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 detailed analysis of last night’s win over the Dolphins, including details on Kenrick Ellis’ debut, the performance of the secondary and how well the offensive line is gelling. Don’t forget, if there’s anything you’d like me to investigate in more detail, leave your requests in the comments and I’ll get to them in BGA Extra, which will this week be on Thursday, albeit a little earlier.

I always try to watch the game first time through as a fan, rather than trying to analyze things as the game is going on. However, yesterday, late in the second quarter, as I struggled – like most of you, I’m sure – to come to terms with the reasons behind the Jets’ poor performance, I already had the introduction to this week’s BGA semi-written in my head.

Even if they go on to win this game 31-6, I reasoned, I’m going to discuss how inexcusably flat the team came out once again, how miserable their first half display was and how even if they turned it around later on, we can have no faith whatsoever that they won’t be just as flat against the Chargers on Sunday.

As it turns out, 31-6 wasn’t a bad guess. If you’d have offered me a 24-6 win before the game, I’d have bitten your arm off (although I'd have preferred a scoreline that doesn't remind me of the fake spike game every time I see it), but it came courtesy of a lot of unforced errors by the Dolphins that prevented the Jets from falling well behind.

The Jets did at least close out that first half with a good touchdown drive to give them a 14-6 lead which – though largely undeserved – provided the platform for their 24-6 win. However, we shouldn’t let that excuse a dismal performance for the first quarter and a half.

The offense often starts slow and conservative, but the defense keeps them in it and then they get going later in the game and take control, so this was not an unfamiliar pattern. However, the defense didn’t really play well either early on and were only really able to keep the Jets in it because of the Dolphins’ woes in the redzone. However, the Jets clearly have the better team and it showed in the end.

The offense and defense both improved significantly in the second half, to the point where you almost have to wonder if the Jets bothered to watch any film on the Dolphins this week, or just decided to let them do their thing, so they could figure out how to beat them as they went along.

Since this is a pattern, and one which usually resolves itself with the Jets taking control, I am once again forced to consider if the Jets are better off being conservative at the start of games, even if it leads to multiple three-and-outs. If they aren’t afraid to punt the ball and the defense plays well enough to keep them in it and control the field position battle, they can call plays off the tendencies they’ve developed in the early stages and take control later in the game.

If your offense isn’t performing well enough to take control, leaning on the defense has been a tried-and-tested formula for the Jets. In fact, had they been more conservative in the early stages against the Ravens, they probably wouldn’t have fallen behind in that game. As I’ve written before, they could have gone three and out on every possession and (all else being equal) they’d have won 17-13.

I’m also reminded – if you’ll indulge me - of the England Rugby Team’s triumphant World Cup win in 2003. England easily had the best team and had been building towards this tournament for four years, with everything peaking at the right time. However, their system was tailored to win tight, closely fought games against the elite teams. When they faced some lesser-known teams in the early stages, they won ugly, whereas some of the other nations had a more free-flowing style that enabled them to beat bad teams by a ton of points.

I remember constantly reassuring my friend that they weren’t built to look good in these games, they were built to stifle good teams. Sure enough, as they progressed, they were able to slow down the more explosive teams and win the tournament. Can I reassure all of you that the Jets will be fine too? Actually, no, because they’ve lost to the three best teams they’ve faced so far and cannot expect to win against teams like the Chargers if they start flat. However, there IS something to be said for tailoring your gameplan sensibly to give yourself the best chance to win.

So, it all turned out well in the end, but the offense remains a problem. They’re fine once they get going, but getting going has been a real struggle these past few weeks. Let’s delve a little deeper to see where the problems lie:

Quarterback

After Mark Sanchez began the game looking just as rattled as he did last week, what I hope we saw later in the game was him growing in confidence and starting to get back to the sort of form he displayed earlier in the season. It may just be that the Dolphins were demoralized and this made them easier to pick apart but, in either case, it at least seems like he is starting to trust his protection again.

Sanchez’s timing was still off on some throws and his accuracy cost him both completions and yards after the catch on several occasions. How he failed to spot a wide open Dustin Keller in the endzone on the pass he threw incomplete underneath to LaDainian Tomlinson, I’ll never know. However, on the flipside, the touch throw over the top to Keller on a corner route in the second half might have been the best throw he’s made since week two.

