It was a short but painful day for Jets QB Bryce Petty. (David Butler II)
It was a short but painful day for Jets QB Bryce Petty. (David Butler II)

In this week's BGA, I analyze Week 16 performances by Bryce Petty, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brandon Marshall and Juston Burris among others...


Quarterbacks

Bent: Even after such a one-sided loss, I'm still tasked with at least trying to find some things to be positive about. However, when we're talking about the quarterbacks, Saturday provided nothing whatsoever.

We were skeptical about whether Bryce Petty would even be able to stay out there in front of an injury-ravaged line, but actually an inability to protect himself has been more of an issue than the inexperience of the guys in front of him.
Petty's shoulder injury came as he tried to recover a fumble. Nothing about that was his fault and he was instinctively trying to save possession for his team. Having already been banged up due to the hit last week, this has to raise doubts over how many conventional hits he would have been able to endure, anyway. 

That's the downside of moxie; the competitiveness of the quarterback leads him to fight for every advantage, when sometimes the wise thing to do is to cut your losses and live to fight another day. Now there might not be another day for Petty, who will presumably be unable to suit up next week and a longshot to beat out whatever alternatives the Jets bring in next year.

For the short time that he lasted, Petty was poor, anyway. He was indecisive and inaccurate and the Patriots succeeded in confusing him with trap-style coverages. On one play he was probably going to be intercepted if he went to his first option so he hung onto the ball and ate a sack. That was pretty much the only positive thing he did all day. I'm sure he eventually would have settled down and done some good things, but if he didn't get hurt and continued to struggle that badly, the Jets might have been forced to replace him anyway.

So back came Ryan Fitzpatrick, a player I've taken to referring to as "The Bad Penny", which isn't directly referring to Chad Pennington, although that works too. Fitzpatrick should win this year's Comeback Player of the Year award based solely on volume rather than performance. I've lost count of the number of times we thought we'd seen the last of him only for him to be back again within a week or two.  

Fitzpatrick now looks set to start the last game, which is as improbable as it was when Mark Sanchez ended up starting the season finale against the Bills in 2012, despite having lost his starting role to Greg McElroy the previous week. Sanchez lost that last game 28-9 which is the kind of outcome you'd expect next week. He also returned the following season and was atop the depth chart in preseason before getting hurt. I'm not expecting history to repeat itself in that regard with Fitzpatrick.

In terms of Fitzpatrick's performance, it barely matters but an 8-for-21 with two interceptions stat line speaks for itself. His receivers didn't help him out much but even if they bailed him out a few times that would have only elevated his stat-line from terrible to not very good.

Should Christian Hackenberg get a chance to play now? For me, the answer hasn't changed: No. As I said recently, I don't want him anywhere near this mess and the worst thing that could happen now is that he plays in a meaningless game, is similarly unable to protect himself and suffers an injury that eats into his development time next season. That's not going to be a popular decision though - and it could lead to a miserable atmosphere in the season finale.

Running Backs 

Bent: Powell was having a nice first half as the Jets were gaining consistent yardage in the running game. However, durability has always been a concern with Powell and he lasted less than 2 1/2 games as the lead back before limping off the field with nine minutes left in the second quarter. Powell had gained 49 yards on nine carries to that point and was well on the way to his third big game in a row. However, after limping off, he carried just six more times for 11 yards.

Powell now has 973 yards from scrimmage on the season, which is a career high. If healthy, he should surpass 1,000 for the first time next week. He would need 98 rushing yards to surpass his career best total of 697 in 2013. That came on 176 carries though, whereas he has had just 109 so far this year, averaging 5.5 per carry. He showed more good burst and elusiveness early on Saturday.

Powell's 55 receptions on the year also represent a career high and he needs just 16 receiving yards to set another career mark. In this game he caught just two passes though and also gave up a sack in pass protection.

With Matt Forté out, Khiry Robinson's debut was set up to be one of the more interesting aspects of this game. In typical 2016 Jets fashion, his first touch saw him fumble the ball away, knocking Petty out of the game in the process.

