This analysis is based on watching and re-watching TV footage. As such, it is not always possible to accurately determine everything that was going on. However, every effort has been made to ensure that the information below is as complete and correct as possible.

Coming up, your breakdown of yesterday’s win over the Colts, together with detailed analysis of personnel groupings and individual performance.

Join me after the jump as I attempt to cover every angle.

I needed that.

For reasons I’d rather not get into, this has been a somewhat traumatic week in the Bent household. However, I was able to enjoy a Jets victory to lift my spirits when I felt like I needed it the most. So, thanks to the Jets for that, at least.

Sure, it wasn’t against one of the stronger teams in the AFC and you’d expect most teams to be able to take care of business against an opponent like that, especially with all the injuries they were dealing with. However, sometimes we concern ourselves too much with whether the team is on the right path or looking like a force to be reckoned with and forget to enjoy the game itself. All I wanted this week was for our guys to beat their guys and that’s what happened.

Within that performance, there were some very encouraging signs, but these are of course tempered by the fact that the injury-riddled Colts were somewhat undermanned. Let’s get into some of these…

Quarterbacks

After I criticized the Jets for how they’d been using Tim Tebow over the past few weeks, I’d like to applaud them for their use of Mark Sanchez this week. Straightforward, low degree-of-difficulty short passes, getting rid of the ball and not passing unless they needed to.

Of course, everybody’s life is made easier when you can run the football and that was the key factor here. If Sanchez only has to drop back to pass 20 times (or less) and many of those are simple, low-risk passes, then you’re limiting the amount of times bad things can happen and hopefully increasing the chances of a big play when you do go downfield.

Critics will point to the fact that he only had 82 yards passing, but he didn’t need any more than that and it was good that the Jets didn’t fall into the trap of trying to boost his numbers and get more people involved. I’ll leave you to decide if that could have happened with Santonio Holmes in the line-up.

Sanchez’s response was perfect. He looked decisive and confident and his teammates seemed to feed off that. When the time came to convert some first downs, he was on point, also throwing accurately on two red zone touchdowns. He only really misfired on three throws all day – a wide third down throw to Kerley, which at least was safely out of the reach of any defenders, a dump off to Bilal Powell, which was underthrown as he came under fire in the pocket and one overthrow that was nearly intercepted by a diving safety. That last one was the only time he came anywhere near making a costly mistake.

Due to the fact he was getting rid of the ball, he wasn’t under pressure very much. The one time he was sacked, an unblocked blitzer came off the edge and Sanchez saw it and looked for his hot read on the outside. However, Jeff Cumberland didn’t look back for the ball in time, so Sanchez ate it. I’d give Sanchez credit there both for recognizing the blitz and not forcing the throw.

Despite not completing any long balls, Sanchez impressed on first down throws to Chaz Schilens (twice), Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill. He also managed to fit both touchdown passes into tight windows. By not asking him to do too much, the Jets enabled Sanchez to play within himself. However, that’s not an option they’ll have every week, because their offensive line isn’t always going to dominate up front. Still, it does get some of the stink off from his recent performances and allows him, the fans and his teammates to build confidence.

Tebow’s role on offense wasn’t a major factor (aside from the intangible aspects like preparation time in practice and on-field confusion). However, they FINALLY ran the shotgun sneak on third and short and, of course, picked up the first down in the process. I’d be okay with them doing that most of the time in that situation.

Tebow did throw one pass on offense, overthrowing Kerley on a tipped ball. His biggest contribution was, of course, on special teams, but at least he is starting to make something happen every week. When Brad Smith was a Jet, even in the days before they used the Seminole formation, he’d always do something to contribute, whether that was a tackle, catching a pass, running an end around or whatever. Tebow is starting to have a similar impact. Maybe we should be expecting more, but it’s a start.

Offensive Line

One of the main benefits of not passing the ball very much, is that it makes it a lot easier to protect the quarterback. The Jets gave up no pressure up the middle and although Jerry Hughes got the better of Austin Howard a few times, Sanchez basically went otherwise unpressured. The Colts linemen did almost collapse the pocket a few times, but Sanchez was able to get rid of the ball each time.

The big story from the offensive line this week was the run blocking. Although the Colts had some injury issues, any time you can take advantage to the tune of 250 yards, you must be doing something right. I did say last week that there were some signs that the running game was starting to come together and this week they started off with some well-blocked plays where you could already see they were more in synch than they had been. From there, they seemed to grow in confidence as the game went on, presumably as the Colts players saw their confidence take a nose-dive.

