This week, Bent analyzes Week 5 performances by Todd Bowles and the coaching staff, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Forte and the running backs, Brandon Marshall and the wide receivers, Brandon Bostick and the tight ends, Nick Mangold and the offensive line, Marcus Williams and the defensive backs, the linebackers, defensive line and special teams.

To read each section, scroll down or jump to them by clicking the above topic...


Coaching Staff

Bent: Local fans might remember back in August when the New York Mets hit rock bottom, after which Terry Collins went on a rant to the media. The team responded by going on a successful run and unexpectedly making it to the postseason. Maybe that was influential in the run they made, or maybe it had no effect whatsoever and their upturn in fortunes was due to other factors. Either way, the message he sent was eerily similar to what Todd Bowles needs to be telling his team right now...

Collins accepted blame for some of the team's issues, but resolved to continue working towards getting things turned around, while also highlighting the individual responsibility that professional players have to keep working hard and show discipline, focus, camaraderie and pride in their performance. That isn't happening on the Jets and Bowles needs to adjust. He can't do it alone, though. It requires a buy-in from each of his players, especially the veteran leaders.


Ryan Fitzpatrick

Bent:Fitzpatrick actually put up pretty good numbers yesterday and, as I try to resist pouring cold water on that by nit-picking every little thing that he did wrong, it seems appropriate to acknowledge that this is a major step forward from his previous two performances... not that the bar was set very high, of course.

Nevertheless, there has to be concern that the offense essentially did nothing in the second half, punting on every possession -- other than the last one where they turned the ball over on downs. Part of that was no doubt because they lost Nick Mangold halfway through the third quarter, but it also perhaps suggests the team had an overly conservative approach in an effort to ensure Fitzpatrick didn't turn the ball over.

His numbers were good, but he was mostly just taking what the defense gave him. He also had a couple of plays where his accuracy prevented or reduced the yards after the catch and a few more where he forced the ball into coverage when he could have dumped it off. He didn't complete a pass 20 yards past the line of scrimmage all day, other than his touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall, which only travelled that far because it deflected into the air before Marshall was able to snatch it away from the defender. That sums up how the Jets weren't taking too many chances.

It seems like an odd approach to be so conservative given that Fitzpatrick has played one good game this year and it was the one where he threw downfield a lot and got into a nice rhythm, but I suppose the Jets are just too nervous that he'll throw too many interceptions if they play that way. I've just spent a couple of paragraphs talking about Fitzpatrick's limitations, which seems unfathomable considering the fact the Jets are paying him $12 million this year in order to avoid having to field a team that has a quarterback with limitations.

The opening drive seemed like it was probably scripted, which would explain why they operated out of a spread formation and threw a low-percentage pass on 3rd-and-1 when they got into the red zone. The drive stalled, which was one of 11 frustrating plays where they were one yard short of a first down. Three were fourth downs and they opted to kick each time with two punts and a field goal. Of the other eight, they ran for a first down three times and converted one on a pass, but also got stuffed twice on a run and a shovel pass and threw two incompletions. The Steelers, by contrast, went 3-for-4 in such situations, with the only failure being a wide open drop.

The decision to constantly kick on fourth and short - and they kicked twice more on 4th-and-2 - angered me greatly, not so much for the message that it sent or the effect it had on their chances to win, but because it reminded me that Gregg Easterbrook exists.


Matt Forte and the Running Backs

Bent: After the game plan had worked reasonably well in the first half, why did the Jets run the ball just five times for 12 yards in the second half - especially once the Steelers' best lineman, Cameron Heyward, was knocked out of the game due to injury? First of all, they struggled to sustain drives, which meant they didn't get as many chances to forgo running the ball as you'd expect in one half of football. Secondly, perhaps the Jets figured they would struggle to run the ball successfully after Mangold's injury. Finally, as the game slipped away, they obviously sought to get back into it by hurrying things up and focusing on the passing game...

