With the recent injuries suffered by rookie third round pick Dexter McDougle (ACL tear, out for the season), Dee Milliner (ankle sprain, severity yet to be fully established but reportedly out for "several weeks") and Dimitri Patterson (apparently minor leg injuries), we thought it would be a good idea to take a more in-depth look at the rest of the Jets cornerbacks to evaluate the in-house options they already have on the team.

Both Rex Ryan and John Idzik had positive things to say about this group of players earlier today and, while they might not comprise any household names, they have varying degrees of experience, pedigree and skill-set.

After the jump, we'll be mostly revisiting my previous film study on the rest of the candidates to get more playing time over the next few weeks and reiterating their strengths and weaknesses to see where they fit in.

Introduction

To have such a sudden rash of injuries at one position is certainly troubling, especially when the Jets were counting on players by whom some parts of the fanbase and media have yet to be fully convinced. McDougle's injury was unfortunate, especially coming one day after the team had talked up the role he was looking set to earn for himself this season. However, the loss of Milliner, who the Jets were unquestionably counting on to be their number one cornerback would be much more damaging, so it's encouraging that recent reports have suggested he should return early in the season and may even be back in time for the season opener.

That being the case, the team's depth chart would end up pretty much where it was expected to if McDougle wasn't going to be a key contributor (which few expected and even fewer were relying upon). However, Patterson's struggles in the first preseason game have further cast doubts on the depth of this group. Certainly while Milliner is out they will be weakened. Could someone step up and earn themselves a role that will lead to them seeing extended playing time even after his return, though?

Potential starters

After a miserable first game as a Jet, a lot of fans are down on Dimitri Patterson. Even though a couple of these plays might not have been all his fault, he did not look good and we've since learned that he was slowed by some injuries. I looked in detail at Patterson in this article and, when I did, I saw a player who, as recently as last season, was a physical corner with good closing speed and outstanding ball skills. Durability has always been the question with him, although I liked the pick-up due to his ability to play both outside and in the slot and what that might mean for others on the roster.

It's certainly disconcerting that he's injured already, but the fact he felt the need to try and play through injuries is perhaps a sign that others are pushing him hard for his spot, which bodes well for the depth there. While it's possible Patterson, now 31, is totally broken down and will never be the same again, the Jets have a good recent record of getting players with ongoing issues on the field and seeing good production from those players. Therefore, it's too soon to rule out him playing an important role at the moment. If he struggles in his next preseason appearance, that will be worrisome, but others are waiting to show that they do have what it takes.

Darrin Walls seems to have hung onto his role at "next man up" from last year. When Milliner missed time due to being benched and through injury, Walls filled in at the starting cornerback spot and held his own, although the Jets did lose two of the three games he started, including one in Tennessee where he was beaten for a touchdown.

I reviewed Walls in depth when they signed him. He impressed with his closing speed, reactions and timing, although he isn't particularly physical and doesn't have much experience of playing in the slot. One further weakness which, it's become evident, he hasn't improved upon (Ryan was tweaking him in the media about it a few days ago) is that he has really poor hands. I wonder if that will hold him back with the onus for this defense being on increasing their turnover output (and the players they targeted - Patterson and McDougle - were both guys who were productive in terms of intercepting passes when healthy last season).

It's surprising there hasn't been more buzz about Kyle Wilson as a potential starter. When Darrelle Revis was injured early on in 2012, Wilson was a starter on the outside, across from Antonio Cromartie, and the pass defense didn't fare too badly. He did revert back to the slot in nickel packages, but was on the outside more than at any other time in his career. Last year, however, the Jets seemed insistent on leaving him in that slot role full-time, not even considering him for additional reps on the outside even with Cromartie and Milliner both injured and Milliner struggling most of the time when he was healthy anyway.

We know what to expect from Wilson these days. He doesn't always get his head turned around in time, seems to be involved in too many coverage breakdowns and irritates everyone by celebrating plays where he didn't deserve any credit. With that said, his numbers in the slot stack up well with the rest of the league in a position that's very difficult to excel at. Also, he's improved his physicality since he was young, is a surprisingly reliable tackler and - despite an early season meltdown against the Bills - showed encouraging discipline by being penalty free in 15 of 16 games last year. Even with all these injuries, he still seems to be working exclusively as a nickel corner (and played exclusively in the slot on Thursday night), but you have to believe he's in line for another chance to prove himself eventually. As 2012 showed, even if he starts, that doesn't mean he has to give up the slot role when they go to their subpackage.