The Jets’ favorite play this week was definitely a simple trap block with Brandon Moore looping behind Nick Mangold to lead the way up the middle. They did also run this with Matt Slauson leading the way, but it seemed to be more effective with Moore making that block. Overall, Moore didn’t grade out that well, because he missed a couple of blocks in space and didn’t always sustain his blocks at the second level, but he never got badly beaten and was the driving force behind a lot of the successful runs.

Mangold, after a rough performance two weeks ago and a mediocre one last week was back to his best this week, despite the ankle injury which limited him during the week. As you’d expect, he regularly took his man and turned him aside to create a running lane. Though he let his man get off his block a few times, he was more consistent than Moore. They took the opportunity to rest him at the end of the game, moving Slauson to center and Vladimir Ducasse to left guard.

Slauson had a couple of great blocks in this game, driving guys out of the play on a regular basis. He also had more success on pulling blocks than Moore, going in either direction. It was good to see the Jets punch in a touchdown with him at center and like Moore, while he didn’t always sustain his blocks, he never let anyone get into the backfield or anything. The only thing that let him down was a false start.

Although he got beaten a few times in pass protection, Howard made some good kickout blocks and set the edge well on one run. To nitpick, there was one play where he didn’t get his hands on the edge rusher, although he slipped as he turned the corner. There was another play where his man tried to avoid having to engage with him and he gave him enough of a shove with his initial thrust to prevent him from being able to stop the runner. I’d be more comfortable with Howard if I saw him engage with his man on a more consistent basis, but that play highlights how his athletic gifts can enable his block to still be effective even when he doesn’t.

The biggest revelation in the running game was D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who was more of a focal point in the running game than he has been all season. In the second half, he grew in confidence, doing a terrific job of blocking down on his man to create a huge seam or set the edge on a number of occasions. His first half performance was a little more uneven, with some good kickout blocks mixed in with a few instances of his man being able to get off his block to make a play. If he can build on that second half performance, he could be a force in the running game, as he was from 2008 to 2010.

Off the bench, Ducasse continued to rotate in at left guard (every third series) and the offense continued to perform well, scoring their second and fifth touchdowns with him in the game. Ducasse made some good contributions in this one, notably throwing a key block on the last touchdown and on another play where he drove his man downfield at the second level. He did fail to make a couple of blocks in space and may have been fortunate to avoid a couple of holding calls, but he isn’t getting beaten and helped create a seam on several occasions.

Jason Smith continues to have a role on offense, but his best block of the day came not from the jumbo tight end position. Instead, he lined up as a fullback and made a driving block to the second level. In his more conventional role, Smith got beaten a couple of times, but did do his job on a couple of big runs.

Caleb Schlauderaff was active for the first time all year, but did not play.

Running Backs

Earlier this week, I almost made a post on TJB about whether Shonn Greene is ready to breakout. I didn’t and he did. My reasoning was that the Jets running game had started to coalesce a little over the last few games and looked ready to put it all together. Couple this with the fact that Greene struggled at the start of last year just as he has this year and this was the point where he started to pick things up and you’ve got a recipe for a prediction that could make you look pretty smart. If you made it. Which I didn’t.

Greene looked like a completely different player this week. You’ll recall he finished a couple of runs strongly in the latter stages of Monday night’s game and he built on that in this game. It wasn’t all down to the offensive line, either. The least elusive running back in the NFL entering this game (per PFF) somehow managed to break eight tackles and had more than half of his yards after contact. On a number of occasions, his blocking failed him, but he still made something positive happen, no better illustrated than on his four yard touchdown run where he span out of a tackle in the backfield and then side-stepped another man in the hole.

When Greene burst through a seam for 21 early in the game, would it have surprised anyone if his next 15 carries netted only 30 yards and left him with another underwhelming statline? Instead, Greene was picking up big chunks and falling forward for positive yardage when there wasn’t room. He’d been struggling with his reads in this new offense, but seems to have figured it out, bouncing one run outside for 19 and cutting back up the middle for one of his other touchdowns.

The bad news is that Greene’s sudden rise to prominence coincides with injuries to each of his backups. The Jets have options: Jonathan Grimes has been inactive in two of his three games and hasn’t played on offense yet; John Griffin, who was having a good camp until he got injured is a phone call away; and fullback Lex Hilliard has played as a tailback in the past. However, they would prefer to have Powell or McKnight available.

