With the Jets’ top two receivers out Sunday, opportunity knocked once again for Denzel Mims.
It went unanswered all afternoon.
Mims’ disappointing second season continued in the Jets’ 30-9 loss to the Saints at MetLife Stadium. Not only did he not catch a pass and only get one target from Zach Wilson, but Mims also committed two costly penalties late in the second quarter that got him benched for almost all of the second half.
“I’ll speak for him and I’m sure he’ll echo it: he’s gotta be better,” coach Robert Saleh said. “Just from a responsibility standpoint, the penalties in the first half, it wasn’t his cleanest. Something I’m sure he’ll get better at.”
The Jets entered the game without Corey Davis, who is undergoing season-ending core-muscle surgery, and Elijah Moore, who went on injured reserve Saturday with a quad issue. It opened the door for Mims to step up and take advantage of the playing time that was there for the taking. Instead, the 2020 second-round pick spent all but one snap of the second half on the sideline watching practice-squad call-ups D.J. Montgomery and Vyncint Smith getting reps that could have been his.
Mims’ penalties came on back-to-back plays late in the first half as the Jets were trying to put together a scoring drive, trailing just 10-3 at the time.
They had gotten to the Saints’ 24-yard line with 31 seconds left when Wilson threw an incomplete pass into the end zone targeted for Jamison Crowder. But away from the play, Mims was flagged for an illegal use of hands to the face of a defender, which pushed the Jets back 10 yards.
On the next play, Wilson completed a 9-yard pass to Braxton Berrios, but it was wiped out by an illegal formation penalty on Mims. The Jets eventually had to settle for a field goal.
“The penalties were killer obviously,” Saleh said.
It marked the latest setback in Mims’ rough sophomore season. After showing glimpses of potential as a rookie, Mims missed the majority of practices this spring because of a bad case of food poisoning. He entered training camp trying to catch up to learn a new offense before being inactive for two of the first three weeks of the season.
Then, after starting back-to-back games in Weeks 8 and 9, he missed three straight games after contracting COVID-19.
“He’ll get another opportunity next week; it’s not like anyone’s coming back,” Saleh said. “He’s very capable. Obviously he missed a couple of weeks. He’s gotta hit the ground running. He’s gotta get himself going again with regards to the game plan and the urgency and the discipline that he had caught himself up to before he hit the COVID stuff. He’ll come back. I got a lot of faith in him. He’s a great young man. He’s got the right attitude. He’ll be fine.”
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