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

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

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click below to listen...

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

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

During the incident, Anderson allegedly fought with arresting officers.

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

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

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

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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

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

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

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

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

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)
A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)
A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)

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

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

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

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

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 (Chuck Cook)
(Chuck Cook)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

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

FB Dimitri Flowers

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