That third down call was particularly interesting, because they made the same call on third down in the first half and Keller wasn’t really any more open on the pass Sanchez completed, he just threw it better. They also repeated another third down call with Jeremy Kerley catching a first down (the Jets’ first) on a crossing route in the first half, but then tackled short of the marker on a great play by Yeremiah Bell in the second half.

What I hope these plays represented were the Jets going back to these and trying to execute them better second time around – which they did on the Keller pass, but not the Kerley one. What I hope these plays do not represent is some kind of statement by Brian Schottenheimer that the plays he call depend on execution to get them to work and it’s not his fault if they fail. Even if he has a point, you don’t want your offensive coordinator’s desire to make a statement clouding his play selection.

One final positive is that Sanchez called some successful audibles in this game. That’s something that will dramatically improve how well the offense functions. This possibly included the QB draw for a touchdown (although I’m not 100% sure about that, because he never actually “killed” the play and it actually sounded like he was just changing up the protection). I saw some people suggesting that the offensive coordinator deserves none of the credit for those plays, but I disagree because the play design includes an option for the Quarterback to audible to – otherwise you’d have to attribute more of the offensive struggles to Sanchez NOT audibling to a better option. The fact that Sanchez made a correct read on more than one occasion reflects well on himself and his coaching. Let’s hope that continues.

Sanchez is still not playing as well as he did earlier on in the season, but one positive is that he’s actually been able to generate pretty good statistics even when he’s played poorly. His QB rating has been over 85 in five of the six games and he has a QB rating of 91.8 and a completion percentage of over 60% if you exclude the Ravens game. If only we could.

Running Backs

Earlier in the week, Michael Lombardi commented that the Jets shouldn’t continue to persist with John Conner as their starting fullback because they look slow and predictable when he is in the game (and I was labelled a homer for poking holes in that comment, not that I’m bitter or anything). Last night, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the Jets offense looked “fast and unpredictable” with him in there, but Conner had one of his better games as a blocker and helped the Jets grind out 104 yards on 29 carries. Although Conner was called for a hold when he tried to set the edge on Cameron Wake, I only counted one bad block other than that. He had several positive blocks, including a couple of big pops in the hole.

For Shonn Greene, it was tough going all day, but he managed to pick up 74 yards on 21 carries and again was right around his season’s average with 2.2 yards per carry after contact. The defense wore down towards the end of the game and he was able to break a 20-yarder and also had a 10-yarder called back for a hold. LaDainian Tomlinson added 46 yards on 10 touches and both of them had good blitz pickups, although they only stayed in to block five times between them.

Joe McKnight flashed again, lining up out wide and catching a 24-yard pass down the middle. He also had a couple of nice returns, but didn’t look confident catching punts, almost muffing one and fumbling another after he was hit from behind. He was replaced by Kerley later on. At the moment, McKnight is starting to remind me of Brad Smith in terms of how he does something different to make a contribution every week.

Offensive Line

The offensive line started the game just as flat as the rest of the team, with D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold in particular missing a couple of run blocks. However, as the game went on, they settled down and were the driving force behind the offensive competence from the last drive in the first half onwards.

If you watched the TV broadcast, you’ll have noted how the ESPN booth was gushing over the pass protection and Wayne Hunter in particular. Last year, Hunter gave up two sacks, three pressures and three QB hits against Cameron Wake, so this was a tough matchup for him and he basically shut him out with no help.

Hunter let himself down by giving up a late sack by Koa Misi, otherwise he’d have ended up with the best offensive grade on the team. It was the unit as a whole that excelled in pass protection though. Sanchez was only under pressure four times with Mangold and Brandon Moore keeping a completely clean slate. On those four plays, Sanchez was 0-for-3, so that underlines how important keeping the pressure off him is.

In the running game, Moore started off well but struggled to consistently sustain his blocks late in the game, perhaps as he tired. He and Ferguson – who started badly but finished strong – each had a negative grade for run blocking.

Hunter, Mangold and Matt Slauson each had good performances in the running game. Mangold drove his man out of the play on several occasions, notably on Sanchez’s touchdown run. As for Slauson and Hunter, there was one play where Hunter pulled left and Slauson pulled right. If they manage to get that one down, it could pop for huge yardage up the middle. On this occasion, it got a modest gain.

Maybe you didn’t notice, but Nick Mangold took a rest with four minutes to go and Slauson moved to center with Vladimir Ducasse – who also had a couple of Jumbo Package TE reps - getting some reps at left guard. Ducasse didn’t make any mistakes and even made one good driving block on his eight snaps. That was good to see.

