Chad Hansen, a baby-faced 22-year-old Jets rookie receiver, wore his white No. 6 jersey as he jogged slowly around the practice field in Florham Park on Thursday. He had made a mistake — either he ran the wrong route or committed a penalty — and offensive coordinator John Morton punished him with a lap under the scorching late-afternoon sun.
Hansen returned from his voyage. A play later, he lined up at receiver on the left side of the offensive formation with Bryce Petty under center. Petty took the snap, and Hansen ran an in-breaking route over the middle of the field. Petty fired a pinpoint throw. Hansen hauled it in, but a defensive back forced the ball loose for a fumble. The defense recovered.
Hansen got up, clearly frustrated, and headed back to the huddle. Then he made eye contact with Morton. The offensive coordinator waved his hand in the direction of the sideline. Hansen turned and started jogging. This time his punishment was two full laps around the field, and off he went.
Hansen wasn’t the only Jet running Thursday. His fumble was just one of a plethora of mistakes on an ugly day for the unproven Jets offense.
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The offensive line allowed 12 sacks. Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson — the Jets’ supposed top receivers — both dropped easy catches in the red zone, which was a focus of Thursday’s offensive install. Anderson also committed a false start that had coaches yelling in anger.
Enunwa grimaced and sucked in air when he was asked about the offense’s performance after practice. The Jets had a day off Wednesday.
“I hate to say that we’re young, because we’re all smart enough to know, you come off an off day, you’ve got to come in with laser focus. You got to be hyper-focused. You got to know what’s going on. You got to know the plays. You got to be ready for what’s going on,” Enunwa said. “And today was red zone, so it’s one of those days where everything’s going to be on you fast. And we weren’t ready. It’s frustrating as hell. I can’t lie about that. But this is camp, this is where we learn, this is where we grow.”
After the Jets cut Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall this offseason, the 25-year-old Enunwa is the most experienced veteran in the Jets receiving core. Frankie Hammond and Myles White (27) are the only two receivers older than Enunwa, but neither is a lock to make the team. Anderson is 24, Jalin Marshall is 22 and rookie ArDarius Stewart is 23.
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Enunwa, however, won’t use age as an excuse.
“It’s never acceptable,” Enunwa said. “And we know that. We just have to do better, and we’re going to do better.”
Enunwa said Thursday’s practice was the offense’s “biggest install” of training camp so far, only compounding the mental mistakes. As a leader on this team, Enunwa took responsibility for the effort.
“I know I was frustrated. It sucked. I come out Tuesday, I had a great day, and today was not a great day. And so I put that on myself, especially in the room,” he said. “I try to make sure that I can at least create a spark when things aren’t going well, make a play, make a big play, hype the guys up, hoot and holler. But I got to be better, and we as a group got to do better.”
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The receivers were particularly sluggish, but the rest of the offense didn’t fare much better. The Jets’ talented defensive front dominated, regularly putting pressure on Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Petty.
McCown led the QB group again with 27 reps and was nearly picked off by rookie safety Marcus Maye in the red zone. Hackenberg received 22 reps, but appeared hesitant to make throws on numerous occasions and often held the ball for too long. Petty probably looked the best of the three and earned 18 reps, his most of training camp.
The entire team ran sprints at the end of practice.
“We were sloppy,” Bowles said. “They practiced hard. We just got to practice smarter.”
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The session ended with a drop from undrafted rookie Gabe Mark.
“Welcome to the NFL,” Enunwa said. “You can’t make these mistakes.”
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