Before getting hurt, Powell stayed in to block three times, showed good power on a short yardage conversion and bounced a run off the edge for eight yards. However, he also got stuffed on two other runs. McKnight’s role already seemed to be increasing even before Powell went down. He had two first down runs including a 61-yarder that ended with him injured.

At fullback, Hilliard had a couple of good run blocks including one on a short yardage play but was driven back into the runner a couple of times too. His run blocking hasn’t been that good so far, but I think the Jets are benefiting from his consistency. One play they ran a couple of times was a double-trap from a three back set with both fullbacks (Hilliard and Cumberland) leading the way up the middle.

Receivers

There weren’t many opportunities for the receivers to shine in the passing game, but they all caught at least one ball. Stephen Hill, in particular, made a welcome return, catching all three balls (his first since Week 1), including one for a touchdown and two first downs.

Jeremy Kerley also caught three passes, including two where he took a dump-off in the flat and picked up some yardage after the catch. Those types of passes are important to get Sanchez going.

Chaz Schilens made two nice first down catches and looks to be something of a go-to guy for Sanchez in third down situations. He did miss a couple of run blocks, though.

Finally, Jason Hill didn’t play very much, but got on the scoreboard with a well-executed route to the inside and a clean catch.

At tight end, Dustin Keller only caught one short pass, but his return still provided a boost. You could imagine someone making the joke that Keller’s return gave the running game just what it needed, but that wouldn’t actually be that far from the truth as Keller had several key blocks in the early stages. He did a particular good job of setting the edge, but his best block saw him lead the runner on the outside and drive his man out of the play at the sideline. As you’d expect, he did get beaten a couple of times, but maybe Keller’s blocking is going to be improved this year.

With Keller doing a solid job, Konrad Reuland was only in on four snaps. Cumberland did see plenty of time in two tight end sets, but his blocking was extremely inconsistent as he got beaten inside four times. Cumberland sometimes fails to anchor himself when making his block, but when he did, he managed to sustain a few good blocks on the edge. He was also the only Jets player to drop a pass, on his only target.

Even Antonio Cromartie made a contribution on offense this week, running a fake reverse that definitely opened up the middle for a modest gain.

Defensive Line

Moving onto defense, other than the four sacks and four turnovers, the first thing that jumps out at you from the boxscore is the rushing numbers. 41 yards on 17 carries – an average of less than 2.5 yards per carry. For the defense to achieve this without Kenrick Ellis and Sione Po’uha is extremely impressive, even with the Colts a few men down.

As expected, Mike DeVito got the bulk of the workload at nose tackle, with the Jets also using Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples on the inside on certain four man fronts. Daniel Muir rotated in for 12 snaps, whereas Damon Harrison barely played until he got five of his seven snaps on the final series.

As BGA readers will know, I’ve been saying DeVito can hold his own at the nose tackle position for some time. He only got taken out of a couple of plays and did a great job of holding his ground. On one play, he got good penetration to redirect the runner, on another he assisted on a run stuff and on the best of the bunch, he threw aside a double team and stuffed the runner for no gain. Whether he would be able to handle this role against a bigger offensive line like San Francisco or Pittsburgh is another matter, but yesterday’s performance was outstanding.

In his Jets debut, Muir held up well at the point of attack on one run, but was driven off the line on another. He rushed the passer on seven of his 12 snaps, helping to flush the quarterback on one occasion. Harrison, to his credit, looked excellent in terms of getting a push in the pocket, although he was blocked to the ground on his first snap. They didn’t run the ball with him in there.

Wilkerson had another disruptive day, recording a sack, a pressure, a forced fumble, a batted pass and seven stops. On one play he was once again double-teamed on a pass rush, but made a spin move to get to the quarterback for a pressure. While it was good to see him contributing as a pass rusher, it was in the running game where he really excelled himself, stuffing several runs at or near the line. His only major black mark was a roughing the passer penalty.

Coples also had his most productive game, with 1.5 sacks, a hit, a pressure, a tackle for a loss and two other stops. He made one good play against the run, shedding his block to stop the runner for a short gain, but the tackle for loss came as the runner tripped and he was taken out of one play early on. He had a facemask penalty on his first sack. Overall, he’s continuing to look – as he has since preseason began – like he’s going to be consistently productive at this level.

Linebackers

For the second straight week, the Jets did a much better job of tackling. After all their struggles early in the season, the Jets have missed just three tackles in the last two games. This might be because of an adjustment they seem to have made. On certain plays, it seems like one of the linebackers (usually Bart Scott, but sometimes Calvin Pace) will be a step further back than usual as the ball is snapped. Perhaps this is helping them to see the plays better and keeping them in their lane.

