New York Jets fullback Julian Howsare (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets fullback Julian Howsare (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

In between now and training camp, I'm looking at some of the veterans on the Jets roster to assess what kind of contribution we might expect from them in 2016. We're going to shift gears and take a look at the practice squad in terms of who is eligible, how it will likely be made up and what we can learn from who was on there during the 2015 season.

Note: Pro Football Focus exclusively provides some stats from this article.

The basic rules

Most people should be familiar with how the practice squad system works: A group of players not signed to the active roster remains with the team and is able to practice with them during the week. However, the rules surrounding who is eligible and how long a player can remain on the practice squad are complicated.

Recent changes to the eligibility rules, introduced in 2014 and extended last month, have increased the number of players retaining practice squad eligibility and granted added flexibility to teams who want the opportunity to continue developing players.

Under the old rules, a player was only eligible to sign for a practice squad if he didn't have an accrued season. Players accrue a season by being on full pay status -- either the 53-man roster or injured reserve -- for six games in any season. The only exception to the above was players with an accrued season were still practice squad eligible if they had yet to be active in nine games in any regular season. It was also possible to use up all three years of practice squad eligibility if someone still hadn't accrued a season or been active in nine games in a season.

In 2014, the rules changed. The size of the practice squad was increased from eight to 10 and, while eligibility for the first eight spots remained as above, the two extra spots came under more relaxed rules in which anybody with two accrued seasons was still eligible, even if they had been active for more than nine games in either or both of their accrued seasons.

Last month, the NFL announced more rule changes. While the practice squad size was kept at 10, the league increased the number of spots that can be given to players with two accrued seasons from two to four. I.e., now only six of the 10 practice squad members need to meet the original criteria.

The main other rule to be aware of is that a player on a team's practice squad can be signed by any of the other 31 NFL teams at any point during the season, unless they are about to face that team within the next week. If that happens, the player must remain with his new team and on its active roster for at least three weeks, even if he gets injured. In practice, the original team will usually get first refusal in these situations, so if the player is about to be poached, teams usually get the opportunity to activate them themselves.

Players earn about $7,000 per week when on the practice squad, less than a third of what they'd get if on the active roster earning a minimum salary.

Who is eligible on the current Jets roster?

Looking at the Jets' current 90-man roster, it appears there are 56 players who are practice squad eligible and 34 who are not. However, by my calculations, 16 of those 56 won't qualify under the old criteria, so they will only be able to take up one of the four spots that come under the new rules.

Obviously, anyone without an accrued season will automatically qualify under the old rules. That would automatically include all rookies, of which there are 21 on the 90-man roster -- the seven draft picks and 14 undrafted free agents.

Another 14 players on the current roster are still treated as first-year players even though they are not rookies. That would mostly be players who were rookies last season but didn't get much of a chance to play, although it could also include players who have been in the league for longer than that but still not accrued a season. For example, Freddie Bishop went undrafted in 2013, but is treated as a first-year player because he still hasn't accrued an NFL season. Wes Saxton, Taiwan Jones and Deon Simon are among the other first year players on the roster.

Any second- or third-year players will automatically qualify under the "two-accrued-seasons" rule, but the Jets would be restricted to only four such players. Some of the players on this list would also qualify under the old rules if their accrued season(s) didn't see them on the active gameday roster at least nine times. I believe this applies to four of the 20 second- and third-year players on the Jets roster: Jarvis Harrison, Dion Bailey, Ronald Martin and Dakota Dozier. Therefore, these players could be placed on the practice squad without using one of the four spots reserved for players with up to two accrued seasons.

The other 16 players in that second- and third-year group will only be eligible under the new rules, so the Jets can only take four of the 10 practice squad members from this group. Jace Amaro, Dexter McDougle and Trevor Reilly, 2014 draftees, are among those who meet the criteria. Calvin Pryor does too, but it's obviously not realistic to expect him to end up on the practice squad, especially given his guaranteed salary for the next two years.

