We asked Greg Cowan over at ColtsAuthority.com (formerly 18to88.com) to answer some questions about this weekend's matchup between the Colts and the Jets.  Here's what Greg thought about his team and their chances this weekend.

Be sure to read my answers to his questions on ColtsAuthority.com!

TJB: With the news about Chuck Pagano's health, how has the team responded to their coach's fight with leukemia?

Greg: The response from the team has been genuine, touching, and somewhat inspiring. From their pregame interviews, to their actions during the game - Luck pounding the ChuckStrong banner after his touchdown and Robert Mathis holding up a sign that said ChuckStrong during the game's final moments, to their emotional post-game comments, the team has really rallied around their head coach.

As a rule, I'm skeptical about the role emotions play in the outcome of games - I believe skill overrides everything else - but it's hard to ignore just how invested the team became in winning for their coach.  That said, going forward, I have to wonder just how long they can ride this emotional wave before wearing themselves out. Maybe they can make it through the Jets game, maybe even longer, but I imagine that, some point soon, the Colts will be in for an emotional let down which will lead to a disappointing result.

TJB: What has it been like for Colts fans expectations transitioning  from Manning to Luck?

Greg: I wouldn't say there was a real divide among fans, at least where Luck is concerned. There was a large segment of the fan base, myself included, that thought the team should keep Manning and the veterans and give it a go, but once the decision was made and Luck was drafted, the fan base has been completely supportive of their new QB.

As far as expectations are concerned, Colts owner Jim Irsay and new GM Ryan Grigson tried to temper expectations by talking about the need for a 4-year rebuild, but with every snap Andrew Luck takes, it becomes increasingly hard for Colts fans to be "patient."  Luck is so far beyond any rookie I've ever seen, especially in his pocket awareness, his calmness, and his poise. When he took the field with 4:30 left in the fourth quarter needing a touchdown to beat Green Bay, there was no doubt in my mind that Luck would score, he's become that good in end-of-half situations.

To make a long story longer: we're spoiled, and Colts fans expect to be back in the hunt by next year.

TJB: Like the Jets, the Colts are dealing with injuries to key players. How has losing key players changed the Colts gameplan?

Greg: On offense, where rookie RB Vick Ballard is replacing Donald Brown, it's hard to say what exactly will change, but if anything DOES change, I doubt it will be drastic. The Colts running game is more of a suggestion at this point, their offensive line, especially the interior, is just not good enough for the Colts to have a consistent, dominant running game.

Though it seems like attacking the Jets on the ground might be a good idea at this point - they are giving up 172yards per game on the ground - I expect them to let Luck through it around 45 times on Sunday. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if Luck, through scrambling, was the Colts leading rusher against the Jets.

Defensively it's a little trickier. Robert Mathis has been their best, most consistent defensive player this year, notching at least one sack in all 4 of their games so far, and without him, you have to imagine the Colts will be finding creative ways to get pressure on Mark Sanchez and/or Tim Tebow. I do expect them to use some creative blitzes on Sunday, but very selectively, as they are also dealing with some injuries in the secondary (most notably CB Vontae Davis).

With Mathis out, the OLBs will be Jerry Hughes and Dwight Freeney. Both have been bad-to-OK this year, but will obviously need to step up their game if the Colts defense is going to put up the kind of performance they did against the Packers in the 2nd half.

TJB: Who are a few players for good or bad that Jets fans might not know but should before Sunday?

Greg: I'm a pessimist by nature, so let's start with the bad:

You know how Shonn Greene and the Jets running game has been struggling recently? Say hello to S Tom Zbikowski! Angles, as I like to call him (because he always takes a bad one) was brought in because of his knowledge of Pagano's system and his physical play. He's been abysmal against the run and invisible against the pass.

You know how the Jets defense has only racked up 5 sacks through 5 games? Say hello to the trio of C Samson Satele, RG Mike McGlynn and RT Winston Justice! 3/4ths of the Colts Offensive Line Voltron (LG Seth Olsen, who also forms Voltron's left Leg, is on Designated to Return IR)! You might be asking: "Wait, doesn't Voltron have 5 pieces? Who forms the head!"  Yes, and no one, that's the problem.

The Colts OL has been pretty abysmal this year, though they did seem to turn a corner in the second half of the Packers game, and is the only thing holding the Colts offense back from "elite" status.

As far as the good, DE Cory Redding was brought over from Baltimore as a Pagano guy, and he's been a vocal and emotional leader off the field, and a physical, tenacious leader on the field. With Robert Mathis out, look for Redding to be that QB-harassing spark the defense desperately needs.