You can tell when Scott is feeling good, because he takes on the lead blocker and then chirps at him after the play is over. Last week, he was not doing that. This week, he was doing a lot of that, especially in the second half, disrupting a series of plays in so doing. He may have poked the bear a little too much, because on one occasion he got absolutely pancaked and landed flat on his back. However, he did get in on a couple of run stuffs, helped flush the quarterback out of the pocket a few times and broke up a pass in the flat. He did get beaten a couple of times in coverage, but they were zone miscommunications rather than being too slow, including one play where he let a guy get open behind him in the end zone, only for Andrew Luck to miss the throw.

David Harris wasn’t around the ball as much as last week, but did stuff a couple of runs and recovered a fumble. I’d like to know why Harris and Scott were both on the punt team for Robert Malone’s last kick.

The outside linebackers graded out disappointingly as Pace and Bryan Thomas recorded just one assist between them, although their primary role was to set the edge, as usual. Pace rushed the passer 31 times and generated no pressure, although many of these were from the defensive end position on a three man line, going 3-on-5. He’s used to that from 2010. As for Thomas, he did hit the quarterback once, but was also blocked to the ground on another play.

Demario Davis keeps seeing his playing time increase. He still hasn’t shown much against the run or in coverage, although he did recover a fumble this week. However, as a pass rusher, he continues to look pretty dynamic. He had a hit and two pressures this week.

Also off the bench, Aaron Maybin played a huge role this week, with 0.5 sacks, two hits and two pressures. Both of those pressures led to turnovers, as one helped cause Cromartie’s first half interception and the other caused Luck to step up to avoid him, from where Wilkerson swatted the ball out of his hand. Maybin also blew up the running play on which Coples made the tackle in the backfield. This is what the Jets have been waiting for. Let’s see if he can sustain it.

Since his breakout game in Pittsburgh, Garrett McIntyre has been a disappointment. He was limited to eight snaps this week, with no real impact. Nick Bellore saw his first defensive snaps of the season down the stretch. With Josh Mauga down, he might be needed to back up on the inside, so it’s useful to see him involved.

Defensive Backs

This was a match-up I figured Cromartie would have problems with. Reggie Wayne is an excellent route runner. However, Cromartie gave him a tough time, getting his hands on several passes. He did give up a couple of first down catches and was burned deep on an overthrow to the end zone, but his biggest issue was with penalties. Cromartie entered the game with just two penalties in his last 13 appearances, but yesterday he was flagged three times. He returned two interceptions for scores, but neither counted due to his own penalty on one and a Maybin block-in-the-back penalty on the other. While the touchdown was negated, his first interception still stood and helped the Jets open up their lead in the second quarter. Penalties are the one area where the Jets will definitely need to improve next week.

While the Jets made this game look easy, it was a pretty difficult game to grade, due to the number of passes completed by the Colts that were either a receiver finding a gap in the zone or a legal pick-play on the outside. It’s always difficult to apportion blame in such situations. However, Luck’s overall numbers were nothing special so I guess you could say they played well as a unit.

Ellis Lankster was responsible for or involved in four passes that went for first downs, but had a good pass breakup and then intercepted a pass in the end zone. Kyle Wilson was targeted a lot (13 times) and usually in good position, although he did get beaten a few times on third down. His forced fumble basically ended the game and he also made a tackle for a loss in the flat.

At safety, LaRon Landry played pretty well, breaking up two passes and nailing Luck on a blitz. He also had a touchdown saving tackle and came up to make a play in run support. Remarkably, he wasn’t penalized.

Yeremiah Bell racked up another eight tackles, including one good open field tackle, but also gave up a couple of first downs in zone coverage. He should have added a sack, but let the quarterback get away from him in the pocket – the only Jet to miss a tackle all day.

With Eric Smith out, the two rookies – Antonio Allen and Josh Bush – filled the void nicely between them. Allen had a sack and a pass interference penalty (where he was in tremendous position but didn’t get his head turned around), whereas Bush was in good position on one throw and almost got to Luck on a blitz. It would be good for the coaching staff’s confidence in these two to increase so that they can establish themselves for a bigger role in the near future.

Finally, Isaiah Trufant was on the field for a handful of snaps, the first time he has played on defense since Week 1. Hey, they’ve won in a blowout every time he plays, maybe we should…? Um, no.

