One hot topic at the moment concerning the Jets seems to be the news that Quinton Coples has been permanently moved to outside linebacker. As BGA readers will know, this has been a proposition I've been intrigued by since the tail end of last season.

After the Jets drafted defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson last week, I wrote briefly about the option of using him there in certain packages here. However, now that they've announced this is happening, I'm going to look in more detail at what evidence there is that could indicate Coples will be productive in this role. I'll also delve into what the news that he's moving permanently actually means in practical terms.

After the jump, I'll lay out my thoughts, but before then, I'd recommend you read this recent study from ProFootballFocus into where pressure comes from and the effects that it has. My research also makes use of exclusive statistics provided by PFF which are not available to subscribers.

What is a "Rush Linebacker"?

One major problem with the complexity of Rex Ryan's defensive system is that - with all due respect - many media members don't understand how the scheme works, or at least simplify things too much when they are writing about the system to give the illusion that they don't really understand it. The scheme involves multiple fronts, personnel groups, formations, blitz packages, run fits and coverages so even when you comprehend the basics, you risk falling into a trap of over-generalizing. The Jets had five or more defensive backs on the field over half the time last year, so it's pretty rare for them to be in a base defense anyway. However, on the defensive line most of their subpackages operate under similar principles.

One of the key features of the defense is the role of the Rush Linebacker in the front seven (or sometimes six, in certain nickel packages). Since there are four players with "linebacker" in their job title, the media will often make the mistake of referring to Rex's defense as a 3-4 base and then comparing it with the other 3-4 defenses around the league, such as Pittsburgh or Houston - or Eric Mangini's 3-4 defense that the Jets ran from 2006 to 2008. In fact, the defense has more in common with teams like the Patriots and Cowboys ... and of course Baltimore, whose own version of the hybrid system evolved out of what Rex Ryan created as defensive coordinator there until he got the Jets' coaching job in 2009.

Essentially the "Rush Linebacker" is more "Rush" than "Linebacker". In fact, Karl Dunbar reportedly announced that Coples is moving to "rush" on twitter, which was the point at which this story seems to have gone public. The Rush Linebacker is primarily a weakside pass rusher that sometimes, but not necessarily the majority of the time, operates out of a standing stance. He can also play with his hand in the dirt and for certain players, that's what they will choose to do most of the time.

Since that player has the option to play with his hand in the dirt, thereby creating a situation where there are four down linemen, some people see this as a move towards a 4-3 defense, but ultimately it's the same defense, often operating with 46 principles. Most players won't see their role change regardless of whether Coples (or whoever the Rush Linebacker is) chooses to put his hand in the dirt. Of course there are certain personnel groupings that will operate better in a 4-3 than a 3-4 (and vice versa) and there will no doubt be some more conventional formations mixed in to exploit this.

What does Coples' move to Rush Linebacker actually mean?

The news that Coples is making this move - which may not prove to be permanent if it doesn't work out and probably doesn't preclude him from still getting plenty of reps on the inside - has created an interesting situation where you have people both overreacting to the news and underselling its importance.

Some people are overreacting because Coples was a down lineman last year and moving him to linebacker suggests he will have to pursue sideline to sideline and undertake coverage assignments. However, the Rush Linebacker role isn't that different to playing as a 4-3 defensive end, something Coples did on over 130 snaps last year. The role he'd be taking on is closely related to the role Terrell Suggs plays in Baltimore. Suggs dropped into coverage less than 8% of the time last year and when he did it would usually be just dropping off into an area or a passing lane, not tracking a receiver. Coples dropped into coverage 2% of the time last year, so this could well be something he does more of, but is never going to be a primary role or something easily exploitable. If he's coming off the weakside, there often won't be any receivers on his side anyway.

Despite the change in position, Coples is still going to rush the passer the majority of the time. The only change being that he will be an edge rusher more often (but not exclusively) and an interior rusher less often. We'll get into how he fares at each of those disciplines later on.

In simplistic terms, Coples is becoming an edge rusher in the Mario Williams or Julius Peppers mold, not being asked to turn into Jonathan Vilma overnight.

