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Quarterback

We all knew that if Geno Smith was going to being taking snaps in October, the season must have taken a turn for the worst. However, that was the case again here, as the Jets struggled to move the ball all day and Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched for the fourth quarter.

Could the team be about to go with Smith as the starter? They're saying no, for now, but if Fitzpatrick continues to struggle, that day can't be too far off. He started off by looking pretty sharp, but was benefiting from a soft defense from the Cardinals that was sitting back and allowing the offense to take what they gave them. Indeed, Fitzpatrick himself benefited from this on his last drive. Prior to the interception, he had padded his stats by completing 7-of-11 passes for 66 yards in the third quarter.

As soon as the Cardinals applied some pressure, Smith's old issues returned on a strip-sack as he was hesistant, didn't anticipate pressure off the edge and displayed woeful ball security. Shortly afterwards, he forced a throw into tight coverage and was intercepted. It's difficult to judge Smith too harshly on such a short performance, especially with the game already over, but he hardly did much to instil any confidence in his supporters.

Fitzpatrick seemed overly cautious with the ball, perhaps reluctant to risk throwing an interception. He missed on a bunch of passes where he threw the ball out of his receiver's reach, either too high or out in front of them. He made a few nice throws and did have to deal with some pressure, but was simply too inconsistent to keep the Jets in the game.

When the interception finally came, it was in the last minute of the third quarter and, typically, saw Fitzpatrick forcing a tight throw in the red zone after having moved the team downfield against a soft zone. 

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall told the media he was again responsible for this because he ran the wrong route. With the Cardinals in a zone defense, he allowed his man to step in front of him where he perhaps needed to run or settle down in front of the defender but I believe the key here was not Marshall himself being open, but instead running a route that would draw the safety out of the middle.

A review of the film shows that Fitzpatrick had an open Jalin Marshall at the back of the end zone on a post pattern, but forced the ball to the other Marshall instead because the safety was able to stay at home long enough to make that a tight window throw. A more horizontal drag or crossing route would have forced the safety to commit and ensured that one of the Marshalls was open but I can only speculate on what the play design was.

This goes beyond grading and evaluating individual throws now. The team seems to have lost faith in the guy who last year established himself as the kind of leader the team had been lacking. Unfortunately, I don't think the team has any faith in the alternatives either.

Running Backs

Should the Jets be regretting making a move for Matt Forté in the offseason? After missing most of preseason, Forté looked sharp for a couple of weeks but since then has elicited memories of late-season Thomas Jones. In case you're not sure, that isn't a good thing.

It's difficult to lament the loss of Chris Ivory when he's gained just 75 yards on 31 carries all season and is earning considerably more than Forté, but it's obvious the Jets need someone with exceptional burst or the ability to break tackles and right now Forté is providing neither. Was this inevitable or are they just paying the price for over-using him early? If it's the latter, then could he get his legs back if they opt to under-use him for a game or two - and I don't just mean abandoning the run because it's failing and you're getting blown out.

At least Bilal Powell does show some burst and break the occasional tackle. He picked up just 22 yards on six touches last night, but that included two first downs with a third being negated by a hold. Forté had the same yardage total on 10 touches - with no first downs - and also dropped two short passes.

Can we not get a look at Troymaine Pope? He's been active, but they never use him. While he might be raw and still learning the playbook, at least he has fresh legs and could provide a spark if they create a few packages for him. Even if he gets stuffed, at least that would give Forté a rest in between plays where, right now, he would probably only get stuffed himself.

Beyond that, I'm left scrambling for answers. Does the running game miss Tommy Bohanon, perhaps? Did I really just ask that?

Receivers & TE

The Jets definitely continue to miss Eric Decker, but now that his absence has been confirmed as permanent, the receiving corps suddenly looks like a weakness rather than something that can tread water until his return. At the same time, it forces some of the younger players to try and step up, so it will be interesting to see who does.

