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...

While it's still early in the season, we can look back at last week's game to get a handle on how this Patriots team compares to those of the past few seasons.

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

Quarterbacks

Other than a scare in preseason, when he suffered a knee injury in practice, it's been business as usual for Tom Brady, who led the Pats to a fourth quarter comeback win in the opener and threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns. However, he was uncharacteristically inaccurate by his standards, hitting on just 56% of his passes - a number he surpassed in all but one of last season's games.

The talk is that his talent in terms of receiving threats surrounding him has been downgraded, but he's always succeeded in the past regardless of who was with him. In the opener, Brady was without his top five targets from last season, a group that accounted for over 80% of his completions, yardage and touchdowns.

Still, there do seem to be some early season chemistry issues and while we can expect Brady and the Patriots to overcome these in the long run, it might be something the Jets can exploit. Injuries could exacerbate this problem even further because 75% of his targets last week went to Shane Vereen (who is out), Danny Amendola (who is doubtful) and Kenbrell Thompkins (who is healthy, but could play a reduced role if he doesn't improve).

As we know, the Jets usually try to pressure Brady up the middle and that's something they're equipped to do, even with Quinton Coples out. Against the Bills, Brady was pressured 19 times and his QB rating dropped to 51.3 on those plays. New England should counter with a no-huddle attack. In the Bills game, both teams went with plenty of no-huddle and the Patriots ended up running 95 offensive plays.

Offensive Line

The offensive line is a solid group for the Patriots. Tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer and interior linemen Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly have all been with the team for several years and should have good chemistry. There's no real weaknesses in that group and plenty of versatility to reshuffle the deck in the event of an injury issue.

I marveled last year at how backup tackle Marcus Cannon could go from looking so bad in preseason to ending up looking solid when called upon for regular season action. He got plenty of work last week as a jumbo tackle with Solder moving to tight end in those packages.

Running Backs

After Vereen's excellent first game, it's a break for the Jets to see him placed on temporary injured reserve with a wrist injury. This will also ensure he is sidelined when the teams meet again in week seven. However, the Patriots do have some depth at the running back position.

Stevan Ridley actually started the first game and averaged over five yards on nine carries, but was benched after fumbling a couple of times. Like Ridley, LaGarrette Blount is a former 1,000 yard back but he was less successful in his first game with New England, gaining just 15 yards on seven carries.

Brandon Bolden and Leon Washington are also on the roster but were inactive on Sunday. The issue for New England is that none of these backs have the same combination of ball security, pass catching and pass blocking skills that Vereen does, so their offense may lose some unpredictability if they try to use different backs for different things.

Receivers

Who are these guys? With Danny Amendola doubtful, New England will have to rely on rookies Thompkins, Josh Boyce and Aaron Dobson (who was inactive last week). Thompkins, an undrafted free agent who turned heads in preseason, did catch four passes for 42 yards in his first game, but he was targeted 13 times and wasn't always on the same page with Brady. Boyce and Dobson are yet to record their first NFL catch. The Patriots also have utility man Julian Edelman - a more than capable receiving threat, but not regarded as a number one receiver and all-pro special teamer Matthew Slater (who has one career catch) on their roster.

If Amendola can play, then that will provide a boost. He's one of the better possession receivers in the league and capable of being extremely productive. I wouldn't be surprised to see Isaiah Trufant draw the assignment if Amendola can go.

Normally, injuries at receiver wouldn't be a big deal for New England because they can lean on their tight ends, but they have issues there too. All-pro Rob Gronkowski is working his way back from injury and listed as doubtful. If he can't play, they have veterans Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan - both of whom are known more for their blocking skills - and rookie Zach Sudfeld, who had no catches in his first game last week. Jets fans will of course be more than familiar with Mulligan.

Defensive Line

While their offense is riddled with injuries, the Patriots defense is healthy for the most part and their starting lineup actually looks pretty solid.

The unit is led by Vince Wilfork, who might not be the player he once was, but is still a disruptive force. Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones are the ends. Ninkovich is not an elite player, but has made plenty of big plays against the Jets in the past. As for Jones, he got off to a great start as a rookie but fell off in the second half. His performance last week was good, suggesting he's going to get off to another strong start.

The only new starter on defense is Tommy Kelly, who joins the team after nine years as a Raider. The 32-year old has always been solid and is another guy who has troubled the Jets in the past. Depth-wise, there is less certainly. Rookies Joe Vellano and Michael Buchanan rotated in on Sunday.

