On Tuesday, the New York Jets begin their organized team activities, better known in the NFL vernacular as OTAs. A few quick thoughts:
1. What's an OTA? This marks the beginning of phase three in the offseason. Each team is allowed to have 10 OTA practices, followed by a mandatory minicamp. The OTAs are non-contact and include 11-on-11, 9-on-7 and 7-on-7 drills. The Jets will have three practices this week, three the following week and four in the final week. Only the Wednesday practices are open to the media. It's important to remember this still is a "voluntary" portion of the offseason, so perfect attendance isn't likely.
2. No Mo: Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, who skipped the first six weeks of the off-season program, won't participate in OTAs. He will continue to stay away, working out on his own. Wilkerson is heading into the final year of his contract, due to make $6.97 million, and he's not happy with the pace of negotiations. The Jets have said they'd like to extend him, but they drafted Leonard Williams in the first round, clouding Wilkerson's future. He won't show up until next month's mandatory minicamp, if then.
3. Medical report: Several key players are nursing old injuries and will be limited in OTAs, likely sitting out team drills. Those players are quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (leg), running back Stevan Ridley (knee), cornerback Dee Milliner (Achilles'), cornerback Dexter McDougle (knee) and safety Marcus Gilchrist (shoulder).
4. Latest on Geno: This is a critical time for quarterback Geno Smith, who's had six weeks of exposure to Chan Gailey's playbook. This is a chance for him to take what he has learned in the classroom and bring it out to the practice field. With Fitzpatrick still recovering from a broken leg, Smith will get the bulk of the reps with the first team. It's probably a stretch to say he can create separation in the quarterback competition, but it never hurts to impress a new boss. At David Harris' charity golf outing last week, which drew about 20 teammates, Smith spent a lot of time beforehand hanging out with quarterbacks coach Kevin Patullo. I thought that was interesting.
5. Integrating the rookies: Rookies are allowed to participate, and it'll be interesting to see how many get a chance to work with the starters and/or various sub packages. Will Williams be inserted into Wilkerson's spot with the starters? That would be interpreted as a message to Wilkerson that life goes on without him. Will wide receiver Devin Smith get a chance to work with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker in three-receiver packages? Naturally, we'll be looking to see how much quarterback Bryce Petty is used in relation to Matt Simms and the new walk-on, Jake Heaps.
6. Coordinators speak: On Wednesday, Gailey, defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers and special teams coordinator Bobby April will meet the media for the first time since being hired by Todd Bowles. The spotlight will be on Gailey, who returns to coaching after two seasons out of the game.