Robinson was stuffed for a loss three times on his eight carries, but did flash some promise on a couple of plays. He ran over a defensive back on a first-down run to the outside, showed good burst on a pick-up of nine and displayed good effort to battle for positive yardage on another play.

The Jets apparently plan on keeping Robinson around next year because when they re-signed him, it was through 2017. You'll recall that he only signed a one-year deal first time around before waiving him due to a preseason injury. Maybe Robinson will get more touches in the final game to show what we can expect next season.

Finally, Brandon Wilds carried four times on the Jets' final drive, gaining 14 yards. He gained positive yardage on each of his carries but his longest gain was just six yards. The rookie should get more chances next week but will probably be regarded as a long shot to make next year's team.

Receivers

Bent: Last week, Brandon Marshall was asked about his lack of production in last week's Miami game, when he caught just one pass despite being targeted 11 times. His response was that he judges his own performance based on how the other receivers produce as a result of him producing favorable matchups.

Okay. So, let's judge his performance yesterday based on that criteria…

When Marshall limped off with a hip problem late in the third quarter, the other wide receivers on the team had combined for zero catches. Even more damning; Devin Smith, Quincy Enunwa and Charone Peake each had a big downfield catch, totalling 77 yards, after Marshall's departure.

I'm not going to dwell too much on the rift between Marshall and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, but it goes all the way back to Week 3 when the pair apparently had to be separated on the sideline during the fourth quarter of the loss to the Chiefs. With frustrations boiling over, it's difficult for Marshall to justify himself as a team leader when he lays another egg in a week where he was discussing the possibility of joining the Patriots next season with the media.  
During the broadcast, CBS announcers Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts suggested that the Jets will be assessing Marshall's performance during the offseason and that perhaps he would be back if they feel his decreased production is mostly injured-related. However, there were already concerns over Marshall's durability during the offseason. If they think injuries have limited his production once again, then why bring him back and pay him a huge salary in a rebuilding year? Even if they think his leadership is valuable, it's obviously rubbing some people the wrong way and he's increasingly likely to get hurt again.

Quite frankly, I'm not sure why anyone would assume the Patriots would be interested either.

Funnily enough, even though I referred to him laying an egg, Marshall actually led the Jets in receiving, albeit with just two catches for 28 yards. What was really disappointing was that Robby Anderson was completely shut out. Anderson had been producing consistently since he started seeing regular playing time. Satrday, he was unable to come up with a deep ball down the field and, not for the first time, was outmuscled at the point of the catch on an interception. 

In addition to his one catch, Enunwa also contributed a first down run as they handed it off to him on a fly sweep and added some good blocks. However, four other passes - all of them thrown too high - were off his hands, one of them being intercepted.

Peake had a big catch and run on fourth down but also juggled and dropped another downfield pass.

Smith looked sharp in making his first catch of the year down the middle, but there were shades of his rookie year on two other catchable targets that he was unable to bring in, including one in the end zone.

At tight end, Austin Seferian-Jenkins also dropped a Fitzpatrick pass in the end zone but had one catch on a low throw down the middle. He only actually played four snaps before leaving with an injury. Brandon Bostick dropped his only target, albeit on another inaccurate throw, and had a couple of bad missed blocks, including the one that led to Robinson's fumble. Eric Tomlinson had a handful of impact blocks in the running game although he failed to sustain his block a few times. If he can continue to work on his consistency, he could be a difference maker next year.

Offensive Line 

Bent: Having lost yet another starter, it was assumed the offensive line would fall apart, but that neglects the fact that the line was never particularly good to start with so each loss hasn't actually downgraded the unit that much.

Once again, the line held up quite well and, while the starting line-up will need to be overhauled next year, they actually seem to be building some encouraging depth.

Brandon Shell played the whole game at right tackle while Dakota Dozier and Brent Qvale platooned at right guard. All three are under contract next year and it's encouraging that the line held up with all three thrown into the mix.

Of the three, Qvale was the least effective, struggling to hold up at the point of attack a few times and allowing his man to shed his block to stuff a run once. However, he avoided any serious mistakes and didn't give up any pressure in pass protection. He has established himself as a player who can fill in at both guard and tackle.