Finally, assuming any player in his fourth (or higher) season would not qualify by virtue of having more than two accrued seasons. However, it is theoretically possible to qualify under the old rules as long as they weren't on the active gameday roster nine times in any accrued seasons. This appears to catch Ben Ijalana, who is still practice squad eligible despite being headed into his sixth season, but everyone else with at least three accrued seasons is ineligible.

There's always a strong possibility that someone not currently on the roster will end up being added to the practice squad after cut down day and plenty of scope to add players from off the street over the course of the season.

Last year's practice squad

The Jets had a total of 23 different players on last year's practice squad, 10 of whom were rookies. Fourteen of those 23, including six of the rookies, are still with the team and on the current 90-man roster.

Over the past few years the Jets have done a lot less tinkering with the practice squad than they did while Mike Tannenbaum was the general manager. John Idzik only signed a total of 29 players to the practice squad in 2013 and 2014, while back in 2011 and 2012, Tannenbaum signed a total of 60, albeit that several of those were players went onto and off the squad a few times. While Mike Maccagnan's activity last year was higher than Idzik's, several additions were short-term, late-season auditions, so his approach doesn't have much in common with Tannenbaum, who of course operated with smaller eight-man squads.

Despite the relative lack of activity, there was actually only one player who remained on the practice squad all year: Rookie defensive lineman Deion Barnes. That said, there were several players who spent most of the year on the squad. Simon and Harrison started off on the active roster, then spent the rest of the year on the practice squad when the team needed their spot. Jones, Saxton and Julian Howsare also spent most of the year on there. Jones was activated for the final game, Saxton was activated for one game in Week 4 before being added back and Howsare had a three-week gap when he was released but then reinstated. Martin also spent half the year on the practice squad and the other half on the active roster.

A few of the players were added late in the season, presumably just to get a look at them with a view to signing them to a futures deal after the season. From that group, Julian Stanford and Brandon Bostick are still with the team. Titus Davis, who had already had a stint on the practice squad earlier in the season, is another such player.

The Jets made good use of the extension to the rules in order to place players on the practice squad that wouldn't otherwise have qualified. They did this with Daryl Richardson and Matt Simms in 2014, and Mike Catapano and Kenbrell Thompkins -- each of whom eventually made their way onto the active roster -- in 2015.

Who are good candidates for the 2016 practice squad?

The extension to the new rules this year affords the Jets a wider selection of players from which to choose. With that in mind, there typically seem to be three types of players you would want to fill out your practice squad with.

First, anyone who almost made the roster as a reserve is useful to keep around in case an injury creates the need for the Jets to fill in on the active roster. Johnson is a good example of this from last year's team. Secondly, a team will look to retain anyone who is a developmental prospect. This could be either because they have technical or physical limitations they need to work on to realize their potential or because they are learning a new position. Howsare, having transitioned to full back, and Barnes, who needed to add some strength, are good examples from last year. Finally, they might look to fill out the squad with some professional players with strong character, simply because they can rely upon them to work hard and do a good job on the scout team.

From the potential fill-in category, there might be a defensive back such as Bailey or McDougle if the team can't find room for them on the active roster. It might also be a good place to stash a receiver, perhaps one that can also return kicks and brings some upside like Jalin Marshall or Chandler Worthy. Offensive line reinforcements are also useful to have, so a player like Dozier or Johnson could also find his way onto here.

In terms of players with developmental potential, it's best to to be careful about who is placed on the practice squad because if there's a high-profile player with potential, then another team could poach them. In such situations, the team might instead opt to preserve their rights by stashing them on the roster as a healthy scratch all year as the Jets did with Dozier in 2014, or at least keep them on there until the early season player movement settles down, as they did with Harrison and Simon last year.

With that in mind, the Jets likely wouldn't risk putting someone like Christian Hackenberg or -- if he shows promise -- Brandon Shell on the practice squad. However, it could be a good spot for one of their undrafted rookie defensive linemen or their only undrafted rookie offensive lineman, Kyle Friend. Other interesting potential development options include Bryce Petty, Tom Hackett and converted-tight end Jason Vander Laan.

