Nov 20, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates after a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. The New England Patriots defeated the San Francisco 49ers 30-17. (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 20, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates after a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. The New England Patriots defeated the San Francisco 49ers 30-17. (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

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

Last year, the Patriots lost in overtime at MetLife Stadium, but the chances of a repeat performance tomorrow are slim. With the Jets falling to 3-7 before the bye, a chance to play spoiler is about all they have to play for over the final six games of the year. While many fans are already looking ahead to next year, the Jets' coaching staff will still be going all out to give a competitive effort. However, it might be hard to motivate their players following a frustrating first half of the season. 

Let's break down the positional groupings (BGA-style!) for the Patriots to try and highlight what to watch out for.

Quarterbacks

After missing the first month of the season due to a four-game suspension, Tom Brady didn't need long to hit his stride, as New England is 5-1 since Brady's return. The only loss came against Seattle, who is the only team to intercept Brady and hold him to a quarterback rating of less than 100.

As ever, Brady does most of his damage with a quick short passing game, which is particularly worrisome for the Jets because that's something teams have used to good affect against them this season.

Brady has missed some practice time this week with a knee injury, but seems destined to play. Even if he doesn't, the Patriots were 3-1 without him earlier in the season, with current backup Jimmy Garoppolo responsible for two of those wins.

Offensive Line

New England has gradually been overhauling their line over the past few seasons and has a trio of under-25 players starting on the interior with veteran tackles Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon on the outside.

Athletic rookie Joe Thuney has made the transition from collegiate tackle to left guard with second-year men David Andrews and Shaq Mason starting at center and right guard, respectively. Based on how he is grading out, Andrews is the weak link on the line, although he's also the only starter who hasn't surrendered a sack. 

As a group, the line has blocked well in the running game while Brady's quick decision making makes life easy for them in pass protection. Solder is their most talented pass protector, although he has given up a team high five sacks and been flagged seven times, which is more than any other starter. Former starter Sebastian Vollmer is on injured reserve.

There's also some youth on the bench with rookie Ted Karras the primary backup on the interior and third year pro Cameron Fleming having started a couple of games earlier in the season when Solder and Cannon were out.

Running Backs

The Patriots' running game is driven by a motivated LeGarrette Blount, who has already rushed for over 800 yards and 12 touchdowns, and is third in the league in yards after contact. Blount has fumbled twice, however.

Just as important are the contributions the Patriots backs make in the passing game, an aspect which became all the more potent when Dion Lewis made his return from injury last week. Since Lewis' injury in the middle of last season, James White had done a stellar job in the same role and has emulated that this year with 39 catches already.

Only five other teams employ a natural fullback more often than New England. James Develin has been effective in that role, operating almost exclusively as a lead blocker.

Receivers

New England's best four pass catchers - Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett, Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan - are all listed as questionable for this week's game, along with Brady himself.

In the extremely unlikely event none of these players could play, that would leave Danny Amendola (19 catches) as the Patriots' top target, with rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell (11 catches) and backup tight end Matt Lengel as the only other pass catchers on the roster. Lengel has played just six snaps this year.

Obviously, most - if not all - of those four will likely play, giving Brady a formidable set of options. Edelman and Hogan are two of the best possession/slot receivers around, with Amendola a solid alternative. Bennett and Gronkowski's physicality down the seam and underneath makes it difficult to find anyone to cover either of them, let alone both. They also contribute with their blocking in the running game.

Defensive Line

Veteran Chris Long was a solid offseason signing who has boosted New England's running game. He's also played more snaps and created more pressure than anyone on the front seven. Long's addition to the defensive front gives the Patriots plenty of flexibility, as they will operate with both three and four-man fronts. 

Jabaal Sheard is perhaps the team's most dynamic pass rusher, although he has just 3.5 sacks so far this year. Surprisingly, Trey Flowers, who barely played last year as a rookie, leads the team with four off the bench. While he's listed as a linebacker, Rob Ninkovich also spends plenty of time at defensive end and, although he's not having a particularly good season, he's a player who always seems to produce against the Jets.