Special Teams

The highlight on special teams this week was the superbly designed fake punt toss from Tebow to Bellore. I’ve got to give Mike Westhoff (more) credit because the two previous fakes were (until this week) probably the two best-blocked running plays all season. On this one, they again sold the action to the left and Bellore ran clear down the seam, even finishing it off with a Superman dive. Great preparation and a perfect example of how to break a tendency for a big play. Maybe Westhoff should be the offensive coordinator too.

Robert Malone’s punting this week was fine, other than the one that bounced into the end zone (and even that was a 38-yard net, which is acceptable). Nick Folk only got to try extra points this week, but did have two touchbacks on kickoffs.

On special teams, McIntyre, Allen, Bellore, Lankster and Schilens all made good tackles and Trufant forced a fumble which Bush recovered, only to see it overturned by the replay booth.

In the return game, McKnight had one good kickoff return, with Reuland making a good block. Once again, Kerley didn’t get a chance to run back any punts.

Conclusions

This was Classic Jets: Just when you thought they were out, they went and pulled you back in. On Sunday, they actually looked like a pretty good football team from top to bottom.

Now…will they be able to build on that, or will we be looking back in a few weeks and wondering (as we have been with regard to the Bills game for the last month) whether this even happened?

Next up, New England. For once, the Jets head there with some momentum, but they’ve faced the Pats coming off a loss in the past and it hasn’t been pretty. If they can perform well in this one, maybe certain people will be forced to take them seriously. Let’s hope they have a viable plan in place.

I’m afraid that, for reasons beyond my control, I won’t be able to do a BGA Extra this week, so I’m really sorry about that. However, if there was anything from the game that you’d like me to look into later, please ask me anyway and I’ll mention it when I do the BGA Extra for next week’s game. Hopefully, normal service can be resumed by then.

Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Wesley Johnson (76) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Wesley Johnson (76) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: When the Jets start their sales pitch to Kirk Cousins, he's going to want to know about more than just the size of their check. He's going to want to know, among other things, how they plan to protect him.

That's a project they can get started on right now.

The Jets should begin by re-signing center Wesley Johnson before the free-agent market opens on March 14, and solidify what was a young and better-than-you-think offensive line last season. Together with right guard Brian Winters and right tackle Brandon Shell, it would give the Jets a strong young corps on the line to build around. And with two solid veterans on the left side -- tackle Kelvin Beachum and guard James Carpenter -- it's a line that could actually be pretty good.

Tags: Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

In ESPN Insider Mel Kiper's eyes, "Broadway Baker" will find his way to the Jets in his latest mock draft. 

Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, has seen his draft stock significantly rise all season. After leading his Sooners team to the College Footbal Playoff with gutsy drives and precision passing all season long, Kiper thinks he is the starter -- and leader -- the Jets need under center. 

READ KIPER'S ANALYSIS BELOW

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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GEICO SportsNite: Cousins 00:02:18
The Jets hope to be in the mix to land highly touted free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins in order to provide stability at the QB position.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The entire Jets offseason will be played out in the shadow of Kirk Cousins -- the biggest name on the free-agent market, and the franchise quarterback they so desperately need. And that's even true right now, as the NFL's 15-day "franchise tag" window opens on Tuesday.

The Jets aren't likely to use the tag, but the Washington Redskins are reportedly considering using it on Cousins.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Demario Davis, Morris Claiborne, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sep 4, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (56) during the game against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports  (Kevin Jairaj)
Sep 4, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (56) during the game against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports (Kevin Jairaj)

The offensive line was a huge disappointment for the Jets in 2017, especially on the interior. In 2016, Wesley Johnson started eight games for the injured Nick Mangold, and the line didn't seem to suffer too badly. However, he struggled throughout the 2017 season after moving into the full-time starter role.

Guards Brian Winters and James Carpenter also failed to play as well as they had in 2016, although that may partly have been caused by Johnson struggling on their inside shoulder.   Injuries were also an issue here, with Winters in particular playing most of the season hurt, and eventually requiring surgery on an abdominal issue.

Dakota Dozier's performances in relief of Winters over the past few years have some people wondering if it was really wise to give Winters a big money extension, when Dozier doesn't appear to be much of a downgrade. However, he's out of contract now, so the Jets may need to replenish their depth.

Tags: Brian Winters, Dakota Dozier, James Carpenter, Nick Mangold
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Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium.  (Brad Penner (USA Today))
Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner (USA Today))

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets exercised their options on two defensive starters on Tuesday, ensuring that defensive tackle Steve McLendon and linebacker Josh Martin will both be back for the 2018 season.