At the same time, a lot of people are writing this off as no big deal and suggesting that it won't mark a massive change to his role since he does so many different things anyway. To some extent that is reasonable, but there are some significant practical changes that will take place. The biggest of these is that Coples will now work primarily with the outside linebackers rather than the defensive ends in practice. We understand he did some of this last year, but was mainly under defensive line coach Karl Dunbar's supervision, whereas now he should be working with the linebacker coaches most of the time. Coples will also be referred to as a linebacker in team literature - note that they haven't changed this on the official website yet, but I'd expect that change to happen at some point soon. That shouldn't have any immediate effect though.

There may be suggestions in some circles that the Jets made this move in response to ending up with Richardson in the draft and it could be seen as something of a panic move after none of their desired OLB choices fell to them. However, based on what we've been told by multiple team sources, this was something that began before the draft. Maybe they would have moved Coples back inside had Barkevious Mingo or Dion Jordan fallen to them at the ninth pick of the draft, I don't know. However, the Coples moves was something where the wheels were already in motion.

Looking at 2012 Pass Rushing Data

I was interested by a comment made by Sackdance99 in the comments section earlier today that Coples will still get plenty of reps on the inside because he is a better interior rusher than off the edge. There are really two ways of reading "better" in that comment and rather than ask for clarification, I thought I'd just investigate both. One would be that "better" means "more productive" and the other would be that "better" means "more skilled". I'll therefore be looking at film later to see where and how he did the most damage, but let's first investigate the data in respect of his pass rushing numbers to investigate productivity.

One thing to bear in mind is that you would expect edge rushers to have better productivity anyway, so even if Coples was more productive from the edge, that wouldn't tell us too much unless the amount he was more productive by compared favorably to the usual differences between outside and interior pressure (discussed in detail in the PFF link above the jump). Also, we would need to look at per-snap or per-rush productivity rather than total productivity because, although Coples might have recorded more pressure on interior rushes, that may just be a product of the fact he rushed up the middle a lot more than off the edge.

Another PFF article commented briefly on the Coples move this morning and touches on those issues:

He played with his hand up on only 27 occasions last year and dropped in coverage a mere 10 times (none of which were from a two-point stance), but before you write it off consider that with a Pass Rush Productivity of 8.0 he had the fifth-best rating among his peers, which would have put him mid-table in the 3-4 OLB rankings despite having the clear disadvantage of rushing from the inside.

As I mentioned in my previous Coples article (linked earlier), most of those 27 snaps were from the "Amoeba" formation where there are no down linemen because the linemen and linebackers mill about at the snap to try and confuse the defense and shoot a gap. Coples was surprisingly effective at this which makes me wonder if he might choose to play standing up more often than we might expect from a defensive tackle making such a move. There were a handful of plays at the end of the year where he did line up as an outside linebacker in a standing position, including a couple where he beat the left tackle to generate pressure.

We're going to look at the pressure he generated last year and it breaks down between interior and edge rushing. However, first of all, let's look at how often he attempted to rush from each position:

4-3 Defensive End - 17%

3-4 Defensive End - 48%

Defensive Tackle - 28%

Standing - 7%

Immediately we can see that he doesn't have an enormous amount of experience rushing from the edge at the NFL level. However, we can also say that this would explain why he might have generated more interior pressure during the season. In terms of which side he rushed from, there were more reps from the right side (ie the blindside, and usually the weakside) but not significantly so.

Here's the position he was playing as he generated that pressure:

4-3 Defensive End - 13%

3-4 Defensive End - 39%

Defensive Tackle - 39%

Standing - 10%

(Note: These percentages represent the proportion of his total pressure generated from each position)

This suggests that he is more productive with an interior rush. However, a review of the film shows that often - not always - when he was lined up as a 3-4 defensive end, he was opposite and sometimes even outside an offensive tackle, so this should perhaps be treated as an edge rush attempt. So, perhaps a better way to break it down would be to see who he was matched up against:

Tackles - 42%

Guards - 23%

Centers - 13%

Coverage/Unattributed - 23%

Now we're starting to get a picture of how he actually has slightly more success on the outside. We're not going to be able to tell how that pressure was generated without looking at the film, which we'll do in the next section.

