During the season, Bent's Game Analysis charts games for some of the Jets' upcoming opponents, enabling a break down of what to watch out for on gameday...

The Jets-Dolphins rivalry nearly always produces at least one classic game, regardless of whether both teams are good or just one of them. This time, both teams are reeling as the offseason champion Dolphins have seen the wheels come off due to injuries, scandals and misfortune. At the same time, the Jets have gone from a situation where the media were trying to bully them into extending the head coach and claiming their new safety was going to put them over the top just two games ago to one where everyone is writing them off. That's despite the fact they've been under .500 for just seven days all season and have two winnable home games coming up that could push them back into the playoff mix.

After the jump, I break down the positional groupings (BGA-style!) to try and highlight what the Jets need to look out for.

Quarterbacks

Ryan Tannehill has improved his completion percentage and quarterback rating over his rookie season, but you get the sense he hasn't quite developed to the point on which the Dolphins were counting. They opened up 3-0, but have since lost six of eight games.

In 2012, Tannehill only completed 58.3% of his passes, including a career-low 44% in the week three loss to the Jets. In 2013, he's been more consistent, with a percentage of over 60% in 8 of 11 games. The three games where he was below that were in consecutive weeks from week five to week seven.

Watch out for Tannehill taking off and doing some damage with his legs. He had 57 yards on eight carries over the past two games, having averaged under 10 yards per game in the first nine games.

Offensive Line

One major factor in Tannehill's struggles has been the fact he's been sacked or hit 74 times already. He was only sacked or hit 53 times all of last year and the percentage of pressures that have resulted in him getting nailed is much higher. It also hasn't helped that 19 of the 44 times he's been sacked have been in the fourth quarter, resulting in him having a much lower rating and completion percentage in that quarter than in any other.

The big storyline here has been the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito bullying scandal, which has robbed the Dolphins of two of their starters. Martin was struggling anyway, but Incognito's loss does hurt them (even though he is regarded as one of the league's dirtiest players and considered by many to be overrated). It sounds like Incognito is trying to leverage his way back from the suspended list and so he might be back in Miami's lineup by the time the teams face one another again at the end of the season.

Their offensive line will get a boost this week with the expected return of Mike Pouncey, arguably their best lineman. He's missed two games with a gall bladder infection, during which time former Jets draft pick Nate Garner had been starting at center. Garner will probably shift back to left guard, where he had started one game in relief of Incognito before having to slide over to center. Undrafted rookie Sam Brenner started two games at left guard, but is dealing with a knee injury.

The right side has been the only constant, with John Jerry starting every game at guard and Tyson Clabo doing likewise at tackle. Clabo, now 32, was signed in the offseason following an excellent 2012 season with the Falcons, but has been a massive disappointment, surrendering 10 sacks. Jerry is solid but unspectacular. The former third round pick started 10 games as a rookie in 2010, two in 2011 and every game last year.

Bryant McKinnie rounds out the unit. The Ravens dumped him when they traded for Eugene Monroe and Miami has been starting him at left tackle, where he's been struggling. He recently voided the final year of his contract which suggests that he's not exactly motivated to stick around. Incognito, Clabo and Jerry are all also out of contract at the end of the year, so that might be a situation where everyone just plays out the string because they can't wait to get out of there.

Running Backs

Lamar Miller, last year's 4th round pick, had a great game against the Bengals last month, rushing for 105 yards on 16 carries. However, since then, he's gained just 27 yards on 21 carries in three games. That's not exactly ideal preparation for facing the Jets' elite run defense.

With Daniel Thomas out due to injury, Marcus Thigpen might get more looks. He's more of a special package player and only has two carries so far this year, but his speed is dangerous in space. The Dolphins do not employ a fullback.

Receivers

One area where Tannehill does seem to have regressed is in terms of his deep accuracy. He was 9th in the league for deep passing accuracy per PFF in his rookie season, but has dropped to 25th this year, which is surprising considering the Dolphins added one of the top-rated deep threats in the league in Mike Wallace during the off-season. That added to a quality possession receiver in Brian Hartline and another solid offseason acquisition in slot receiver Brandon Gibson. Gibson is out for the year now though and the group is starting to look less threatening.

Wallace has 49 catches for 661 yards, while Hartline has surprisingly outproduced him (just) in each category. Wallace did rack up 127 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers last week and must be licking his chops at the opportunity to face a team that has struggled against the deep ball all year.

Rishard Matthews, a 7th round pick last year, has caught 28 passes without any drops. He had 11 catches against the Bucs two weeks ago.

At tight end, the Dolphins were counting on ex-Jet Dustin Keller, but he suffered a season-ending injury in preseason. However, the versatile Charles Clay has been a bright spot starting in his place. Clay has 46 catches, over 500 yards and four touchdowns. The backups, rookie Dion Sims and Michael Egnew are primarily used as blockers and have just eight catches between them.

