(CBS) – Amidst the turmoil of the Jets 0-3 start a popular complaint from fans has been the status of second-year wide receiver Denzel Mims who hasn’t been active since week 1. Gang Green’s offense has struggled, to say the least, prompting fans to wonder why the former second-round pick hasn’t even gotten a chance to show what he can do. When the Jets lineup against the Titans on Sunday fans will finally get their wish.
During his Friday morning press conference with the media head coach Robert Saleh told reporters “Denzel will be active this weekend and he’s going to get some opportunity.” New York will be without starting rookie receiver Elijah Moore this week due to a concussion suffered in last week’s 26-0 loss in Denver. The Jets will be without Jeff Smith as well, an undrafted third-year receiver, who is also dealing with a concussion he sustained in a car crash while driving to practice on Wednesday.READ MORE: Eric Mangini And Bill Belichick Nearly Had Fistfight In 2008 According To New Book: ‘He Charged Across The Room, Needed To Be Held Back’
Moore and Smith have suited up over Mims in all three games so far this season, now with both out the former Baylor Bear will get his chance. Throughout the last few weeks Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur have said Mims needed to better understand the playbook in order to crack the gameday roster. Saleh and LaFleur also noted positional flexibility as a concern when asked about Mims’ inactivity.
With Corey Davis and Elijah Moore entrenched as starters and Braxton Berrios filling in for the injured Jamison Crowder in the slot it’s been a battle between Keelan Cole, Smith and Mims for the final two active receiver spots. While Mims has the pedigree as a second round draft pick and the stature at 6’3″ with 4.3 speed, Cole and Smith have beaten him out on the depth chart with their understanding of the “X” and “Z” receiver responsibilities plus special teams versatility.
Another factor in Mims lack of playing time is the fact that he missed most of training camp due to a severe case of food poisoning that made him lose 20 pounds. While Mims recovered and put weight back on he was missing valuable reps and opportunities to learn LaFleur’s offense on the practice field.READ MORE: Jets Throttled By Broncos In Week 3 Loss, Team Falls To 0-3
Despite his abbreviated preseason Mims was able to make a splash in week 1 catching one pass, on one target, for 40 yards, the Jets longest play of the season to date. The Jets offense is averaging just 6.7 points per game heading into week 4 and if Mims is able to get in the end zone on Sunday it could go a long way towards more playing time in the future.
Coming out of college Mims was thought by some to be a first round pick but slipped deep into the second where the Jets selected him at number 59 overall. During his draft-night call with general manager Joe Douglas, Mims was asked if he could be a playmaker to which he replied, “Most definitely, everyone else is going to pay for it.”
Mims will get his chance to prove those words right on Sunday and if he can be the missing spark this offense needs the Titans will be the first ones to pay for it in 2021.