The Jets begin their offseason program on Monday, and there are not many players who have more riding on it than third-year wide receiver Denzel Mims.
The 2020 second-round pick had a forgettable second season that featured a bout of food poisoning, a case of COVID-19 and a lack of cohesion with the new coaching staff. All of that added up to a season in which Mims found himself buried on the depth chart and struggling to get on the field.
It was shortly after that disappointing season ended that Mims called Chad Marr, his personal trainer in Frisco, Texas, to let him know he was ready to get to work.
“He came almost immediately,” Marr said in a phone interview a few days ago. “He was here so early he was training with my major league ball players. That’s how early he was. Usually, I start seeing the guys after the Super Bowl. Denzel was here long before that.”
After spending the past three months working with Mims, Marr believes the receiver is ready to reach his potential this year.
“Put your money on this guy because he’s going to have an amazing year,” Marr said. “You’re going to be really happy with what you see.”
Marr has worked with Mims since 2020 when Mims was preparing for the NFL draft out of Baylor. Marr and Mims got together in January and began twice daily workouts. The initial four to six weeks were spent on recovery and healing from the season. Then they began to build Mims’ body back up.
“We did put more size on him, but we leaned him out at the same time,” Marr said. “He is a bigger, leaner version of himself. The leaner and the stronger guys are, the more efficient movers that they are. I definitely needed to put on some size. He had lost quite a bit of size.”
Some bad salmon last spring led to food poisoning that caused Mims to lose 20 pounds and put him behind in learning coordinator Mike LaFleur’s offense. When training camp began, Mims was way down the depth chart, and the coaches clearly lacked confidence in him. As he began to make strides during the season, he contracted COVID-19 and missed three games in November. When he returned, his playing time was limited. I have finished the year with eight catches for 133 yards.
“It’s really hard to come back from all of that during a season,” Marr said. “You don’t get the dedicated time that you need to put everything back together. We definitely needed to get him back to where he was feeling like himself again. We spent a considerable amount of time, about six weeks, just making him feel good.”
Marr said Mims would work with him for about four hours a day between the two sessions. Mims also did field work two to three times a week. A few weeks ago, Mims joined quarterback Zach Wilson and a few other teammates for workouts in Arizona.
“His work ethic is bar none,” Marr said. “I have a lot of athletes in here. He’s definitely a lead dog. He’s a guy you’d put at the front of the sled. When you’re dealing with the people we deal with, you’re dealing with a very high-caliber individual, but Denzel’s got something special. He’s an extremely motivated and focused worker. I think for him, this offseason especially because last year was such a tough year for him, he really wanted to get back to work.”
As the Jets return to work on Monday, Mims will be there trying to win over coach Robert Saleh, LaFleur and wide receivers coach Miles Austin, something he failed to do last year. There is a belief the Jets will take a receiver early in this year’s draft, which could make it even more difficult for Mims to secure a role on the 2022 team. Marr believes Mims is ready to impress the coaches, though, and do big things.
“This guy is going to just tear it up,” Marr said. “I can’t wait. I’m not a Jets fan, but I am now because I can’t wait to watch Denzel. Just throw him the ball. He’s going to make things happen.”