Before we move on though, let's analyze whether he generated more pressure from the right side or the left side of the defense. The easy answer is that, however you slice it, he was better from the right - going up against the left side of the offensive line.

If you treat all pressure against guards as being "up the middle" pressure came from:

Left side of the offensive line - 29%

Right side of the offensive line - 13%

Up the middle - 35%

Unattributed - 23%

However, if you treat each guard as being from the relevant side of the line, the difference is even more pronounced:

Left side of the offensive line - 45%

Right side of the offensive line - 19%

Up the middle - 13%

Unattributed - 23%

This is also backed up if we break down Coples' pressure by his position on defense at the snap:

Left Defensive End - 13%

Right Defensive End/LB - 45%

DT/NT - 36%

Amoeba - 6%

Looking at 2012 footage

You may wonder why it's necessary to break down the numbers by both offensive and defensive positions. There are two main reasons. One is that a 3-4 Defensive End could be matched up with a guard in certain fronts and a tackle in others. Similarly, although it didn't apply here, you might get an edge rusher being blocked by a tight end. The other reason is that the Jets will often run stunts, so a guy like Coples might start off matched up with a guard and generate pressure off the edge, or conversely might be matched up with a tackle, only to blitz up the middle. We can't get that from the data, so I instead went back to the footage to see if I could spot any developing trends.

Since the main thing I am looking for is pressure off the edge, we'll focus on examples of where he achieved that.

The first thing to note is that, although you would typically associate your edge rusher with speed rushing and getting around the outside, Coples did most of his damage with inside moves - or when he did get pressure to the outside, it was more of a power move than the type of speed move you can expect to see from Antwan Barnes.

Our first example comes from the first game of the season against the Bills. Coples lined up as a defensive end on the right side in a four man front. He beat the left tackle to the outside, but it wasn't a pure speed rush - he initially faked to the inside and then used his speed to get outside (actually getting called for roughing the passer on the play).

In week four against the 49ers, he created a pressure against each tackle with an inside move while lined up opposite them in a three man front. In beating the right tackle, he showed a good combination of speed and power to drive him back and then come off the block to the inside.

In week six, he had a big game, generating most of his pressure up the middle. However, one of his sacks saw him beat the left tackle around the outside (from a three man front). Again, this wasn't a speed rush, but more of a power move. He got outside leverage and drove powerfully upfield to get around the tackle's shoulder.

In the last game before the bye, against Miami, he was matched up with a tackle in a three man front and beat him with a quick inside move.

After the bye is where they started to use him standing up and he hit Russell Wilson in this situation in the first game following the bye. This was perhaps the closest thing we've seen to a pure speed rush so far, although he did it against the left guard, as the left tackle was forced to step to the outside to counter a wide edge rush. Coples blew by the guard on the outside and hit Wilson as he threw.

It was over the last four games where I really started to notice a trend towards bringing him off the edge. They did this on consecutive plays towards the end of the win over the Jaguars in Week 14. Operating from a three man front with the Jets in a prevent style defense protecting a seven point lead, the Jets lined up Coples on the left tackle's outside shoulder. He was matched up with Eugene Monroe, one of the league's better pass protecting tackles. On the first play, he faked to the inside and beat Monroe to the outside, then on the very next play he made a quick inside move and beat Monroe cleanly to force a bad throw that ended up being the clinching interception. You can see that play here (at 2:45).

The following game was the game against Tennessee where they lined him up as a weakside OLB against another top tackle, Michael Roos, and he beat him with an inside move for a hit. You've probably already seen my gif of this play.