It seems the cat might be out of the bag in terms of Quincy Enunwa now, as the Jets were unable to get him into the game in the first half. Now a permanent starter that teams are aware of and game-planning for instead of the Jets' best-kept secret, it will be difficult for him to maintain his excellent production so far. Sure enough, he ended up having his least productive game of the year in terms of both receptions and yardage.

However, the fact his three receptions and 42 yards were his lowest output of the season speaks volumes as to how far he's come. Last year, he only achieved that yardage total three times and only had more than three catches six times. He made three nice catches in the second half, including two first downs.

Brandon Marshall had the biggest play of the day, but ended up with just 70 yards on three catches. He also had a penalty and took responsibility for the Fitzpatrick interception. It's clearly been a tough year for him to take and he deserves credit for at least trying to keep everyone positive. How long can that last though?

The three rookies saw more targets than usual with Charone Peake surprisingly leading the team with five catches and in terms of how many targets he saw (10). He made a nice spin move to get to the marker on one play and had a clutch conversion on a slant route on another. That pattern of him being inconsistent with his physicality continued on the pass where Smith was intercepted though and there were two plays where he had his hands on the ball but couldn't complete the catch. All the same, he's definitely progressing.

Shame on the announcers for glorifying the hit on Peake that knocked him out of the game. That was a blatant helmet-to-facemask hit on a defenseless receiver and that bothers me - not because it cost the Jets a first down, but because it makes little sense to have rules designed for player safety being inconsistently applied. I already resent Jon Gruden for the fact that I repeatedly spend ages breaking down a play and discover something interesting only for him to then mention that during the TV broadcast anyway.

The pattern with Robbie Anderson has been the same as with Devin Smith last season. They're looking for him downfield and he's almost - but not quite - coming up with big plays. The one constant variable here is Fitzpatrick, but Anderson still had a chance to come up with that underthrown deep ball. He did make a career-high four short catches though, including one where he was able to bail out Fitzpatrick with a nice leaping grab.

As for Jalin Marshall, he was only in for a handful of plays when Peake - who seems to have moved ahead of him - was being evaluated for a head injury. He had one tough drop, but responded immediately with a nice first down conversion. He also seemed to be coming open on the pass where Fitzpatrick forced a throw to the other Marshall for an interception, as mentioned. 

Even with Austin Seferian-Jenkins inactive, the Jets continue to phase out Kellen Davis, who played less than 10 snaps. However, maybe that was performance related rather than planned in advance because he had a rough game. Davis was badly beaten as the Jets were stuffed for a loss on their first snap, then later false started and allowed his man to get off his block for another stop.

Brandon Bostick didn't play much either, but fared better than Davis as a blocker. He wasn't targeted though.

Offensive Line

With a non-existent running game and Fitzpatrick's struggles at least partially attributable to being forced to deal with pressure, it's difficult to give the offensive line much credit.

The Jets saw Brian Winters return at right guard and reverted to a rotation at right tackle with Ben Ijalana starting. However, Brent Qvale was injured in the first half and Ijalana went the rest of the way. 

So far, Ijalana has done a good job of limiting pressure from the right side, but when he does surrender pressure, it often seems to be at key moments. While partially attributable to coverage and Smith's hesitation, he surrendered a strip sack and also gave up the pressure that led to Fitzpatrick's interception. Other than that, he only gave up one pressure, on a spin move to the inside.

As you can see, on the interception, Ijalana is beaten upfield, but instead of moving his feet to try and stay in front of or regain leverage on his man, he simply shoves him upfield to try and slow his pursuit around the edge. It's semi-effective, but Fitzpatrick is still pressured into forcing his throw. This is something Ijalana does quite a lot and it's a habit which might be lazy and/or poor technique, but you could consider it to be the smart thing to do in situations where the defender gets half a step on you. If the quarterback steps up and throws that before the edge rusher can get to him - something you see repeatedly around the league - that's likely viewed as a well-executed block.

Ryan Clady, on the other hand, isn't giving up big plays, but he is surrendering constant pressure off the edge and against the bull rush. He also had a bad hold to negate a first down run. Part of Clady's issue - other than the obvious adjustment involved in blocking for someone who lacks the awareness and quick release of Peyton Manning - might be that he's being left on an island and that might be influenced by the man to his immediate right.  