Matt Forté had 49 yards at half time, but gained just four yards on three carries in the second half, though that first half number was inflated by a 28-yard run. There was another play where it looked like he had room to run on the outside, but couldn't turn the corner. The blocking was poor on the edge, which is another example of a slow-developing play where Forté seemed not to have the burst he had at the start of the year.

Once again, Bilal Powell provided a productive change of pace. He picked up 51 yards on 10 touches. Over half of that production came in the fourth quarter after the Jets fell two scores behind though. Powell's continued production in the passing game is nice, too, but I still feel like it makes one of Forté's best attributes redundant.


Brandon Marshall, Wide Receivers

Bent: When a leader steps up and vows to take action, it's always disappointing he fails to deliver. That's why I was disappointed in Brandon Marshall. Sure, Marshall caught eight passes for a season-high 114 yards and scored a touchdown for the second straight week, bailing out his quarterback in the process. Hey, he didn't twerk though!!! You promised, Brandon!

Eric Decker continues to be missed. Thankfully, Quincy Enunwa made his presence felt when he caught a first down pass on the very first play. He ended up with 51 yards on four catches. Is it too soon to worry about what he's going to cost when his contract expires at the end of next season?

Meanwhile, rookie receivers Robbie Anderson and Charone Peake continue to be forced into action, but each had just one short catch and came up shy of the marker. Anderson was targeted unsuccessfully one other time on a deep ball.


Brandon Bostick and the Tight Ends

Bent: The big story this week is that the Jets finally completed a pass to a tight end, as Brandon Bostick caught a nine-yard pass early in the game. Newest Jet Austin Seferian-Jenkins did one better than Bostick, catching two passes for 17 yards, including one first down. The three tight ends (Bostick, Seferian-Jenkins and Kellen Davis) combined to spring Matt Forté for his longest run of the day, as they all lined up on the right side and each of them made their block to open a lane for him.

By the way, is Davis being phased out? He had 54 snaps in week one, 49 in week two, 32 in week three and only 23 in each of the past two weeks...


Nick Mangold and the Offensive Line

Bent: The last thing the Jets needed was Nick Mangold getting injured, even though it was almost lost in the shuffle with everything else that was going wrong Sunday. It remains to be seen if he will be out for an extended period, but Wesley Johnson is likely to be a significant downgrade. In this game, Mangold didn't play badly, but the offensive line still seemed out of sync. Johnson's worst mistake came on the final play, as he badly messed up on a fourth down screen pass that otherwise looked like it might have worked.

Unexpectedly, Ryan Clady is now officially the healthiest first-stringer on the offensive line. Clady was beaten on consecutive plays in pass protection in the first quarter, but then settled things down. He otherwise didn't allow any direct pressure until Jarvis Jones beat him for a hit on a late inside move, although he was called for a hold on a play where Fitzpatrick was sacked after pressure from Clady's side forced him to step up. Remember, he has a $10 million salary next year, so decisions will need to be made in terms of whether to retain, restructure or release him.

Now playing right tackle full time, Ben Ijalana was beaten for one sack. On the play, Fitzpatrick initially looked a little indecisive, but reviewing the film suggests it was a designed play out of a three-back set to fake a swing pass to Forté going left and then reverse course and throw a screen to Powell leaking out on the right side. It was nicely set up too, so it was unfortunate that Ijalana lost leverage on his man and Fitzpatrick couldn't get the throw off. Other than that play, Ijalana held up well and seems to be proving he can handle a full-time role.

Brian Winters was out, but the Jets didn't miss him too badly as Brent Qvale held up quite well in his place at right guard. When Winters returns, does he take back his job? And, if so, does Qvale get added back into a rotation with Ijalana?

James Carpenter seemed to struggle in the running game, which can't be attributed to not having Mangold next to him because they only ran the ball three times with Johnson in. On one early play he was blown up completely on a run stuff and later on overshot his target while pulling to the right.


