Skip to main content

Jets' Denzel Mims Opens Up About 'Frustrating' Start to Season

New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims admits that the 2021 season has been frustrating so far, but he's focused on working hard and helping his team.

The last several months haven't gone according to plan for second-year wide receiver Denzel Mims.

Coming off what was a promising rookie year, poised to play a substantial role in New York's rejuvinated offense this season, Mims watched as the Jets stockpiled talented wideouts in the draft and free agency. Factor in an offseason illness that prevented Mims from competing for playing time, and the 23-year-old saw his part within this offense begin to rapidly slip through his fingers. 

Through four weeks of the regular season, Mims has lined up on offense for just 13 snaps. He's been inactive for two games and has just one catch. 

"Of course it's frustrating. I'm a competitive player. Every player wants to start, wants to be a starter," Mims told reporters this week. "But everything don't go your way. I've got to control what I can control and just come in each and every day and put good things on tape and hold my head high."

That's a mature mindset for someone that's clearly on the outside looking in when it comes to opportunity on this offense. Mims assured that he's never lost a sliver of confidence through all this adversity, maintaining consistent communication with the coaching staff regarding what he can do to position himself for playing time.

The explanation that he's received—as reiterated by head coach Robert Saleh multiple times this season—is that he's lower on the depth chart in this talented wide receiver room. Even if he's deserving of snaps and targets with his hard work, he needs to leapfrog other wideouts while improving in his skills on special teams (fifth receivers on a roster need to be versatile in the positions they are able to play on any given Sunday).

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

READ: Robert Saleh Reveals Why Denzel Mims Was Inactive Early This Season

"He's been fantastic through this whole process," Saleh said this week. "This isn’t an indictment on Denzel, it’s just that there’s guys right now who have been available, everyone knows what happened to him during OTAs and all that. He’s catching up. ... It’s more of a credit to the room itself than it is an indictment on Denzel."

As Mims continues to do everything in his power to earn more of a consistent role, he isn't focused on the trade deadline. The Baylor product explained this week that his mindset is to grind each day, put in extra work and make sure he's ready for when his number is called. He's never looking beyond the next day of practice, another opportunity to put himself in a position to help his team.

"It's been different being on the sideline instead of on the field. That's different from me," he said. "But my goal is to be supportive, being there for my teammates, make sure I cheer them on and try to help them any way I can. No matter what it is."

With rookie Elijah Moore set to return from a concussion this week, Mims might be the odd man out once again when Gang Green faces the Falcons in London on Sunday. The second-round pick is hopeful he'll be in there, but understands that the choice is out of his control.

"I can't control their decisions. But one thing I can control is my effort and my attitude," Mims said. "I've got to do that. I got to make sure I have a positive attitude and my effort got to be great."

Follow Max Goodman on Twitter (@MaxTGoodman), be sure to bookmark Jets Country and check back daily for news, analysis and more.