James Carpenter executed well all day, but it's becoming more and more apparent that his lateral movement is compromised. He looked good on running plays where he could pull or drive and block someone straight ahead of him, but at the second level or in the open field on screens, he looked leaden-footed when trying to stay in front of his target. That must be affecting his pass protection, preventing him from being able to help Clady and likely causing him to require more help from his center Nick Mangold. It's not something that's been an issue in the past, so I have to conclude this is a by-product of being banged-up.

Mangold's effectiveness is always compromised when he has to help other players and that proved to be the case here, as he had a few low snaps and allowed his man into the backfield a few times. Left more to his own devices, Winters had mixed results in the running game but did get bull rushed a couple of times into the backfield and also had a holding penalty.

When Carpenter went down with an injury, it was Dakota Dozier, not Qvale or Wesley Johnson, who replaced him. That was right before half time and Dozier barely held up in pass protection before Carpenter was able to return for the second half. Dozier - active for the fourth time this year - played his first offensive snap of the year, as the Jets can't seem to decide who their third-best guard is. It's probably Winters.

Pass Rush

I was looking forward to seeing what the approach would be in this game after the Jets - desperate to give as much help as possible to their beleaguered secondary - hardly ever blitzed in the Pittsburgh game. That was such a failure that it was inevitable they'd cook up some creative blitz packages in this game. So it proved, but - predictably - the secondary couldn't hold up and the Cardinals were easily able to counter with quick passes much of the time.

This did generate more pressure from the line, though, with Muhammad Wilkerson generating four pressures, including two hits, and also deflecting two passes at the line.  Sheldon Richardson added three pressures and Leonard Williams knocked Carson Palmer down twice. They still didn't register a sack though.

It seemed like the Jets were making a concerted effort to give Wilkerson and Richardson some reps inside. They did this in a variety of ways, including using Steve McLendon as a 3-4 end or Williams as an edge rusher - which was how he got one of his pressures. They had begun the game in a 3-4 look but this backfired when the Cardinals had some success with short passes and outside runs.

Clearly things haven't gone to plan with the linebacker group this year. Mike Catapano, Jordan Jenkins and Erin Henderson have all missed time in earlier games, David Harris was unavailable for this one and Darron Lee went down last night with a nasty looking ankle injury.

These absences have clearly contributed to the Jets being able to play less 3-4 than they intended entering the year. It's also necessitated them using Richardson as an outside linebacker. This was something they vowed not to do this year but they've seemingly had little choice. Even yesterday, as they made an effort to use him on the interior, he ended up playing more snaps standing up than in any other game so far this year. 

One other adjustment the Jets tried to make was using one of their inside linebackers on the edge and dropping their rush linebacker to the inside. Lee and Bruce Carter each saw some reps on the outside with Richardson or Catapano at inside linebacker. I don't think that's what Richardson had in mind when he was told he'd play inside more this year.

Other than the linemen, several pressures were generated by the players who blitzed, although Calvin Pryor was the only player with more than one. Carter and Jordan Jenkins each had a hit on Palmer.  

Catapano and Lorenzo Mauldin each got to the quarterback on blitzes up the middle, but didn't have any tangible success rushing off the edge with Mauldin only getting close once. Of the three outside linebackers, Jenkins was again the most impressive and saw more playing time than Mauldin and Catapano combined. 

Deon Simon and Jarvis Jenkins both saw time off the bench, but didn't generate any pressure and, in fact, have just one pressure between them all year. 

Run Defense

What happened to the run defense? The Jets entered the game with the second-best run defense in the league, although part of that is presumably because their pass defense has been so bad. In this game, Gruden wondered why the Cardinals were continuing to run the ball, but they ended up with 171 yards and three scores so it paid off. 