Shell played well for the second week in a row, once again not surrendering any pressure in pass protection. He had plenty of help, though. In the running game, he made some impact blocks, displaying some power at the point of attack, but there were a couple of plays where his man got off his block to get in on a tackle. His biggest negative was a face-mask penalty following a turnover.

Dozier did a fine job in his first career start. He was beaten just once in pass protection and did a good job of blocking on the move and at the point of attack in the running game. After a bad start where he tried to make a pulling block and ended up getting in the running back's way, he settled down nicely and performed well. One thing that was apparent was that Dozier seems to have cleaned up his technique, as in preseason action he has had a tendency to be sloppy even on those plays where he was able to make an effective block.

Wesley Johnson had a mistake-free first half at center, other than one play where he got the snap count wrong leading to a false start penalty. In the second half he had a missed block on a short-yardage play and failed to sustain a couple of blocks at the second level. Overall, he did a good job of limiting penetration and didn't allow any pressure in pass protection.  

James Carpenter had a quiet game, but made a couple of good blocks at the point of attack in the second half. He gave up a quarterback hit on a play where he clearly thought the interior rusher would be picked up by Johnson and was unable to react in time.

Finally, Ben Ijalana was beaten for a sack but only had a few other plays where he was beaten in pass protection. He contributed one good downhill block in the running game. The assumption is that left tackle is more difficult to play than right tackle, so it's difficult to know how he would have fared if he'd been able to stay on the right. Maybe being able to limit any struggles on the left side is a sign he could be a much more consistent player once he moves back to right tackle. Ijalana was the only lineman from yesterday who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Defensive Line

As mentioned, I'm not planning to dwell too much on the Richardson/Marshall spat, but it is worth noting that Richardson seemed to display more explosiveness and effort in this game than he has most of the time this year. He was in on a handful of run stuffs, including one for a loss, and had a hit on Tom Brady.

On one play, he mowed over the left guard in pass protection and on another he shot a gap so quickly that he almost disrupted the handoff. I don't think we've seen that kind of play from him since last year.

After the Snapchat fiasco last week, there was some suggestion that Richardson might again be benched for the first quarter. However, he was out there from the start. What nobody seems to have noticed, though, is that he was essentially benched for the fourth quarter instead. They did send him out there for one goal-line play and once on special teams, but he was removed from the main rotation and I am pretty sure that's connected with last week's indiscretion.

One positive this week was that Muhammad Wilkerson busted into the backfield for a strip-sack, which was the first impact play he's made in a while. Wilkerson had a couple more pressures and was in a few plays in the running game including a tackle for loss but continues to have mixed results at the point of attack.  


Last week, a story in the New York Post suggested Wilkerson's struggles are mainly related to injuries and Jets fans will be hoping that's the case because a healthy Wilkerson getting back to his best next year would automatically provide a bigger upgrade than any personnel move they could hope to make. He was generating almost three times as much pressure last season, for example. The Post also described Saturday's performance as his "best game of the season", but I don't really agree with that because he was holding up at the point of attack with much better consistency earlier on in the year.  

Leonard Williams was also in on multiple run stuffs, although he was handled at the point of attack a few times. Other than one play early in the game, he didn't get close to Brady in the pass rush. Once again, they moved him around and gave him plenty of reps coming off the edge. Shouldn't we be worried about that, considering the effect playing on the edge seems to have had on the effectiveness of Richardson, Wilkerson and Quinton Coples in recent years?

An interesting statistical anomaly this week saw Williams, Richardson and Wilkerson combining for an impressive 22 tackles, but only four solo tackles. For context, the three entered this game with 155 combined tackles (11 per game), 64 percent of which were solo tackles. With so many assisted tackles, that suggests they were rallying to the ball but not necessarily stuffing runs themselves.  

It's difficult to know what to read into that but it seemed to work because LaGarrette Blount was held to 50 yards on 20 carries and the Patriots averaged less than three yards per carry as a team. Maybe it's something to do with the Patriots' scheme or just something to do with the official scorer.