The Jets were facing a deadline of Tuesday on both players, but the decision likely wasn't difficult, especially with the team likely to have nearly $100 million in salary cap space to spend this offseason. McLendon is due a salary of $3.125 million this year and has a salary cap number of $4.25 million. Martin is due a salary of $1.8 million, with a cap number of $2.1 million.

The moves come one day after the Jets declined their 2018 option on tackle Ben Ijalana, making him an unrestricted free agent...

Tags: Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kelvin Kuo)
(Kelvin Kuo)

It is no secret the Jets wants top free-agent QB Kirk Cousins on their roster next season, and it came out Monday that they are "willing to pay whatever it takes." But what if Cousins decides to sing elsewhere? What is the Jets' next move from there?

According to SI's Peter King, the Jets should be high on bringing back Josh McCown, and drafting Heisman Trophy Award winner Baker Mayfield ahead of next season. Though the jets are expected to have a pretty healthy cap situation, McCown could come back for cheap, and Mayfield will obviously be on a rookie contract. 

King doesn't deny that Cousins could certainly be a Jet, but this situation could also work with McCown mentoring Mayfield as he did Johnny Manziel back in 2014. 

Tags: Josh McCown
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New York Jets tackle Ben Ijalana blocks during the second half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets tackle Ben Ijalana blocks during the second half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports Images)

The Jets made offensive tackle Ben Ijalana a free agent on Monday after they failed to exercise his player option.

New York did not exercise Ijalana's $500,000 option bonus that would have activated his $4.5 million base salary for the 2018 season. By doing so, the Jets will save a total of $4.6 million.

Tags: Ben Ijalana
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Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

The Jets know they need a quarterback, and in particular, free-agent QB Kirk Cousins. That is why the team is "willing to pay whatever it takes" to employ him next season, per ESPN's Rich Cimini

New York has failed to find their franchise quarterback for years now, as fill-ins, so to speak, continue to come to town with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg failing to show they are the guy the Jets need. Josh McCowwas the latest of those rentals, and he had a career year before an injury unfortunately ended his season. 

This offseason, though, GM Mike Maccagnan has no excuse in Cimini's eyes. He currently has over $70 million in cap space, and could have more than that by the time they can grab Cousins. The Redskins can still franchise tag him, so they could use him in a trade, but that is unlikely. 

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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In 2017, the Jets' running game struggles probably had more to do with the offensive line being overmatched than the performance of the backs.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Matt Forte
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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron throws against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. (David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron throws against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. (David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets reportedly turned down a Cincinnati Bengals trade proposal that would have sent quarterback AJ McCarron to New York last season, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Cincinnati, according to Cimini, called the Jets organization at the start of free agency and offered McCarron in a trade, however the Jets turned it down to focus on free agency. It is unclear what Cincinnati requested in the deal.

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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets started over last offseason and actually built themselves a nice core of talent. They have many young, inexpensive players they can build around this spring.

They certainly have the tools to build around them - perhaps as much as $100 million in cap room, the sixth overall pick in the draft, and some extra picks too. And that's good, because even though the Jets exceeded expectations last season, they were still 5-11, and have plenty of holes to fill.

Now, as they get ready to begin Phase 2 of their rebuilding project, here's a look at their biggest needs.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brian Winters, James Carpenter, Juston Burris, Leonard Williams, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Trevor Ruszkowski)
(Trevor Ruszkowski)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: Cornerback is one position where the Jets obviously need to upgrade.

They opted not to pick up a corner from last year's deep draft class until they took two project players - Jeremy Clark and Derrick Jones - in the sixth round. The coaching staff claimed to like the upside of these players along with Juston Burris and Darryl Roberts as well as Rashard Robinson, who was added via trade at the deadline.

However, none of these players stepped up as hoped.

Tags: Derrick Jones, Jeremy Clark, Juston Burris, Morris Claiborne
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

"Broadway Baker" has a nice ring to top prospect QB Baker Mayfield

The 2017 Heisman Trophy Award winner sat down with The Post's Steve Serby to talk about the prospect of playing in the Big Apple, and if he has what it takes to succeed in a market that isn't friendly to anyone. 

Simply put: Mayfield loves the spotlight...

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New York Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets have officially announced the hiring of Jeremy Bates as offensive coordinator/QB Coach, and announced the hirings of Rick Dennison as offensive line coac/run game coordinator and Steve Jackson as assistant defensive backs coach.