Bishop would also be a good candidate and remaining on the practice squad would earn him approximately double what he would have earned if he stayed in the CFL, so that's a worthwhile and achievable target for him to shoot for that would justify his decision to leave Canada to try and earn an NFL job.

Conclusions

While it's obviously far too early to project who will be viable practice squad candidates, it's still interesting to look at some recent trends to get some idea of what the team's approach might be in 2016.

The importance of the practice squad is something that can be both understated and overstated at times. Nevertheless, there are usually some contributors each season that had spent time there. In addition to Thompkins and Catapano, the likes of Brent Qvale, Rontez Miles and Marcus Williams have all spent time on the practice squad over the past couple of seasons, but went on to contribute for the Jets last season.

Heading into the 2016 season, I'm sure Maccagnan will make productive use of the practice squad. If used correctly, it enables you to effectively extend the active roster by a few spots and retain the rights of some promising players that you can continue to develop until they're ready to contribute.

Tags: Ben Ijalana, Bryce Petty, Calvin Pryor, Dakota Dozier, Deon Simon, Dexter McDougle, Jace Amaro, Jarvis Harrison, Julian Howsare, Mike Catapano, Ronald Martin, T.J. Barnes, Taiwan Jones, Trevor Reilly, Wes Saxton

 (Richard Mackson)
(Richard Mackson)

The Jets are in desperate need for another wide receiver, and one potential option has officially been taken off the market.

The Raiders traded Amari Cooper to the Cowboys in exchange for a 2019 first-round pick on Monday. 

The Jets, who lost WR Quincy Enunwa for an extended amount of time with a foot injury and waived WR Terrelle Pryor -- who has a groin injury -- would have made sense from a needs standpoint to make a play for Cooper. 

Tags: Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor
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Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; General view of a New York Jets helmet on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; General view of a New York Jets helmet on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

‪The injuries continue to pile up for the Jets. 

Jets S Doug Middleton suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Sunday's 37-17 loss to the Vikings and is undergoing more tests, head coach Todd Bowles said in a conference call on Monday. 

A source told SNY's Ralph Vacchiano that it is not as severe as the one that kept him out all of last year but will still likely end his season. 

Tags: Bilal Powell
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Oct 21, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) runs the ball against Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr (55) during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 21, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) runs the ball against Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr (55) during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

In the Jets' Week 7 loss to Minnesota, Sam Darnold ended up with an unforgiving statline, completing 17-of-42 passes for 206 yards and three interceptions. However, there were extenuating circumstances -- notably the blustery conditions, the decimated receiving corps and the pressure from Minnesota's formidable defense.

Let's look at some specific examples before we draw conclusions...

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Sep 23, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (93) during a game between the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Sep 23, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (93) during a game between the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Former Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson added insult to injury following Gang Green's 37-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday. 

Richardson, who had two tackles for the Vikings in the victory, took a shot at Jets fans after noticing a fair amount of purple jerseys in the seats at MetLife Stadium. 

"We travel well...I noticed that," Richardson said, per the New York Post. "The Jets never really filled up stadiums anyway."

Tags: Sam Darnold, Sheldon Richardson
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Oct 21, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) during the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Oct 21, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) during the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Jets keep insisting they're not the same, old Jets, and that they're not going to fall apart like they did last season. Even on Sunday, when they were clearly out-classed on the field, they swore they were ready to be a playoff contender now.

"I think we're there," Jets safety Jamal Adams said. "I think we're close. This team is a great team. We have a 53-man roster full of a lot of talent. There's no waiting for next year, or rebuilding. There's none of that. This team can be special."

It's a nice thought, but it might not be the Jets' reality. And their 37-17 loss to the Vikings made that crystal clear. These Jets are headed in the right direction. They've got some terrific building blocks in place...

Tags: Andre Roberts, Charone Peake, Jamal Adams, Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Chris Herndon (89) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Chris Herndon (89) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: In Sunday's frustrating loss to the Vikings, the Jets struggled to adapt to the windy conditions, especially in the second half. The Vikings were able to exploit some costly mistakes to win by a flattering 20-point margin. Let's take a look at three of the best and three of the worst performances...