Deon Simon had been doing well in an increased role due to Steve McLendon's injury, but he was well-handled at the point of attack in this game, including on a short yardage touchdown. He was able to draw a flag on a good bull rush though. Later on in the game he stuffed a run and bottled up another run, but it was a less impressive performance that we'd seen over the past few weeks from the youngster.

Finally, Anthony Johnson was in for a few plays and almost had a sack, but allowed Brady to escape and complete a throw downfield.

Linebackers 

Bent: The Jets did less rotation in the linebacking corps than they have all season with only four players seeing action. On the outside, Freddie Bishop and Jordan Jenkins got the start and were employed basically in a full-time role. However, they disappointingly recorded just one pressure each.  

Jenkins at least got close a handful of times as he was able to turn the corner around the edge but the pass was thrown too quickly. He was in on a few plays against the run and in coverage, but was also cut to the ground leading to a first-down run.

Bishop got blocked out of a few running plays on the edge, missed a tackle and was involved in a blown coverage that led to a big gain.  

Darron Lee had one of his better games so far as he was in on four plays close to the line of scrimmage, including one for a loss. He wasn't perfect, though, as he was blocked out of too many plays at the second level and missed a couple of tackles. He also gave up a first down in coverage, but was impressive in pursuit and when closing to the football.

David Harris was also blocked out of some plays at the second level and got beaten over the top for a touchdown in coverage. He was in on a few stops near the line and had a sack wiped out because of a penalty.

Defensive Backs

Bent: One of the positive things to take from this display was the performance of rookie cornerback Juston Burris. There were several plays where he was targeted but managed to break up the pass or otherwise disrupt the play, leading to an incompletion. Despite these successes, Burris was called for a hold and burned deep on a play that led to the safety getting flagged. He was also beaten for a touchdown, although he was remonstrating with teammates after the play, so that might not have been his fault.

While the performance was encouraging, Burris was extremely physical and arguably could have been flagged a few more times, especially considering it was a match-up with New England. A less-forgiving officiating crew would have flagged him at least three times and the performance would be viewed in a completely different light. If Jerome Boger's crew was working the game, he might have ended up with five or six penalties.

Calvin Pryor played hard, coming up fast to slow up the runner in the backfield four times, although he was unable to make the play himself on any of those occasions. He was in on a couple of run stops and contributed some pressure as an unblocked blitzer.

Rontez Miles had a productive day, with a team-leading 12 tackles, but he seemed to be involved in a few miscommunications that led to blown coverages. One of those was on the touchdown Burris allowed, which saw him trying to communicate with Pryor before the snap which left no safety in the middle of the field with Burris playing outside leverage. Miles was beaten for one touchdown in man coverage and got lucky on two other plays where he was beaten but there was an overthrow and a drop. He also missed a tackle.

Darrelle Revis didn't have much to do, but still had a missed tackle, a hold to negate a sack and a blown coverage that should have led to an easy touchdown. He also gave up an easy conversion on third-and-short because he was playing too far off. He made one good play in run support. On the other side, Buster Skrine fared better. While he gave up three first downs, he was in good position on four incompletions, including one that he broke up with a hit. He also made a good play in run support.

Doug Middleton continues to get some valuable experience off the bench, but gave up a couple of first downs in zone coverage and was flagged for pass interference on a throw over the top.
 

Special teams

Bent: Nick Folk provided the Jets with their only points with his 29-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, but should the Jets have been kicking a field goal when down by 41? While I understand the desire not to be shut out, I can guarantee than most Jets fans would have preferred another shot at the end zone with the ball down at the 11-yard line. Bowles does himself no favors with such moves.  

If it's early in the second half and you're being blown out and want something positive to give yourself something to build on, then perhaps you kick a field goal in that situation, but so late in the game it just comes across as waving the white flag and trying to save face in unsatisfactory fashion. "At least we didn't get shut out" is arguably a weaker statement that "At least we didn't stop trying to score."

Folk had already missed a chip shot, his sixth missed field goal against the Patriots in his career, more than he's had against any other team.

Rookie punter Lac Edwards was again unimpressive, especially on one early low drive, but at least he managed to have his first 45-yard net punt in a long time. He can thank the coverage for that. Punt coverage was pretty solid, with the likes of Smith, Miles and Peake making contributions.

