In this week's BGA, Bent analyzes Week 8 performances by Todd Bowles, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Forte, Quincy Enunwa and the Wide Receivers, Breno Giacomini and the Offensive Line, Leonard Williams, Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson, the team's Defensive Line and Linebackers, and Brandon Marshall and the Special Teams, all which you can read here...


Coaching

Bent: Yesterday's game was perhaps more challenging for Todd Bowles than some anticipated as the Jets came out flat and were 13 points down at the half. Somehow, the team managed to turn things around after halftime and while it does little to remove the bitter taste of a miserable first half display, it keeps the overall momentum of the team's season headed in the right direction.

The halftime message to his team was an appropriate one, imploring the players to look within themselves and impose their will on the game in the second half. Making significant adjustments could have potentially backfired, while getting overly critical risks alienating players against each other and the staff and further fracturing a disenchanted locker room. The Jets played with more of an attitude, stuck to their gameplan and gradually took control of the game in the second half to come away with an ugly road win.

It was the right move for Bowles, who correctly identified that the Jets had the talent and a plan in place to outperform their winless opponent. However, the halftime deficit forced them to play with a small margin of error and a momentum swing at any point, even due to a freak play or a lucky bounce, would have put the Jets at risk of being Cleveland's first victim of the season.

This is not an approach the Jets can afford to fall back on because repeating the same message will soon fall on deaf ears. While it paid off yesterday, the outcome had as much to do with the Browns' flaws than it did the Jets' surplus of experienced and talented players. When things were going well, the Browns were rolling, but as soon as the Jets settled the ship, that took the crowd out of the game and the Browns crumbled at the slightest hint of adversity. That's emblematic of most teams that are winless at the halfway stage of the season.

The Jets had a couple of performances exactly like this one last season - on opening day against the Browns where they trailed 10-7 just before half time but rebounded to score 24 unanswered points and then in October against Washington when they trailed 13-10 at the half before again scoring 24 with no response. Yesterday's game saw them recovering from a deeper hole but again saw them figure it out and take complete control with 24 unanswered.

The thing about these ugly wins is that they are still wins. Clearly the Jets found some kind of winning formula in each of those three games, something they were able to bring to the table in the games that followed. Last year, they gradually built on that to the point where they were able to beat some stronger teams and end up with a winning record. Repeating that feat is the challenge facing Bowles now as he seeks to get the season back on track.

Quarterbacks

Bent: Ryan Fitzpatrick put together a statistically impressive line in the second half (13-of-20 for 198 yards and a score), but the Jets maintained a very conservative gameplan after his recent struggles continued in the first half.

As we know, Fitzpatrick typically is at his worse when his team is playing from behind, so it didn't help matters that they were down by a touchdown before he even took the field. The Jets couldn't get anything going offensively for most of the first half as Fitzpatrick completed just three of his 14 pass attempts.

While there were a couple of near-misses downfield and he was let down by a couple of drops, Fitzpatrick was inaccurate for much of the game, even on passes he completed. He also threw late to the outside on a few occasions, a tell-tale sign that his confidence is at a low ebb.

As the game progressed, it seemed like the lightbulb came on for Fitzpatrick as the game swung in the Jets' favour and his confidence grew. He started stepping confidently into throws and hitting his receivers in stride. It will be very interesting to see if he can carry that over into the next game, but the Jets' gameplans should probably remain tentative because an over-confident Fitzpatrick might be the worst Fitzpatrick of all.

The Jets put together four extended touchdown drives of 78 yards or longer, including three in a row to open the second half, leaning heavily on their running game and a short passing attack. The first of those four was in danger of stalling but Bilal Powell bailed the Jets out with a 35-yard touchdown run on third and long to provide their only points of the first half.

Of the four drives, only one was less than 12 plays. That was sparked by a 57-yard bomb to Quincy Enunwa as the Jets smartly decided to attack downfield having come close to connecting a few times earlier on. Enunwa was also responsible for Fitzpatrick's only touchdown pass, breaking four tackles inside the 10-yard line to get into the end zone.

Even with his solid second half, Fitzpatrick completed less than half of his pass attempts and had three passes that could have been intercepted, not including the three he had batted down at the line of scrimmage. He'll have to be more consistent in order to keep the Jets winning over the next few weeks, which he'll need to do to retain his job. However, it's encouraging that he's actually been picked off just once in the last four games.

Bryce Petty is going to get his chance soon if Fitzpatrick falters, but the Petty era almost had to begin prematurely when Fitzpatrick took a big hit while trying to run for an early first down. It goes without saying that he will need to protect himself a lot better, otherwise any improvements he continues to make will be all for naught.

Running Backs

Bent: The Jets smartly relied on their running game to get them back into this contest while facing an opponent that has struggled to stop the run and, for the first time, the potential of a Powell and Matt Forté one-two punch was fully realized.

