Aug 5, 2022

The play that D.J. Reed and Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner played in the New York Jets practice was described to Eliano over the phone. After Reed's touchdown, he celebrated with a back flip.

We're not talking about a game.

When he heard about it, Eliano was happy.

Eliano said that he is a showman. Don't be surprised if you see the same guy when the lights are on.

The franchise desperately in need of swagger could be helped by the No. 4 overall pick in the draft. The Jets don't have a true identity because they don't have a lot of veteran players. They haven't had one in a long time.

The former All-American is not close to being a finished product, but he has the talent and personality to change that. The Jets had a former All-Pro safety, but he was traded before the 2020 season started. The Jets are last in points allowed. They're counting on veteran free agents and the draft class to help revive the defense.

"He's got juice, he's got swagger, and he's got that infectious personality that people gravitate to," said Eliano, who now works for Ohio State. He has that aura about him. Guys just have that.

Rookie Sauce Gardner could help transform a Jets defense that ranked last in the league last season. Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Jeff Ulbrich is always willing to add to the supply and he doesn't think his unit was shy on confidence last season. He said that Coke with a little something in it is better than Coke without it. Do you know what I'm talking about?

He was talking about something else.

The Jets' defense finished 32nd in points allowed and 32nd in yards allowed in 2011. The secondary was upgraded in the off-season with the addition of Reed and Jordan. The unit that made the low number of picks was renovated to the tune of 80 million dollars.

Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie were the best of the best at their positions. Reed said he was impressed with theagerness to learn. He asked a lot of questions in college. Eliano noted thatGardner was never too cool for school.

One of the first players on the practice field is Sauce. He and Wilson were the first on the field on the first day.

Reed said that rookies need to be talked to a bit more and get on them. I don't have to speak to Sauce because he's a pro.

Eliano preached to his players that you have to be a pro before you are a pro. He gave them tips on how to look their best. It made him who he is today. There is a serious minded athlete who embraces coaching. His confidence doesn't seem to waver.

"I'm a good luck charm," he said. There's always something unique about every team. It reminds me of Cincinnati. We're going to change a lot this year.

The Bearcats had an average of 11 wins per season over the course of three years. The average was six years before he arrived. One of the highlights of the season was his play. A run to his side broke free for a huge gain. He ran 50 yards to chase down the ball carrier and save the touchdown.

Cincinnati was up by 35 points.

Eliano said that it was a cool moment.

The Jets assistant defensive line coach got goose bumps thinking about that play. No one in the organization knows the player better than the person who worked in the school's player-development department. During the pre-draft process he was able to give intel to the scouting department.

When he arrived on the Cincinnati campus, he was ignored by the Power-5 schools because he wasn't tall or athletic. He was a wide receiver at Detroit's Martin Luther King High School before becoming a corner.

This kinda old but I can't wait to get my first D1 offer its looking good #StayHumble #BeGreat

— SAUCE (@iamSauceGardner) May 28, 2016

The chip was put on his shoulder because everybody told him he was too skinny. We thought he was a diamond in the rough.

A funny story about a freshman who wanted to be known as "Sauce" so he went online and changed his school name to "Sauce" The coaches didn't know until they met with the academic counselors. The coaches looked at each other puzzled when the counselor mentioned Sauce.

Everybody asks who. What kind of sauce? Sauce is a mystery. He still calls him Ahmad.

The nickname "A1 Sauce Sweet Feet" was given to him when he was a kid in Detroit. It was changed to Sauce. As a college freshman, he demanded the nickname. The Sauce Era began when he came off the bench in his fifth game as a freshman and scored a touchdown.

"You see, it's all the time," he said. He is that person. I thought it would die off at some point, but here we are, four years later, and it's the same person.

A Pro Bowl defensive back, Marshon Lattimore, was a teammate of Rankins' in New Orleans. Supreme confidence is similar.

There isn't a receiver who scares them. That's the thing that catches my attention.

It's only a matter of time before he succeeds, as he hasn't won a starting job yet. He has yet to make a highlight-film play at practice. The back flip is something he has yet to do.

He said he hadn't done a back flip in a long time. It appeared to be bad, but it was in the moment.

Fans will flip for him if he plays to his potential.