Nick Marshall didn't have much success in the return game this week and then, when he finally got out past the 25 on one runback, the Jets opted to accept a penalty and force a re-kick, which he promptly dropped and ended up getting stuffed inside his own 15-yard line. He also didn't do much on punt returns, albeit mostly due to poor execution from those in the vice role.

Enunwa was back for one kickoff which he also dropped, forcing him to take a knee in the end zone. He's returned one kick in his career, for 54 yards earlier this year.

On the whole, the Jets looked to upgrade their special teams personnel with more experienced core special teamers during the offseason but it hasn't worked. While injuries have been a factor, the inability of this unit to be an upgrade over Bobby April's sorry 2016 outfit is disappointing. Perhaps the issue is that they don't place enough importance on this aspect during practice?
 

Final thoughts

Bent: It's difficult to find many bright spots after a performance like this, even though the likes of Shell, Burris and Dozier might have helped their case for a larger role next season. However, there is one major positive and that's the fact that this awful season is nearly over.

It's been a rough year; one where everything that could go wrong has done so. Yesterday's loss was a new low, with the only silver lining being that the rest of America has long since lost interest in the Jets so didn't notice or care.

In many ways, a humiliating loss like this can be a healthy thing, because it means there's little chance the powers-that-be will overlook any deficiencies within the team and try to paper over any cracks with a temporary solution.

Looking back, there's four games this year where the Jets probably should have won and blew it. Ironically, fans should now be thankful they lost those four, for two reasons. First of all, if the Jets had been 8-6 entering yesterday's game - which was theoretically possible, as improbable as it sounds - then yesterday's loss would have been a lot more damaging and painful.

Secondly, while I'm not of the mind that I want the team to lose each week for draft positioning, I don't mind looking back on those losses and being glad they happened in hindsight because a 7-9 or 8-8 record would be a lot less likely to produce the kind of difference maker this roster desperately needs in next year's draft.

Next week's game could be ugly because the fans have little desire to see any more of Fitzpatrick at quarterback and will be likely to express their displeasure at some of the other underachieving veterans this season. That's if they bother to show up…

 

Tags: BGA

Todd Bowles Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Todd Bowles Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles may know in his head who he wants starting Week 1, but he's going to wait until these final preseason games before he makes a final decision. 

Bowles got to see Darnold and Bridgewater in action on Thursday, giving him more tape to watch to determine what to do with his quarterbacks room. McCown didn't see any time in the bout against the Redskins, but that was expected as the Jets look to get Darnold and Bridgewater more reps. 

"I have some ideas in my head, but I'll wait till the last two preseason games," Bowles told The Post's Greg Joyce on Saturday.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater
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Teddy Bridgewater (5) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Teddy Bridgewater (5) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Teddy Bridgewater was terrific in the Jets' preseason game in Washington on Thursday night and through two games he's looked like the best quarterback on the roster. But such is the state of the Jets' quarterback riches that nobody's asking the 25-year-old about his chances to win the Jets' starting job. 

Tags: Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater participate in drills during a joint practice with the Washington Redskins at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater participate in drills during a joint practice with the Washington Redskins at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said his decision to name a starting quarterback for Week 1 is "cloudy" through two preseason games.

Between the experienced Josh McCown, newcomer Teddy Bridgewater and rookie Sam Darnold, Bowles has two more preseason games to determine what they all bring to the table.

And if it was up to former Jets wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, he would pick Bridgewater over Darnold.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There's a long way to go in the preseason, but halfway through, one thing about the Jets quarterback situation is clear: Teddy Bridgewater looks like he gives the Jets the best chance to win.

Yet Todd Bowles can't give him the starting job.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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Darnold, Bridgewater face Skins 00:01:19
Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater both saw significant action in a preseason loss to the Redskins on Thursday night.

The education of Sam Darnold continued with another strong performance from the rookie quarterback on Thursday night. He's done just about everything the Jets have asked him to do so far.