Between the pair of them, they rushed for 158 yards and three scores, with Forté grinding out the tough yards and Powell picking up big chunks of yardage on draw plays against pass defense personnel.

The Jets have had some issues in short yardage situations over the course of the season, but Forté converted on 4th-and-one, powering over for a four-yard touchdown to give the Jets their first lead at 21-20. Had the Browns stuffed that play, the outcome might have been very different. He would later power over for another short touchdown to pad the lead.

Most of Forté's yards - and one of his touchdowns - came from plays where he bounced the run to the outside as he continues to display good vision and patience most of the time.

Powell ended up with 76 yards on just six carries and also had a 17-yard run negated by a holding call. His 35-yard burst on third and long provided the Jets with their only first half points as Fitzpatrick smartly audibled to a draw play with the defense spread out. Powell would later add 20 yards on a cutback run.

At the halfway point of the season, Forté has rushed for 542 yards and six scores, but he's only averaging 3.5 yards per carry. Powell is averaging more than twice that at 7.1 per carry, but that's mainly due to the fact that Forté is mostly running into stacked boxes while Powell is entering the game in passing situations and running a lot of draw plays against pass defense personnel.

Could they switch roles for a game or two at some point, in order to cut back on some of the wear and tear for the veteran Forté? It's possible, although you'd expect Powell to see diminishing returns as his workload increased. You'd probably see Forté's yards per carry average take a leap forwards though. Based on their respective injury histories, the team probably favors Powell in a less demanding role due to Forté having superior durability, but Powell has carried the ball 15 times or more three times before, including a career best 149-yard performance in 2013.

Despite the conservative gameplan, the pair didn't get much done in the passing game as the Browns disrupted some screen pass attempts by getting in the passing lane. Each had a key play though, with Forté taking a side-armed dump-off by Fitzpatrick down to the two-yard line to set up his second score and Powell making a low grab on 3rd-and-short to extend the drive on which Enunwa's touchdown made it a one-possession game.

Receivers

Bent: Enunwa continues to spark the Jets, as his spectacular 24-yard touchdown catch saw him slip past four Browns defenders to get into the end zone. Enunwa led the Jets with 93 yards on four catches and remains on course for a potential thousand-yard season as he has 502 yards at the halfway stage. However, it wasn't Enunwa's most consistent performance, as he let three catchable balls hit the turf - not including the ball which he ripped away from a defender to save a turnover, but then couldn't hang onto for what could have been a long touchdown.

He might not be emulating last season's terrific production, but Brandon Marshall is making plays to help this team win over the last couple of weeks. He caught four passes for 68 yards, all in the second half, but also contributed with his blocking for the second week in a row. Marshall threw the key block on Powell's touchdown run but also made a couple more good blocks in the first half.

Maybe they were avoiding Joe Haden or maybe they wanted Fitzpatrick to avoid falling into the trap of forcing the ball to him, but whatever the reason, they barely looked for Marshall in the first half. Marshall almost came up with a deep throw where he had half a step on Haden late in the first quarter and then drew a flag for illegal contact on the next snap. Otherwise, he wasn't thrown to until the third quarter. In the second half, he was open over the middle for three first downs, including a 31-yard catch-and-run, and converted a third down on a back shoulder throw.

So, maybe Fitzpatrick needs to be forcing the ball to Marshall to be successful? Or maybe he was only able to force the ball to Marshall and enjoy second half success because they made a concerted effort not to do that in the first half. Either way, the Jets need to be careful about how much they involve him in the gameplan and they seemed to pick their spots well in the second half.

The Jets' youngsters continue to deliver in key moments as Robbie Anderson and Charone Peake each extended drives with clutch third down catches. Peake leapt up to high-point the ball on a long out in the first half, while Anderson managed to scoop a low throw off the turf to extend the Jets' go-ahead touchdown drive.

Peake wasn't otherwise targeted, but made a good contribution with a downfield block. Anderson had two other key catches - another low grab for a first down and a short third-down grab where he managed to get close enough to the first down marker to entice Bowles to go for it and score the go-ahead touchdown on fourth down.

Kellen Davis made some contributions as a blocker but appeared to get hurt on Forté's first touchdown run. He seemed to grab his elbow at the end of that play and did not return, but the running game functioned just as well without him.

Brandon Bostick saw more action than Davis, even before he went down with the injury. He continues to get work at fullback as well as tight end and missed three or four blocks badly but also made some positive contributions including a good lead block and a short catch.

Offensive Line

Bent: The Jets made the interesting decision to plug Breno Giacomini back into the starting line-up for Ben Ijalana at right tackle. However, they seemed to be operating a rotation early on. In the third quarter, Giacomini suffered a finger injury, but he returned in the fourth quarter and the Jets reverted to a rotation down the stretch.