Marcus Williams and the Defensive Backs

Bent: Steelers WR Sammie Coates blew by Marcus Williams and caught a deep ball for an easy touchdown, the third touchdown of 70 yards or more and fifth of 40 yards or more allowed by the Jets this season. Maybe Calvin Pryor should have been in a position to give him some deep support, maybe not. But, it's almost irrelevant because you a coverage screw-up can be pinned on almost everyone in yesterday's game...

The coverage was embarrassing all day, and a veteran quarterback - like Ben Roethlisberger - is always going to exploit it. He threw two other touchdowns where the receiver was all alone - once as Rontez Miles, Darron Lee and Erin Henderson all basically tried to cover the same assignment leaving Jesse James uncovered and once as Marcus Gilchrist collided with Pryor at the goal line with Williams too far off. These weren't isolated incidents, though, and it all seems to come down to communication.

Did the Jets miss Darrelle Revis? I'm not sure he would have made too much difference. With so many wide open receivers, Roethlisberger would have found someone open eventually anyway. And if the Jets opted to put Revis on Antonio Brown to try and roll safety support elsewhere, recent history suggests Roethlisberger would have had a lot of success simply going at that match-up.

Could the Jets be missing Antonio Cromartie more than anyone expected? Certainly not based on his level of play, as he struggled badly last year, but it makes you wonder when you consider the Jets have drastic communication issues despite the fact they have the same coaches, the same system and essentially the same group of players.

We're into conspiracy theories now, but what if last year's group was close-knit and team-oriented and Cromartie's personality and approach to practice was a major factor in that? While his on-field play was disappointing, could he have been a glue guy, without whom the team has developed bad habits and struggled to get on the same page? I'm wildly scrambling for answers, because the regression of this unit and some of its individual components make no sense.

In terms of direct coverage, Williams was in position a couple of times, but dropped a possible interception and after earlier getting burned was susceptible to hitch routes and back shoulder throws for the rest of the game. Buster Skrine seemed to fall asleep on a play where the Jets jumped offside, giving up a first down and he and Miles were each penalized in coverage. Gilchrist and Pryor's confounding and disappointing season continues too.

Pryor continues to look slow at times and I'm still wondering if he's not not healthy because there's a definite difference in him since last year. The coaches have noticed, apparently, since Miles has been taking more and more of his reps. Miles made some good stops, but I don't know if he's a viable option to replace Pryor, because he's also been prone to errors at times.

With Revis out, two young reserves - rookie Juston Burris and former Patriot Darryl Roberts - saw significant action, but didn't seem to be involved in the blown coverages, which were almost all attributable to players who were here last year. Burris gave up a couple of first downs on the last touchdown drive. Roberts, making his first appearance as a Jet, only gave up two first downs, but he has Coates to thank for that, since he had four drops with Roberts covering him. Roberts also had a bad missed tackle, but did break up one pass in the end zone. That could easily have been pass interference, though.


Linebackers

Bent: David Harris was actually having a good game in the first half, but things soon unravelled once he departed with a hamstring injury. Three plays later, the Steelers took the lead for good, as they would outscore the Jets 24-0 after Harris' departure. The offense went in the tank after that point too. Was this the bizarro-world version of when Ryan Fitzpatrick got hurt in Oakland and the Jets defense seemed so distracted by this that they fell apart?

Despite only playing half a game, Harris was credited with six tackles, including a couple of run stuffs, and a pass defensed. Erin Henderson led the team with eight tackles, but both he and Lee were picked on a lot in coverage as neither proved capable of covering Le'Veon Bell underneath.

After some recent struggles, Lee didn't play much early on. While that might be because the Jets were simply playing more base to match with the Steelers' personnel, it could also be a sign that the team doesn't trust him as much as Henderson yet and some of the coverage mix-ups show why. Lee had one defensive penalty, but stuffed two runs close to the line and was credited with one pressure.

If Harris is out next week, it will be interesting to see how the Henderson-Lee tandem is employed next week. An alternative might be to use Bruce Carter in Harris' mike role. He played a few snaps yesterday.