But if the Jets really want to see if he's ready to be their Opening Day starter, they're going to have to ask him to do more.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

LANDOVER, Md. - Sam Darnold got a lot of work with the Jets' first-team offense this week, and might even start their preseason game against the Redskins on Thursday night. Maybe that's just Todd Bowles' way of getting him ready.

Or maybe it's a sign that he already is.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets offensive tackle Brandon Shell participates in drills with New York Jets offensive tackle Brent Qvale during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets offensive tackle Brandon Shell participates in drills with New York Jets offensive tackle Brent Qvale during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

In its latest NFL power rankings, ESPN has the Jets at 30th among the 32 teams this season. 

The Jets, who were at 27 on the list, fell following their picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. So far, their choice of QB Sam Darnold has panned out well, with many impressed by what he has shown in practice and his first preseason game. But that doesn't tell the whole story about their draft. 

ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini also gave his surprising player that could be in jeopardy of a roster spot by the end of camp. His choice was CB Rashard Robinson, who hasn't been the corner the Jets hoped him to be. Gang Green traded for Robinson last season at the trade deadline, giving up a fifth-round pick to the 49ers in return for him. 

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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold has been seeing a heavy workload with the first-team offense this week at joint practices with the Redskins. And that also means he's going against Washington's best on defense. 

So, how has he fared? Just ask Pro Bowl CB Josh Norman what he thinks.

CLICK BELOW TO HEAR NORMAN'S COMMENTS

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Bowles not happy with Pryor 00:00:17
Jets head coach Todd Bowles expresses his frustration with the fact that WR Terrelle Pryor revealed details about his injuries to the media.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles isn't too happy with WR Terrelle Pryor

On Monday, Pryor broke the news that he broke his ankle back in May during offseason workouts with the Jets. Bowles initially came out and said that Pryor had surgery to clean some things up in his ankle that was related to his ligament injury from last season. 

But the cat was let out of the bag, and Bowles doesn't think Pryor should have been the one to do so. 

Tags: Terrelle Pryor
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Cairo Santos (5) Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)
Cairo Santos (5) Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)

It isn't the most-watched competition, but the kicking position hasn't had any competition at Jets camp. 

Taylor Bertolet has been headlining the position recently, with Cairo Santos -- a free-agent signee -- dealing with a chronic groin injury, reports ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Santos needed surgery to repair the groin after a tumultuous 2017 season. He missed most of training camp with the Chiefs to start, and they eventually cut him after aggravating the injury in Week 3. Santos, then, signed with the Bears, but a reaggravation landed him on the IR for the rest of the season. 

Tags: Cairo Santos
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Sam Darnold (14) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Sam Darnold (14) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

It wasn't the biggest storyline from Sunday's Jets-Redskins joint practice, given the epic brawl that broke out involving about 30 players. But Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold saw the heaviest workload with the first-team offense. 

Darnold's competition -- Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater -- obviously saw their fair share of reps. But it was Darnold who was under center most of the time, which begs the question: Will he be the starter this Thursday when the two teams face off in Week 2 of the preseason?

"It's no indication," Bowles said after the joint practice Sunday. "Just getting him caught up on some things."

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater
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Jets head coach Todd Bowles was upset after his team and several members of the Washington Redskins brawled and shoved each other during their joint practice on Sunday.

Reporters were not able to record video on the sidelines, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Josh Ellis, however several fans captured the fights, which reportedly involved nearly 30 players.

WATCH:

Tags: Washington Redskins
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the New York Giants Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the New York Giants Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

After getting cut by the Oakland Raiders, former Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg signed with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, the team announced.

Hackenberg, whom the Jets drafted in the second round in 2016, never appeared in a regular-season game with New York.

The 23-year-old out of Penn State was traded to Oakland in May and eventually cut a few weeks later.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Philadelphia Eagles
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Jets LB Kevin Pierre-Louis has been suspended for the first week of the regular season for violating the league's substane abuse policy, the NFL announced.

Pierre-Louis can still play in preseason games and is able to return from suspension on Sept. 11, which is one day after the Jets' season-opener against the Lions on Monday, Sept. 10. 