"Jeremy is a talented coach who has a sound understanding of what it takes to build a successful offense," head coach Todd Bowles said in a press release. "Having spent last season with us, he offers continuity and has a good sense of what we need to do to improve. I look forward to him working together with our offensive coaches."

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: When Todd Bowles decided to fire offensive coordinator John Morton, he always had quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates in mind as a replacement...

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 (Jeremy Brevard)
(Jeremy Brevard)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets have been a team whose defense has been built around their interior linemen for a long time, but Muhammad Wilkerson's anticipated departure could be an opportunity to reinvent themselves by finding a difference-maker who can create constant pressure off the edge.

The Jets haven't really had an elite edge rusher since John Abraham, who was traded before the 2006 draft. They've tried drafting one high (Vernon Gholston), converting an interior lineman into one (Quinton Coples), and bringing in an established veteran (Jason Taylor). But none of these have been successful. None of their low-cost free agents, reclamation projects, or later draft picks have stepped up either.

Tags: Dylan Donahue, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin
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Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are in position to be the kings of free agency, with potentially more salary cap room to spend than any team except for the Cleveland Browns. They are already projected to have about $75 million in salary cap space, and that's if they don't make another move.

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New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne breaks up a touchdown attempt to Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne breaks up a touchdown attempt to Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When the free agency frenzy finally begins, the Jets figure to be at the center of the storm. And all eyes will be on how hard they go after the quarterback they so desperately need.

But they have a ton of salary cap space to spend in other areas, including maybe on the 24 players they have on their roster who are approaching free agency. Here's a look at all their free agents-to-be, and their prospects of returning or finding potential riches somewhere else around the league:

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brent Qvale, Chandler Catanzaro, Dakota Dozier, Demario Davis, Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Rontez Miles, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Mark J. Rebilas)
(Mark J. Rebilas)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

There are always plenty of receiver prospects who make an immediate impact as a rookie, even in the later rounds. However, the Jets haven't had much success in recent years despite selecting seven wideouts in the last four drafts.

While four of those seven are under contract for 2018 and a fifth -- restricted free agent Quincy Enunwa -- also figures to be back, the Jets got just 15 catches of production from that group in 2017.

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Daily News Live: Jimmy Garoppolo 00:03:54
The Daily News Live crew discusses the impact Jimmy Garoppolo's new contract will have on the deal Kirk Cousins will want.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jimmy Garoppolo just became the NFL's highest paid player, even though he's only started seven NFL games and thrown 12 touchdown passes in four seasons. He reportedly agreed to a monster, five-year, $137.5 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers -- a record average of $27.5 million per season. That record will be very short-lived.

It's a simple fact of the NFL that the price of franchise quarterbacks only goes up, and in less than five weeks another one will be on the open market. And when Kirk Cousins officially becomes free on March 14 you can bet his deal will eclipse what Garoppolo just got...

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 (Glenn Andrews)
(Glenn Andrews)

In NFL.com's latest mock draft, Chad Reuter forecasted the first three rounds for all teams. With the Jets first selection at no. 6 overall, Reuter has them taking Wyoming QB Josh Allen.

The Jets take Allen over Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, who fell to the Cardinals at no. 15. USC QB Sam Darnold went no. 1 to the Browns and UCLA QB Josh Rosen went no. 2 to the Giants.

Allen threw for 3,202 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his sophomore season. However, his production dropped this season to 1,812 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also suffered a shoulder injury, and was forced to miss the final two regular-season games this year...

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 (Chuck Cook)
(Chuck Cook)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Most of the draft discussions surrounding quarterback prospects have been focused on the consensus top five prospects: UCLA's Josh Rosen, USC's Sam Darnold, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Wyoming's Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson from Louisville.

However, depending how the offseason goes, the Jets might end up in a situation where they're not in the market for one of the top prospects.

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Nov 26, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) (Jay Biggerstaff)
Nov 26, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) (Jay Biggerstaff)

The Chiefs have released former Jet Darrelle Revis, the team announced. 

Revis, 32, would have been owed a $10 million contract guarantee if he was still on the roster on March 18. He was signed by Chiefs in November, playing five games, including two starts. 

After the Chiefs' season ended, Revis admitted he wasn't at his best.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers responds to questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers responds to questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Kacy Rodgers never got a chance to play in the NFL before he turned to coaching. But now he might be able to give his son the shot that he never had.