After a slow start, the offensive line really seemed to get in synch, especially in pass protection. The Dolphins didn’t test them that much – blitzing only nine times – but I’m sure they expected to get more pressure from their edge rushers. Wake alone entered the game averaging 5.5 QB disruptions per game. If they continue to trend upwards, that can only be good for the Jets.

Receivers

While the offensive line – and the fullback – looked good, the tight ends still aren’t really doing their part. Matthew Mulligan had a holding penalty and twice let his man beat him to stuff a run. Dustin Keller was more consistent, but still could have done better on at least three running plays. In addition, neither of them looked comfortable when they stayed in to pass block – which Mulligan did 10 times and Keller twice.

Keller isn’t relied upon to block, though. He needs to produce in the passing game. They threw to him five times and he caught two for 51 yards. As noted before, he should have also had a touchdown.

At wide receiver, Plaxico Burress continues to be a disappointment. He had a bad drop – the only one for the Jets - and looked a bit slow running routes at times. Hopefully he has just hit a wall and he will benefit significantly from the bye week. He did grab one 16-yarder.

Santonio Holmes showed his playmaking ability on his touchdown catch, making a man miss and using his downfield blockers well. Although he only caught three balls, he gained 63 yards and drew a penalty on third down, but whiffed badly on a couple of run blocks.

Jeremy Kerley had perhaps the biggest play of the game when he picked up the Jets’ first first down on the game. As we know, the Jets offense doesn’t look good until it gets going, so Kerley’s catch helped open the floodgates, so to speak. I liked what I saw out of Kerley in terms of getting separation, even though he only had one other catch.

Patrick Turner still hasn’t been able to block like he did in the Raiders game, but he did at least have two special teams tackles.

Defensive Line

The Jets actually got quite a lot of quality pressure in this game – four sacks, nine QB hits and six pressures. However, three sacks, six hits and one of the pressures were attributed to coverage rather than linemen getting beaten. The rush wasn't getting there quickly most of the time, especially not in the first half. Still, it’s encouraging that players are playing with relentlessness and a high motor.

Not much of the pressure came from the defensive line, but Marcus Dixon did get two quarterback hits. Muhammed Wilkerson added one and fellow rookie Kenrick Ellis had a pressure. I’d liked to have seen what Ropati Pitoitua would have done against this team.

Run stoppers Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha played a similar amount of snaps to last week, but because the Dolphins had 15 fewer offensive plays, they were in for about half of the time, rather than being on the sidelines two-thirds of the time. DeVito started slowly, but got better as the game went on. Pouha was excellent, only allowing his blocker to get the better of him once or twice and constantly penetrating and shedding blocks.

Wilkerson didn’t make much of an impact against the run this week, but did a good job of getting upfield on one play to force a run back inside. That wasn’t his best play of the day, but I highlight it to demonstrate that he seems to have learned from last week. Dixon made one terrific play against the run, shedding a double team to make a stop for a short gain, but he was also up and down in the running game.

Martin Tevaseu, making his first ever regular season appearance in the NFL, was part of the goal line defense that forced Miami to settle for a field goal in the second quarter. On one of the two plays, they ran right at him and he got penetration and the runner had nowhere to go.

On that play, Kenrick Ellis shot the gap and tackled the runner down low for a loss. Ellis – in for 18 snaps – graded out well, especially against the run. However, I’d observe that it wasn’t his size and strength that helped him make plays, rather his quickness. When engaged with a blocker, he was often moved off his spot, whereas he was able to blow up a couple of plays by taking the defense by surprise. I hope this doesn’t start to happen less and less once teams look at the film on him and are ready for his quick first step. Ellis’ cross field pursuit for a man his size is also quite something, but to be the dominant force the Jets need, he has to hold up at the point of attack and get off blocks better. That’s nitpicking though. He basically blew up four runs, which – even if he got driven back a few times – constitutes a superb debut in my book.

Linebackers

While the Jets gave up a disappointing amount of rushing yardage, it was really only two breakdowns that inflated the average. On the very first play, Jamaal Westerman was double teamed on the edge and forced inside, then Antonio Cromartie took a poor angle on the outside, leading to a 37 yard run by Reggie Bush. Bush was just 9-for-35 for the rest of the game. Also, on 3rd and 10, Daniel Thomas picked up 15 yards after Westerman was blocked to the inside and David Harris was swallowed up by a blocker leaving the Jets DB-heavy personnel exposed at the second level. Thomas gained 32 yards on his other 14 carries. In each case, it was clear the Dolphins had learned from the Patriots last week, but the important thing is that each mistake was only allowed to happen once.

