With the 2019 NFL Draft firmly in everyone’s rearview mirror, teams across the NFL have been holding rookie minicamps. They want to get their newly drafted players acclimated to their playbook, take a look at any undrafted free agents they’ve signed, and get everyone out on the field.
But the New York Jets aren’t doing a traditional rookie minicamp. According to NJ Advance Media, head coach Adam Gase is trying something different in his first year with the Jets — he calls it “rookie orientation.”
If that sounds like less on-field action and more sitting in a classroom, you’re right on the money. Gase told NJ Advance Media that rookie orientation, which he did for several years with the Miami Dolphins, is about the mental side of football. Not just the game itself, but rookie life outside of football.
“A lot of these guys, they went from high school – they were home – to college – where everybody does everything for them. Now they’re on their own. So you have to educate them about, ‘This is how it’s going to be and you’re on your own and you’re going to have to pay bills and you’re going to have to get your own food.’ There’s a lot of things that guys don’t know about.”
Gase said that the rookies will also spend a lot of time cramming the playbook information into their brains so they can catch up with their teammates. But he sees little value in tossing them out onto the field for a three-day minicamp, especially given what could happen.
“Most of these guys haven’t played since December, maybe November. To drag them out there, run them around – I guess I’ve seen too many times where you lose a first-round draft pick to injury. You want to get them caught up as fast as possible and when you go install, practice, correct, another install – by the time you get done with the weekend, they have no clue what happened.”
He makes a great point. These guys could be rusty, and since training camp doesn’t start for months, they’ll likely have to re-learn whatever they learn on the field at minicamp. Why waste that time and risk injuries?
Gase got good reviews when he did this in Miami, and he obviously hopes the same thing will happen in New York. Regardless, he knows his rookies will be prepared for life as an NFL player, and they won’t get any season-ending injuries doing drills four months before the regular season starts.
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