When they did that back in 2012, it was Ellis Lankster who came into the game and played on the outside. Lankster fared well in that role, playing 199 of his 335 snaps on the outside and holding receivers to 13 catches on 28 targets when he was out there (a 41.5 quarterback rating). While he didn't fare quite as well in the slot, those results seem deserving of further consideration and he got his chance to start at practice today. Like Wilson, Lankster is another player whose 2012 performance wasn't enough to warrant many opportunities on defense last year. Lankster is definitely small (5'9") but does bring a physicality and the likes of Captain Munnerlyn have shown that a player that size with that kind of physicality can start on the outside.

While he didn't play much last season, he did get to show off his press coverage abilities on this nice play:

That came at a point in the season where the Jets had not been pressing enough and the fans were calling out for them to do it more. For Lankster to demonstrate this as a strength but still not see many opportunities is curious, although Rex Ryan did imply that he's so important to the special teams coverage units, they may have been reluctant to risk him on defense at times.

On the bubble

Ras-I Dowling was a mini-camp star, but has fallen back down to earth since then and wasn't even listed as a third stringer when the team released their first official depth chart. I looked at Dowling here. His main strengths are his size and physicality but his main weakness has been durability. He looked raw as a rookie, but seemed to have made some improvements in his second season. Maybe the recent injuries improve his chances of sneaking onto the roster, but you'd probably like your back-end-of-the-rotation guys to be someone who will contribute more on special teams. Still, at least he should get some reps on defense now (he didn't in Thursday's game) so now he can make an impact.

Johnny Patrick signed with the Jets all the way back in March. I took an extended look at him here. He saw extended playing time with the Chargers in 2012, but was mostly overmatched in coverage. He was impressive on special teams, but the Jets still have other players who can fill that vice/gunner role just as well, if not better, that he can. In addition, it's going to be hard for him to make a case for himself if he misses time and he's missed several days recently (and the first preseason game) with a hamstring injury.

The best of the rest

Brandon Dixon was a sixth round pick this year, but hasn't seen much of an opportunity so far. He did not play on defense in the first preseason game. Dixon has nice size and great speed but played at a small school and only had one interception in his senior year. It's a pretty big jump to expect him to contribute at the NFL level this year, but his speed stands out on special teams and you've got to believe he'll at least be a practice squad candidate this year.

Jeremy Reeves is very small, but a tremendous athlete. He stood out at mini-camp and did intercept a pass in the green/white scrimmage. He saw action briefly last week and closed well to make an open field tackle. As we saw with Isaiah Trufant, it's too easy to exploit a cornerback's size when they are this small (Reeves is listed at 5-7, 170) but maybe he could develop into a role player. He missed practice today too, though.

I actually would have mentioned Antonio Allen here even if he didn't play cornerback at practice earlier (with the first unit in team drills, where he had two interceptions). I'll admit that surprised me, although I was going to suggest that he is likely to play in the slot a lot as the nickel cornerback this year, perhaps to the detriment of Wilson. While everyone was impressed with his performance against the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham last year, most of the times he was targeted came when he was lined up in the slot, where he played 170 snaps over the course of the season.

I'm not completely sold on Allen as a safety or in zone coverages, but where he shows fantastic potential is in man-to-man coverage. Therefore, perhaps the move to cornerback makes sense on some level, although I'd still expect it to be matchup specific due to his lack of ideal speed to matchup with speedsters on the outside (he ran a 4.58 forty at the combine). Also, in the event that the move to corner is a success for Allen, could this open up a spot in the safety ranks for a certain veteran whose presence last year had an almost immediate positive impact upon the struggling cornerbacks?

Conclusions

Possibly in denial, I'm still operating under the assumption that Milliner will be good to go for the majority of the season, but if his return is delayed longer than expected, or he suffers further setbacks, then that would be a much bigger cause for concern. However, there are some talented players here and if Ryan can use them in a way that maximizes their abilities (and perhaps masks any deficiencies) then hopefully the young Jets secondary can not only perform well this season, but give us hope for the next few years as well.

I would be discouraged if the Jets brought in a scrapheap-veteran unless it's just someone they're throwing into the mix for depth purposes. If the Jets' young corners miss out on reps while they assimilate an over-the-hill player or someone who isn't an ideal scheme fit into their defense, when that player probably isn't going to do much more than any of the rest of them would have done with those reps, that strikes me as a waste of time. However, if the other Jets corners get their chance over the next few weeks and nobody shines, then perusing the market is suddenly an approach that becomes more palatable. Let's see how it goes first though. It would be good to see the safety group pick up the secondary too and perhaps Calvin Pryor's return will galvanize that unit to raise spirits.