The 26-year-old Pierre-Louis was arrested for marijuana possession in January while he was still on the Chiefs. He signed a two-year deal with the Jets during the off-season.

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Aug 10, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) reacts during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Aug 10, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) reacts during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Jets QB Teddy Bridgewater got his first extended game action in just under two years and impressed.

Bridgewater completed 7 of 8 passes for 85 yards and one touchdown. The current backup was excited just to get on the field, and unlike most other quarterbacks, was looking forward to getting hit, too.

"It was awesome feeling," Bridgewater said after the game.

Tags: Teddy Bridgewater
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

After making his preseason debut for the Jets, Sam Darnold admits he felt 'pretty good'.

Darnold earned plaudits for his performance, completing 13 of his 18 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons on Friday night.

"I felt pretty good," Darnold said. "I put the ball where it needed to be and tried to get it in the hands of our playmakers. There were a couple of plays, especially on the sack, I felt like I could've gotten the ball out there. But, you know, live and learn, I guess."

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Darnold makes his debut 00:04:28
Should Jets fans believe in Sam Darnold after his impressive rookie debut Friday night?

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It would've been understandable if Jets fans wanted to be only cautiously optimistic that they had finally found their franchise quarterback. A decades-long search and far too many broken promises have left everyone with scars.

But the caution around Sam Darnold is probably gone now. He looked like a legitimate franchise quarterback on Friday night in his NFL debut.

Tags: Josh McCown, Neal Sterling, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 10, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) looks to pass as Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foye Oluokun (54) defends during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Aug 10, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) looks to pass as Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foye Oluokun (54) defends during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

It may only be the preseason, but Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold got his first touchdown out of the way. 

The No. 3 overall pick looked great in his Jets debut as he showcased all the skills necessary to cap a drive with a touchdown. Darnold looked calm and collected in the pocket, as he avoided pressure with his feet and made smart throws. 

And even though he should have secured his first touchdown pass on two separate downs, he finally linked up with Charles Johnson after escaping the pocket, and throwing a bullet on the run. 

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Teddy Bridgewater (5) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Teddy Bridgewater (5) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Teddy Bridgewater took the field for his first drive as a New York Jet, and he ended it the way he probably hoped -- with seven points on the scoreboard. 

Bridgewater took over for Josh McCown, who played just one series that resulted in a three-and-out to start the game. The 25-year-old looked poised as he trudged down the field. His first good throw went to Jermaine Kearse, who made a great catch to pick up a first down.

And on third down in the red zone, Bridgewater dumped off a ball to Isaiah Crowell on a crossing route, and he absorbed contact to bust into the end zone...

Tags: Teddy Bridgewater
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: When Todd Bowles looks at the tape of the Jets' preseason opener there will probably be several hundred things he'll be watching. He'll be evaluating all 90 players on his roster. He'll be judging the competitions for a dozen or so roster spots and a few position battles too.

But nothing -- nothing -- will be more important and compelling for the Jets in their preseason opener on Friday night than how rookie quarterback Sam Darnold plays.

Maybe it's not fair to judge him on how he does in his NFL debut against the Atlanta Falcons. But he is the No. 3 overall pick and the Jets' long-awaited quarterback of the future. Every move, every throw, every decision will be scrutinized. His play, no matter how long he's in the game or how he does, will lead to pages and hours of debate.

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Todd Bowles Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Todd Bowles Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Every coach likes to see what kind of shape their players enter training camp in. But for the Jets, the players might be the ones looking at their head coach after his offseason transformation. 

Todd Bowles has made the biggest change from a year ago, as his wife believes he lost about 50 or 60 pounds. It was back in March that Bowles decided to make a diet and exercise change, and the results are as clear as day. 

"You know when you've had enough," Bowles told The Post's Brian Costello. "I've had enough. I want to be better for myself and for my family. I want to be around a long time. It's become a lifestyle."

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Dec 10, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Jets strong safety Jamal Adams (33) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)
Dec 10, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Jets strong safety Jamal Adams (33) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)

Jets S Jamal Adams told Bleacher Report earlier this year that his team's locker room lacked energy last season and "it was like everybody wanted to do the bare minimum." 