Winners

TE Chris Herndon

Tags: Andre Roberts
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SNY's Week 7 Jets Report Cards 00:03:10
Ray Lucas, Willie Colon, and Bart Scott hand out their report cards after the Jets loss to the Vikings on Sunday, 37-17

Facing cold and windy conditions, the Jets were handed a loss in a 37-17 battle with the Vikings on Sunday. With the Jets falling to 3-4 on the season, the Jets Post Game Live crew breaks down their grades for the loss....

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Vikings pull away from Jets 00:01:25
Todd Bowles, Sam Darnold, Jermaine Kearse and Jamal Adams comment on the Jets' mistake-riddled, 37-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Jets could have made a huge statement by beating the Minnesota Vikings, a true NFC contender, in what would've been their biggest victory of the season. And the Jets' defense did all it could to make it happen.

But in the end, the Jets learned what should have been obvious:

Sam Darnold isn't ready to be a contender just yet...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Brandon Copeland, Buster Skrine, Lachlan Edwards, Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 21, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 21, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

After the Vikings handed the Jets' their fourth loss of the season, quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Sam Darnold met after the game. And, thanks to the Jets, video caught what Cousins said to the 21-year-old rookie. 

CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE VIDEO

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Bilal Powell (29) Jason McCourty (30) Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Galvin)
Bilal Powell (29) Jason McCourty (30) Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Galvin)

Jets RB Bilal Powell won't return to Sunday's contest against the Vikings after suffering a neck injury. 

Powell recorded 21 yards on five rushes as well as one catch for five yards before exiting. 

Coming into this game, the veteran back totaled 323 yards on 75 carries, while hauling in 10 catchesd for 105 yards and a touchdown. 

Tags: Bilal Powell
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Sep 9, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) looks for a touchdown call by the officials in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports (Ron Chenoy)
Sep 9, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) looks for a touchdown call by the officials in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports (Ron Chenoy)

With the Broncos making star WR Demaryius Thomas available via trade and the Jets weaker at the position than they have been at any point all season, should New York inquire?

A "handful of teams" have already reached out about trading for the 30-year-old Thomas, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN, who says the emergence of younger WR Courtland Smith has made Thomas more expendable.

Thomas is in the fourth year of a five-year, $70 million deal he signed prior to the 2015 season. He is making $8.5 million this season ($12 million cap hit, $15,5 million in dead cap money) and set to earn $14 million in 2019 ($17.5 million cap hit, $3.5 million dead cap money)...

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New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets RB Isaiah Crowell (ankle) will play Sunday against the Vikings. Crowell had 13 carries in Week 6 while dealing with an ankle injury. He missed multiple practices during the week but returned in a limited capacity on Friday.

Crowell racked up 219 rushing yards in the Jets' win over the Broncos in Week 5 and has totaled 430 yards on the ground in six games this season.

While Crowell is in, the Jets will be without CB Trumaine Johnson, CB Buster Skrine, CB Derrick Jones, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, and DL Foley Fatukasi...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Marcus Maye, Quincy Enunwa
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Morris Claiborne (21) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Morris Claiborne (21) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

CB Morris Claiborne is playing a key role on the Jets this season and tallied his first career pick six earlier this month, but it was not very long ago that he was not even sure whether he wanted to play another game in the NFL.

The former Cowboy said in an interview with Steve Serby of the New York Post that he was dealing a number of personal issues in the time leading up to the season, but he decided to stay after a conversation with his family.

"I sat down and thought about it with my kids," he said. "I talked about it with my wife. She was with me 100 percent, but I don't think she really felt like I was ready to let it go. 'Cause at that time, I feel like I was just reacting off emotions and what I was going through."

Tags: Morris Claiborne
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New York Jets wide receiver Terrelle Pryor is tackled after a catch by Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Terrelle Pryor is tackled after a catch by Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Terrelle Pryor's time with the Jets looks to be coming to an end. At least, for now.