Ijalana was on the field for each of the last two touchdown drives, the only time he was in for two drives in a row, but it was actually Giacomini who was in the game on the first two touchdown drives.

I'm not sure it helped the lack of cohesion on the line in the early stages though. Giacomini showed some initial rust and was still struggling to move well enough laterally to prevent edge rushers from turning the corner on him as was the case for much of last season.

Those early struggles were summed up by this sack, where four pass rushers arrive at the quarterback simultaneously as each of them beats or drives back their blocker and James Carpenter had no idea who to help.



I felt sorry for Carpenter in the first half, as there were several plays where he executed his block really well, but someone else made a mistake so the run got blown up. Later on, his contributions had more of a direct impact, notably on the go-ahead touchdown. Carpenter had a couple of negatives, including giving up a pressure on a stunt and negating a third-down conversion with a holding penalty, but his run blocking performance was influential, especially with Nick Mangold out.

Mangold's replacement, Wesley Johnson, once again was just about good enough for the Jets' offense to function effectively. He was overmatched at the point of attack on a few plays and struggled on a couple of bull rushes in pass protection but made a couple of good second level blocks and made a good block on one of the Forté touchdown runs. Make no mistake though, despite the decent rushing stats with him in the game, a healthy Mangold will produce a significant upgrade.

After an impressive game last week, Brian Winters fared quite well again, although he let his man get off his block to make a few plays in the first half. He had some good run blocks in the second half and didn't get beaten in pass protection, although he was driven back into the pocket a couple of times.

Ryan Clady had two false starts and was again beaten a handful of times in pass protection, but was at least able to limit the amount of clean pressure this week. He was inconsistent in the running game too, albeit better in the second half, like everyone else.

I'm not sure what they will do with Ijalana and Giacomini going forward. Ijalana wasn't flawless in pass protection either, giving up a hit, and he messed up a couple of assignments to lead to a run being stuffed for a loss and another being stuffed at the goal line. He made a key block on a screen pass and a couple of good run blocks though.

In light of his struggles, Clady losing time to Ijalana could even be a consideration. Also, where will Brent Qvale fit in once he is ready to return?

For the second week in a row, the Jets employed Dakota Dozier liberally as an extra tight end and he made a good block on the go-ahead touchdown run. Brandon Shell also saw action on one short yardage play.

Defensive Line

Bent: The Jets did exactly what we suggested last week with their defensive line, rotating Leonard Williams, Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson into two spots on the defensive line and occasionally playing all three together as a three-man front.

This meant there was less work for nose tackle Steve McLendon, who was averaging about 45 snaps per game in the first six weeks, but that snap count has halved over the last two.

Early returns were not good, as the Browns marched downfield for a touchdown on their opening drive and led 20-7 at the half. However, it began to pay off down the stretch, as the Jets perhaps benefited from each of their three stars being fresher than usual in the fourth quarter.

The Browns were held to 68 yards rushing on 18 carries, including just 20 yards in the second half. In fact, almost half of those yards came on two plays, otherwise the Browns were only gaining about two yards per carry. The Jets now have the number one run defense in the NFL despite losing Damon Harrison in the offseason. They also generated a decent amount of pressure.

Perhaps the biggest play of the game came just before halftime with the Browns potentially about to take a seemingly unassailable 24-7 lead. Wilkerson burst into the backfield for a sack and the Browns eventually had to settle for a field goal.

What I liked most about the play was that Wilkerson looked angry afterwards, rather than being exuberant about having compiled an individual highlight. There have been times this year when players have celebrated big defensive plays while having played poorly overall a little too excitedly for my liking. That attitude perhaps helped make Bowles' halftime message effective.

Wilkerson came up big again later on when his pressure set up an interception to set up the clinching field goal. He also got in on a couple of run stuffs. Overall, Wilkerson may still be struggling with injuries as he hasn't been putting together the consistently dominant performances we're used to seeing from him, but he was the pick of the Jets' linemen yesterday.

Richardson was held without a tackle, which might get a lot of attention given how it's been assumed he'd automatically ramp up his production once he moved back onto the line. However, he was mostly rushing the passer, so he didn't get many opportunities to make tackles against the run. In that role, he had four pressures.

It's possible Richardson might take time to adjust to playing full time on the line again, assuming they persevere with that. He was uncharacteristically driven off a few times, missed a tackle in the backfield and false-started with the Browns backed up to their goal line. For the game as a whole, Richardson was standing up on just two plays, so the team wasn't tempted to use him as a linebacker even with all the injuries there.

Williams didn't have much production either, although he was in on two run stuffs including one for a loss, got close to Josh McCown a couple of times and made an open-field tackle to force a field goal attempt.

Back-ups Deon Simon and Jarvis Jenkins saw brief action, with Jenkins getting in on a run stuff and penetrating well to flush the quarterback from the pocket. Simon was blocked out of the middle on Isaiah Crowell's touchdown run though.