Linebackers

At linebacker, the Patriots again have continuity with Dont'a Hightower, Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo. They all played well last year, but the Bills game showed you can run on them if you can get a blocker on Mayo. Look for Vladimir Ducasse to target him at the second level on some plays, leaving Nick Mangold to try to handle Wilfork or Kelly one-on-one. Tommy Bohanon's role should also be key, although in the past, the Jets have had better success against teams like New England by running from three wide sets.

The only other linebacker to get any reps last week was another rookie, Jamie Collins, who played just two snaps. Veteran Dane Fletcher is another option. New England will sometimes revert to a 3-4 look with Ninkovich and/or Jones on the outside.

Defensive Backs

At corner, the Patriots field two guys with off-field issues in Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard. Dennard was a surprise bright spot as a rookie and Talib was an important mid-season acquisition. Kyle Arrington will play the slot and, in fact, played every snap against the Bills. Yet another rookie, Logan Ryan, is the next man up and New England can also lean on ex-Jet Marquice Cole, if required.

At safety, the Pats have former first round corner Devin McCourty who has settled well into his role as a deep safety. Steve Gregory provides a solid veteran presence beside him, starting 12 games last year. Third round pick Duron Harmon could move into a starting role eventually, but he missed the first game with an injury. Tavon Wilson is currently the third safety.

Special Teams

This is a strong unit for the Patriots, led by all-pro coverage man Slater. It looks like they downgraded at punter by letting Zoltan Mesko go. Rookie Ryan Allen replaced him and produced underwhelming numbers in the first game. Steven Gostkowski is a reliable kicker, who beat the Jets in overtime last year. In the return game, they have Leon Washington, but he was inactive on Sunday, so Edelman returned punts and Blount returned kickoffs.

>>>

I'll be back tomorrow to recap the game!

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

Tags: BGA, Bent Double

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part II...

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Daily News Live: Mike Westhoff 00:03:54
Mike Westhoff joins Daily News Live to discuss the notion of the Jets tanking and Todd Bowles' job security prior to Jets camp on Thursday.

If you Googled 'New York Jets owner' early Thursday afternoon, it wasn't Woody Johnson who came up. Instead, it was New England Patriots QB Tom Brady.

Click below to see the image

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The Jets have claimed RB/KR Marcus Murphy off waivers, reports Brian Costello of the NY Post.

The Saints waived Murphy earlier this week.

Murphy, 25, played in 16 games for the Saints between 2015 and 2016 while being used mostly on special teams.

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Bill Cowher on set for the Thursday Night Football before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)
Bill Cowher on set for the Thursday Night Football before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)

Former NFL head coach and current CBS analyst Bill Cowher believes Jets coach Todd Bowles has a tough challenge ahead this season. 

After going 5-11 this year, the Jets have lost key pieces on both sides of the ball, and Cowher says this will only make things harder for New York's third-year head coach. 

"The biggest challenge for Todd is to create a culture of winning because I think until you win the close games, until you win back-to-back, there's constantly going to be that one point in the game where you say, 'Oh boy, here we go again,'" Cowher said, according to Newsday.

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part II...

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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Despite the uncertainty the Jets face this season at many positions, Matt Forte believes this year's team will have better environment in the locker room. 

This offseason, the Jets have seen Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Ryan Fitzpatrick, among others, leave for other teams. 

"It's a detriment to a team if you have guys that are selfish and only want to get their job done for a certain reason instead of the main reason, being for all of us to get our job done to win," Forte said, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

Tags: Matt Forte
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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)

Giants safety Duke Ihenacho believes the rival Cowboys completely botched the situation with Lucky Whitehead, who was recently cut and claimed off waivers by the Jets. 

Whitehead, 25, had been involved last week in an apparent case of mistaken identity, where he was initially implicated for shoplifting. Ihenacho took to Twitter to lash out at the Cowboys for getting rid of the innocent player. 

Tags: Dallas Cowboys
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Loud Mouths: Ralph Vacchiano 00:05:05
SNY's NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano joins Loud Mouths to play a round of Boom or Bust on the upcoming NFL season.

 (Brad Rempel)
(Brad Rempel)

The Jets have claimed former Cowboys WR Lucky Whitehead off waivers and cut WR Devin Street, the team announced Wednesday.

Whitehead, 25, had been involved last week in an apparent case of mistaken identity, where he was initially implicated for shoplifting.


Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

On the surface this seems like an odd and unnecessary move for a rebuilding Jets team. Yes, Whitehead was apparently an innocent victim of mistaken identity in his recent "arrest." But the Cowboys decision to cut him anyway for an alleged pattern of bad behavior should raise plenty of red flags...

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part I...

Read More

GEICO SportsNite: Davis on camp 00:01:56
Jets linebacker Demario Davis speaks with Michelle Yu about training camp opening up this weekend.

Jets linebacker Demario Davis speaks with Michelle Yu about training camp opening up this weekend.

Tags: Demario Davis
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 (Orlando Jorge Ramirez)
(Orlando Jorge Ramirez)

Former Chargers G Orlando Franklin had a visit with the Jets today, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

Franklin, 29, was released from the Chargers after they drafted Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney in the second and third rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. 

He signed a five-year, $36.5 million contract with the Chargers in 2015. 

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The word that defined the Jets during the offseason was "rebuilding" - unless, of course, you were Jets GM Mike Maccagnan. To him, it was all about "competition". And with a roster in flux, he certainly has created a lot of that.

Whether that's a good thing remains to be seen, and depends on the talent he has assembled. He will have plenty of training camp position battles to watch, though.

Here's a quick look at the Top 5..

Tags: Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, Buster Skrine, Christian Hackenberg, Jalin Marshall, Juston Burris, Lorenzo Mauldin, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
(Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Even though they didn't pick a wide receiver in the first six rounds, a trio of rookie wideouts made significant contributions for the Jets in 2016. Charone Peake, who was selected in the seventh round, combined with undrafted rookies Robby Anderson and Jalin Marshall to register 75 catches for 935 yards and four touchdowns.

Preseason Stats: Jalin Marshall: 9-94, Charone Peake: 10-103-TD, Robby Anderson: 13-264-3TD.

Tags: Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall
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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, SNY.TV:

It's hard to pick out the most important players on a team that has such low expectations. In the case of the Jets, tomorrow matters more than today, and the most important players now might not be part of their long-term future.

Or to put it another way: Who is more important - Josh McCown or Christian Hackenberg? A resurgence by McCown could cause the Jets to surprise some people. But is that more important than Hackenberg proving whether he can be the Jets' quarterback of the future?

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The evidence is hard to refute. They jettisoned almost every recognizable veteran they had. They didn't add any significant free agents. The veteran quarterback they added is a 38-year-old journeyman. The Jets were 5-11 last season, and it's hard to argue this year won't be worse.

So yes, it sure does look like the Jets are "tanking" this season, with their eyes on the top of next year's quarterback-rich draft. They're not, of course. Tanking is almost impossible to do effectively, especially in the NFL. But they are doing a bit of scorched-Earth rebuilding and know they are in for a long, losing season.

There'll be a lot of short-term pain. And intentional or not, for the long run that's not so bad...

Tags: Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye run a drill during Jets rookie minicamp, (AP)
Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye run a drill during Jets rookie minicamp, (AP)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jamal Adams, the Jets' top draft pick and one of the cornerstones of their rebuilding project, agreed to terms on his rookie contract on Thursday night and is expected to be at training camp on time when it opens in eight days.

The agreement, announced by agents on Twitter and confirmed by the Jets on Friday, is projected to be worth about $22.2 million over four years with a signing bonus of approximately $14.3 million. The money is fully guaranteed for the No. 6 overall pick out of LSU. As with all first-round picks, Adams' deal also includes a team option for the fifth year.

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New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When safety Jamal Adams agreed to his rookie contract Thursday, the Jets finally locked up all nine of their draft picks. And that's good; given the state of their roster, they're probably going to need all of them.

There certainly will be plenty of opportunities for all the draftees on this young and rebuilding team, and maybe even a few undrafted free agents too. The Jets will enter camp next Friday with an open mind at almost every position, both for this year and in the future. Almost all jobs will be somewhat up for grabs.

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JRSportBrief: McCown & the Jets 00:01:36
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR explains why Josh McCown just needs to hold down the fort for the Jets.

Jets quarterback Josh McCown gave his new team a vote of confidence in an interview with ESPN's First Take on Thursday, highlighting the positives he has seen from both veterans and newcomers alike.

"There's still some guys there that are pros," McCown said. "When you watch how a guy like Matt Forte comes in and does his job every day, Mo Wilkerson had a great spring, came in and worked hard, and our rookies coming along, Jamal Adams so impressive coming in as a rookie out of LSU, a high draft pick."

