The strange summer of Denzel Mims continued Saturday night in the Jets’ 12-7 preseason-opening victory over the Giants.
Mims, the 2020 second-round draft pick, did not play on offense until late in the second quarter, but then he made the highlight play of the night for the Jets. In the third quarter, Mims turned a short pass into a 20-yard gain on third-and-18. He ran through the Giants defense, doing his best Mark Bavaro impression. The play gave the Jets a first down and led to their only touchdown of the night.
“I always try to play angry,” Mims said.
Mims is still coming back from missing most of the spring practices after losing 20 pounds from food poisoning. Mims has not gotten much time with the starters in training camp, and on Saturday night he was on the kickoff and punt teams, and played into the fourth quarter, all odd asks for a player drafted as high as Mims was.
“I think his mindset’s been good,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “He’s in a really good place. Especially with the sickness that he had in OTAs and all the different things he had to go through, and then battle back and he didn’t get those reps. Then he shows up in training camp and he has a great mindset to him and he’s grinding. He’s trying to catch up, and today was a great step for him.”
Saleh embraced Mims when he came off the field after the 20-yard catch.
“It was awesome,” Saleh said. “I thought Denzel, he had great intent all day. He’s had such a good week, week-and-a-half of training camp and leading up to this game. It paid off for him. His size, his length, his speed, his power, all of it was showcased in a couple of catches he had. … I thought he had a really nice day and had great intent. Now he’s just got to stack them up.”