Nov 27, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan (15) throws a pass against New York Jets corner back Buster Skrine (41) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 27, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan (15) throws a pass against New York Jets corner back Buster Skrine (41) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

In this week's BGA, Bent analyzes Week 12 performances by Todd Bowles, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Forté and Bilal Powell, Ben Ijalana and the offensive line, Brandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa, the team's struggles on defense, and the special teams, among others...



Quarterbacks

Bent: If nothing else, yesterday's game underlines how the Jets could actually have been competitive each week if only they had a semi-decent quarterback. Like it or not, that's what Ryan Fitzpatrick was in yesterday's game.

Does that mean I'm prepared to consider retaining Fitzpatrick as the starting quarterback into next season? Of course not. After all, the rest of this season shows that Fitzpatrick is not consistent enough to be a semi-decent quarterback on a regular basis.

In fact, semi-decent is probably Fitzpatrick's ceiling right now and the Jets only managed to get that from him by simplifying things for him with a conservative gameplan. His receivers bailed him out with some great catches on plays to extend drives that otherwise would have come to a premature end and he still couldn't avoid that back-breaking mistake to cost them the chance at a win, even if he did manage to delay that until his late fumble.

So, where does this leave the Jets? Everyone has concluded that Fitzpatrick won't be back next year and certainly won't command anywhere near the $12 million he is being paid this year, regardless of where he plays. However, as long as he remains in the line-up, he can perhaps restore some of his value and keep the Jets competitive over the last five games.

Do we want that though? Why give Fitzpatrick a chance to resurrect his career elsewhere by winning a few meaningless games with the Jets? Or would six games of semi-decent play be a large enough sample size to actually get the Jets considering bringing him back?

Running a conservative gameplan in an effort to disguise your quarterback's penchant for a costly turnover is probably not a viable long term plan. However, maybe it can enable you to restore your quarterback's confidence and establish some rhythm to give yourself a platform to gradually start taking more chances. Again, it's not like the Jets have much to gain from that, though.

I was actually okay with the decision to start Fitzpatrick, because Bill Belichick likely would have set some traps for the inexperienced Bryce Petty and if he struggled badly at home in a loss to the Patriots, any optimism for him to show what he's made of over the last five games would be severely dented.

Having said that, Jets quarterbacks have tended to have good success against Belichick's defenses over the past several years. This perhaps renders Fitzpatrick's performance somewhat less impressive. Fitzpatrick has had a quarterback rating of at least 97.7 in all three games against New England since becoming a Jet, Mark Sanchez had a quarterback rating of over 90 in six of nine games and even Geno Smith had two games out of four with a rating of over 80. All three have a career rating below 80.

Petty should get another chance soon and may even be in the line-up when the Jets face New England later in the season so that might be an interesting test for him. Don't be surprised if the Jets stick with Fitzpatrick for a game or two more while they ready him for that though.

Running Backs

Bent: After combining for almost 200 yards in the previous game, Matt Forté and Bilal Powell found the going much tougher yesterday. They combined for just 90 yards on 25 touches as neither managed a run of eight yards or longer.

Forté did not start, but still saw the bulk of the workload. He ended up with 27 yards on 13 carries and I'd mostly attribute that to a lack of running room. However, there did appear to be a couple of short yardage plays where he looked to have plenty of room to get to the marker but tried to make a cut to get a bigger gain and ended up getting stuffed.

His best contribution saw him gain 15 on a dump-off pass early in the fourth quarter. That helped set up the go-ahead touchdown.

Powell had more success in the running game, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, but was not productive in the passing game with just one short catch and a dropped pass. He had a couple of short yardage conversions and also three plays where he battled for tough yardage, coming up just short of the marker on two of them to set up first down conversions on the next play. His wildcat carry near the goal line was the first time a non-quarterback has taken a snap for the Jets all season.

CJ Spiller saw action on 10 snaps. Interesting, Powell was also in the game on each of those plays with Spiller only in the backfield on three of them. He almost made a big play on a deep throw, as he beat his man but then dropped the slightly underthrown pass. There should probably have been a pass interference call on the play, but you don't usually get that call against New England for some reason.

Offensive Line

Bent: Once again, the offensive line really struggled in the running game. There were essentially zero running plays where the running back got cleanly out to the second level and several individual mistakes led to runs being stuffed at or behind the line.