Defensive Line

Just like the Jets, Miami's strength is in its defensive line. They play a 4-3 system, sometimes reverting to three man fronts on passing downs. Obviously Cameron Wake is a constant threat coming off the edge, one that Austin Howard had mixed fortunes against last year. Wake lines up on the left, so that will be the matchup. On the other side, Olivier Vernon - who scored a special teams touchdown against the Jets last year - has benefited from playing across from Wake, racking up 7.5 sacks which actually leads the team. Wake is just one behind him though and did miss some time earlier in the season.

The Dolphins defensive tackles are also very good. Veterans Randy Starks and Paul Soliai still start, but Jared Odrick has finally started to emerge as a pass rushing threat too.

Rookie Dion Jordan hasn't quite taken off yet, but has generated pressure at a decent rate in pass rushing situations.

Linebackers

Despite all the talent on the defensive line, the Dolphins still give up 4.2 yards per carry, which is the 11th most in the NFL and 1.3 yards more than the Jets. One reason is that their linebackers have been struggling.

Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe have both had a rough year against the run, with Wheeler missing 16 tackles and Ellebe missing nine. However, Wheeler is very productive as a pass rusher (3rd best pass rush productivity in the NFL for 4-3 OLBs per PFF) and Ellerbe is good in coverage (one interception, four passes defensed).

Koa Misi is the other starter, but he's not an every down linebacker.

Defensive Backs

Miami has some talent in the secondary too, with Brent Grimes an excellent number one cornerback and Nolan Carroll a reliable option to start opposite him. Dimitri Patterson, the former Brown, had been starting ahead of Carroll, but he's out with a groin injury. In nickel packages Jimmy Wilson comes in to play the slot.

Chris Clemons is the deep safety and is above average in that role, but he is listed as questionable with a knee injury. However, strong safety Reshad Jones is struggling in coverage this year. He's been targeted 34 times and given up 29 catches. That comes after he gave up just 19 catches in 39 targets last season. Wilson will likely revert to free safety if Clemons can't go.

Special Teams

Punter Brandon Fields has the best gross average in the NFL and Jets fans might remember his phenomenal performance against the Jets in Miami's 10-6 win over the Jets in 2010. Fields punted 10 times, often from deep inside his own territory, with a gross average of over 56 yards and a net average of just under 50. He has given up 363 return yards, though, which is the 4th most in the league. He benefits from an always-reliable long snapper, two-time pro bowler John Denney.

The kicker is less reliable. Rookie Caleb Sturgis has a big leg, but has missed six field goals this year (although three were from over 50 yards).

Their coverage units boast ex-Jets wedge buster Jason Trusnik, but their leading tackler is 7th round pick Don Jones, who is listed as a safety but has only played on special teams this year. As noted, Thigpen is a threat. He returns kicks and punts, although he's outside the top 10 in both categories.

>>>

I'll be back tomorrow to recap the game.

Stats from PFF were used in the completion of this article.

Tags: BGA, Bent Double

Daily News Live: Hack Attack 00:02:52
As the Jets get ready for their second preseason game, the panel discusses if a good game from Hackenberg can win him the starting job.

 

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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JRSportBrief: NFL work stoppage? 00:01:54
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR talks about the idea of an NFL work stoppage in a few years.

In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR talks about the idea of an NFL work stoppage in a few years.

 

 

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In the latest episode of The Jet Stream, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon look back at the eight sacks the Jets' D laid on the Tennessee Titans, as well as Christian Hackenberg's performance. Later, the guys discuss the wide receivers, offensive line, and their expectations for this week's matchup with the Detroit Lions.

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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown watches as quarterback Christian Hackenberg warms up before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown watches as quarterback Christian Hackenberg warms up before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

While New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles did name a starting quarterback for Saturday's preseason game against the Detroit Lions, he is expected to give Josh McCown more playing time.

McCown, who did not get receive any reps at Thursday's practice when the Jets did game-plan prep, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini, played the opening drive last week in New York's 7-3 win over the Tennessee Titans, but Christian Hackenberg then played the following eight possessions.

Bowles said he didn't anticipate any lineup changes, but left the door open to it by saying, "we'll discuss it."

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Detroit Lions, Josh McCown
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New York Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin in action against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin in action against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

New York Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin tweaked his back and sat out practice Thursday, leaving him uncertain for the preseason game at Detroit on Saturday night.

Mauldin had been dealing with a back issue earlier during training camp, but returned to the field Wednesday. Coach Todd Bowles said the third-year linebacker was inside receiving treatment during practice Thursday.