It's hard to pick an offensive guy for this spot, as you've heard of all the good ones, so I'll go with Colts P Pat McAfee. The Colts have had special teams issues for the past 14 years, and McAfee is the only thing making the 2012 ST unit look respectable. His ability to force touch backs on kickoffs, and his high, deep, booming punts relieve a lot of pressure from the Colts undermanned coverage units.

TJB: What do you think the Colts gameplan will be to beat the Jets?

Greg: I think they'll play patient on offense - don't take too many risks unless it's absolutely necessary. They don't want to give a seemingly anemic offense any short fields or, even worse, defensive points.

On defense, they'll do whatever they can to prevent the big play. Force Sanchez to be patient and lead long 10+ play drives of his own.

Those two things, plus preventing any big plays on special teams, are the formula the Colts will need to follow if they are going to walk out of Metlife Stadium with the win.

Tags: Reports, Brian Bassett

GEICO SportsNite: Forte returns 00:01:47
SNY's Jeane Coakley reports from Jets practice where running back Matt Forte returned for the first time since July 31.

 

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New York Jets running back Matt Forte runs with the ball during the first half of their game against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Matt Forte runs with the ball during the first half of their game against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Matt Forte's hamstring is feeling healthy and he's ready for some game action.

The New York Jets running back practiced fully on Tuesday for the first time in more than three weeks and insists he'll be ready to play in the regular-season opener.

"No doubt," said Forte, who was sidelined since July 31 with a hamstring injury that limited him to only individual drills the last several days. >> Read more

Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press

Tags: Matt Forte
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan ignored speculation to draft Saints RB Alvin Kamara as he didn't want to take the risk, reports NY Daily News' Manish Mehta

Kamara is turning heads as the rookie has shown out in his two preseason games with the Saints so far this year. Mehta says the Jets wanted to make a push to draft Kamara this year, but Maccagnan decided to stay where they were on the draft board as he viewed Kamara as too much of a risk.

The Jets drafted WR ArDarius Stewart at No. 79 overall in the third round, but now they are seeing what they could have possibly gotten with Kamara in their backfield. The 5-foot-10, 194 pound back has totaled 118 yards and a touchdown on just 10 touches in two preseason games. 

Kamara is shaping up to be a difference maker if he can continue the pace he is on, and the Jets could certainly have used his talents. However, head coach Todd Bowles believes there are playmakers already on his roster...

Tags: ArDarius Stewart
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles believes his team will perform better than anyone is expecting them to this season, per ESPN's Rich Cimini

Bowles spoke to Mike Francesa on WFAN radio at camp Monday, and gave the Jets' fan base an encouraging message. 

"I would tell them that we're not going to be a terrible team," Bowles said. "We're going to come out there and fight, and blood, sweat and tears will go out to the city and our fans, and we're going to win more games than everybody ever expected."

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Jeane Coakley on Jets camp 00:01:55
Jeane Coakley reports from Jets training camp where Todd Bowles wants more consistency and hopes to name a starting quarterback soon.

 

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Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles coaches against the Tennessee Titans during the second quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles coaches against the Tennessee Titans during the second quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said he will "probably" name a starting quarterback next Monday.

Bowles said on Monday that he wants to first watch film of Saturday's game against the Giants before making an announcement. The Jets will conclude their preseason schedule with a matchup against the Eagles at home on August 31.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Jets owner Woody Johnson has passed on the duties of team chairman and CEO to his brother, Christopher Johnson, the team announced on Monday.

The anticipated move came after Woody Johnson was sworn in as US Ambassador to the UK and Northern Ireland on Monday.  

Earlier this month, Woody Johnson was confirmed by the Senate to serve in the role.

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 (Jim O'Connor)
(Jim O'Connor)

Jets fans took to Twitter after Sunday night's episode of HBO's Game of Thrones to jokingly suggest the Night King should be their quarterback.

Warning: Episode spoilers below!

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December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams (92) and outside linebacker Darron Lee (50) celebrate after the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The Jets defeated the 49ers 23-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams (92) and outside linebacker Darron Lee (50) celebrate after the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The Jets defeated the 49ers 23-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

The NFL has cleared Jets players Darron Lee and Leonard Williams of any violations of league rules after an investigation into an incident at a New York music festival in June turned up a lack of evidence.