They fared better in terms of limiting pressure, although most of that was attributable to Fitzpatrick getting the ball out quickly or New England dropping extra bodies into coverage to try and force him into a mistake. The dam burst completely on the final play though, as Ben Ijalana got burned for a game-clinching strip sack with the Jets trying to drive for the winning score.

Wesley Johnson has given a solid account of himself in relief of Nick Mangold, who seems close to returning. However, there's no question he's been a downgrade and this was easily his roughest game so far. Johnson missed several run blocks, was stood up at the point of attack regularly and was badly beaten on a play where Fitzpatrick was called for intentional grounding. He also committed a holding penalty after getting beaten again in pass protection.

Once Mangold returns, he's unlikely to be at 100% so it's difficult to say how much of an improvement there will be. Right now, it's not looking certain Mangold will be back next year with a $9 million cap number, but if the Jets plan to have Johnson starting in his place, their line will take a hit. There's also the small matter of Johnson's own contract, which expires at the end of the season. The last time the Jets replaced an established starter with a reserve based on a part-season of uninspiringly promising relief work, it was Wayne Hunter replacing Damien Woody and we all know how that went.

James Carpenter is pretty much the only starter who is more than likely to return, although back-ups Brent Qvale, Dakota Dozier and Brandon Shell will still be under contract. Qvale was the only one of the three to see action yesterday, on one snap. Carpenter held up well in pass protection but lost at the point of attack on a few running plays, including one where the run was blown up.

Breno Giacomini had his most efficient game since his return in pass protection, as he was beaten for a pressure just once, although he was driven back by a couple of bull rushes. It was also probably his least effective game as a run blocker, as he had a couple of bad missed blocks. Giacomini was also called for a hold in pass protection, as he had his man controlled but seemed to drag or shove him to the ground. That one seemed a bit harsh and probably wouldn't have been called the other way.

Other than giving up the sack at the end, Ijalana was beaten a few times in pass protection but he's arguably been no worse than Ryan Clady since taking over the left tackle job full time. Clearly the Jets need an upgrade here, although Ijalana has established himself as a useful back-up that will draw some interest in free agency next year. He made a couple of good contributions in the running game, but allowed penetration a couple of times.

Brian Winters was once again the least bad of a bad bunch. He didn't make many impact blocks in the running game, but didn't have many mistakes either. He's another one out of contract at the end of the year who it will be difficult to determine a price for.

Receivers

BentBrandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa each had their best game for several weeks, although for Marshall that's a sign of how far he's fallen because six catches and 67 yards would have been one of his least productive statlines last year. He scored his first touchdown since week five, but could he have had another if he laid out for Fitzpatrick's end zone throw rather than trying to grab it with one outstretched hand?

Enunwa delivered with the first 100-yard game of his career, spectacularly bringing down a jump ball for the go-ahead touchdown and making a few nice diving catches downfield to extend drives. It was an excellent bounce-back game for Enunwa, who had just two catches for 32 yards - on nine targets - in the previous two games.

Fitzpatrick's 40-yard hook-up with Enunwa in the first half was the first time all season he's completed a pass thrown more than 30 yards down the field (although he did have one negated by a penalty in week two). He entered the game 0-for-7 on such throws having gone 3-for-22 last year.

Robby Anderson provided a reminder that he's still a rookie with a momentum-changing fumble near midfield. After doing well to get open going across the field, Anderson tried to make some extra yardage but Malcolm Butler was able to strip the ball away from him. He ended up with just two catches.

Let's be positive about Anderson for a moment though. His rookie campaign (24 catches so far) compares very favorably with every high profile rookie receiver in recent Jets history: Jeremy Kerley ended up with 29 catches as a rookie. Laveranues Coles had 22. Stephen Hill ended up with 21. Devin Smith, Santana Moss and Jerricho Cotchery had just 17 between them.

Another rookie, Jalin Marshall, had two short catches and the officials ignored obvious pass interference on him as he was unable to haul in a third down pass downfield. That was the play before the Jets attempted a long field goal that was blocked.

Charone Peake was an unfortunate casualty of Marshall's struggles in the return game, as the Jets had to activate another return man, which meant there was no room on the active list for Peake. That's disappointing because he's the kind of player who should be getting as many reps as possible at this stage of the season.