The wide receiver is expected to be released on Saturday due to a groin injury, which will keep him out at least two weeks, according to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

The Jets are interested in bringing Pryor back when healthy if he does not sign elsewhere. 

Tags: Terrelle Pryor
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Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) celebrates a touchdown against the Denver Broncos with New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) celebrates a touchdown against the Denver Broncos with New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

For the second straight season, the Jets are 3-3 heading into Week 7, but this feels different. 

Just ask backup quarterback Josh McCown.  

McCown, who was the Jets starting quarterback last season, had the team off to a surprising 3-2 start heading into Week 6 before they sputtered and finished the season 2-9 to close with a 5-11 record. 

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold
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Bowles welcomes back Robinson 00:00:36
Todd Bowles welcomes back Rashard Robinson to a banged up secondary and likes the development of his young tight ends.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles discussed the return of Rashard Robinson and shed light on the tight end situation as the team prepares for Sunday's game against the Vikings. "The energy [Robinson] brings out on the practice field has been great," Bowles said.

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Sep 20, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets defensive back Buster Skrine (41) warms up before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports (David Dermer)
Sep 20, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets defensive back Buster Skrine (41) warms up before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports (David Dermer)

As the Jets released their final injury report on Friday, CB Buster Skrine was added to the list of players that are deemed inactive for their Sunday afternoon game against the Vikings. 

Skrine, who is dealing with a concussion, joined WR Quincy Enunwa and S Marcus Maye among those sidelined for the Week 7 matchup. 

Even worse is the fact that CB Trumaine Johnson (quad) and WR Terrelle Pryor (groin) were listed as doubtful for Sunday. Linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis joins them on that list as well...

Tags: Leonard Williams, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson
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Kirk Cousins (8) Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Kirk Cousins (8) Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Sam Darnold was not the Jets' first choice to be their new franchise quarterback, even if he turns out to be the right choice. Kirk Cousins was always Plan A.

Of course, their pursuit of the 30-year-old Cousins turned out exactly how they feared it would. They offered him a fully guaranteed, three-year, $90 million contract, and he still took less to sign with the Minnesota Vikings.

But what if Cousins had said yes?

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets get set for Minnesota 00:01:11
Todd Bowles discusses the Minnesota Vikings offense, Jeremy Bates talks red zone efficiency and Kacy Rodgers returns from health scare.

Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers returned to the podium for his weekly press conference on Thursday after being away from the team to address a serious undisclosed medical issue.

The 49-year-old did not provide specifics of the health scare, but said he's "feeling a lot better" after undergoing a procedure, per ESPN's Rich Cimini. The results came back negative, and he has been cleared to return to the sidelines as early as Sunday against the Vikings.

This past Sunday, Rodgers surprised the players before the Jets' win over the Colts at MetLife Stadium. Head coach Todd Bowles said Rodgers' visit gave the team a "big lift," especially for the defense.

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New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams gestures while jogging on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams gestures while jogging on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)

DL Leonard Williams (back) and WR Robby Anderson (hamstring) returned as full participants in Thursday's Jets practice after missing practice the previous day.

While that's good news for the Jets ahead of Sunday's Week 7 game against the Vikings, there were plenty of players who remained on the "did not participate" list.

RB Isaiah Crowell (foot), WR Terrelle Pryor (groin), DB Buster Skrine (concussion), DB Trumaine Johnson (quad), WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle) and DB Marcus Maye did not practice for the second straight day.

Tags: Leonard Williams, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88) is tackled by New York Jets linebacker Avery Williamson (54) and linebacker Darron Lee (58) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88) is tackled by New York Jets linebacker Avery Williamson (54) and linebacker Darron Lee (58) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Jets linebackers Darron Lee and Avery Williamson have cemented their status as "Best Football Friends."

In a video posted Thursday, the NFL buddies took on Bleacher Report's Chris Simms and Adam Lefkoe in a friendly game of "BFF Challenge."

Since the showdown was held on the network's turf, Lee and Williamson played as the away team, but they threw any home-field advantage out the window despite hilariously struggling through parts of the challenge.