The incident involved Williams dragging Lee away from what Jets coach Todd Bowles later described as "an argument with his girlfriend" during the Governors Ball on Randalls Island. The argument and the aftermath were caught on video and posted to social media.

The Twitter user who posted the video said the woman was "shaken and in tears" after the incident. The user also described Lee as "aggressive" and claimed the Jets linebacker "started to manhandle" the woman, "grabbed" her, and "started dragging her away."

Upon announcing that the league's investigation was closed, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email "Following a review, we concluded there was insufficient evidence to support a finding that there was a violation of the personal conduct policy."

Tags: Darron Lee, Leonard Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (right) poses for a photo with NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith prior to Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (right) poses for a photo with NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith prior to Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is close to getting a five-year contract extension to remain in his position atop the league, according to multiple reports.

According to the Sports Business Journal, Goodell will earn close to what he is during his current contract, which is set to end in 2019. Goodell has presided over the NFL since 2006 since he took over for Paul Tagliabue. The extension would keep him on as commissioner until 2024.

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 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

After losing some veterans on the offensive line, the Jets are looking for some answers and reliability in the trenches as they march toward the regular season. 

The offense struggled as a whole in Saturday's loss at the Lions, producing just 85 rushing yards and six total points. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg only went 2-of-6 for 14 yards in the first half. Head coach Todd Bowles attributes that to some issues on the line. 

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In the latest episode of The Jet Stream, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon look back at the eight sacks the Jets' D laid on the Tennessee Titans, as well as Christian Hackenberg's performance. Later, the guys discuss the wide receivers, offensive line, and their expectations for this week's matchup with the Detroit Lions.

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Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Dexter McDougle (23) breaks up a pass intended for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Darius Jennings (15) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Dexter McDougle (23) breaks up a pass intended for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Darius Jennings (15) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

This preseason, I'll be spotlighting an under-the-radar player who impressed me in each game and assessing that player's chances of making the team. Today, we'll look at one of the top performers in the Jets' 16-6 loss to the Lions, cornerback Dexter McDougle.

Who is he?

Tags: Dexter McDougle
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Aug 19, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Aug 19, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Remember all that progress that Christian Hackenberg appeared to make in the Jets' preseason opener? Well, by Week 2 it was gone.

Hackenberg, getting a surprise start over veteran Josh McCown, gave an ugly and unproductive performance in the Jets 16-6 loss to the Lions at Ford Field in Detroit. He was a miserable 2 of 6 for 14 yards, with both completions coming on dump-offs to running back Bilal Powell. In a full half of action he led the Jets to just two first downs and a total of 43 yards.

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Aug 19, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) drops back to pass to running back Bilal Powell (29) during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Aug 19, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) drops back to pass to running back Bilal Powell (29) during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

Christian Hackenberg could only complete two passes, the Jets' defense failed to contain Matthew Stafford, and the Lions beat the Jets, 16-6, in the second preseason game.

Hackenberg was sacked twice and completed two of his six passes. During the Jets' opening drive, Hackenberg fumbled after he was hit by Detroit's Cornelius Washington, but the Jets recovered. Bryce Petty completed 15 of his 24 passes for 160 yards and threw an interception for the Jets, who were 4-for-13 on third down.

Myles White led the Jets in receiving with three catches for 43 yards, while Jordan Leggett hauled in two catches for 40 yards. Bilil Powell carried the ball nine times for 32 yards as the Jets were unable to get much going in the running game.

Darron Lee and Morris Clairbone had five tackles to lead the Jets on defense, while Demario Davis, Josh Martin, and Corey Lemonier each had a sack. >> Box score

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson has become more of a vocal leader this season as he has taken it upon himself to fill that void in the locker room.

Linebacker David Harris was the voice in the Jets' locker room for years. Now that he is gone, Wilkerson is the next man in line and he is embracing the new role. 

"I've been here for a long time now," Wilkerson told The Post's Brian Costello, "I always looked up to older guys who are no longer here. I stepped into the footsteps into being a leader. I wasn't vocal [before], but I've always been a leader on this team. David Harris isn't here anymore, so I took it upon myself to speak up more and get out of my comfort zone." 

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

The Jets are undefeated, which at the moment is insignificant. But really, given all the predictions of doom and gloom, some people probably thought they wouldn't even end up with one preseason win.

They did, but it wasn't pretty (7-3 over the Tennessee Titans at home last Saturday), and they barely answered any of the many, many major question marks surrounding their season and long-term future. Maybe their game in Detroit against the Lions on Saturday night will provide a few more clues about the direction they're headed.