Linebackers

Bent: The Jets had to rely on Julian Stanford to start again and, while he made a few plays, the Browns were successfully able to exploit him on a number of occasions.

Stanford was beaten a few times in coverage, caught inside a couple of times and also overpursued a few times in the open field. He was credited with a tackle for loss and made a good stop in the flat, but the Jets will be better off once Darron Lee or Bruce Carter is able to take over this role.

David Harris was also caught out of position a few times, both in the running game and in coverage. He made a couple of plays in coverage and stuffed a run at the goal line late though. Harris has played his best football this year when Erin Henderson was alongside him, so Lee or Carter returning to the starting line-up might not help him that much.

As you'll recall, last week I expressed concern about the ability of Lorenzo Mauldin to hold up against the run in a full time role, but that wasn't as much of an issue this week. Mauldin actually played over 60 snaps - easily a career high and more than any of the linemen. On one play, he did a good job of getting upfield on Joe Thomas to force the run back inside. However, for the most part, the Jets schemed around this, getting Mauldin to crash inside with one of the inside linebackers - usually Stanford - peeling outside to contain the edge. Rex Ryan used a similar scheme against the run at times while with the Jets. This was mostly effective other than on one play where Stanford still got caught inside because he allowed a pulling lineman to get outside leverage on him.

With Mauldin and Mike Catapano freed up to take the majority of the edge rushing reps, they were able to pressure McCown several times between them. Officially, they had four quarterback hits, three of them credited to Mauldin. Each also got in on a run stop and Mauldin also added an interception on a nice diving play.

Jordan Jenkins continues to provide solid but unspectacular play in his rookie year. He was in on a tackle in the flat and had one pressure, but what's more valuable is that he isn't making many mistakes.

Victor Ochi was the only other front seven player to see any time on defense but did not record a tackle or generate a pressure.

Defensive Backs

Bent: One pattern that carried over from last week was that the defensive backs made some big plays in the second half to help secure the win as Marcus Gilchrist intercepted another pass and Calvin Pryor had a hit in coverage to lead to another interception.

Gilchrist almost had another interception earlier on, but was late getting over in coverage on one play and also had a missed tackle. Pryor had some good plays, including a third down tackle and a pass broken up with a hit, but was badly beaten on one play where he committed pass interference in the end zone.

With Buster Skrine out, Marcus Williams was forced into a starting role and, as usually seems to be the case, a bigger workload exposed Williams' weaknesses.

Williams was beaten for two scores and a first down, was completely lost on a deep completion where he appeared to be in position to break up the pass and his effort on the play below left a lot to be desired.



Maybe Darrelle Revis isn't breaking down after all. He set a career-high with a team-leading nine tackles! Of course that's mainly due to him making the tackle after getting beaten for a catch though. Terrelle Pryor had over 100 yards by half time, although the Jets shut him out other than his last minute two-pointer in the last minute. Revis made some solid tackles and deflected a pass late in the game but also got lucky on a couple of incompletions and had a missed tackle on third down.

Rontez Miles made some nice contributions this week in a relief role. He made a good tackle in the flat and was able to prevent a completion on a throw to Gary Barnidge in the end zone.

Rookie Juston Burris didn't fare so well off the bench. He gave up a catch on third down and missed the tackle badly, so he wasn't used again. Darryl Roberts fared a little better with a couple of plays in coverage and a tackle in the flat. He was beaten on a first down and a two-point conversion though and was also lucky not to get flagged on a pass break-up.

Special teams

Bent: The special teams unit executed well when it counted, with Brandon Marshall comfortably recovering an onside kick to ice the win. The Jets also got a boost from their special teams when punter Lac Edwards pinned Cleveland down at the one-yard line with an excellent boot in the fourth quarter, expertly downed by Burris.

Edwards had another rough game though, with a couple more bad punts. On one of those, he nearly fumbled the snap, which was wide. Tanner Purdum is usually one of the most reliable long-snappers around, but he's been extremely shaky over the past few weeks.

Also shaky was Jalin Marshall, who only played a couple of snaps on offense but it didn't seem to help his focus on special teams. Marshall made a couple of questionable decisions in terms of whether or not to field punts and almost fumbled once before being seemingly benched for Nick Marshall. Burris and Ochi each missed blocks in the return game, which didn't help matters.

Nick Folk did a solid job in the kicking game, nailing all five kicks and getting a touchback on all but two of his kickoffs. Neither of the two that were returned went past the 20 with Josh Martin in on each of the tackles. He has very quietly moved into a tie for the NFL lead with 10 total special teams tackles.

Miles was also in on a tackle in coverage, despite the fact the officials missed an illegal block in the back on him. Peake and Taiwan Jones were also credited with special teams tackles.

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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