Jets quarterbacks coach Rob Calabrese drew interest this offseason from the University of Kentucky to become its offensive coordinator, but the Long Island native said he knew he wanted to stay with the Jets.
“Ultimately, I’ve always wanted to leave my footprint on something,” Calabrese said Wednesday. “Just being from this area, growing up a Jets fan and being with Zach [Wilson], I see the potential he has and what he went through last year, myself included, I really wanted to get him to Year 2 and see what we can do this year.”
Calabrese is now the main voice in Wilson’s ear after sharing the duties last year. The Jets had a crowded quarterbacks room, with Matt Cavanaugh and John Beck assisting with Wilson’s development. Both of them are now gone, and Calabrese and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur are the ones charged with Wilson’s development in Year 2.
Head coach Robert Saleh said Calabrese began taking on more duties as last season went along. It was Calabrese’s first year as a position coach.
“In the second half of the year last year, when we had all the different coaches in there, it was really Rob who was the lead voice,” Saleh said, “and you see this year a lot more confidence, a lot more conviction. Him and Mike having more conversation, obviously it’s more one-on-one — I don’t know if streamline is the word, but it’s more focused, I guess you could say. Because of it, I think when you have one voice, and obviously Mike in there too, but when you’re limited in that regard, you’re confident because exactly what was said and how you can either expand on it or fix what was said.”
Saleh praised the versatility the Jets now have in their wide receivers room, with Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson and Braxton Berrios all able to move around from outside to inside in the offense.
“The cool thing about the receiver room is there’s a lot of versatility in it,” Saleh said. “It’s kind of the philosophy of the system not to pigeonhole guys into certain spots but to have the flexibility to, ‘All right, we can get a mismatch here with Corey. Let’s put him in the slot. Let’s put Garrett in the slot. Let’s put Elijah in the slot.’ It’s really moving parts. You might put C.J. [Uzomah] or [Tyler] Conklin there. It’s where do we put our guys to take advantage of some of the mismatches. That’s where I think it’s really cool and that’s where the creativity comes from with LaFleur.”
Saleh said next week’s mandatory minicamp will be structured the same as organized team activities practices. The Jets have gone with a light workload in OTAs, with very little 11-on-11 football, hoping it will keep the team healthier. Saleh said he does expect everyone to attend next week.