In the meantime, here are five things worth watching at Ford Field tonight:

Tags: Bilal Powell, Christian Hackenberg, Dylan Donahue, Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Daily News Live: Hack Attack 00:02:52
As the Jets get ready for their second preseason game, the panel discusses if a good game from Hackenberg can win him the starting job.

 

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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JRSportBrief: NFL work stoppage? 00:01:54
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR talks about the idea of an NFL work stoppage in a few years.

In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR talks about the idea of an NFL work stoppage in a few years.

 

 

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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown watches as quarterback Christian Hackenberg warms up before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown watches as quarterback Christian Hackenberg warms up before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

While New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles did name a starting quarterback for Saturday's preseason game against the Detroit Lions, he is expected to give Josh McCown more playing time.

McCown, who did not get receive any reps at Thursday's practice when the Jets did game-plan prep, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini, played the opening drive last week in New York's 7-3 win over the Tennessee Titans, but Christian Hackenberg then played the following eight possessions.

Bowles said he didn't anticipate any lineup changes, but left the door open to it by saying, "we'll discuss it."

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Detroit Lions, Josh McCown
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New York Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin in action against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin in action against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

New York Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin tweaked his back and sat out practice Thursday, leaving him uncertain for the preseason game at Detroit on Saturday night.

Mauldin had been dealing with a back issue earlier during training camp, but returned to the field Wednesday. Coach Todd Bowles said the third-year linebacker was inside receiving treatment during practice Thursday.

Bowles added that he was unsure how long Mauldin would be sidelined, but said that he would likely not play against the Lions.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Detroit Lions, Lorenzo Mauldin, Matt Forte, Quincy Enunwa
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets camp 00:03:01
Jeane Coakley talks to Muhammad Wilkerson about being one of the older, vocal leaders in the locker room at Jets camp.

 

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Daily News Live: Bowles' future 00:04:48
The Daily News Live panel discusses what Todd Bowles can do to save his job and if he is the right coach to lead a rebuilding effort.

 

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 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Looking to gain a physical edge on the field, Jets linebacker Darron Lee gained nine pounds heading into training camp. 

Lee, who was 227 pounds after minicamp ended, is now 236 at training camp. 

"On my conditioning test, everybody was like, 'You look noticeably bigger,'" Lee said, according to the New York Daily News. "Hey, I put in that work."

Tags: Darron Lee
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Bowles rewards team during camp 00:02:29
Jeane Coakley and Ralph Vacchiano report from Florham Park where Todd Bowles allowed his team to remove pads during practice on Wednesday.

 

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 (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
(Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin showed up to a Manhattan court on Wednesday for his alleged assault of a Queens man, but the case has been delayed because prosecution wasn't ready to file paper work, according to multiple reports

Mauldin had turned himself in to authorities in late June for his alleged role in the nightclub attack that took place on April 2. The New York Post reported on June 21 that Mauldin had been charged with misdemeanor assault, which carries a maximum sentence of year in jail.

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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - In the wake of the ugly riots in Charlottesville, Va., there's a possibility that more NFL players will decline to stand for the national anthem during preseason games this weekend, joining a protest started by Colin Kaepernick last year. So far there's no indication any Jets players will join them.

But if they do, their coach will have their back.

"We don't have a rule book on what's right to protest and not protest," Bowles said at Jets training camp on Wednesday. "You don't know those things until the course of time, whether it's sitting for the anthem, whether it's raising your fist, wither it's speaking out, a walk to Washington -- who's to say whose protest is good or bad?"

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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

John Morton seemed to like everything he saw with Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg on Saturday night. He liked his poise, his decisiveness, the decisions he made. It was clearly a step in the right direction.

But was it a big step toward Hackenberg getting the starting job?

That's a question that Morton, the Jets new offensive coordinator, wasn't willing to answer on Tuesday. In fact, Morton made it sound like Hackenberg still has a long ways to go.

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Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets WR Lucky Whitehead, who suffered a broken foot during Monday's practice, will have surgery for the injury, head coach Todd Bowles said on Wednesday.

Prior to deciding on surgery, Whitehead was expected to miss four-to-six weeks, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed.

Whitehead joined the Jets after he was released by the Cowboys on July 24. He returend two punts and a kickoff in the Jets' preseason opener. Serving primarily as a returner, he caught three passes for 48 yards for the Cowboys in 2016.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets camp 00:01:46
Jeane Coakley reports from Jets camp, where Todd Bowles was pleased with his team's response to his criticism.

 

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