Bowles added that he was unsure how long Mauldin would be sidelined, but said that he would likely not play against the Lions.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Detroit Lions, Lorenzo Mauldin, Matt Forte, Quincy Enunwa
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets camp 00:03:01
Jeane Coakley talks to Muhammad Wilkerson about being one of the older, vocal leaders in the locker room at Jets camp.

 

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Daily News Live: Bowles' future 00:04:48
The Daily News Live panel discusses what Todd Bowles can do to save his job and if he is the right coach to lead a rebuilding effort.

 

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 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Looking to gain a physical edge on the field, Jets linebacker Darron Lee gained nine pounds heading into training camp. 

Lee, who was 227 pounds after minicamp ended, is now 236 at training camp. 

"On my conditioning test, everybody was like, 'You look noticeably bigger,'" Lee said, according to the New York Daily News. "Hey, I put in that work."

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Bowles rewards team during camp 00:02:29
Jeane Coakley and Ralph Vacchiano report from Florham Park where Todd Bowles allowed his team to remove pads during practice on Wednesday.

 

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 (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
(Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin showed up to a Manhattan court on Wednesday for his alleged assault of a Queens man, but the case has been delayed because prosecution wasn't ready to file paper work, according to multiple reports

Mauldin had turned himself in to authorities in late June for his alleged role in the nightclub attack that took place on April 2. The New York Post reported on June 21 that Mauldin had been charged with misdemeanor assault, which carries a maximum sentence of year in jail.

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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - In the wake of the ugly riots in Charlottesville, Va., there's a possibility that more NFL players will decline to stand for the national anthem during preseason games this weekend, joining a protest started by Colin Kaepernick last year. So far there's no indication any Jets players will join them.

But if they do, their coach will have their back.

"We don't have a rule book on what's right to protest and not protest," Bowles said at Jets training camp on Wednesday. "You don't know those things until the course of time, whether it's sitting for the anthem, whether it's raising your fist, wither it's speaking out, a walk to Washington -- who's to say whose protest is good or bad?"

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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

John Morton seemed to like everything he saw with Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg on Saturday night. He liked his poise, his decisiveness, the decisions he made. It was clearly a step in the right direction.

But was it a big step toward Hackenberg getting the starting job?

That's a question that Morton, the Jets new offensive coordinator, wasn't willing to answer on Tuesday. In fact, Morton made it sound like Hackenberg still has a long ways to go.

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Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets WR Lucky Whitehead, who suffered a broken foot during Monday's practice, will have surgery for the injury, head coach Todd Bowles said on Wednesday.

Prior to deciding on surgery, Whitehead was expected to miss four-to-six weeks, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed.

Whitehead joined the Jets after he was released by the Cowboys on July 24. He returend two punts and a kickoff in the Jets' preseason opener. Serving primarily as a returner, he caught three passes for 48 yards for the Cowboys in 2016.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets camp 00:01:46
Jeane Coakley reports from Jets camp, where Todd Bowles was pleased with his team's response to his criticism.

 

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Jets Training Camp report 00:01:37
SNY's Jeane Coakley reports from Jets training camp where head coach Todd Bowles was not pleased with the team's most recent practice.

 

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New York Jets running back Matt Forte is tackled by Miami Dolphins corner back Tony Lippett during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets running back Matt Forte is tackled by Miami Dolphins corner back Tony Lippett during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Jets running back Matt Forte is missing time in the preseason and training camp due to a hamstring injury for the second year in a row, but told NJ.com's JJ Conrad he feels he is close to returning to the field.

"I'm feeling good, but not good enough to be in full practice yet," Forte said to Conrad on Monday. "I'm just going through what the trainers tell me, easing back in. I don't want to go back out there immediately and get injured again."

Forte, who did not play in Saturday's 7-3 win over the Tennessee Titans in the Jets' preseason opener, said he the trainers are being cautious with him given the nature of hamstring injuries and the fact the veteran running back underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus at the end of last season.

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Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; General view of a New York Jets helmet during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Kartozian)
Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; General view of a New York Jets helmet during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Kartozian)

The Jets have signed undrafted rookie WR Daniel Williams, and waived WR Deshon Foxx, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano. 

Williams spent time with the Oakland Raiders after going undrafted out of Jackson State (Miss.). Standing at 6-foot-2, 234 pounds, he totaled 184 receptions for 2,497 yards and 19 touchdowns in four years at college. 

Foxx went undrafted as well out of UConn in 2016. He spent time on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad before joining the Jets this offseason. The Jets waived him on May 9, but eventually resigned him on May 22. 

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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) watches as quarterback Josh McCown (15) warms up before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) watches as quarterback Josh McCown (15) warms up before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

With Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty still early in their NFL careers, Josh McCown is taking a leadership and mentorship role at quarterback in his first season with the Jets. 