Tags: Avery Williamson, Darron Lee
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Jets prep for Vikes 00:01:24
Sam Darnold and Todd Bowles talk about the Vikings defense, the team's progress so far and home crowd support.

Jets QB Sam Darnold has felt the energy at MetLife Stadium this season and he hopes the home-field advantage gives his team yet another boost when they face the Vikings on Sunday.

"It's safe to say we want to win every single game, but definitely on a homestand [we want to] win every single game," Darnold said. "Because our fans are amazing ... It's awesome to be able to play in front of them. Whenever we make a big play or score a touchdown, we feel the momentum in the whole arena really shift. It's awesome to be able to feel that and continue to grow off of that as a team."

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

QB Sam Darnold (elbow) appeared on Wednesday's Jets injury report, but said the issue is "nothing crazy," per ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Darnold said he banged his right elbow while making a tackle following his interception during Sunday's win over the Colts. He added that it didn't affect him at all in practice, which he participated in fully on Wednesday.

Head coach Todd Bowles also told reporters he isn't worried about the rookie.

However, DL Leonard Williams (back), WR Robby Anderson (hamstring) and RB Isaiah Crowell (foot) highlighted a long list of Jets who did not practice.

Tags: Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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Joe Namath talks Sam Darnold 00:02:45
Jets legend Joe Namath talks about Super Bowl III, advice from Bear Bryant, and his thoughts on Sam Darnold's chances with the current team

Ahead of the Jets honoring the 50th anniversary of their Super Bowl III victory, Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath sat down with SNY's Jeane Coakley to reflect on that upset win, how he prayed "run clock," and what he thinks of today's QB Sam Darnold...

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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darryl Roberts (27) celebrates with cornerback Morris Claiborne (21) in front of Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal (14) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darryl Roberts (27) celebrates with cornerback Morris Claiborne (21) in front of Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal (14) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

 

Click below to listen...

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Jan 1, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews (18) looks to catch a pass for a first down against Houston Texans defensive back Robert Nelson (32) during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)
Jan 1, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews (18) looks to catch a pass for a first down against Houston Texans defensive back Robert Nelson (32) during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)

The Jets are bringing in free agent WR Rishard Matthews for a workout Tuesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The 29-year-old veteran was cut by the Titans last month after he requested a release due to his unhappiness with his playing time. He registered just three catches and 11 receiving yards over the first three weeks of the season.

But with Quincy Enunwa out between three and four weeks with a high-ankle sprain, the Jets are looking for a stopgap at wide receiver.

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New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa fumbles the ball in the second quarter after a hit by Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa fumbles the ball in the second quarter after a hit by Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Quincy Enunwa had developed into Sam Darnold's most reliable receiver early in the season. He was the player Darnold threw to the most and turned to when he needed a third-down catch.

So what is Darnold going to do without Enunwa, who suffered a high-ankle sprain and will probably be out for about a month?

Tags: Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Sam Darnold wasn't just twiddling his thumbs while waiting to get drafted this past spring. Like all fans of his future NFL team, the Jets quarterback was keeping a close eye on the Kirk Cousins free agency saga before the Redskins QB signed with the Vikings.

"I was definitely following it," Darnold said Monday ahead of his Week 7 matchup with Minnesota Sunday at MetLife Stadium, per the New York Daily News. "During the draft process, there's nothing really else to pay attention to. Because I'm not on a team. We're not trying to dial up anything. I'm not at USC trying to figure out what we're going to do the next year. And I'm not on an NFL team trying to figure it out."

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) scrambles during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)
Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) scrambles during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Six weeks into the season, all four of the rookie quarterbacks taken in the Top 10 of the NFL draft have at least three starts on their resume. They've had a chance to get rid of their first-game jitters, or to catch the NFL by surprise, and they're starting to settle in to their rookie seasons.

It will take years, of course, to determine which of the four is the best. It might even take that long for one of them to lead a team to the playoffs. But now that they've all settled down, it's easy to determine which ones are off to the best start.

Here's a look -- and a ranking -- at how the Fab Four are faring so far...

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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