coverage on the receiver.

These two rookies are going to have their ups-and-downs, adjusting to safety in the NFL is a big transition and being asked to start immediately even more so, but if what we’ve seen so far is any indication at all, and while it might be it could also mean nothing, these two have a chance to develop into an excellent tandem to hold down the backside of the Jets defense.

2) Quarterback slop – While the rookie safeties looked promising, the Jets quarterback situation did not. McCown got the most reps again, Hackenberg got the second most today with Bryce Petty getting the least. Petty didn’t do anything with his opportunities, Hackenberg had a couple of good throws, one phenomenal dart to Eric Decker in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown with Morris Claiborne in tight coverage. It was an excellent pass, and a suburb catch by Decker, but once again for every great pass Hackenberg makes he throws three-to-five passes where you simply have no idea where he was trying to go.

McCown was okay, basically he was Josh McCown and as uninspiring as that may be he’s still easily the best quarterback on the roster. Fans were, as usual, reading too much into the way the reps were split as Petty was second in the rotation during position drills, but barring injury it seems pretty obvious how the quarterback situation will play out this season. McCown will start, with Petty being the backup to start the season because of “experience” and Todd Bowles will say that’s what gives them “the best chance to win,” but by week five or six the McCown experiment will come to an end and Hackenberg will skip Petty in the depth chart and get his chance to start so the Jets know what they have and decide if they need to draft a rookie quarterback next year.

3) Juston Burris keeps getting starting outside nickel reps – Both Bowles and Kacy Rodgers have talked about how they should’ve gotten Burris more reps towards the end of his rookie season last year, so maybe they’re just trying to makeup for that now and these reps won’t end up mattering but throughout OTAs the first-team corner reps have included Burris when the Jets go to a nickel defense. In a base 3-4, it’s Claiborne and Buster Skrine on the outside, when they switch to nickel (which remember is basically Bowles’ base defense) Skrine slides inside with Burris and Claiborne on the outside. Burris hasn’t made any spectacular plays out there or do anything to really jump out, but that works both ways as he hasn’t looked lost or over his head either.

The Jets love his length and physical-press ability, they are going to give him every chance to keep this role throughout the season. Now it’s up to him to make sure he doesn’t give it up.


Chris Nimbley is the editor-in-chief of JetsInsider.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (cnimbley@gmail.com)

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