"Every quarterback goes out there and they want to finish each drive with a touchdown, so when those things are happening, there is kind of an inner fight of, man, do I need to do more?" McCown said, according to Newsday. "Things happen and you get kind of delayed, but the fight as a quarterback is to stay in the system, stay within the game and don't be greedy and force the ball. So my hat is off to both of them for not doing that."

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
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SNY's Jonas Schwartz and former NFL guard Willie Colon are live from Jets training camp in Florham Park. The guys open the show with SNY Jets reporter Jeane Coakley to discuss the biggest storylines from camp. Then, they welcome in tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who opens up about the troubled start to his NFL career, and how he is a changed man. Later, rookie safety Marcus Maye joins the show to give his thoughts on his first NFL training camp, and how he is adjusting to life in the New York area.

Click below to listen

 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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Atlanta Falcons free safety Robenson Therezie returns a pass interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second quarter at the Georgia Dome. (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)
Atlanta Falcons free safety Robenson Therezie returns a pass interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second quarter at the Georgia Dome. (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets signed former Atlanta Falcons defensive back Robenson Therezie after safety Doug Middleton reportedly suffered a torn pec.

Therezie, a 26-year-old free safety, recorded one interception, two passes defensed and 36 combined tackles in 25 games with Atlanta over the past two seasons. He was an undrafted free agent out of Auburn.

Middleton, who was competing for a backup role with New York, recorded six combined tackles and one pass defensed in four games as a Jet last season. He suffered the injury in the fourth quarter in Saturday's 7-3 preseason win over the Tennessee Titans and is expected to undergo surgery, according to the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta.

The Jets also announced they waived fullback Algernon Brown, who appeared in eight offensive plays and two plays on special teams on Saturday. He recorded 1,310 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns in four seasons with BYU.

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Jets WR Anderson on Hackenberg 00:01:31
Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson chats with SNY's Jeane Coakley about the Jets' preseason win over the Tennessee Titans.

 

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This preseason, I'll be spotlighting an under-the-radar player who impressed me in each game and assessing that player's chances of making the team.  Today we'll look at defensive lineman Claude Pelon, who was one of the top performers in the Jets' 7-3 win over the Titans in the preseason opener.

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Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The last time anybody saw Christian Hackenberg in a game was the preseason finale almost a year ago. It was a disaster. He completed just 11 of 31 passes for 54 yards and threw an interception, too.

It was a much, much different and better Hackenberg that the Jets got to see on Saturday night.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Alex Tanney (11) is sacked by New York Jets linebacker Julian Stanford (51) during the second quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Alex Tanney (11) is sacked by New York Jets linebacker Julian Stanford (51) during the second quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Josh McCown threw the Jets' first touchdown of the preseason and the team's defense tallied eight sacks in a 7-3 win over the Titans on Saturday at MetLife Stadium.

The Jets kept the Titans out of the endzone for the duration of the game, allowing only a field goal on a five-play, 49-yard drive in the third quarter. 

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The good news is the Jets really have no choice but to play most of their starters in their preseason opener. Or maybe that's the bad news given the low expectations for this team.

But Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles have promised competition all summer long for almost every job on the roster, and the competition begins for real against the Tennessee Titans at the Meadowlands on Saturday night. Not all jobs are up for grabs, of course, but quite a few are.

Here's an inside look at some of the battles and 10 intriguing players to watch:

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Chris Harper, Christian Hackenberg, Juston Burris, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Some of the Jets' newest additions, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins and S Marcus Maye, had high praise for their new head coach, Todd Bowles. 

Both appeared on SNY's The Jet Stream podcast, and when asked who is most impactful to the Jets this season, Seferian-Jenkins showed love to his coach. 

"I would definitely say, first of all, coach Bowles," Seferian-Jenkins told SNY's Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon. "I never had a coach like that, that really just says a real, honest thing. Just tells you the truth. He doesn't want to lie to you, he doesn't want to sugarcoat anything. I think he's a phenomenal coach."

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets camp 00:02:31
Jeane Coakley reports from Jets training camp to preview their first preseason game of the 2017-18 season on Saturday, August 12.

 

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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The memories of Christian Hackenberg from last season are few and not very good. He had two ugly preseason performances and then was buried on the depth chart, only resurfacing to occasionally misfire in practice. His future didn't appear bright at all.

That's why all eyes will be on Hackenberg when the Jets open up their preseason slate against the Tennesssee Titans at the Meadowlands on Saturday night.

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Jets training camp 00:01:42
Jeane Coakley breaks down the latest news and updates from Jets camp as they get ready for their first preseason game on Saturday.

 

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 (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
(Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets corner Buster Skrine thinks this year's secondary will not only be an improvement over last year's but that the group also has the potential to stand out. 

"This is my seventh year in the NFL and this is one of the most aggressive groups I've been around - and confident," Skrine said, according to Newsday.

Tags: Buster Skrine
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