The Jets actually targeted their tight ends four times with Brandon Bostick and Austin Seferian-Jenkins combining for three short catches. Seferian-Jenkins also contributed a good short yardage block, although Bostick fared less well on a stretch zone play.

Eric Tomlinson continues to impress in limited action as a blocking tight end. I suspect he might be a keeper. The Jets don't seem to miss Kellen Davis.

Defensive Line

Bent: There was a major change this week, as the Jets employed Leonard Williams primarily at defensive end and Muhammad Wilkerson at defensive tackle. It's something the team has gradually been shifting towards over the past few games.

Once again, Wilkerson had a depressingly unproductive game with just a couple of pressures and two run stops. He also jumped offside on third and short - although this was yet another example of the Patriots bending the rules and getting the benefit of a questionable call.

Something I kept noticing was the Wilkerson was constantly dropping off after an initial rush. Things like that are difficult to quantify but, by my count, he was in on 44 pass plays and he only penetrated more than two yards into the backfield on 23 of them. That means almost half the time he was effectively still a yard or two from the line of scrimmage when the pass was thrown.

There's obviously a strategic aspect to this, and most of the time it was a result of Wilkerson being double teamed at the line and dropping off to give everyone else room to work but it still raises questions.

Was that the gameplan or Wilkerson reacting to the fact he wasn't going to get how? If it was the gameplan, did the Jets decide to do this because they didn't feel Wilkerson would have much success getting into the backfield? Is he not getting to the quarterback because of his injuries so the Jets were scheming around that? If it was a reaction, is that smart on his part, or is it laziness? Are the Jets punishing him by forcing him to do more dirty work while others get a chance to post numbers? It would be interesting to know if Wilkerson would have been frustrated at having to drop off rather than getting the chance to "eat" or happy to follow a gameplan that seemed to work.

It's difficult not to question Wilkerson's effort and professionalism based on how the season has gone so far because he looks like a totally different player than the past few years, but let's not completely rule out the other factors that could be at play.

Williams produced well at defensive end with several pressures. He had just two tackles though, with one just short of the marker to force a punt on the first drive.

Sheldon Richardson seems more at home now that he's not playing the rush linebacker role, but his production is still falling short of what we'd have expected from him in the past. He had a couple of quarterback hits and a tackle for loss, but was also driven off the line on one running play. He created good penetration on a couple of plays.

Steve McLendon, Deon Simon and Anthony Johnson played a rotational role off the bench. Simon jumped into the neutral zone once and Johnson was driven off the line on one play.

Linebackers

BentDarron Lee returned to a starting role this week and produced an upgrade over the struggling Julian Stanford. However, he missed a chance to win the game when he was just a split second too late out into the flat on a fourth down pass to James White. That sums him up perfectly right now, as if he could have anticipate that play just a fraction of a second faster, it would have been a huge play and that's how close he is to making a consistent impact.

Lee made some good plays in coverage but was beaten for a couple of first downs and got caught inside a couple of times against the run. He also overpursued badly in space once.

David Harris made some solid plays and ended up tied with Lee as the team's leading tackler as he posted 11 tackles for the second week in a row. He made one bad mistake though, vacating his running lane and allowing the runner to cut back and into the open field for a big gain.

Lorenzo Mauldin had a couple of pressures and made some plays against the run but lost contain on an outside run and missed an open field tackle in space. He was also manhandled at the line and blocked to the ground on one running play.

Jordan Jenkins contributed four tackles and a hit, while Mike Catapano did not record a tackle, but pressured Tom Brady once.

In limited action off the bench, Josh Martin did well beating his man outside a few times to generate pressure. He's a player who Belichick praised during the week, albeit presumably based on his special teams contributions. Perhaps he deserves more time on defense.

Defensive Backs

BentDarrelle Revis had another rough game. The Patriots ignored him for most of the game, but went after him a few times on third down and in the red zone. He was beaten for two touchdowns and a couple of first downs. He also showed a disappointing effort on one third down play where a running back caught the ball in the flat and he was in a position to get in on the tackle. Instead, he kind of half-heartedly waved a shoulder at the runner and left Harris to complete the tackle. The runner dragged Harris almost to the marker and the Patriots picked up the first down on 4th-and-short.