Veteran Alan Branch and last year's first-round pick Malcom Brown had been providing the team with plenty of beef up the middle, with two rookies - Vincent Valentine and Woodrow Hamilton - backing them up. Branch was suspended earlier this week, though, so one of the rookies may need to step into a bigger role. They've both done well in limited action so far.

Linebackers

It's yet to be determined how the Patriots will cope without Jamie Collins who, despite being arguably their best defensive player, was surprisingly traded to the Browns prior to the deadline. Dont'a Hightower has done a good job of anchoring the defense all year, but Collins' range and athleticism in coverage won't be easy to replace.

The team is obviously high on Elandon Roberts, who is a sixth-round rookie out of Houston. However, Roberts really struggled in the last two games and has consequently started losing reps to veteran Shea McClellin. McClellin - a converted defensive end whom the Jets me with during the offseason before agreeing to terms with the Patriots - struggled last season in the running game and in coverage.

None of New England's other reserves have played much this year. They include former top-10 pick Barkevious Mingo and 2014 second rounder Kyle Van Noy.

Defensive Backs

New England's four starting defensive backs are also their four leading tacklers, which is not something you'd generally expect for an 8-2 team. The Patriots have also only intercepted three passes as a team, although most people would expect that number to rise tomorrow. 

Pro Bowl safety Devin McCourty and Super Bowl hero cornerback Malcolm Butler anchor the unit but the other two starters - Logan Ryan and Patrick Chung - are less established.

The Patriots have some useful depth in the secondary. Duron Harmon is having another good year as the third safety, Justin Coleman is a reliable option to cover the slot and Eric Rowe has recently cracked the rotation, too. Rowe, a 2015 second-round pick acquired for a conditional pick in September, started and played every snap in the Patriots' last game against the 49ers. He had his first career interception against the Jets last season.

Special Teams

The Patriots never seem to have any issues with their kicking game and that's been the case again this year, although Stephen Gostkowski has missed three field goals. Punter Ryan Allen hasn't had gaudy numbers statistically, although he has allowed the third lowest return yardage total in the league this season.

Rookie cornerback Cyrus Jones has been the primary kick and punt returner, but he's been ill this week, so Amendola or Edelman might be required to fill in.

On the kick coverage units, pro bowler Matthew Slater has been ruled out, but Olympic rugby player Nate Ebner is among the league leaders in special teams tackles.


I'll be back on Monday to recap the game.

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

Tags: BGA, New England Patriots

New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater participate in drills during a joint practice with the Washington Redskins at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater participate in drills during a joint practice with the Washington Redskins at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said his decision to name a starting quarterback for Week 1 is "cloudy" through two preseason games.

Between the experienced Josh McCown, newcomer Teddy Bridgewater and rookie Sam Darnold, Bowles has two more preseason games to determine what they all bring to the table.

And if it was up to former Jets wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, he would pick Bridgewater over Darnold.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There's a long way to go in the preseason, but halfway through, one thing about the Jets quarterback situation is clear: Teddy Bridgewater looks like he gives the Jets the best chance to win.

Yet Todd Bowles can't give him the starting job.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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Darnold, Bridgewater face Skins 00:01:19
Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater both saw significant action in a preseason loss to the Redskins on Thursday night.

The education of Sam Darnold continued with another strong performance from the rookie quarterback on Thursday night. He's done just about everything the Jets have asked him to do so far.

But if the Jets really want to see if he's ready to be their Opening Day starter, they're going to have to ask him to do more.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

LANDOVER, Md. - Sam Darnold got a lot of work with the Jets' first-team offense this week, and might even start their preseason game against the Redskins on Thursday night. Maybe that's just Todd Bowles' way of getting him ready.