Against San Diego, he did the same thing - beating the left tackle on the inside to hit the quarterback from a weakside OLB position. However, that was the only time he lined up there all day. Despite this fact, he showed more signs of having the skills to be a good edge rusher in that game. He had a sack on a play where he made a speed rush off the edge and then stepped inside the left tackle who was thrown off balance. He also had pressure three times on outside stunts where he lined up on the inside and ended up rushing around the edge. On one of these he ended up unblocked, but on the other two, his speed was too much for the tackle coming across and he got around them.

Finally, he beat the tackle to the outside for a pressure in the final game of the year in Buffalo - the same guy (Cordy Glenn) he beat in the first game of the year. Again, this wasn't a pure speed rush, he drove him back and then beat him outside.

Conclusions

The data analysis here does suggest Coples is capable of being productive from almost anywhere. The fact he is "moving to OLB" shouldn't prevent him from being able to do that. If anything, it will enable him to hone that part of his game and make himself all the more dangerous whenever they do employ him on the inside. The numbers certainly suggest he can do more damage on the weakside and that does correspond with what we've been hearing in terms of their plans for him.

In terms of the film analysis, while he did a lot of damage from three man fronts, there were some direct examples of him producing from the position he will be moving to. However, what's more exciting are the examples of success he showed working against tackles (including some good ones) and rushing off the edge. The fact that he showed an ability to do that is important, because that's what he'll need to do, regardless of how the other ten defensive players are aligned.

While I have focused primarily on the pass rush (and dismissed coverage as not likely to be a significant additional responsibility), there is of course the matter of how well he can play the run. I have chosen not to cover that here, but obviously that will play a huge part in how successful and permanent this experiment will be.

Tags: BGA, NYJets, Editorial Aside, Bent Double
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Indianapolis Colts offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (74) blocks Miami Dolphins linebacker Vince Biegel (47) during the second half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) (Darron Cummings/AP)
Indianapolis Colts offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (74) blocks Miami Dolphins linebacker Vince Biegel (47) during the second half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) (Darron Cummings/AP)

The Jets' offensive line was more than in-flux during the 2019 season. 

Injuries and below average play plagued the Jets throughout the year. That made just about everything that much more difficult for quarterback Sam Darnold, head coach Adam Gase and the rest of Gang Green's offense. 

While the Jets could use the 2020 NFL Draft to fix their offensive line, Pro Football Focus thinks they should get a head start in free agency with a big name.

Tags: Kelvin Beachum
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Nov 3, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (95) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 3, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (95) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't a banner year for the Jets in terms of the their rookie picks in 2019. 

Still, Pro Football Focus didn't rank the newest Jets players last season that badly, slotting the group in as the 20th best rookie class in the NFL last season. 

That ranked as the best rookie class in the AFC East, at least.

Tags: Quinnen Williams
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Oct 28, 2017; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Louisville Cardinals offensive lineman Mekhi Becton (73) lines up during the game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports (Jeremy Brevard)
Oct 28, 2017; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Louisville Cardinals offensive lineman Mekhi Becton (73) lines up during the game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports (Jeremy Brevard)

As the 2020 NFL Draft gets closer by the day, mock drafts from respected experts continue to come out. This time, it's NFL.com's Bucky Brooks giving his first edition. 

Brooks, a former NFL return specialist, has been one of NFL.com and NFL Network's top draft analysts. And after doing his first evaluation of the top prospects, he believes that Jets GM Joe Douglas will find himself a new left tackle to work with in Louisville's Mekhi Becton at No. 11 overall. 

"Ultra-athletic edge blocker with the size, length and skill to blossom into an elite NFL offensive tackle," Brooks said about Becton. 

Tags: Brandon Shell, Kelvin Beachum, Scott Thompson
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Matt Peart (Vasha Hunt)
Matt Peart (Vasha Hunt)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Despite several players having dropped out, the teams on hand -- including the Jets -- had plenty of top draft prospects to evaluate in Saturday afternoon's Senior Bowl game.

While Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert won the MVP award, the Jets aren't currently in the market for a starting quarterback. However, let's recap some of the performances from players who could fill a potential need...

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In his second season in the NFL, Jets QB Sam Darnold was on a rollercoaster. He dealt with mono just as the season started, and as he made his way back, he even played through a thumb injury.

