During the 2013 offseason, there was plenty of uncertainty over the Jets nose tackle position. Not only was Sione Po'uha - who had been hampered by a back injury throughout the 2012 season - released, but the Jets also lost Mike DeVito to the Chiefs. DeVito had provided the team with a backup option at the nose tackle position while also starting at defensive end.

In order to address this, the Jets signed Chargers veteran Antonio Garay, who had been outstanding in 2011 and played pretty well in 2012 despite missing the start of the season. While the Jets were perhaps hoping that 2011 third round pick Kenrick Ellis would step into a starting role, it was actually 2012 undrafted free agent Damon Harrison who stepped up. With Ellis injured in preseason and only able to play in one game, Harrison made the most of the opportunity to start and deservedly hung onto the job all year with Ellis backing him up. An unimpressive Garay was unable to make the final roster.

After the jump, a look at some numbers and analysis for these this pairing as we aim to project where their careers could be headed over the next few seasons.

2013 Recap

Harrison, having barely played as a rookie, started all 16 games and was outstanding against the run all season. Ellis was still bothered by a back injury for most of the first half of the season, but did play in every game (although he was limited to just one snap in the win over New England.) Pro Football Focus projected Ellis as the Jets' "Secret Superstar" last month as he was also impressive against the run:

He ended up making 17 run stops on 114 run snaps on the season, which gave him a Run Stop Percentage of 14.9%. Over the last six years, John Henderson in 2010 was the only defensive or nose tackle with at least 100 snaps against the run and a better Run Stop Percentage. He was also 1.7% better than the second-best defensive tackle in Run Stop Percentage; teammate Damon Harrison.

Harrison also received plenty of recognition from them as he was named in the top 100 players of 2013:

Acting as an early-down run-plugging machine, Harrison couldn’t be moved at the point of attack and had the playmaking ability to shed blocks and make a ridiculous amount of stops around the line of scrimmage. [He] comfortably finished the year our top-ranked defensive tackle against the run [...]

To some extent, the production from Ellis is a by-product of the fact that he often enters the game in run-stopping situations and also from the fact that he doesn't play as many snaps, keeping him fresh. However, there are plenty of players out there with a similar role and only one of them can lead the league. Ellis also had the highest grade for his position on a per-play basis.

Another argument I've seen is that the run stop percentage could be higher than you'd expect for these players as a result of the other strong players on the line. That's a fair question to ask, but still there are plenty of talented defensive lines around the league. In third place was rookie Star Lotulelei who of course plays on a top-level defense with a great front seven and two excellent defensive ends. Just behind them are players from the Seahawks, Cardinals and Bills - again teams with depth and talent on the line. However, even though it's true to some extent that they benefited from the abilities of their teammates, they extent to which Ellis and Harrison were able to exploit this and generate stops was better than everyone else.

The question of whether or not certain players are being double-teamed more than others and how this affects the value of their contribution is something that fascinates me and I'm already in the process of compiling data for a multi-part series on that topic. Until that research is completed, we can only speculate about whether the likes of Harrison and/or Ellis would fare if they moved to another team, perhaps with less front seven talent.

On that topic, you can cite both positive and negative examples of players that moved from one team to another and how they fared. Garay, for example, had played well with the Chargers, but couldn't even make the Jets roster despite the talent around him. Maybe that was just due to his age though. DeVito is an example of someone who left the Jets where he was surrounded by talented players but was still productive with his new team. However, the Chiefs defense was revitalized last year under Bob Sutton, so there was plenty of talent around him. At this point you risk getting into a chicken-egg argument about whether a player makes the players around him better or vice versa.

One final thought on this could be that the strategy employed by the Jets enables the Jets' nose tackles to make more plays than usual. During preseason there was concern over the fact that the Jets might struggle to set the edge, but in the end that wasn't a major issue as both Calvin Pace and Quinton Coples held their own in this regard. However, funneling runs back to the middle was clearly a priority for the team, as I noted in preseason that they were employing safeties on the outside and even sometimes getting one of their inside backers to run-blitz outside the tackles to ensure outside contain. In fact, that might be part of the reasoning of employing a bigger player like Coples on the outside.

The Dynamic Duo

Clearly Harrison and Ellis provide the Jets with an excellent one-two punch. If a fresh Ellis can spell Harrison and produce at the same kind of rate, that's an ideal situation for the Jets. Rich Cimini had a good stat that suggests Ellis even provided the run defense with a boost when entering the game:

In a backup role, he became a force against the run. With the 6-foot-4, 340-pound Ellis in the game, the Jets allowed only 2.59 yards per rush, according to NFL stats. Without him, they yielded 3.40 -- a team-high 0.81 differential.