On Tuesday, he expanded upon those comments after practice was over.

"I'm very passionate," he said about the comments, which were just published on Tuesday. "Coming in, I was wide-eyed. I just wanted to come in and work hard and make an impact. The things that came out, I didn't feel very strong as far as me saying that."

In the wide-ranging Q&A, Adams said everyone had a losing vibe and "didn't want to go above and beyond."

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Every moment on the field is like a dream for Teddy Bridgewater. He said "it gives me the chills" just thinking playing football again. Two years ago, the game was almost taken away from him forever, so he's grateful to be getting a second chance.

But even he doesn't know if that second chance will ultimately be with the Jets.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jetting to Know You: Kearse 00:04:29
Jets wideout Jermaine Kearse plays a round of mini golf with SNY's Jeane Coakley, as we get to know this member of Gang Green.

Jermaine Kearse plays a round of mini-golf with Jeane Coakley as we get to know the Jets' wide receiver.

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Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Currently in his 17th training camp, Jets QB Josh McCown has seen it all when it comes to quarterback battles. So, his answer to the question of why fellow quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater getting more first-team reps isn't anything out of the ordinary. 

"I'll defer to the coaches on that," McCown said after practice Monday when asked about his low rep total early on in camp. "Obviously just like we did last year, we understand the situation. This is my 17th training camp, and I've done this for a while, and we have a lot invested in the other two guys, and as far as them learning the offense and getting comfortable with things. It's good for our team for those guys to get as much work as they can. We feel really solid with our quarterback situation, and the room in general."

McCown has a large enough sample size to estimate what he is going to give the Jets. Last season, it just so happened to be a career year for the journeyman. He notched a career-high in yards (2,926), touchdowns (18), and completion percentage (67.3) in just 13 games before an injury ended his season. 

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Scott Thompson
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When will Darnold start at QB? 00:01:54
Ralph Vacchiano and Connor Hughes discuss what rookie quarterback Sam Darnold needs to do to prove he's worth the starting spot.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- It was 16 years ago, but the memory is still fresh for Jets quarterback Josh McCown: the feeling of being overwhelmed in his first NFL preseason game.

"That first series it felt like they had 15 guys on the defense," McCown recalled on Monday. "There were people everywhere. I wasn't processing very good. At all." 

It's a long way from the meeting rooms and practices of training camp to the first live action for NFL rookie, and that's especially true for quarterbacks. That's why the preseason games, which begin for the Jets at the Meadowlands on Friday night, will be so important for first-round pick Sam Darnold. Everything he's done so far has impressed everyone in the organization, in some cases beyond their expectations.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Jets' quarterback battle has been the most-watched aspect of training camp thus far. So, it's no surprise that Vegas has already put their odds on who will win the starting job when camp breaks. 

At the moment, veteran QB Josh McCown leads the pack at -130 on the money line. Following McCown is rookie QB Sam Darnold, but not by much at +140. 

As for Teddy Bridgewater, he is the longshot at +800 to win the starting role. However, Bridgewater is considered the backup on the Jets' unofficial depth chart with Darnold as the third stringer. 

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater
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The Jets have several rookies that figure to play a big role this season. Are there any undrafted rookies who could step up and earn themselves a role by flashing in preseason? Let's consider some of the best candidates...

Fullback Dimitri Flowers

Flowers, who was a key contributor during Oklahoma's playoff run last season, will be a familiar face to anyone who gorged on Baker Mayfield highlights in the run-up to the draft. He brings versatility to the position with route-running and ball skills not usually seen from the fullback position. Flowers is also a capable blocker who also produced as a short-yardage back, so there's a number of ways he could make his mark in the preseason.

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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)

One New York rookie running back has already generated tons of buzz this season. But is expected for Giants RB Saquon Barkley given his No. 2 overall pick status. 

But, just a few miles away, the 204th overall pick Trenton Cannon is thriving at Jets training camp. 

Cannon has been turning heads early on as he looks to be a depth piece behind veterans Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell. And it's Cannon's breakaway speed that is making the Jets smile.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Darron Lee, Elijah McGuire, Sam Darnold, Thomas Rawls
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