It was a strong second-half finish for the Jets, which showed great development from the USC product. Darnold reflected on that and much more with SNY's Jeane Coakley while meeting fans at Jets House...

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Jan 25, 2020; Kissimmee, Florida, USA; New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (33) during AFC Practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 25, 2020; Kissimmee, Florida, USA; New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (33) during AFC Practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

During Pro Bowl practice on Saturday, some players around the league were asked their thoughts on Jets safety Jamal Adams.

Their answers? All praise for the LSU product.

"If I had the control to pick one player that I could play with again, it would be him," Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White said to Ethan Greenberg. "Just the energy he brings to the field, the way that he plays the game, you have no choice but to respect it. He plays the game the way you it to be played. He plays hard. He's going to give you his best effort each and every snap, each and every practice. He's probably one of my favorite teammates ever. We still talk to this day, often we text back and forth during the season. We got a real brotherhood, he's one of my favorite people."

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The annual Jets House was held this weekend, bringing fans together with members of the team to meet and mingle, and SNY's Jeane Coakley was there to cover it. 

C.J. Mosley took the time out to speak with Coakley on how he's doing since having surgery six weeks ago, how he feels the Jets defense did this season with him on the sidelines for the most part, and who he likes in the Super Bowl.

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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

On the same day that Eli Manning retired from the game of football after a 16-year career with the Giants, another star New York quarterback sang some high praises for the two-time Super Bowl champion.

Joe Namath, who played 12 seasons in New York with the Jets and brought the city it's first Super Bowl back in 1969, believes that Manning might just be the best quarterback to ever play here.

"I was pretty good and did some things. Eli, I marveled at. He was remarkable," Namath told The Post Friday morning. "I wouldn't compare myself to Eli. He's done far more than I ever did on the field."

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CeeDee Lamb/Jerry Jeudy
CeeDee Lamb/Jerry Jeudy

Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Among draft experts, there is a great debate about which wide receiver is the best in this year's NFL Draft. And that debate revolves around Alabama's Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb.

Both receivers check off all the boxes evaluators and coaches alike look for. Whether its top-notch speed, route-running, ball-tracking, or sturdy hands, Jeudy and Lamb possess the attributes necessary to translate their stellar college careers into NFL careers as No. 1 receivers. 

And the Jets could definitely use one of those for Sam Darnold

Tags: Jamison Crowder, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Scott Thompson
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Jan 21, 2020; Mobile, Alabama, USA; North outside linebacker Zack Baun of Wisconsin (56) works around North tight end Sean McKeon of Michigan (86) during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports (Vasha Hunt)
Jan 21, 2020; Mobile, Alabama, USA; North outside linebacker Zack Baun of Wisconsin (56) works around North tight end Sean McKeon of Michigan (86) during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports (Vasha Hunt)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

This Saturday afternoon will be one of the highlights of the offseason as the Senior Bowl takes place in Mobile, Alabama.

Jets scouts, coaches and front office personnel have been on hand to pay close attention to practice during the week, which is viewed as one of the most important events in the pre-draft process.

Let's consider some of the top prospects that play positions where the Jets will be specifically looking for reinforcements...

Tags: Brandon Shell, Kelvin Beachum, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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Sep 16, 2017; Louisville, KY, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (42) tries to move past Louisville Cardinals offensive lineman Mekhi Becton (73) during the second half at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Clemson defeated Louisville 47-21. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports (Jamie Rhodes)
Sep 16, 2017; Louisville, KY, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (42) tries to move past Louisville Cardinals offensive lineman Mekhi Becton (73) during the second half at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Clemson defeated Louisville 47-21. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports (Jamie Rhodes)

All but two teams -- the Chiefs and 49ers -- are left to worry about their offseasons with Super Bowl LIV set for Feb. 2. While NFL free agency kicks off in March, the efforts of scouting top NFL Draft prospects will ramp up. 

The Jets have the No. 11 overall pick in this year's Draft after picking at No. 3 in 2018 and 2019. Sam Darnold and Quinnen Williams were used with those selections. 