Calvin Pace picked up two sacks and two pressures, as he continues to be productive. He also forced a fumble, made a good open field tackle on a screen pass and made a couple of plays against the run. However, he did have a couple of bad missed tackles in the running game, so he wasn’t perfect.

Westerman didn’t have a particularly good game. Other than those two costly mistakes in the running game, he was also burned down the sideline, although the receiver dropped the pass. He did get credit for one QB hit and split a sack with Bart Scott.

Scott also added a hit and two pressures and could easily have been awarded another half-sack on one of Pace’s sacks. He was good against the run, with a forced fumble and a couple of good run stops close to the line, but he was badly blocked out of the play on a screen pass.

David Harris had two QB hits, including on one of Matt Moore’s interceptions. He also broke up a pass in coverage and made a couple of unassisted stops at the line of scrimmage. Interestingly, he was the one who attacked the line of scrimmage more often than Bart Scott this week, so it’s encouraging that – aside from the breakdowns mentioned above – the run defense held up without Scott having to crash into the line on every play like he did against the Ravens. That has to take a physical toll on Scott, plus you have the added bonus of making it more difficult for the defense to figure out who the MIKE is.

Aaron Maybin certainly made an impact with a sack, two forced fumbles and a QB hit. In truth, he was handled pretty easily on each of his pass rush attempts, but his relentlessness is a sight to behold and he chased down Moore on his second effort a couple of times. When he stripped the ball from Daniel Thomas from behind, that showed tremendous speed. On that play, he was never doing anything other than an outside speed rush, so the Dolphins ran it right at the spot where he lined up, but it was an impressive recovery to get back into the play from so far away. He’s a weapon as long as he continues to play this hard. Hopefully, the coaching staff will be able to harness that and see him start to get to the QB on his first move.

Josh Mauga was in for two snaps. Did anyone hear Mike Tirico say that his named should actually be pronounced Maunga? Where’d that phantom N come from? Hopefully he’ll have a better career than Matt Monger.

Defensive Backs

Another day, another quarterback held to a completion percentage of under 50% by the Jets. However, Matt Moore was unlucky, with five of his passes dropped.

Of course, Darrelle Revis was the big story, with two interceptions, two other pass breakups and no penalties. He even ran one of the picks back 100 yards, which was crucially important considering the offense’s early struggles. Overall, Revis was targeted a stunning 14 times and Brandon Marshall made five catches for 63 yards on him, although on the longest of those – a 20-yarder – he appeared to get away with a push-off.

On the Revis pick-six, the announcers seemed to suggest that Revis should have been flagged for interference or illegal contact, but the replay appeared to show that Marshall lost his footing before there was any contact and Revis was backing away from him the whole time. While Revis did momentarily grab a handful of jersey, he didn’t pull Marshall off balance, it seemed like it was more to steady himself after Marshall initiated the contact between them. I would definitely have been furious if that call had gone against Revis.

Antonio Cromartie had one of his better days in coverage…statistically. Unfortunately, despite giving up just two catches, he was once again disappointing. One of the completions he gave up was a 46-yarder after he let Marshall get behind him and he was beaten on two of the three incompletions thrown his way – Brian Hartline failed to stay inbounds on one and dropped the other. Cromartie did make one great play to break up a throw to Marshall at the goal line, but he also had the bad mistake on Bush’s run and ended up the game on the sideline with a groin problem.

Often criticized, the two starting safeties had a rare strong performance in coverage, giving up just one catch for 10 yards between them. Both were pretty quiet though, although Jim Leonhard did make a terrific open field tackle to perhaps save a touchdown as Thomas cut back and a forced fumble and Eric Smith had a QB hit. Leonhard did miss one tackle and completely lost sight of the ball when Charles Clay went deep and dropped it, whereas Smith was washed out on a couple of running plays, including Thomas’ 3rd and 10 run.

Brodney Pool saw plenty of action, but had a bad missed tackle to allow Thomas to convert on that 3rd down run and another on special teams. He wasn’t exposed in coverage though.