Having said that, on 35 running plays, the Cardinals had 20 plays that were stopped for a gain of two yards or less, so the defensive line was doing a solid job of bottling up runs most of the time. The exception was on the first drive of the second half, where the Cardinals drove downfield to turn a manageable 14-3 game into a 21-3 blowout. On that drive, they had six straight carries that went for five or more yards, although one was negated by a penalty.

While some of the yardage was attributable to mistakes in the back seven, you can't attribute all of it to that and, while they combined to make a lot of stops, the defensive linemen were occasionally controlled at the point of attack. That might be due to their efforts to employ a traditional nose tackle less often.

As noted, Richardson was employed as a linebacker despite the fact he apparently added weight during the offseason to enable him to play on the line more. That was evident on two end-arounds and a short pass where he was too slow to prevent the runner from getting to the edge. The decision to employ him at inside linebacker also cost the Jets on the long David Johnson touchdown as Richardson run-blitzed up the middle and the run was bounced to the edge. 

There was a lot more to that play though. Let's look at it in more detail:

via GIPHY

The first thing to note is Lee on the edge. That's a blatant holding penalty that was not called, which changes the whole complexion of the game. 

Next up, Henderson - the inside linebacker on the left side of the formation - gets across to fill the lane as Richardon run-blitzes, but gets schooled by a spectacular open-field move by Johnson. The problems don't stop there though.

Marcus Gilchrist is badly at fault as he comes up far too fast and gets caught inside, Darrelle Revis can't get off a block from Larry Fitzgerald, whose blocking stood out all day, and Buster Skrine loses outside contain as he misses the tackle on the edge

How badly did the Jets miss Harris on this play? Not only were two players out of position due to him not being there, but also Henderson failed to make a play Harris perhaps would have made and the run fit wasn't ideal so there may have been a communication issue.

It will be a real shame if Lee's injury keeps him out for an extended time. If the wheels are going to fall off, at least that would mean that the team has scope to let young players learn from their mistakes. Until he got hurt, this was shaping up to be his best game so far, as he was disciplined and made a couple of plays. He may be better as the mike and therefore not ideally suited towards playing with Harris in the short term. He also perhaps benefited from the Jets not playing as much zone in the back end.

Henderson struggled, as he was constantly blocked out of plays at the second level. Carter saw a lot of playing time on defense for the first time and was in on a couple of stops.

Coverage

One silver lining from last night's game was that the Jets didn't have any major defensive breakdowns in the secondary. In fact, the longest pass they gave up all day was just 14 yards. However, it's difficult to draw too many positives from a performance where the team struggled to get off the field.

Skrine made a nice break-up but otherwise had a complete nightmare. Jerome Boger's officiating crew victimized Skrine all day long, calling him for four penalties, at least a couple of which were extremely dubious. Skrine was trying to play physical coverage, but that proved impossible with how the game was being officiated. Later on in the game, the team obviously instructed him to play off instead and he gave up three consecutive identical plays where the receiver stopped and caught a back shoulder throw.

Skrine has had issues with penalties in the past, but seemed to have fixed that to some degree. Since the NFL tightened up their rules in 2014, he had 20 penalties in the first 20 games, but only five in the last 17 games prior to yesterday night's game.

Revis was flagged once too and surrendered a couple of first downs. He was also blocked out of a couple of plays downfield and would have given up a touchdown if not for Wilkerson rescuing him by batting down the pass at the line.

Marcus Williams held up quite well, although he almost gave up a deep catch inside the 10, just about managing to prise the ball loose. He also had a big contribution as a pass rusher, jumping into Palmer's face to prevent a screen pass as he came unblocked off the edge. That play looked like it was going places.

Pryor - much like Lee - showed more discipline this week. Again, perhaps not playing zone was a key factor here. He made some plays in coverage and did well overall. He wasn't perfect though, as he was badly caught inside on an end-around.

Other than his bad mistake on the long touchdown, Gilchrist played quite well too, making one nice play in coverage.

Darryl Roberts drew some praise after his last performance, but I wasn't really convinced because he was let off the hook a few times by Sammie Coates' unreliable hands. In this game, he only played briefly but got beaten for a first down, a touchdown and a pass interference call. He also seemed to be responsible for a 12 men on the field penalty.