This begs the question; Should they be trying to get Ellis on the field more? While I would certainly not advocate for a reduction in the snap count for Harrison, it might be good to reduce the reps for Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson. Wilkerson played more snaps than any other 3-4 DE in the league and Richardson was not far behind in 7th.

So, how did Harrison and Ellis fare when they did play together? This will give us some idea as to whether they could run some more 4-3 packages with them paired together inside (possibly with the weakside end standing up).

Opposing teams ran 48 times with the pair of them in the game, gaining just 103 yards. That's 2.1 yards per carry, which compares well with the numbers above. However, context is important here.

First of all, that includes seven kneel-downs for the loss of eight yards. Excluding those plays from the numbers gives us 41 carries, 111 yards and a 2.7 yards per carry average. The reason I've given you both is that it's not clear from Cimini's statistic above whether kneel-downs are excluded from the data. I believe they are, because the NFL's official site lists the Jets average per carry as 3.35 which would account for a slight drop due to kneel-downs. For the record, there were four other kneel-downs with Harrison but not Ellis on the field.

The next thing to consider is the situation. Many of these plays were short yardage plays, some of which were at the goal line. This can artificially bring down a yards per carry average because a short gain is still a successful play. Having said that, the Jets only surrendered two touchdowns with Ellis and Harrison both in the game and their goal line defense was very efficient all year. They also had some other big third or fourth and short stops with them both in there.

The other situation in which they were employed together was mainly when the other team was ahead and the Jets were expecting them to run the ball to keep the clock moving. Again, that perhaps reduces the degree of difficulty for stopping the run. However, there were two breakdowns in the Tennessee and Carolina games in this situation, leading to game clinching 20 and 18 yard runs, without which the averages per carry would have been much lower.

On the basis of these numbers, it seems like a package with both of them inside could be effective on first and second down, although they might need to look back at those two breakdowns to clear one or two things up. One concern with this lineup might be that a team could opt to attack it through the air and maybe even go into a no-huddle and spread the defense out. Harrison and Ellis have both impressed me with their ability to drive a pass-protector back, but I think a package with both of them in there would be less disruptive in terms of getting into the backfield.

One further concern, although this may just be a statistical anomaly, is that the Jets were 0-7 when the pair of them were in the game for more than one running play. They were 3-1 in four games where they just had one goal line play together each and 5-0 where they did not play together against the run. As noted, some of this work came in situations where they were losing. However, that doesn't completely explain it. 24 of the 41 carries with them both in were in the fourth quarter, only half of which were inside the last three minutes.

What can we learn from 2007?

As noted in earlier columns, I've recently been charting games from the 2007 season and some of the things I observed have unexpectedly provided some different perspectives on issues relevant to the current team. That's also the case for the nose tackle position, where we can make an interesting contrast between the two teams.

The first thing to note is that Eric Mangini's team (with Sutton as defensive coordinator) would employ a base defense far more often that the current Jets team does. Starter DeWayne Robertson actually played in subpackages too, but his backup, Po'uha, was solely employed in base. This meant he was lined up over the center over 90% of the time and mostly two-gapping. By contrast, Ellis and Harrison each played less than 25% of their snaps as a pure nose tackle. There would also have been some 4-3 reps at defensive tackle where they lined up over the center as a 3-4 nose tackle would, but at the same time there were plenty of times where they'd line up in the A or B gap. If they were in the game together, then obviously this would necessitate one or both of them to not be opposite the center.

I can recall arguing with people on TJB during the 2007 season who would insist that Robertson was "constantly on rollerskates". While obviously miscast in a two-gapping role, I felt he held his ground well and mixed in enough gap-shooting plays to make an overall positive contribution. Having rewatched these games, I stand by that and the PFF grades for the season agree, as he received a positive grade for run defense. His true value was in the passing game though, where he did a consistently solid job of being disruptive in the pocket and putting up good pass rush numbers with a few stand-out performances.

It's more interesting to look at Po'uha's role though. I can freely admit that I got this one wrong. My sense on Po'uha was that he had struggled in 2007 and only really started to turn the corner in 2008. However, looking back at the games in 2007, he was really starting to emerge as a solid contributor and providing excellent production against the run. especially over the second half. Po'uha was basically playing the exact same role that Ellis played last season, usually playing 10-20 snaps a game (although he did exceed this three times) with the second unit.

Po'uha's run stop percentage for the year, with the data having been compiled by PFF since their comments on Ellis higher up was a staggering 21.2%. In the PFF era, 16.1% was the previous best for anyone with over 100 run snaps in a season.