With Donald Strickland out, Kyle Wilson was the third cornerback and did a pretty solid job, although he was beaten for two first downs and blocked at the second level on a running play. Marquice Cole also saw some action and came up with a fumble recovery, while giving up just two catches for 12 yards.

The whole secondary deserves some credit for holding Hartline, Anthony Fasano and Davone Bess – three guys who have produced against the Jets in the past – to six catches for 61 yards between them.

Special Teams

After last year’s meeting where Brandon Fields racked up a stunning 564 yards, it was particularly encouraging to see TJ Conley (48.5 average, two punts inside the 20) outkick him.

Mike Westhoff said this week that because teams are trying to boom the ball out of the endzone, it makes it easier for them to predict where the ball will go and set up a return. Perhaps he shouldn’t have said that, because Miami made it difficult for them with several short kicks, one of which rebounded off Garrett McIntyre’s knee for a potentially costly fumble. On that play, it may have been partially Joe McKnight’s fault for not guiding his wedge blockers where to set up well enough, but you cannot lose sight of the ball in that situation. After the Cromartie fumble in Oakland, I was hoping we’d seen the last such breakdown for a while.

On coverage, Cole, Ellis Lankster and Emanuel Cook were among those making good tackles. As I predicted before the season started, the Jets are hanging up their kickoffs at the goal line and trying to peg teams inside the 20. I believe that’s by design rather than Nick Folk being unable to reach the endzone.

Conclusions

The Jets have yet to put together anything like a complete game, but they managed to win their third game of the year to stay within two games of the division lead. Guess when they won their third game the last time they won the AFC East. Give up? It was Week 9. If the Jets can iron out some of their issues, they’re ahead of the curve. Those issues cannot be ignored though, so Rex and his staff have a ton of work to do in the short week.

At the end of the day though, the Jets just beat the Miami Dolphins. Let’s just appreciate that.

Remember, if there's anything else you'd like me to comment upon or go into more detail about, let me have your suggestions in the comments and I'll respond in BGA Extra later in the week.
Tags: BGA, Bent Double

Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Former QB Dan Orlovsky thinks the Jets are targeting Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield with the No. 3 pick in the Draft, and one of the reasons is very specific.

Orlovsky, who played under Kyle Shanahan, noted that Jets OC Jeremy Bates is from the Mike Shanahan coaching tree. And that one of the traits Shanahan loved about John Elway is that he would screw his back foot into the ground when he threw -- adding that Bates loves that trait in quarterbacks as well. 

"There's one guy in the Draft who has that trait," Orlovsky said earlier this week on SNY's Jet Stream podcast. "And it's Baker Mayfield. He does the same thing when he throws. And I just think that those coaches fall in love with traits of guys that remind them of players that they had success with in the past. I think that they're looking at Baker Mayfield and going 'that's our guy.'"

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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)

Projecting trades in a Mock Draft is a futile effort. There are too many variables and rumors. It's mostly speculation. And really, it's just an exercise in fantasy football.

But … well, who doesn't love fantasy football?

Read More

Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon are ready to open their present that is the #3 pick in the NFL Draft. The guys discuss the possibility of the Jets trading up, yet again, and the crazy idea of selecting a non-QB (can someone say Bradley Chubb) with the 3rd overall selection. Plus, former NFL QB Dan Orlovsky calls in to give his insight into the top four quarterbacks.

Click below to listen

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Oct 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold. (Kirby Lee)
Oct 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold. (Kirby Lee)

In his latest mock draft, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer has the Jets taking Sam Darnold as their quarterback of the future at No. 3. 

Many experts believe Darnold could be the first overall pick by the Browns, and if he doesn't land with Cleveland, then the Giants would scoop him up at No. 2. However, with Josh Allen as Breer's No. 1 pick and the Giants electing to go with Saquon Barkley over a quarterback, Darnold drops in the Jets' lap. 

So, there is no need for the Jets to choose between Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield...

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Mangold's Hall of Fame chances 00:04:59
Dan Graca and Jon Hein debate over Nick Mangold's chances at making the Hall of Fame and the Devils' chances at beating the Lightning.

After a year out of football, No. 74 is officially hanging up the cleats. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: On the lists of favorite players and all-time greats, you'll rarely find a center. They're buried in the trenches, often noticed only when a bad snap happens or a defensive tackle breaks through.