Right now, I feel like the Jets have several viable candidates for a starting role on this team, each of whom has their strengths and weaknesses. However, until we see them get their opportunity it will be difficult to predict which of them will rise to the top.

I therefore wont commit myself to predicting who will win a starting role but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts, so please reply to this poll and let's hear your more detailed thoughts in the comments:

[polldaddy poll=8240187]

Tags: bentdouble, BGA, Bent Double

GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:03:46
Ralph Vacchiano and Jeane Coakley discuss the Jets' preparations for this week's game against the Carolina Panthers.

Stanford, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) (Sergio Estrada)
Stanford, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) (Sergio Estrada)

Jets' general manager Mike Maccagnan is in attendance at UCLA's game on Friday night against Cal, presumably to scout UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, according to Kyle Bonagura of ESPN.

Maccagnan attended UCLA's game last week as well Rosen lost to Sam Darnold and USC, where the Jets general manager was likely to be scouting both Rosen and Darnold.

The Jets certainly will not have the top overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, where it is assumed Rosen or Darnold will be selected, though there is always the possibility for the team to trade up. 

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Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)
Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)

THE GAME: The Carolina Panthers (7-3) at the Jets (4-6) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday, Nov. 26 at 1 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER: Not a terrible day, with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the upper 40s, but the wind could potentially be around 20 m.p.h. That could impact the passing games of both teams. Normally that would be an advantage for the Jets, but not necessarily here.

WHAT IT MEANS: It's kind of remarkable that after losing four of five in agonizing fashion the Jets are right in the thick of the playoff race....

Tags: Jamal Adams, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - A week away from football did some good for the Jets, who will have a healthy cornerback Morris Claiborne on Sunday, and they might even get running back Matt Forte back, too.

Claiborne, who has been hampered by a foot injury, was a full participant in practice on Friday and wasn't even listed on the final injury report of the week. He had suffered the injury back on Oct. 29 against the Falcons and missed the next game against the Buffalo Bills on a short week. He did play in the Jets' 15-10 loss in Tampa two weeks ago, but he was clearly limited by his foot...

Tags: Brian Winters, Matt Forte, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - With six games to go in the regular season, the Jets are one game back in the AFC wild-card chase. But they are stuck in a pack of eight teams inside that margin, all scrambling for the sixth and final playoff seed.

That leaves them will little room to stumble. Realistically, to make the playoffs, they have to win all the rest of their games.

Tags: Jordan Jenkins, Ralph Vacchiano
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Vacc's 3 Keys to Jets win 00:01:52
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys for a Jets victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys for a Jets victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

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New York Jets wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets re-signed wide receiver Lucky Whitehead and assigned him to the practice squad, the team announced.

Whitehead was given an injury settlement in September after he underwent surgery for a broken foot in the preseason. 

The 25-year-old receiver had nine catches for 64 yards in 30 games with the Cowboys in 2015 and 2016. He also served as Dallas' punt and kick returner, recording 305 return yards on punts and 846 return yards on kickoffs.

In a corresponding move, the Jets released linebacker Jeremy Cash, a 24-year-old linebacker who had appeared in nine games with the Carolina Panthers since the start of last season.

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GEICO SportsNite: Turkey drive 00:02:11
SportsNite highlights Willie Colon's Turkey and Toy Drive where the former Jet hands out turkeys to hungry people on Thanksgiving.

New York Jets safety Jamal Adams celebrates after recovering a fumbled snap by Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets safety Jamal Adams celebrates after recovering a fumbled snap by Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (4-6) face the Panthers (7-3) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Here's what's going on Friday:

Need to know

The Jets will practice again today at Florham Park. SNY.tv's Ralph Vacchiano will be attending practice this week. Follow @RVacchianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors.

In case you missed it on TJB

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New York Jets outside linebacker Kony Ealy celebrates with his teammates after his interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Kony Ealy celebrates with his teammates after his interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)

Kony Ealy is downplaying the obvious story line now.

Sure, the defensive lineman was a Super Bowl star with the Carolina Panthers two seasons ago - and then got traded last March. Ealy is with the New York Jets these days, and insists that his past won't affect his approach.

No matter what team he's facing.

"I'm going to go out here and play the same game I've been playing for about eight weeks now," Ealy said Wednesday, "and try to focus on getting that `W.'"