The Jets will be signing Kacy Rodgers II, the son of their current defensive coordinator, according to his agent, David Canter. Rodgers II will join the Jets for their offseason program, at least, after two years with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.

Rodgers II is a 6-2, 208-pound defensive back out of the University of Miami. In 2014 he was a tryout player at the Kansas City Chiefs rookie minicamp, but didn't stick. He then signed with the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos and spent a year on their practice squad before joining the Roughriders...

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Former Jets C Nick Mangold was thinking about starting his political career, and running in his local GOP primary, according to Politico's Matt Friedman.

However, Mangold said Thursday that he will not be running.

Mangold would've been running to replace the retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, who represents the 11th District of New Jersey. Essex County Republican Chairman Al Barlas has spoken with Mangold, and he appears to be serious about running for the position.

Tags: Nick Mangold
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Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) rushes the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Jacksonville won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) rushes the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Jacksonville won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

After saying he wouldn't join the Jets for $60 million, Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell, a pending free agent, told TMZ exactly what it would take to secure his services.

"A hundred Ms," Bell said, referring to $100 million. "Hey, listen to me: I play running back, but they've got to respect me like I am, man." 

Bell, 25, responded to a fan's tweet last week asking what amount of money it would take for him to join the Jets.

 

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Another year has come and gone without the Jets winning the Super Bowl. Even the Philadelphia Eagles now have ended their forever Super Bowl drought. If you're counting, that's 49 straight Super Bowls that have been played without the Jets.

Can the 50th time be their charm?

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Leonard Williams, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Two years ago, the Jets drafted Darron Lee with their first pick, hoping to shore up one of their inside linebacker positions for the foreseeable future. Over the course of his first two seasons, he's been up and down, but he has retained an every-down role.

Last year, he struggled initially, then played the best football of his career in the middle of the season, only to regress down the stretch. However, there are no indications that the Jets intend to move on from Lee.

Tags: Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams
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Jan 27, 2018; Mobile, AL, USA; North Squad quarterback Josh Allen of Wyoming (17) throw a pass during the second quarter of the 2018 Senior Bowl against the South Squad at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports (Glenn Andrews)
Jan 27, 2018; Mobile, AL, USA; North Squad quarterback Josh Allen of Wyoming (17) throw a pass during the second quarter of the 2018 Senior Bowl against the South Squad at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports (Glenn Andrews)

In his latest mock draft, Todd McShay changed his pick for the Jets, and has them taking Wyoming QB Josh Allen with the sixth overall pick. 

McShay originally had New York taking LSU DE Arden Key. However, he had a change of heart as the Jets desperately need to find their franchise quarterback. But he warns not to forget about free agency, where GM Mike Maccagnan will have about $100 million to go after high-profile QB Kirk Cousins.

"Yes, it's a running theme -- this is another landing spot for Cousins," McShay writes. "If the Jets don't sign him in free agency, Allen makes a lot of sense if Mayfield is off the board. There is a significant drop-off in talent after the first four QBs in this draft, so the Jets need to make sure they grab one here. Allen had an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, showing off his arm and his mobility. There are still concerns about his accuracy and ability to make multidimensional throws consistently, but all the tools are there. And he has the prototypical QB build (6-foot-4 7/8, 237 pounds)."

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 (Matthew Emmons)
(Matthew Emmons)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Philadelphia Eagles would be absolutely crazy to get rid of Nick Foles now after he slayed the mighty Patriots, and was rightfully named the Super Bowl MVP. Yes, they have Carson Wentz, a legitimate MVP candidate, before he got hurt. And yes, Foles will likely be Wentz's backup again next season.

But didn't Foles just prove to everyone how valuable a backup quarterback on a contender really is?

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

In last year's draft, the Jets used their first two picks on safeties, and Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye started every game alongside one another in the secondary. Those starting roles seem settled for the next few years, but the Jets like to operate out of packages with three and even four safeties, so Todd Bowles may be keen to add some depth.

Last year, Rontez Miles and Terrance Brooks each saw regular playing time, often playing together as the Jets used a four-safety dime package in passing situations. Also, Doug Middleton, who missed the season due to injury, was expected to contribute. All three are now out of contract though, so the Jets may look to fortify their depth in the draft.

While it seems unlikely the Jets would select another safety with their top pick, Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick is a possible consideration due to his versatility. Could Fitzpatrick be like Jalen Ramsey -- a hybrid cornerback/safety who has developed into one of the league's better cornerbacks?

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Rontez Miles
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