In the starting line-up with Marcus Williams still out, Darryl Roberts also struggled, giving up a couple of first downs including one on third down. Roberts' worst play saw him called for pass interference on a deep throw where the pass was disrupted and probably could have been intercepted if he just got his head turned around.



Compounding matters, later on there was a play where he looked back for the ball too early and the receiver got behind him in the end zone and probably should have made the diving catch for a touchdown. At least he was trying to make the adjustment - and to give credit where it's due, he did get his head turned on another end zone throw to break it up. Hopefully he will show better instincts as he continues to develop, but there's plenty of room for improvement.

Roberts almost had another offensive pass interference penalty on a deep throw to Rob Gronkowski, but the officials and announcers both ignored the fact that Gronkowski blatantly pushed him off to create the initial separation from which he was forced to grab Gronkowski's arm.

Buster Skrine gave up a few first downs, including one on third down, and had a missed tackle. He was in on one stop in the flat and had one pressure as a pass rusher. On the coverage breakdown that led to the long completion to set up the winning score, it's difficult to know who was at fault, but this looked very similar to some early season plays where Skrine stayed up to cover the flat and someone ended up wide open down the field.

At safety, Marcus Gilchrist was beaten a few times in coverage, twice for a first down and once on a deep ball that was overthrown. He made a potentially big play when he prevented the back from scoring on the two-point conversion though.

Calvin Pryor came up and made a couple of nice plays in run support and had a pass break-up in coverage. However, he overpursued and missed a tackle in the flat on one play and seemed to be late getting over or slightly out of position in zone coverage a few times.

Finally, Rontez Miles made a play against the run, a good play in coverage and a third down stop, but he was cut to the ground on the edge on the run that allowed the Patriots to run out the clock.

Special teams

Bent: Once again, special teams let the Jets down as Nick Folk had a 54-yard field goal blocked just before half time. Folk had earlier made a 51-yarder, his longest of the season. The field goal was blocked because Tanner Purdum was driven back after the snap, with the officials once again ignoring the fact that the nearest guy to Purdum didn't appear to have his whole body outside the long snapper's shoulders as the ball was snapped. Qvale and Johnson were also flat-backed on the left side of the line, which didn't help.

With Jalin Marshall seemingly permanently out of a job as the return man, Jeremy Ross had an underwhelming performance in his place. He didn't get past the 25 on any of his kickoff returns and gained 10 yards on his only punt return. He made a great play to dive on the ball and rescue a possession after a punt deflected off Skrine deep in Jets' territory for a potentially costly muff, though.

Ross was involved in a controversial moment when the officials decided not to penalize the Patriots for the most blatant fair catch interference violation you could expect to see. Had they decided that Ross didn't indicate clearly enough that he was making a fair catch (he did) then they should have flagged the Jets for an invalid fair catch signal, so it's difficult to know what they saw there.

Punter Lac Edwards had another underwhelming game, averaging a 42 yards per punt net on his first three kicks. His last punt was a 27-yard net but the return was negated by a penalty so that at least meant the Patriots had to go 83 yards on the game-winning drive. Juston Burris drew that flag.

There was one illegal block in the back penalty called on the Jets but it wasn't clear whether it was Tomlinson or Miles who was flagged, as both seemed to be guilty on the same play and no number was announced.

Martin made another special teams tackle, but has dropped from first to sixth in the NFL in terms of special teams tackles over the past few weeks. Bostick also had an important stop in the open field.

Tags: BGA

Nov 26, 2016; East Hartford, CT, USA; Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Nov 26, 2016; East Hartford, CT, USA; Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

With the first of their three sixth-round picks in last month's draft, the Jets selected Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson. This regime has already brought in several young cornerbacks, but none of them have managed to separate themselves from the pack.

Does Nickerson's skill-set give him a chance to eventually become the home-grown starter they've been trying to develop?

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North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd, of Fort Hays State, runs drills during the North team's practice for Saturday's Senior Bowl NCAA college football game in Mobile, Ala., Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd, of Fort Hays State, runs drills during the North team's practice for Saturday's Senior Bowl NCAA college football game in Mobile, Ala., Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The Jets have signed DT Nathan Shepherd, who they drafted 72nd overall last month out of Fort Hays State.