Tags: Carolina Panthers
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Nov 29, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks over the line of scrimmage against the New York Giants during the second half at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 20-14. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Nov 29, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks over the line of scrimmage against the New York Giants during the second half at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 20-14. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - There was a time this summer when it seemed that the only quarterback decision Jets GM Mike Maccagnan would have to make next spring was "Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen?" The Jets were going to stink. They were going to have one of the top two picks in the draft. One of those quarterback prospects would belong to them.

Three months and four wins later, the name of the future Jets quarterback is a little hazier. Darnold and Rosen remain in play, but it may take some maneuvering for the Jets to land them. They have options on the roster and can be players in free agency, too.

So it's a wide-open competition to see who'll be the Jets starting quarterback on Opening Day of the 2018 season. Here's a look at some of the choices they're likely to have...

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown, Ralph Vacchiano
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Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Despite early indications suggesting otherwise, Matt Forte (knee) was unable to practice again on Thursday. Forte has been out since first being injured on Nov. 2 against the Bills.

Rashard Robinson (illness) was out again, while Muhammad Wilkerson (foot) and Brian Winters (abdomen) were limited. 

Some good news on the injury front for Todd Bowles is that Morris Claiborne (foot) was a full participant. 

Coming off their bye week, the Jets return to action Sunday when they meet the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium at 1 p.m.

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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) (Noah K. Murray)

At Linden High School's annual Thanksgiving rivalry game against Union High School in New Jersey, former Linden star Muhammad Wilkerson had his jersey no. 91 retired, via NJ.com

Wilkerson is still a vital part of his hometown, with the Jets practice facility less than an hour away, he's a community leader. He founded T.E.A.M. 96, a nonprofit focused on mentoring college-bound high school student-athletes, as well as giving out scholarships. 

"Linden Public Schools and the Linden Athletics family is truly honored to retire Muhammad Wilkerson's No. 91 jersey," said Linden Athletic Director Steven Viana, via a Linden Public School System press release. "Muhammad's accomplishments on the field are well-documented, but his contributions to our community and our students are most gratifying. He is a mainstay at our events, an avid supporter of anything and everything Linden."

Union spoiled Wilkerson's day by beating Linden 21-18.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)
Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)

The Jets (4-6) face the Panthers (7-3) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Here's what's going on today…

Need to know

The Jets will practice again today at Florham Park. SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will be attending practice this week. Follow @RVacchianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors…

In case you missed it on TJB

Matt Forte remains sidelined with knee injury >> Read more

Darrelle Revis signs with the Chiefs >> Read more

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:01:48
The Jets prepare for a tough challenge as they get ready for the Carolina Panthers with their postseason hopes still alive.

LM: Dancing with the Jets 00:04:54
On Loud Mouths, Dancing with the Jets pays tribute to the Jets dance to anything.

Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets corner back Darrelle Revis (24) runs off the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium.  (Brad Penner (USA Today))
Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets corner back Darrelle Revis (24) runs off the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner (USA Today))

Former Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis has signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, the club announced Wednesday. 

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports the deal is for two years.

The 32-year-old started 15 games for the Jets last season in what was statistically the worst year of his 10-year career.

The Jets cut Revis last Feb. 28, which freed more than $9 million in cap space.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) is tackled by Buffalo Bills corner back Shareece Wright (20) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) is tackled by Buffalo Bills corner back Shareece Wright (20) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

RB Matt Forte (knee), LT Kelvin Beachum (personal) and CB Rashard Robinson (illness) were the only Jets to not participate in Wednesday's practice. 

Forte was injured during the Jets' 34-21 win against the Bills on Nov. 2 and has not practiced since. 

CB Morris Claiborne (foot), DL Mo Wilkerson (foot), and G Brian Winters (abdomen) were limited participants.

Coming off their bye, the Jets return to action Sunday when they meet the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium at 1 p.m.

Tags: Brian Winters, Kelvin Beachum, Matt Forte, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

The Jets (4-6) face the Panthers (7-3) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Here's what's going on Tuesday:

Need to know

The Jets will practice again today at Florham Park. SNY's Ralph Vacciano will be attending practice this week.  Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors…

Tags: Leonard Williams, Lorenzo Mauldin, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McLendon
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 (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
(Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

The Manhattan District Attorney has opted not to bring charges against Jets LB Lorenzo Mauldin, who was was arrested in June for misdemeanor assault.