Rontez Miles and Antonio Allen played briefly off the bench, but did not contribute much.

Surprisingly, despite Harris being absent, the linebackers were hardly targeted in coverage. Carter gave up one easy first down though and was also late to react on a quick pass to the flat, leading to another first down.

Overall, the lack of big plays is a minor positive, but the inability of the secondary to prevent quick and easy throws when blitzing remains a concern. It's not helped by their inability to play physical man-to-man coverage without drawing a flag, though.

Special teams

Once again, the Jets' renovated special teams unit didn't get many chances to influence the game, positively or otherwise. Only one field goal was attempted by either team, with Nick Folk's 39-yarder accounting for the only Jets' points. In the return game, every kick-off - by both teams - went for a touchback. Jalin Marshall also opted to fair catch four of the Cardinals five punts with the other one being downed.   Only when the Jets were punting did anything worth discussing happen.

Lac Edwards had a disappointing game with a few short kicks including one that was shanked out of bounds. His one good punt was basically meaningless as he landed the ball inside the 10 with just seconds remaining in the first half.

It's worth pointing out that Tanner Purdum had an uncharacteristically poor game though, with Edwards having to reach for four less-than-perfect snaps in the first half alone. The snap was to his right on the one he shanked - also to the right.

That's the trouble with a struggling team. Even if you manage to fix some of the issues you've been having, you can't guarantee that the things you could usually rely on week-in and week-out won't have an off-day and end up costing you anyway.

For someone with a supposedly booming leg, should we be concerned that Edwards hasn't had a gross average of 44 yards or above in any game since opening day? Perhaps not, because at least he's getting enough hang time that the short kicks aren't getting returned.

In this game, Juston Burris - who didn't see any time on defense - did a good job of getting downfield in coverage. He made one terrific tackle after blowing past the vice on the outside and blew up another punt even though he missed the tackle. On another play he drew an illegal block in the back penalty, one of two penalties he drew on the day.

Peake also did a good job of getting downfield and blew up a punt return for a loss. He was well-blocked on another play though.

Even with the Jets getting downfield well, one of the punts was close to being broken for a big return, but Bruce Carter made a solid open field tackle after four players (Burris, Miles, Henderson and Josh Martin) overpursued.

Final thoughts

Mercifully, the Jets finally made it through the tough part of their schedule. They now face a slate of games against the Ravens, Browns, Dolphins and Rams which seem winnable and could enable them to get their season back on track before their first meeting with the Patriots.

Unfortunately, those four games aren't actually as easy as they once seemed. The Ravens were 3-0 to start with and even though they've lost three in a row, all three were games they could and probably should have won. The Rams also had three wins in a row, including two against teams that beat the Jets, and could easily be 4-2. Even Miami just beat the Steelers and the Browns might still be the Browns, but perhaps they are due or something.

Moreover, the Jets don't look capable of competing with anyone right now, let alone beating them. It's difficult to remember a season where things looked so bleak at such an early point. Even in 2014, where they also began 1-5, there was a sense that they'd been unlucky in some games against good teams and might be on the brink of a turnaround.

Hopefully I'm overreacting, but things don't look too promising right now.

Tags: BGA

 (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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Aug 10, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) rolls out 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 Sam Darnold (14) rolls out during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium. 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.

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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."

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: Jamal Adams
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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Jun 12, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) attempts to pass during New York Jets mini camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jun 12, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) attempts to pass during New York Jets mini camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. 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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Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; General view of a New York Jets helmet on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; General view of a New York Jets helmet on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

The Jets announced they have signed OL Alex Balducci, and waived OL Austin Golson on Monday. 

Balducci is a converted nose tackle that played his college ball at Oregon. He played in two games with the 49ers after going undrafted back in 2016. 

The 6-foot-4, 310-pound Balducci was picked up off waivers last season by the Jets, and spent his preseason with Gang Green. He would eventually find himself on the Redskins' practice squad in 2017, and signed a reserve/future contract with them back in January. 