Once again, the outside linebackers didn't contribute much. In fact, they had zero tackles between them officially, although Jordan Jenkins had a big hit on Bell on the outside, only to see that negated as he was dubiously called for illegal hands to the face. He and Lorenzo Mauldin had one pressure each but Mike Catapano and Josh Martin barely played.


Defensive Line

Bent: The Jets only finally got to Ben Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter, when Leonard Williams wrapped him up from behind and forced the ball loose for Sheldon Richardson to recover. Williams continues to be the only player actually sacking the quarterback on a regular basis, which underlines how the team is mostly generating pressure on the interior rather than off the edge. In this game, the pocket was constantly on the verge of collapsing, but Roethlisberger had the composure to stay settled with the walls closing in and pick off easy opportunities to advance the ball down the field.

Muhammad Wilkerson hasn't produced much this year, and he's not getting many chances to attack the interior. Playing almost exclusively on the edge and on the field for every snap but one, Wilkerson stuffed a couple of runs and  seemed to make more plays in coverage than in the pass rush as he deflected a screen pass and made a tackle on a tight end to force a 3rd-and-short. There are fans and media suggesting he's simply not equipped to produce on the edge, but that's nonsense because he played there for most of last year.

From this game, it was clear Wilkerson had additional responsibilities in terms of containing the pocket and denying passing lanes as he kept dropping off and hanging back. He was also used to chip tight ends and receivers, which limited how quickly he could apply pressure on Roethlisberger. The Coates touchdown is a perfect example of this, as he chips two receivers to slow them down and still gets into Roethlisberger's face up the middle, but too late to prevent the clean throw.



The Jets are obviously desperate to help out their struggling secondary, but if they put so much on Wilkerson's plate that he's not making an impact in the trenches, that's counter-productive.

Nose tackles Steve McLendon and Deon Simon contributed well in the running game again, as the Jets held Bell to just 66 yards on 20 carries and stopped DeAngelo Williams for no gain on his only carry. McLendon was controlled at the line a few times, but got in on three run stuffs and Simon combined with Jarvis Jenkins on a stop for no gain. Jenkins had one other run stuff, but then jumped offside on the next play.


Special Teams

Bent: The special teams unit made an impact play for the first time in a few weeks when they reacted well to a fake field goal by the Steelers. Rontez Miles brought down the holder in the backfield to force a turnover on downs after excellent pressure up the middle from Josh Martin.

They blew it on a couple of other chances to put the Steelers under pressure though, as Lac Edwards expertly landed two punts inside the five yard line, only for Marcus Williams and Juston Burris to fail to down them before they bounced into the end zone. Statistically, it was a rough day for Edwards, who had one short kick and then outkicked his coverage on two punts that were returned for 33 and 18 yards by Antonio Brown.

On the first of those, Edwards' kick had Brown backpedalling but he had too much room as it seemed to be Burris that was most guilty of getting out of his lane. Williams overpursued and Kellen Davis lost outside contain on the second long return.

Burris compounded a rough performance by getting burned by the gunner on a play where Jeremy Ross might have had a chance to return a punt but was forced to take a fair catch. Ross must have been frustrated, as the only chance he got to return a kick all day saw him bottled up at the 20 on a kick-off and it sounds like Jalin Marshall is close to returning.

In coverage, Calvin Pryor led the Jets with two tackles, both downfield after Brown had broken into the open field.  Bruce Carter and Mike Catapano also combined to make a stop at the 20 on one kick-off. The rest of Nick Folk's kick-offs were touchbacks and he also made both his field goals and one extra point. After a rocky opening day, Folk has now made 17 kicks in a row, including 10 field goals.

Here's an interesting special teams note to close on. With Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold and David Harris all injured by the time the fourth quarter began, the only healthy players left on the Jets roster who were with the team before 2011 are Folk and Tanner Purdum.  That means Purdum and Folk are the only ones left to have suited up for the Jets in a postseason game.

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. 

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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."

Tags: Jamal Adams
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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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