Who will join them with the latest first round selection in GM Joe Douglas' first draft? Here's what experts believe will happen...

Tags: Brandon Shell, Kelvin Beachum, Le'Veon Bell, Sam Darnold, Scott Thompson
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Dec 31, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) moves past Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Rasul Douglas (32) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Dec 31, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) moves past Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Rasul Douglas (32) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Dez Bryant last played an NFL game in 2017 as a member of the Cowboys, before Dallas cut him prior to the 2018 season. The wide receiver signed with Saints in November of 2018, but tore his Achilles tendon in just his second practice with the team.

But he's still holding out hope that he can latch on to an NFL team in 2020, and he's got at least one big fan in Jets safety Jamal Adams.

Bryant tweeted on Monday that he'd love to return to return to the Cowboys and serve in a role similar to the one Jason Witten did with Dallas this season.

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Darrelle Revis was watching the NFC Championship game on Sunday, and though the 49ers are headed to the Super Bowl, the former Jet DB was unimpressed with what he saw from their star cornerback, Richard Sherman

The sole inhabitant of "Revis Island" criticized Sherman for sitting in zone coverage, rather than travel with Packers wide receiver Davante Adams.

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Dec 23, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Mike Pennel (98) reacts to a replay of a Green Bay Packers touchdown during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Dec 23, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Mike Pennel (98) reacts to a replay of a Green Bay Packers touchdown during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

While the Jets hope their opportunity at playing in a Super Bowl is just around the corner, it won't be Super Bowl LIV. 

That game will be played between the 49ers and Chiefs after those two teams won the NFC and AFC Championship Games, respectively, on Sunday. 

When those two teams get after it in just about two weeks time, four players with connections to the Jets will feature on the two rosters. 

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Sep 22, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets kicker Sam Ficken (9) kicks an extra point during the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
Sep 22, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets kicker Sam Ficken (9) kicks an extra point during the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

Rick Gosselin, a 47-year veteran of analyzing special teams releases a yearly review and ranks the 32 units across the NFL. Last year, the Jets landed as the best unit in the league, but they're still highly-touted this season.

Gosselin's system has long been a highly-respected system to grade out the league's specialists. Teams are ranked in 22 kicking-game categories and assigned points according to their standing - one for best, 32 for worst.

The Jets landed at the No. 8 overall spot in Gosselin's latest ranking for 2019 with 324 overall points. 

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Jan 18, 2020; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Team East running back Benny LeMay (32) runs the ball in for a touchdown as Team West safety Austin Lee (23) defends during the first quarter at Tropicana Field. (Douglas DeFelice/USA Today SPORTS)
Jan 18, 2020; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Team East running back Benny LeMay (32) runs the ball in for a touchdown as Team West safety Austin Lee (23) defends during the first quarter at Tropicana Field. (Douglas DeFelice/USA Today SPORTS)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Two college all-star games took place over the weekend with plenty of Jets personnel reportedly on hand for a closer look at some potential 2020 draft picks -- the East-West Shrine game on Saturday afternoon with the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl kicking off later that evening.  

Of the two, the Shrine game is the higher profile event, with Folorunso Fatukasi being a recent example of someone who impressed the Jets there and went on to be drafted by them. However, the team also picked up a handful of undrafted free agents from last year's Collegiate Bowl rosters.

Let's identify some players who may draw interest from the Jets based on their performance over the weekend.

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Dec 29, 2019; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New York Jets head coach Adam Gase looks on prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Dec 29, 2019; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New York Jets head coach Adam Gase looks on prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

The Jets appear to have an opening on their coaching staff, where they see a defensive position coach depart for a job elsewhere in the league.

Assistant defensive backs coach Steve Jackson is leaving New York to become the Cincinnati Bengals' cornerbacks coach, according to a Sunday evening report from Brian Costello of the New York Post.

The 50-year-old Jackson spent the past two years with the Jets, coming over to New York after serving as the Tennessee Titans' safeties coach from 2016-17.