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Green and White scrimmage 00:01:37
On Saturday, the Jets held the annual Green and White scrimmage at Rutgers' HighPoint Solutions Stadium.

Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold completed nine of his 11 passes for 89 yards in the team's scrimmage at Rutgers on Saturday.

Darnold, who reported to camp later than others as he continued to iron out the details of his rookie contract, led the Jets on offense for four drives. McCown started the game and played one drive, going 3-for-3 for 69 yards and a touchdown. Bridgewater completed all seven of his passes for 53 yards.

"He got a lot of work with the third group," coach Todd Bowles said of Darnold, according to the New York Post. "That was our plan, to play a lot of the young guys tonight. It's part of catching him up to speed. We'll look at the film, and we'll see what happened. He's grasping the offense pretty well, and we'll go from there."

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New York Jets strong safety Jamal Adams forces a fumble by Buffalo Bills tight end Nick O'Leary as free safety Marcus Maye reacts during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets strong safety Jamal Adams forces a fumble by Buffalo Bills tight end Nick O'Leary as free safety Marcus Maye reacts during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

The young nucleus of the Jets defense is known for their energetic, hard-hitting style of play. Will that change this season due to rule the NFL has installed for this season?

In short: no. Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye will continue playing just as they did during their rookie seasons. 

"I'm not going to change the way I play," Maye told Manish Mehta of the Daily News. "And I don't expect the other safeties around the league to change the way they play."

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye
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Kendall Reyes (98) Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)
Kendall Reyes (98) Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)

The Jets made a defensive roster move on Friday, signing DL Kendall Reyes and waiving/injured DL Shaneil Jenkins.

Reyes, a former second-rounder by the Chargers back in 2012, last played for the Chiefs and Redskins in 2016. He began the year with the Redskins, but was eventually cut before heading to Kansas City. 

Overall, Reyes totaled 20 tackles, one sack and one pass defense over 12 games in 2016. 

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Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue (49) before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)
Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue (49) before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)

Jets LB Dylan Donahue pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in Montana stemming from an arrest that occurred in May of 2017.

Donahue was sentenced to three months in jail, with all time suspended upon payment of a $1,000 fine and abstaining from alcohol and drugs.

The 25-year-old Donahue still has one existing DUI charge, stemming from when he was arrested and charged with drunken driving early on Feb. 26 after police say he drove the wrong way in the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey and collided with a jitney bus, injuring four people.

Tags: Dylan Donahue
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Aug 31, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA;Washington Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (11) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Aug 31, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA;Washington Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (11) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Prior to playing each other in the preseason on Aug. 16, the Jets and Redskins will have three joint practices leading up to the game. Proceedings may get interesting. 

Former Redskins WR Terrelle Pryor is ready for whatever his former teammates have to throw at him-- he didn't leave Washington with a glowing reputation behind him.

"We're there to practice and get better," Pryor said, via Darryl Slater of NJ.com. "If I wanted to put my shoulder down and hit one of them -- and get chippy, too -- I'm sure I could do that. But that's not why we're there. If they take dirty shots, I'm sure we'll handle that accordingly. You start trying to make it an individual thing, it takes away from our team. I don't want to individualize myself." 

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Throwback Thursday: Rex Ryan 00:01:27
In the latest edition of Throwback Thursday, SNY travels back to 2009, when Jets head coach Rex Ryan was a media magnet for good quotes.

In the latest edition of Throwback Thursday, SNY travels back to 2009, when Jets head coach Rex Ryan was a media magnet for good quotes.

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New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Former Jets WR Eric Decker has signed a one year deal with the New England Patriots, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter

Decker was not re-signed by the Tennessee Titans following a one year contract signed last offseason. He had been cut by the Jets before joining the Titans.

Decker appeared in 33 games for the Jets in three seasons. In those 33 games, he had 163 catches for 2,183 yards and 19 touchdowns. Last season for the Titans, Decker had 54 receptions for 563 yards and one touchdown. 

Tags: Eric Decker
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