The same was probably true for Nick Mangold during his 11 NFL seasons - rarely noticed from the outside and incredibly underappreciated game to game. Yet somehow he still emerged from his long career as a fan favorite. And he definitely emerged as one of the Jets' all-time greats.

Tags: Nick Mangold
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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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan made it clear he had no worries about the state of the Jets' defensive line heading into the offseason. Sure, they've lost a lot of talent in recent years, trading Sheldon Richardson, cutting Muhammad Wilkerson and not re-signing Damon Harrison.

But they still have Leonard Williams, the sixth pick of the 2015 draft, and despite a down season last year, the Jets have huge expectations for him.

Tags: Damon Harrison, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Los Angeles Chargers kicker Nick Rose attempts a field goal during an NFL game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Nick Rose attempts a field goal during an NFL game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets were awarded kicker Nick Rose on Monday after the Los Angeles Chargers placed him on waivers, the team announced.

Rose made 11 of 14 field goals in 10 games with the Chargers and Washington Redskins last season and converted on 23 of 26 extra points. He went 1-for-3 as a member of the Chargers in Weeks 16 and 17, and 10-for-11 in eight games with Washington. His longest make last year was 55 yards.

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Brian Winters remembers everything about the moment his 2017 season went off the rails. He remembers the time, the place, the play, and without question, the pain.

"It was second quarter in Oakland (in Week 2) with five minutes to go before half when we were driving in to the north end zone. I still remember it like it was yesterday," said the 26-year-old guard. "It was an outside zone play and (running back) Bilal (Powell) was trying to stretch it outside of me, so I went to continue to push my guy through. And as soon as I pushed through I felt like a pop."

Tags: Brian Winters, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jeff Badet catches a touchdown pass against Texas Longhorns defensive back Kris Boyd in the second quarter at the Cotton Bowl. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jeff Badet catches a touchdown pass against Texas Longhorns defensive back Kris Boyd in the second quarter at the Cotton Bowl. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Last week, we looked at some of the players who have been invited to attend an official pre-draft visit with the Jets. More names have leaked out over the past seven days, so let's break down some of the more interesting ones in detail.

Jeff Badet, WR, Oklahoma

Badet spent most of his collegiate career at Kentucky, but saw some high profile action last year after transferring to Oklahoma. He wasn't invited to the scouting combine, but if he had been, his pro day numbers for the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump would all have ranked first or second at the receiver position.

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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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: It's not quite crunch time yet, but there are less than three weeks until the start of the first round of the NFL draft, which means draft boards are in their final stages all around the league. It also means that the truth about which players are being targeted by which teams is starting to leak out -- albeit slowly.

Still, there are a lot of variables, especially in the first two picks. But at the moment there aren't many changes to my latest Mini-Mock Draft. The Browns are still taking a quarterback at 1. The Jets are still definitely taking one at 3. And I still think the Giants will take one -- assuming the right one is available -- at 2.

Here's a full look at my new Top 10, with some updated inside information...

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Former Jets QB Mark Sanchez has been suspended four games after violating the performance-enhancing drug policy, the league announced Friday. 

Sanchez, who last played for the Jets in 2013, was the Bear's third-string quarterback last season. He claimed that "unknowing supplement contamination" was the reason for his drug test to turn up positive. 

The 31-year-old took to Instagram to explain the whole story...

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 (Kamil Krzaczynski)
(Kamil Krzaczynski)

The Jets have already begun condensing their roster for next season as the team announced several cuts on Friday. 

Among them was former Bears RB Jeremy Langford, who signed a reserve/future contract with the Jets worth $630,000 this offseason. The 26-year-old spent time jumping through practice squads last season, and though he was promoted to the Ravens' 53-man roster, an injury pushed him to the IR the same week he joined the team. 

Langford was released following his IR placement, and the former fourth-round pick wouldn't see time for the rest of the season.

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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) greets Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) during warmups before a game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) greets Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) during warmups before a game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

WR Dez Bryant was released by the Cowboys on Friday afternoon, with Bryant reportedly hinting afterwards that he might be staying in the NFC East.

Bryant, 29, had a down year in 2017, with 69 receptions for 838 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games.

"I let a lot of things get in the way that bother me mentally," Bryant said late last season. "I feel like, if anything, I need to deal with in the offseason - is that. Like I said, there's only certain things I can control."

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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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are taking a quarterback with the third overall pick in the draft. They know it. Everyone knows it. And they know everyone knows it. "I mean, you'd have to be out of your mind to think otherwise," was how one team official said it. The only lingering question is: Which one?