Tags: Jamal Adams
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January 18, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in attendance during UFC 246 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
January 18, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in attendance during UFC 246 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Even as the NFL playoffs wind down with Championship Sunday setting the scene for Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2, Tom Brady's highly anticipated offseason decision is already making headlines.

Since the Patriots' 2019 season ended with Jan. 4's 20-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Wild Card Round, New England and the 42-year-old quarterback have a major choice on the horizon.

Set to hit free agency after he completed his 20th year in the league -- all with the Patriots -- Brady's potential departure from New England could land him outside the AFC East for the 2020 campaign.

Tags: New England Patriots
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Nov 9, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs (74) during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)
Nov 9, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs (74) during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

Skimming through myriad mock drafts that have surfaced ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, many believe Jets GM Joe Douglas will be targeting a No. 1 receiver for Sam Darnold. There are a few playmakers for New York to choose from, including Alabama's Jerry Jeudy, Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb, and Clemson's Tee Higgins

Having a top receiver is definitely a need for the Jets, but is that what they should be focused on with the No. 11 overall pick? What about protecting Darnold? 

While there's multiple playmakers to salivate over in the first round, there's just as many offensive linemen to bulk up that unit for the Jets. 

Tags: Brandon Shell, Jamison Crowder, Kelvin Beachum, Le'Veon Bell, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Scott Thompson
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Dec 29, 2019; Orchard Park, New York, USA; General view of a New York Jets helmet prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Dec 29, 2019; Orchard Park, New York, USA; General view of a New York Jets helmet prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

Legendary Jets offensive tackle Winston Hill is taking his rightful place in Canton, Ohio.

Hill, who starred with the Jets from 1963-1976, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday. 

Hill passed away in 2016 at the age of 74.

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Jets GM Joe Douglas
Jets GM Joe Douglas

Joe Douglas is heading into his first offseason as the Jets GM, and he knows there is a lot on his plate. Multiple holes need to be filled, especially on the offensive line front and the secondary. 

Knowing how crucial his first offseason calling the shots is, Douglas is already on the ground getting to work. 

Douglas is at the East-West Shrine Bowl at Tropicana Field assessing some of the best college seniors the NCAA had to offer this season ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft. And, according to the Pro Football Network, he has brought reinforcements with him. 

Tags: Jamison Crowder
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Adam Gase
Adam Gase

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Ryan Tannehill, of all quarterbacks, secured a place in the AFC championship game on Saturday, and that has spawned a cottage industry bashing of his former coach, Adam Gase. After all, the theory goes, Tannehill finally became the quarterback everyone thought he could be as soon as Gase was no longer his coach.

It's a nice theory. And for anyone who hates Gase or thinks the Jets made a mistake by hiring him, it fits the narrative.

It just doesn't fit the facts.

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New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) reacts during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers) (Gary Landers/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) reacts during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers) (Gary Landers/AP)

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold reportedly had surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb on Tuesday, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post.

Darnold is not expected to miss any time as the surgery was performed by the Jets team doctors.

He originally suffered a thumb injury on Oct. 27 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, though, he never missed any time due to the injury. He wore a brace on his left hand under a glove for the rest of the season.

Tags: Sam Darnold
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On Thursday, former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum talked to SNY's Jonas Schwartz about the Giants new head coach Joe Judge, going over the challenges that Judge could face.

"Well I think that's really a big part of the interview process," Tannenbaum said. "I want to know what's your first 90 days like or what is it going to be like if Saquon Barkley doesn't show up on the first day of the voluntary offseason program? What's your message to him? Whats's your message to the team? What's your message to the media?"

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Oct 27, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets defensive end Kyle Phillips (98) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)
Oct 27, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets defensive end Kyle Phillips (98) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)

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Over the last week or so, we've been taking an in-depth look at the rookie season for each of the Jets' 2019 rookie class. We conclude today with a look at defensive lineman Kyle Phillips, who was an undrafted free agent signed in May.