This is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. First of all, perhaps Mangini deserves more of the credit for initially developing Po'uha that Ryan typically gets. Secondly, its pours cold water on the suggestion that nose tackles who put up big numbers in that category are only doing so because of the players around them. That Jets team had no pro bowlers (apart from kick returner Justin Miller) and they struggled defensively most of the year, finishing up 4-12. In fact, when Po'uha entered the game, he usually rotated in with other backups, including the rookie DeVito. Finally, since Po'uha led the league in this category in a backup role, maybe it gives us an insight into the development path Ellis might be able to follow.

Po'uha remained a backup in 2008 as the Jets signed PFF's top DT from 2007, Kris Jenkins, with a three-down nose tackle being an obvious need with Robertson leaving. When Jenkins was injured in 2009 and 2010, Po'uha started in his place and did an outstanding job. He also played well in 2011 before his injury plagued 2012 season. Po'uha was 28 in 2007 while Ellis will turn 27 this December.

Po'uha did see his production increase down the stretch, especially in the penultimate game against the Titans, where he had seven stops in 31 snaps. Part of the reason for that might have been that he was often in the game when Shaun Ellis was moved to outside linebacker (which I referenced in last week's article on Coples). As I noted above, perhaps part of the reason certain nose tackles are productive is because runs are being funneled back to the inside and that's something that putting a bigger player like Shaun Ellis on the outside could lead to.

Contractual Situation

At the end of the season, (Kenrick) Ellis will be an unrestricted free agent, whereas Harrison will be a restricted free agent. The Jets will need to weigh up cost, potential compensation and value to the team when deciding how to approach this.

Looking at Po'uha's situation, he signed a three-year extension after that 2007 season while entering the final year of his four-year rookie deal. In that respect, he's basically in the same position contractually as Ellis. Po'uha's extension was tacked onto the end of his rookie deal, basically giving him a four year contract for $7m. If the Jets could re-sign Ellis to a deal in that ballpark, that would be ideal. However, we've got seven years of inflation and the fact that Ellis is slightly younger to factor in, so that might be on the low side. If Ellis wants to earn a decent-sized contract, he may need to show he can be a full-time starter first and if Harrison remains on the team, his best chance of getting that opportunity could be to let his contract expire and then seek a short term deal elsewhere. However, there's always a risk that you can get that bigger deal much like Po'uha did in 2012, but then end up not seeing most of the money.

It will be interesting to see what the Jets decide to do with Harrison and whether there is a market for him if he receives a high restricted free agency tender. I'm sure the Jets would like to lock up one or both of their nose tackles, but they perhaps still have to prove that they can repeat or even emulate last year's performance first.

Conclusions

The Jets are in a nice position with two nose tackles who - regardless of who deserves the most credit - were both extremely productive against the run last year. However, the clock is ticking.

It's clear there are several factors that go into nose tackle performance and numbers alone (as usual) do not tell the whole story. As the Jets look ahead to the point where they'll need to decide what to do with these two players, it isn't going to be easy to weigh up all these factors and make an informed decision.

If Harrison and Ellis both give another outstanding performance in 2014 to make that task even harder for the Jets, I guess that wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen to this team.

Tags: bentdouble, BGA, Bent Double

New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets signed fourth-round pick Chris Herndon, a tight end out of Miami (Fla.), on Monday, leaving first-round pick Sam Darnold as New York's only unsigned draftee.

Read More

 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

The Jets had a boatload of cap space as well as the No. 3 overall draft pick to work with this offseason. And LB Darron Lee thinks the moves made using those resources have looked good thus far.

The most notable of the acquisitions made by GM Mike Maccagnan include CB Trumaine Johnson, LB Avery Williamson, and first-round draft pick QB Sam Darnold. These three players are the crucial chess pieces Lee thinks will help them now and in the future.

"This is a game of chess, not checkers," Lee told Jets.com's Eric Allen. "Adding those important pieces like Tru, Avery, and Sam is huge. It has us going in the right direction in my opinion, but implementing those guys in our brotherhood and our standard in what we have here is huge. Seeing how they're abiding by it also and they're jelling in smoothly with it -- it makes you excited. It can't help but make you excited because they're buying in."

Tags: Avery Williamson, Trumaine Johnson, Darron Lee
Read More

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell broke his silence about the legalization of sports betting that the United States Supreme Court voted in favor for on May 14.

This enormously impacts the professional sporting world as Congress could now regulate sports betting if they wish to do so. However, if they elect not to, each State is allowed to act on its own in implementing their own system.

No matter what happened, Goodell's top priority is making sure that the integrity of the game continues to flourish moving forward with the ruling...

Read More

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?

Read More

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
Read More

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...

Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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.  

Read More

 (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
Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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.

Read More

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." 

Read More

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
Read More

 (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
Read More

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.

Read More

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].

Read More

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.

Read More

 (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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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
Read More