Or maybe it's a sign that he already is.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets offensive tackle Brandon Shell participates in drills with New York Jets offensive tackle Brent Qvale during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets offensive tackle Brandon Shell participates in drills with New York Jets offensive tackle Brent Qvale during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

In its latest NFL power rankings, ESPN has the Jets at 30th among the 32 teams this season. 

The Jets, who were at 27 on the list, fell following their picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. So far, their choice of QB Sam Darnold has panned out well, with many impressed by what he has shown in practice and his first preseason game. But that doesn't tell the whole story about their draft. 

ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini also gave his surprising player that could be in jeopardy of a roster spot by the end of camp. His choice was CB Rashard Robinson, who hasn't been the corner the Jets hoped him to be. Gang Green traded for Robinson last season at the trade deadline, giving up a fifth-round pick to the 49ers in return for him. 

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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold has been seeing a heavy workload with the first-team offense this week at joint practices with the Redskins. And that also means he's going against Washington's best on defense. 

So, how has he fared? Just ask Pro Bowl CB Josh Norman what he thinks.

CLICK BELOW TO HEAR NORMAN'S COMMENTS

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Bowles not happy with Pryor 00:00:17
Jets head coach Todd Bowles expresses his frustration with the fact that WR Terrelle Pryor revealed details about his injuries to the media.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles isn't too happy with WR Terrelle Pryor

On Monday, Pryor broke the news that he broke his ankle back in May during offseason workouts with the Jets. Bowles initially came out and said that Pryor had surgery to clean some things up in his ankle that was related to his ligament injury from last season. 

But the cat was let out of the bag, and Bowles doesn't think Pryor should have been the one to do so. 

Tags: Terrelle Pryor
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Cairo Santos (5) Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)
Cairo Santos (5) Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (Denny Medley)

It isn't the most-watched competition, but the kicking position hasn't had any competition at Jets camp. 

Taylor Bertolet has been headlining the position recently, with Cairo Santos -- a free-agent signee -- dealing with a chronic groin injury, reports ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Santos needed surgery to repair the groin after a tumultuous 2017 season. He missed most of training camp with the Chiefs to start, and they eventually cut him after aggravating the injury in Week 3. Santos, then, signed with the Bears, but a reaggravation landed him on the IR for the rest of the season. 

Tags: Cairo Santos
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Sam Darnold (14) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Sam Darnold (14) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

It wasn't the biggest storyline from Sunday's Jets-Redskins joint practice, given the epic brawl that broke out involving about 30 players. But Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold saw the heaviest workload with the first-team offense. 

Darnold's competition -- Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater -- obviously saw their fair share of reps. But it was Darnold who was under center most of the time, which begs the question: Will he be the starter this Thursday when the two teams face off in Week 2 of the preseason?

"It's no indication," Bowles said after the joint practice Sunday. "Just getting him caught up on some things."

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater
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Jets head coach Todd Bowles was upset after his team and several members of the Washington Redskins brawled and shoved each other during their joint practice on Sunday.

Reporters were not able to record video on the sidelines, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Josh Ellis, however several fans captured the fights, which reportedly involved nearly 30 players.

WATCH:

Tags: Washington Redskins
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the New York Giants Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the New York Giants Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

After getting cut by the Oakland Raiders, former Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg signed with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, the team announced.

Hackenberg, whom the Jets drafted in the second round in 2016, never appeared in a regular-season game with New York.

The 23-year-old out of Penn State was traded to Oakland in May and eventually cut a few weeks later.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Philadelphia Eagles
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Jets LB Kevin Pierre-Louis has been suspended for the first week of the regular season for violating the league's substane abuse policy, the NFL announced.

Pierre-Louis can still play in preseason games and is able to return from suspension on Sept. 11, which is one day after the Jets' season-opener against the Lions on Monday, Sept. 10. 

The 26-year-old Pierre-Louis was arrested for marijuana possession in January while he was still on the Chiefs. He signed a two-year deal with the Jets during the off-season.

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Aug 10, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) reacts during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Aug 10, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) reacts during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Jets QB Teddy Bridgewater got his first extended game action in just under two years and impressed.