Shepherd was an Division II All-America selection in his 2016 and 2017 seasons. Last season, he tallied 38 tackles (12.5 for loss) and four sacks. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: If you're a team like the Jets, still in the beginning stages of a total rebuild, you can take a chance on raw players like Nathan Shepherd, a Canadian who was a smallish linebacker in high school before growing into an NFL-caliber defensive tackle at Division II Fort Hays (Kan.) State.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets charity 00:01:47
The New York Jets hosted the "Taste of the Jets" event to help raise money for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

The New York Jets hosted the "Taste of the Jets" event to help raise money for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. 


New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)
New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)

When recently retired Cowboys TE Jason Witten watches Sam Darnold, he sees similarities between the no. 3 overall pick and former Cowboys QB Tony Romo. 

Romo and Darnold share the ability to thrive even when the scripted play goes awry. Romo made a career out of extending plays and Darnold earned a similar reputation while at USC.

"He's calm, he's got this poise. He reminds me a little bit of Tony Romo, the way he creates plays," Witten said...

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New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Former USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin explained on The Jet Stream podcast Wednesday why Sam Darnold will be a great fit for the Jets.

"Sam is a great fit," Martin said. "Just going back to how he was recruited, when we first got to know him -- he was a guy that was a linebacker and played some wide receiver. Point guard on the basketball team. When he dropped back and started throwing a few passes, we were like 'this kid can throw the ball.'"

And the way Darnold threw the ball changed how USC viewed him...

Tags: Sam Darnold
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New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)
New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)

Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon are back for a special edition of The Jet Stream podcast where they take a deep dive into the Jets' newest quarterback, Sam Darnold. The guys chat with Sam's former offensive coordinator from USC, Tee Martin, about the kid's emergence in college and how he compares to Peyton Manning. Later, Sam's best friend and former USC teammate, Jake Russell, joins the show to discuss what he's like off the field and his competitiveness on it.

Click below to listen...

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) during second half against Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) during second half against Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Robby Anderson's felony resisting arrest with violence charge stemming from an incident at an event in Miami in May, 2017 will be dropped, his attorney, Ed O'Donnell told the NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

During the incident, Anderson allegedly fought with arresting officers.

While Anderson's 2017 issue will be resolved, he is still dealing with his recent reckless driving arrest.

Tags: Robby Anderson
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Oct 29, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Henry Anderson (96) during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)
Oct 29, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Henry Anderson (96) during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)

On day three of the draft, the Jets opted to trade a seventh-round pick for former Colts defensive lineman Henry Anderson. However, this move has flown under the radar somewhat with the focus on the players brought in via the draft.  

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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

The Jets still have some money to spend, which is why they will be hosting free-agent S Kenny Vaccaro this week at their facility, per the Daily News' Manish Mehta.

Vaccaro was drafted 15th overall by the Saints back in 2013, where he has spent the last five season. His best year came in 2015 when he totaled 104 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and five passes defended. 

Last season, the 27-year-old tallied 79 tackles, one sack, one interception, and one forced fumble over 14 games. 

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye
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Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi participates in workout drills during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi participates in workout drills during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets had back-to-back picks in the sixth round of last month's draft, and they used the second of them to select defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi with the No. 180 pick. Let's provide some insight into what Fatukasi brings to the table and how he might fit in should he make the team.

Fatukasi is a player whose run-stuffing abilities have stood out over the past four seasons with UConn. He's strong at the point of attack, can get off blocks to make plays in the running game and can create penetration either with his strength or quickness.

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South squad offensive tackle Antonio Garcia of Troy battles defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon of Villanova in a blocking drill during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)
South squad offensive tackle Antonio Garcia of Troy battles defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon of Villanova in a blocking drill during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets claimed former Patriots offensive lineman Antonio Garcia off waivers and cut kicker Nick Rose, the team announced on Monday.

Garcia, 24, was a third-round pick last season but did not appear in a game after he had reportedly developed blood clots in his lungs, according to the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe.

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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 coach Chuck Knox, who was paramount in the Jets drafting Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath, died Saturday at 86. 

Knox started his vast coaching career with the Jets in 1963 as part of Weeb Ewbank's first Jets staff. Knox was big on the run game, which awarded the nickname of "Ground Chuck."