Phillips was one of three undrafted rookies to see action with the Jets this season, but he was the only one to make the opening day roster. In fact, the other two - cornerback Kyron Brown and wide receiver Jeff Smith - each played just one game before suffering a season-ending injury.

After being inactive on opening day, Phillips was active for every other game and finished the season with 39 tackles and 1.5 sacks. He was also credited with one pass defensed.

Tags: Jachai Polite
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Dec 16, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Jehu Chesson (16) works out prior to the game at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Dec 16, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Jehu Chesson (16) works out prior to the game at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Jets have signed wide receiver Jehu Chesson to a reserve/future contract.

Chesson, 26, was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with the No. 139 pick in the fourth round in the 2017 NFL Draft out of the University of Michigan.

He finished his rookie season with two receptions for 18 yards in 12 games, but was waived prior to the 2018 season. The Washington Redskins signed him soon after and he bounced between their active roster and practice squad. He had one reception for seven yards in 12 games with the Redskins in 2018.

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Dec 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (11) makes a catch against New York Jets defensive back Blessuan Austin (31) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (11) makes a catch against New York Jets defensive back Blessuan Austin (31) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

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Over the last week or so, we've been taking an in-depth look at the rookie season for each member of the Jets' 2019 rookie class. We continue today with a look at cornerback Bless Austin, who was selected in the sixth round.

For much of the season, Austin was a forgotten man, as he was on the non-football injury list rehabbing a serious knee injury. However, he was activated in November and soon found himself in a starting role after Darryl Roberts got injured and Nate Hairston was benched. Over the next five weeks, Austin and Arthur Maulet provided the Jets with the most consistent cornerback play the team enjoyed all season and it looked like Austin was establishing himself as a potential starter for 2020 and beyond.

Tags: Trumaine Johnson
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Apr 13, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; Celebrity comedians Trevor Noah (left) and Jerry Seinfeld (center) and Larry David (right) watch an opening day game between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. The Mets defeated the Phillies 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 13, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; Celebrity comedians Trevor Noah (left) and Jerry Seinfeld (center) and Larry David (right) watch an opening day game between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. The Mets defeated the Phillies 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

If Mike Maccagnan listened to Larry David before the 2018 NFL Draft, things would have turned out pretty, pretty, pretty good.

During an appearance Tuesday on The Michael Kay Show, the Curb Your Enthusiasm star and Seinfeld co-creator explained how he tried to make Jackson to the Jets happen.

"I did call Mike Maccagnan before the 2018 draft and I recommended that he draft Lamar Jackson," David said. "I have a witness -- yes, I have a witness."

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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets linebacker Blake Cashman (53) tackles New York Giants running back Paul Perkins (28) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports  (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets linebacker Blake Cashman (53) tackles New York Giants running back Paul Perkins (28) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

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Over the last week or so, we've been taking an in-depth look at the rookie season for each of the Jets' 2019 rookie class. We continue with a look at linebacker Blake Cashman, who was selected in the fifth round out of Minnesota.

Cashman took advantage of the Jets' injury issues at inside linebacker as he got the opportunity to start five games and he was productive in those games, racking up 33 tackles, three quarterback hits, a pass defended and a fumble recovery. He ended the season with 40 tackles in seven games. However, he suffered a season-ending injury in the Jacksonville game and missed the second half of the year.

When Cashman was drafted, it seemed most likely that he'd primarily be a core special-teamer and perhaps work toward getting some reps as a situational coverage linebacker. However, when Avery Williamson was lost for the year in the preseason, Cashman suddenly became the primary backup at inside linebacker and was thrust into a full-time role due to CJ Mosley's opening day injury.

Tags: Blake Cashman
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Jets general manager Joe Douglas previously said he wouldn't hang up if and when trade calls come in on either running back Le'Veon Bell or safety Jamal Adams.

Speculation has surrounded both players since early in the 2019 season. 

Listening to trade calls still be true, but the GM changed his tune a bit on Monday. Douglas praised both Adams and Bell instead of discussing those potential calls. 

Tags: Jamal Adams, Le'Veon Bell
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