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 (Mark J. Rebilas)
(Mark J. Rebilas)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Darron Lee had his ups and downs after being the Jets' first round pick last season, but the team seems compelled to proceed with the plan to build around him as one of the cornerstones of the defense. Entering his first season, everyone knew that Lee was a terrific athlete, but he still had to prove he had the instincts to play inside linebacker in a pro-style defense.

Preseason Stats: Four games, no starts, seven tackles, one sack

Tags: Darron Lee
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New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, the NFL is still reviewing an incident invovling Jets' LB Darron Lee and DE Leonard Williams from early June, reports ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

The incident occured at Governors Ball Music Festival on Randalls Island in June where Lee had to be restrained by Williams after getting into an argument with a woman. An eye witness video showed Williams getting in between his teammate, and eventually, carrying him away from the argument.

Jets' head coach Todd Bowles later indentified the woman as Lee's girlfriend, and noted that the team will not be disciplining the linebacker. However, he thinks he needs to take caution in the future. 

"You don't want that stuff to happen, obviously," Bowles said earlier on the situation. "With social media going on these days, they've got to take better care of themselves. Darron understands that. I just know, from the past, any time you go to a concert, there's going to be trouble around, just as an ex-player and as a coach. When you go to a concert, a lot of things can happen. You have to be very mindful and very aware of where you are, and your surroundings -- and handle yourself better and keep yourself out of trouble."

Tags: Darron Lee, Leonard Williams
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (right) and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (right) and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Demario Davis, Darron Lee

Projected backups: Bruce Carter, Connor Harris

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin
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New York Jets punter Lachlan Edwards (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets punter Lachlan Edwards (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected specialists: Chandler Catanzaro (K), Lachlan Edwards (P), Tanner Purdum (LS), Jalin Marshall (KR/PR)

Key contributors: Rontez Miles, Josh Martin, Dylan Donahue, Juston Burris, Charone Peake

Tags: Antonio Allen, BGA, Calvin Pryor, Charone Peake, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Dexter McDougle, Jalin Marshall, Juston Burris, Loc Edwards, Nick Folk, Quincy Enunwa, Ronald Martin, Rontez Miles, Tanner Purdum
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New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs for a touchdown (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs for a touchdown (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Speaking with the New York Post, Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa said he would not be surprised if the Jets have another struggling, losing season in 2017. 

"It's hard to argue [with] that," Enunwa said, "when everybody else sees all the stuff that's going on."

This offseason, the Jets have cut ties with many players, including receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Despite the possibility of another tough year ahead, Enunwa believes the players will still play hard when the season begins. 

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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Former Jets QB Chad Pennington believes head coach Todd Bowles deserves the chance to turn the team around, per Brett Bonder of NY Daily News. 

If the Jets are to tank this sesaon, Pennington doesn't think it will be fair to put the blame on Bowles as he thinks he is the right guy for the job.

"My one hope for the Jets is that they give coach Bowles a chance to right the ship, don't pull everything away from him and then make him the reason why they're getting rid of him because of the lack of success," Pennington said. "He is the right guy, I think he showed that in his first year, last year wan an anomaly and this year you can see, wow, what a task he has."

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

Former Jets WR Brandon Marshall said he requested his release because he couldn't deal with the Jets not having a chance this season, per ESPN's Eric Cimini. 

Marshall was on WFAN's Boomer and Carton Show Thursday where he admitted his former team wasn't going to have a good 2017 season, and he didn't want to be a part of it.

"I wouldn't have made it through an entire season, knowing we didn't have a chance," Marshall said. 

Tags: Brandon Marshall
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 (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

USC QB Sam Darnold said last week's report that he might remain in school instead of entering the 2018 NFL Draft did not come from him, but remained vague about his future.

"I don't really have many thoughts about that," the potential No. 1 pick said during an appearance on ESPN's "The Fix". "I don't think any team should tank their season because of me. I'm just taking this every day, one day at a time. That's all I can do."

"I'm looking forward to whatever lies ahead of my future," he said. "But I'm really just taking it one day at a time."

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 (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

After a solid rookie season, Jordan Jenkins is hoping to thrive in a full-time role in 2017. The 23-year old has spent part of his offseason back in Georgia, working on his pass rush techniques with pass rush guru Chuck Smith.

Preseason Stats: Two games, two starts, four tackles, no sacks, two quarterback hits.

Tags: Jordan Jenkins
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Projected Starters: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye

Projected Back-ups: Rontez Miles

On the bubble: Shamarko Thomas, Ronald Martin, Doug Middleton, Corey White

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