However, he saw something in Namath during his time at the University of Alabama, and knew the Jets needed him...

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Daily News Live: Sports gambling 00:03:44
Eric Chemi of CNBC joins Daily News Live to discuss the legalization of sports gambling and the ramifications of this newly amended bill.

The United States Supreme Court struck down a 25-year old law on Monday that had basically prevented all states except Nevada from having legalized sports gambling. "The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make," the Supreme Court announced. "Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own."

The ruling was an enormous immediate victory for the state of New Jersey, which could have a gambling venue open in Monmouth Park within a few weeks, according to the NY Post. There will be a press conference in Monmouth Park on Monday at 1 p.m. Aside from New Jersey, The Post notes that New York and Illinois are among roughly 15 other states who have "introduced bills to legalize and regulate sports betting tied to the Supreme Court outcome." 

The NBA and MLB have been preparing for Monday's potential outcome, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN, who said each league had hired lobbying firms, submitted written statements, and sent executives to testify in statehouses. Windhorst added that every professional sports league had been involved, but with the NBA and MLB at the forefront...

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Oct 15, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins center Spencer Long (61) lines up against the San Francisco 49ers at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)
Oct 15, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins center Spencer Long (61) lines up against the San Francisco 49ers at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)

Jets C Spencer Long is ready for an injury-free 2018 season with his new team.

Last season, Long was only able to make six starts for the Redskins due to a knee injury and was placed on IR in November. The ailment plaguing the 2014 third-round pick was rooted in a chronic quad issue which was corrected this offseason by surgery and an improved regiment.

"It was basically like a fraying rope," Long said...

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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Trenton Cannon (40) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Trenton Cannon (40) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

With their final pick of the 2018 draft, the Jets selected Virginia State running back Trenton Cannon.

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New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)

In the post-draft Honeymoon period, most fans, players and media alike are heaping praise on QB Sam Darnold. But Darnold's teammate T Kelvin Beachum wants to wait before he fully joins the fray. 

Beachum started all 16 games for the Jets last season, blocking for Josh McCown and Bryce Petty. At some point this season, he may be blocking for Darnold. 

"I've heard that he is a great person," Beachum said via Darryl Slater of NJ.com. "I'm excited to get him in that room." 

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New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets have four quarterbacks on their roster, which seems like one too many. They cut Bryce Petty last week to clear at least a little room on their depth chart, but they still have another move to make. Or maybe two.

Whatever they end up doing, the Jets' quarterback situation isn't as clear cut as some think, from the identity of the Opening Day starter all the way down to the likely odd-man out. As Todd Bowles said last weekend, the Jets are "open to anything right now" -- especially at quarterback.

"We're going to let it all play out before make those kinds of decisions," he said.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

For some draft picks, the process of becoming acclimated to a new environment is quicker given their circumstances.

Saquon Barkley of the Giants was born in Brooklyn, and didn't live far from his new home even when he was in Pennsylvania. Shaquem Griffin of the Seahawks may be making a shift from Florida to Seattle, but he has his twin brother Shaquill Griffin to guide him through the process.

Sam Darnold, on the other hand, is transitioning from sunny, laidback Los Angeles to the hustle and bustle of New York City without someone to lean on, or understanding of how this side of the states operates. In fact, he just visited the Big Apple for the first time only a few weeks ago.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Jets selected tight end Chris Herndon with the first of their day three picks in the 2018 draft last month. Herndon, who went to college at Miami, was injured towards the end of the 2017 season, which may have prevented him from going earlier. The Jets scooped him up with the 107th overall pick and will be hoping he proves to be a bargain. Let's weigh up his likely role in 2018 before reviewing his strengths and weaknesses.

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New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

The Jets have consistently said they don't want to throw their No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold into the fire this season. Former Giants QB Phil Simms doesn't understand why. 

Simms looks at Darnold's situation as being the potential Jets savior at quarteback. In turn, he needs to get on his feet and hit the ground running. 

"He'll fit in fine," Simms told NJ.com's Darryl Slater at BTIG Charity Day on Tuesday. "If I was the Jets, I would play him from Day 1. That's just me. Start him. Let's go. Got a long offseason, training camp, preseason games. They probably won't [start Darnold in Week 1].