The Jets have had or will have had private meetings and workouts with all of the top four, and GM Mike Maccagnan has made the rounds at their Pro Days. When they traded up to No. 3 they were convinced that they'd be happy with choosing from whichever two (or three) fell to them. And obviously at least two of the Big Four -- USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Wyoming's Josh Allen -- will still be there...

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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon take their deepest dive yet into the NFL Draft. They discuss the latest with the four quarterbacks, as well as look back at Willie's draft process with the Steelers in 2006. Later, Brian Costello of the New York Post joins the show to give his take on the draft and the possibility of Mike Maccagnan signing defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

Click below to listen

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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) gestures after thrown a touchdown pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson, not pictured, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) gestures after thrown a touchdown pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson, not pictured, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

The Jets' preseason schedule has been officially released for the 2018 season. 

The Falcons will be Gang Green's first opponent of the new year on their home turf. Then, they will hit the road to face the Redskins on Aug. 16 at 8 p.m.

The annual Snoopy Bowl at MetLife Stadium between the Jets and Giants will be the Week 3 matchup, with the Jets getting home field advantage.

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Top QB prospect Josh Rosen 00:01:13
Former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is expected to be taken as one of the top QB's in the 2018 NFL Draft.

In his latest mock draft, ESPN's Mel Kiper sees the Jets grabbing UCLA QB Josh Rosen with their third overall pick -- as SNY's Ralph Vacchiano projects in his Mini Mock Draft 3.0. 

The Jets clearly traded up to the No. 3 slot to take one of the highly touted quarterbacks. With Wyoming's Josh Allen and USC's Sam Darnold going to the Browns and Giants respectively, Rosen appears the best option for the Jets in Kiper's mind. 

CLICK BELOW TO READ KIPER'S ANALYSIS

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Oct 22, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets tight end Eric Tomlinson (83) hurdles Miami Dolphins strong safety Nate Allen (29) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Oct 22, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets tight end Eric Tomlinson (83) hurdles Miami Dolphins strong safety Nate Allen (29) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Having opted to let Austin Seferain-Jenkins leave in free agency, the Jets are relying on a group of young tight ends to replace his production, recently adding two more options to the mix.

It's possible the Jets could look to add to the group via the draft but, for now, let's consider what each of the tight ends currently on the roster brings to the table, and consider how they might be used in 2018...

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Top QB prospect Josh Rosen 00:01:13
Former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is expected to be taken as one of the top QB's in the 2018 NFL Draft.

With the NFL Draft a little over two weeks away, the Jets continue to get their last live look at the top prospects they could select with their third overall pick. 

After Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield wraps up his private workout with the Jets Tuesday, UCLA QB Josh Rosen will visit the team, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

After Rosen's visit, USC QB Sam Darnold is expected to be next on the list at some point later this week. Wyoming QB Josh Allen is also expected to visit at a later date.

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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

The Jets continue to bolster their defense with another addition at the second tier in vetearn LB Kevin Minter, the team announced Monday. 

Minter most recently played for the Bengals in 2017, where he tallied 32 tackles in nine games. 

He was a second round draft pick by the Cardinals back in 2013, and he would spend four seasons in Arizona before heading to Cincinnati. He totaled 175 tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble, and six passes defended over 61 games (37 starts). 

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Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson (12) runs after the catch in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)
Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson (12) runs after the catch in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)

The Jets continue to stack their wide receiving corps for next season as former Vikings WR Charles Johnson signed a deal with the team on Monday. 

Johnson, who was waived by the Panthers in July 2017, sat out all last season due to surgery on his right knee. He played for the Vikings from 2014-16, where he totaled 60 receptions for 834 yards and two touchdowns over 39 games. 

The Grand Valley State product was a Packers' seventh-rounder back in 2013, and after joinging the team's practice squad following camp that year, the Brown picked him up to join their 53-man squad. He dressed but never saw action with the Browns. 

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The Jets' free agency strategy 00:12:52
The Jets Nation panel analyzes the Jets' recent free-agent additions, including former Vikings franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Here is the most up-to-date information on whom the Jets have added and lost during free agency, including contract details and salary cap information. Be sure to bookmark this page and check back for frequent updates.