Bridgewater completed 7 of 8 passes for 85 yards and one touchdown. The current backup was excited just to get on the field, and unlike most other quarterbacks, was looking forward to getting hit, too.

"It was awesome feeling," Bridgewater said after the game.

Tags: Teddy Bridgewater
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

After making his preseason debut for the Jets, Sam Darnold admits he felt 'pretty good'.

Darnold earned plaudits for his performance, completing 13 of his 18 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons on Friday night.

"I felt pretty good," Darnold said. "I put the ball where it needed to be and tried to get it in the hands of our playmakers. There were a couple of plays, especially on the sack, I felt like I could've gotten the ball out there. But, you know, live and learn, I guess."

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Currently in his 17th training camp, Jets QB Josh McCown has seen it all when it comes to quarterback battles. So, his answer to the question of why fellow quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater getting more first-team reps isn't anything out of the ordinary. 

"I'll defer to the coaches on that," McCown said after practice Monday when asked about his low rep total early on in camp. "Obviously just like we did last year, we understand the situation. This is my 17th training camp, and I've done this for a while, and we have a lot invested in the other two guys, and as far as them learning the offense and getting comfortable with things. It's good for our team for those guys to get as much work as they can. We feel really solid with our quarterback situation, and the room in general."

McCown has a large enough sample size to estimate what he is going to give the Jets. Last season, it just so happened to be a career year for the journeyman. He notched a career-high in yards (2,926), touchdowns (18), and completion percentage (67.3) in just 13 games before an injury ended his season. 

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Scott Thompson
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When will Darnold start at QB? 00:01:54
Ralph Vacchiano and Connor Hughes discuss what rookie quarterback Sam Darnold needs to do to prove he's worth the starting spot.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- It was 16 years ago, but the memory is still fresh for Jets quarterback Josh McCown: the feeling of being overwhelmed in his first NFL preseason game.

"That first series it felt like they had 15 guys on the defense," McCown recalled on Monday. "There were people everywhere. I wasn't processing very good. At all." 

It's a long way from the meeting rooms and practices of training camp to the first live action for NFL rookie, and that's especially true for quarterbacks. That's why the preseason games, which begin for the Jets at the Meadowlands on Friday night, will be so important for first-round pick Sam Darnold. Everything he's done so far has impressed everyone in the organization, in some cases beyond their expectations.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Jets' quarterback battle has been the most-watched aspect of training camp thus far. So, it's no surprise that Vegas has already put their odds on who will win the starting job when camp breaks. 

At the moment, veteran QB Josh McCown leads the pack at -130 on the money line. Following McCown is rookie QB Sam Darnold, but not by much at +140. 

As for Teddy Bridgewater, he is the longshot at +800 to win the starting role. However, Bridgewater is considered the backup on the Jets' unofficial depth chart with Darnold as the third stringer. 

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater
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The Jets have several rookies that figure to play a big role this season. Are there any undrafted rookies who could step up and earn themselves a role by flashing in preseason? Let's consider some of the best candidates...

Fullback Dimitri Flowers

Flowers, who was a key contributor during Oklahoma's playoff run last season, will be a familiar face to anyone who gorged on Baker Mayfield highlights in the run-up to the draft. He brings versatility to the position with route-running and ball skills not usually seen from the fullback position. Flowers is also a capable blocker who also produced as a short-yardage back, so there's a number of ways he could make his mark in the preseason.

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

One New York rookie running back has already generated tons of buzz this season. But is expected for Giants RB Saquon Barkley given his No. 2 overall pick status. 

But, just a few miles away, the 204th overall pick Trenton Cannon is thriving at Jets training camp. 

Cannon has been turning heads early on as he looks to be a depth piece behind veterans Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell. And it's Cannon's breakaway speed that is making the Jets smile.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Darron Lee, Elijah McGuire, Sam Darnold, Thomas Rawls
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Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; General view of a New York Jets helmet on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; General view of a New York Jets helmet on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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