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Namath talks Darnold 00:01:07
New York Jets legend Joe Namath shares his thoughts on the team's rookie QB Sam Darnold, and what lies ahead for the new signal caller.

Legendary Jets QB Joe Namath spoke Tuesday about the recently-drafted Sam Darnold and whether starting him this season should be on the table.

"First of all, anybody that is starting on that field has to have convinced their teammates that he's worthy to start," Namath said. "And for a 20-year-old rookie quarterback, that's gonna be tough to do early on. Because the big leagues -- pro football -- is different than college football."

While Namath thinks Darnold and any rookie has a lot to prove, he believes he should be out there if he shows he's ready.

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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets CEO Christopher Johnson is confident Sam Darnold is the answer his team's decade-long quarterback question.

Johnson was present at BTIG Charity Day, where he appeared for the Lupus Research Alliance, on Tuesday. He had some strong words about his No. 3 overall pick, saying the moment Darnold's name was called, it was the start to the Jets' revival.

"I honestly think (people) are going to look back 20 years from now and say this is the moment the Jets shifted into a new gear -- that they became a new team," he told reporters.

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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)

The Jets announced they have signed K Taylor Bertolet, while waiving CB Bryson Keeton

Bertolet was a tryout at the team's rookie minicamp this past weekend. The Texas A&M product spent time with the LA Rams in training camp last season. In his senior year back in 2015, Bertolet was a perfect 38-for-38 in extra-point attempts and 22-for-31 (71 percent) in field goals.

The Jets now have three kickers on their current roster with Cairo Santos and Nick Rose to compete with Bertolet at camp. 

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North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd of Fort Hays State stretches during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)
North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd of Fort Hays State stretches during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets selected defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd with their lone Day 2 pick in the 2018 draft. Shepherd, who attended Fort Hays State University, raised his stock throughout the offseason and was selected by the Jets 72nd overall. Let's consider his strengths and weaknesses and how the Jets might use him in 2018.

Shepherd is expected to be raw, having only played college football at Division II schools. That's a concern for a player who took a circuitous path to the NFL and will turn 25 during his rookie season.

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Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi reacts after a sack. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi reacts after a sack. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets signed two draft picks and two undrafted free agents on Sunday.

Defensive end Folorunso Fatukasi and defensive back Parry Nickerson, both sixth-round picks, and linebackers Frankie Luvu and Anthony Wint, agreed to terms with New York as the Jets begin minicamp.

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GEICO SportsNite: Sam Darnold 00:03:53
Ralph Vacchiano reports on the impressions of Sam Darnold at the Jets minicamp and Jeane Coakley speaks with Todd Bowles about the young QB.

Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass during the second half of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass during the second half of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Christian Hackenberg has apparently made major changes to his throwing motion in an attempt to revitalize his stalled NFL career.

He just never bothered telling his current team about his plans.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Sam Darnold fumbled the first snap of team drills on his first two days in a Jets uniform, and he fumbled five snaps overall. That was eye-opening because he had some fumbling issues at USC that were a cause for concern for some.

But get over it. It was the first two days of an NFL career that likely will last more than a decade and he was working with a tryout center who's NFL career will likely be over by Sunday afternoon. In the bigger picture, there was a lot to like about the Jets' 20-year-old franchise quarterback who looked poised, accurate and showed off a strong arm throughout the weekend...

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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Trenton Cannon (40) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Trenton Cannon (40) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

It's not Sam Darnold, but it's a start: Jets sixth-round draft pick RB Trenton Cannon signs his rookie deal, the first of the team's draft picks to do so. 

Cannon, who played his college ball at Virginia State, led the CIAA (Division II) in rushing after posting 1,638 yards on 212 attempts (148.9 per game). He also scored 17 touchdowns, which led his Trojan team. 

"I'm feeling good, just settling on in," said Cannon, via Jets official site. "Right now I'm getting into the playbook, learning the plays."

Cannon adds running back depth to Gang Green, who lost Matt Forte to retirement. He joins a running backs room that is led by Bilal Powell and sophomore Elijah McGuire

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 (Chuck Cook)
(Chuck Cook)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets today announced that they had signed seven undrafted free agents, so let's take a look into what each of them brings to the table...

FB Dimitri Flowers

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