JETS SALARY CAP SPACE

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Dec 27, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley (25) rushes against Boston College Eagles defensive tackle Noa Merritt (94) during the second half of the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Dec 27, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley (25) rushes against Boston College Eagles defensive tackle Noa Merritt (94) during the second half of the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

While the Jets are reportedly hosting Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen for official Draft visits this week, we've also been keeping an eye on who else is reportedly scheduled to attend. Last year, both Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye took official visits before being selected with the Jets' top two picks.

Aside from the quarterbacks, most of this year's names that have leaked so far would be players the Jets might be hoping will drop to day three of the draft or maybe even be available as a priority free agent if they go undrafted. Let's look at some of the more interesting prospects...

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Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

With the NFL Draft just 17 days away, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield is scheduled to meet with the Jets in Florham Park on Monday and Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

The Jets have already met with Mayfield on multiple occasons -- including at the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine -- and the team held a private workout with him. 

The 22-year-old Mayfield, who is expected to be selected early in the first round, threw 119 touchdowns in three seasons with Oklahoma and capped it off by throwing 43 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2017 when he started a career-high 14 games...

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell is pursued by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell on a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter during an NFL football game at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell is pursued by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell on a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter during an NFL football game at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Despite the retirement of Matt Forte, the Jets have bolstered their depth in the offensive backfield with a couple of veteran additions. Let's give consideration to what each back brings to the table and how they might find a niche in the Jets' offense this season.

Bilal Powell...

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Sep 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Indianapolis Colts nose tackle Al Woods (99) and Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) wait to take the field before the Colts game with the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)
Sep 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Indianapolis Colts nose tackle Al Woods (99) and Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) wait to take the field before the Colts game with the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)

Free agent DT Johnathan Hankins visited the Jets on Thursday, reports Dan Graziano of ESPN. Hankins, who was cut by the Colts earlier this offseason, has also visited the Redskins.

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Giants, Hankins agreed to a four-your deal with the Colts worth $30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets were obviously looking for an upgrade at defensive tackle when they made their brief -- and ill-advised -- pursuit of Ndamukong Suh. Thankfully, they pulled the plug on that before it happened. Johnathan Hankins could turn out to be a much better fit...

Tags: Johnathan Hankins
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A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)
A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)

Former Jets WR/DB and Super Bowl champion, Bill Rademacher, has passed at the age of 75, the team confirmed on Tuesday. 

Rademacher came out of Northern Michigan undrafted, and ending up joining the Jets as a receiver in 1964. He would play in New York for five seasons that included a Super Bowl title in 1968. 

After getting released in 1969, he joined the Boston Patriots where he played just two seasons before retiring. Radebacher, then, became the head coach of Norther Michigan, where he owned a 37-16-1 career record. 

Overall, he played in 58 games totaling 24 receptions for 282 yards and three touchdowns.

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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)

Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield keeps notes on media members who are criticial of him, which former Jet and current SNY Jet Stream podcast co-host Willie Colon thinks is a bad sign.

"I saw it as a red flag," Colon said on Tuesday. "I did see it as a problem. This is a city that is notoriously known for its media. The New York media is unapologetic. Our beat writers make their name for being leaderless -- they're not rooting for you."

"Half the time, you have to earn it," Colon said about the respect of the media in New York. "And I think if you're Baker Mayfield, and you're already doing that without a team. Let's say you do get drafted by the Jets, there's three or four beat writers that will -- I promise you -- will say bad things about you and critique your game and who you are as a person. And may sometimes go over the line. And you're at the end of the locker like 'oh, I just checked twitter. Let me check this guy's name off.' That means you're focused on the wrong things. You should only be worried about being the best you can be for your team and winning football games."

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Nov 18, 2017; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Tigers quarterback Riley Ferguson (4) scores a touchdown against Southern Methodist Mustangs defensive end Justin Lawler (99) during the second half at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports (Justin Ford)
Nov 18, 2017; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Tigers quarterback Riley Ferguson (4) scores a touchdown against Southern Methodist Mustangs defensive end Justin Lawler (99) during the second half at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports (Justin Ford)

The Jets currently own four day three picks and, having traded away two second rounders, will be keen to find some contributors. Last year, the Jets traded down a few times and ended up making six selections on day three. 

Let's highlight some players who could interest the Jets on day three this year.

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Should Jets trade for Gronk? 00:00:59
The Loud Mouths debate if it would be a boom or a bust for the Jets to trade a premium draft pick to acquire Rob Gronkowski.