Tags: Lorenzo Mauldin
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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)

The Jets (4-6) face the Panthers (7-3) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Here's what's going on Tuesday:

Need to know

The Jets practice for the second straight day. SNY's Ralph Vacciano will be attending practice this week. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors.

Tags: Carolina Panthers
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GEICO SportsNite: Robby Anderson 00:01:16
Jets WR Robby Anderson catches up with Jeane Coakley to discuss how he's become one of Gang Green's premier offensive weapons this season.

New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles recently said he won't be switching quarterbacks anytime soon, and current starter Josh McCown agrees with him. 

Despite losing four of their last five games, the Jets are still in the thick of the AFC playoff race as they sit just one game back of the final Wild Card spot. McCown has been leading the Jets' offense all season, and with playoff implications still relevant, he doesn't see a reason to change now. 

"I guess we're both kind of on the same page with that," McCown told NJ.com's Darryl Slater. "There wasn't a scenario where I saw it either. I think it's good to hear it, but we were already on the same page. So I don't know if that was necessarily a new thing." 

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The bye week couldn't have gone much better for the Jets, who sat at home getting rest as the AFC playoff picture collapsed around them.

The Jets may have lost four of their last five games, but thanks to a group of increasingly mediocre, imploding, and very flawed teams in their conference, they just can't seem to slip out of the playoff picture. And in part because the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins lost on Sunday, the Jets will return to action this week just one game back in the race for the final wild-card spot in the AFC.

"I think it energizes us more than anything," Jets quarterback Josh McCown said. "We can't look back, obviously. Every team that has lost any game this year across the league would look and wish they had it back, especially if you are in the AFC. But more than anything it energizes us to know that we're still in the thick of things here with the last six weeks to play."

Yes, their schedule is difficult. But at this point, it's possible 8-8 might be good enough to snag the last playoff spot in this top-heavy conference. So the Jets are alive. And here - in current order of the conference standings - is a look at the rag-tag collection of "contenders" that might stand in their way:

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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles throws a football during warmups prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles throws a football during warmups prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (4-6) face the Panthers (7-3) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Here's what's going on Monday:

Need to know

The Jets return to practice today after five days off. SNY's Ralph Vacciano will be attending practice this week. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors.

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Jets mid-season report cards 00:09:19
The Jets Nation crew take a look back at the Jets' first half of the campaign and hand out their mid-season report cards.

Former Jets LB and current SNY Jets contributor Chad Cascadden gives his midseason grades.

Tune in to the Jets Nation Midseason report tonight at 6:30 on SNY!


Offense Overall: (C)

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) rushes for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) rushes for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

When Bilal Powell was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 draft by the Jets, he was joining a backfield that included the legendary LaDainian Tomlinson. 

Powell only appeared in two games that season but the knowledge he picked up from Tomlinson in the Hall of Famer's final season was invaluable to his career...

Tags: Bilal Powell
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Oct 28, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) looks to pass against the Washington Huskies during the first quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Nicholson)
Oct 28, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) looks to pass against the Washington Huskies during the first quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Nicholson)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | ArchiveThe most important football game for New York will not take place at the Meadowlands on Sunday. It will take place 2,800 miles away at the Los Angeles Coliseum, where the future of one or both of the New York teams may be on display Saturday night.

And yes, both the Giants and Jets will both have scouts in the press box watching UCLA take on USC - along with 18 other NFL teams. Their eyes will be fixed on Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen and Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold - the odds-on favorites to be the first and second picks of the 2018 draft.

The Jets, of course, are desperate to find their franchise quarterback. And the Giants are searching for the heir to their 36-year-old quarterback Eli Manning. Right now, the Giants seem to be in the best position to grab the quarterback they desire. But a few more losses over the final six games, and perhaps a trade up, and the Jets could be in position, too.

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New York Jets corner back Buster Skrine (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets corner back Buster Skrine (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Jets CB Buster Skrine was fined $48,620 for his hit on Bucs WR DeSean Jackson last Sunday, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

The third quarter hit on Jackson yielded an unnecessary roughness penalty. It was the 11th time this season Skrine has been penalized, which is the most by any defensive player in the NFL. 

It is also the second time Skrine has been fined this season. He was docked for a hit on Raiders RB DeAndre Washington in Week 2. 

Tags: Buster Skrine
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The Jets have finally reached their bye week, and it's probably at the right time after a dreadful loss to the Tampa Buccaneers. The guys discuss the defeat, as well as a recap of the season so far.

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