New York Jets offensive tackle Ben Ijalana (71) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. (Andrew Weber)
New York Jets offensive tackle Ben Ijalana (71) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. (Andrew Weber)

In between now and training camp, I'm going to be looking at some of the veteran players on the Jets roster to assess what kind of contribution we might expect from them in 2016. 

We begin with a look at a couple of back-up offensive linemen, Brent Qvale and Ben Ijalana. Can either of these players compete with Breno Giacomini for a starting role at right tackle and which one is best equipped to fill in if Giacomini or Ryan Clady gets hurt?

Let's compare and contrast the two players in terms of their physical attributes, technical ability and performance so far at the NFL level to get a better idea of where their futures may lie.

Note: Some stats from this article are exclusively provided by Pro Football Focus.

The story so far

Qvale was an undrafted rookie who eventually earned a contract with the Jets after initially attending their rookie camp on a try-out basis. After spending his rookie year on the Jets' practice squad, the coaching staff suggested he was in the mix to start at right guard in 2015. However, in preseason, he only saw action at tackle.

Qvale was retained on the 53-man roster all season as a reserve tackle and saw action on offense in seven games, albeit only 33 snaps in total. Most of that work saw him operating as a sixth lineman in short yardage packages.

Entering 2016, there has once again been some buzz that Qvale could be in the mix to start, this time at right tackle, where he was getting some first team reps at mandatory minicamp. Whether this promise will actually manifest itself in preseason remains to be seen, though. 

By contrast, Ijalana was a highly heralded draft prospect and eventually went to the Colts with the 49th pick of the 2011 draft. However, two ACL tears later, he failed to make their roster in his third season and the Jets picked him up off waivers.

Ijalana has been retained as a reserve tackle for the past three regular season campaigns. However, he's been a healthy scratch most of the time, seeing action in just three regular season games with the Jets. 

He perhaps would have seen more action last year if not for the fact he suffered a minor injury in preseason. This put his availability for opening day and therefore his roster spot in doubt, but the Jets opted to take the risk that Qvale wouldn't be called into emergency action in his first game, over perhaps retaining the veteran Charles Brown until Ijalana's return. Brown ended up in Dallas, essentially playing the same jumbo tight end/emergency back-up role as Qvale had with the Jets.

When his contract expired at the end of last season, it didn't look like the team would bring Ijalana back. However, nobody picked him up in the first few weeks of free agency and when news broke that starting left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson was planning to retire, the Jets re-signed Ijalana to a one-year deal on the same day.

The Jets' current starters at tackle are Clady and Giacomini and current indications are that it is likely to stay that way. However, Clady has been injury prone over the last few years, so whoever wins the swing tackle role might get called upon to start at some point. Also, Giacomini had an uneven year in 2015 and the team will save over $4 million if they release him, so if anyone cheaper can push him close, that might give them an edge.

Physical attributes

My initial impression of Ijalana was an athletic and polished tackle in a prototypical frame that perhaps lost a step due to his knee issues. By contrast, Qvale seemed like a typical Nebraska lineman, being more of a road-grading run blocker without natural athleticism. However, they actually profile more similarly than you would expect.

While Ijalana's long (36") arms are one of the main things that attracted scouts, Qvale also has long arms and is actually 2½ inches taller than Ijalana.

In terms of athletic numbers, they're both above average with an identical 40-yard dash time of 5.20. Qvale has the better vertical jump and three-cone drill, while Ijalana has the edge in terms of short shuttle and broad jump, so they are pretty evenly matched. Ijalana looks strong on film, but didn't do the bench press at his pro day because he was coming off a hernia injury. Qvale did 24 reps, which is pretty good for someone with long arms.

All-in-all, these numbers probably suggest that if Ijalana has lost a step due to his knee issues, then Qvale is probably more athletic right now. That hasn't seemed apparent from watching their film so far, though.

As noted, injuries have been a factor for Ijalana, while Qvale has only had minor knee and head injuries since missing the 2009 season with a shoulder issue.

Performance

While the Jets have been and remain high on Qvale, there's a major discrepancy between the consistency of his performance and that of Ijalana.  

In preseason action since 2013, Ijalana has played 268 snaps and compiled a +9.1 overall grade according to Pro Football Focus. However, in 258 preseason snaps over the last two seasons, Qvale has recorded a -12.1 grade. He also graded out worse in 2015 than in 2014, so while that might be a sign that he received tougher assignments last season, there's no positive trend we can point to from the grades.

While we must account for the fact that these reps would mostly be against back-ups so we couldn't necessarily expect Ijalana to grade out as well in real-game action, it's still a strong indicator of how well they performed on those reserve units. In Qvale's case, what's doubly intriguing is the fact that he actually had four positively-graded games and only three negatively-graded games. He just struggled particularly badly in those games, but there were still signs that he could hold his own at times.

While neither has played much in regular season action, the trend continues there with Ijalana grading positively (+1.0) in 43 snaps, while Qvale struggled to a -4.3 grade in 33 snaps last season. 18 of his snaps came in the Jaguars game where the Jets used six linemen a lot as they tried, in vain, to get the running game going. Excluding quarterback runs, they gained just 12 yards on 14 carries with Qvale in the game, but weren't much better (10-17) with him out.

The discrepancy in terms of pass protection numbers is just as bad, with Ijalana allowing just one sack and five total pressures in 170 pass rush snaps of preseason and regular season action, while Qvale allowed four sacks and 12 total pressures in 137.

Penalties are a big issue for Qvale too, as he had six in 191 snaps of preseason and regular season action, while Ijalana played with much more discipline and had none in 211 snaps. Four of those penalties on Qvale were false starts.

Technical ability

Going back and looking over the footage, Qvale's performances were littered with rawness and errors. With the team still being high on him, I would assume they believe most of these issues can be fixed or at least mitigated.

In pass protection, he had one game where he held his own in pass protection only to then fade down the stretch and get beaten a few times as he presumably tired out. Contrast that to Ijalana who had a couple of games with an early mistake or two, where he then settled down from that point onwards and held up well. Qvale struggles at times with speed rushers, so might some help against that type of player. However, that is already the case with Giacomini. Post-injury, Ijalana didn't seem to move as freely and perhaps had lost some agility and the ability to recover inside, but maybe that's less of an issue now he's four years removed from his latest surgery.

In terms of run blocking, both Qvale and Ijalana have shown promise at times. Qvale is aggressive and can make good kick-out blocks and blocks on the move. They've also had some success running behind him on short yardage or goal line plays. However, he is far too inconsistent at the point of attack. Pad level seems to be an issue for him because he'll lose leverage and his man will either get off his block or leverage into the path of the ball carrier to bottle up runs. 

Ijalana impresses in terms of his ability to get out to the second level on runs and screen passes and also displays good strength to drive his man out of a play. Here is an example of when Ijalana (#71) dominated his man on the left side of the line to help set up the winning touchdown in a 2014 game.

 

Intangibles

Both Ijalana and Qvale are regarded as smart players with no attitude concerns. Qvale made some mental errors on the field, including those four false starts, but part of that could perhaps be attributed to his inexperience. Ijalana is about to enter his sixth season so he has a lot more experience. Despite this, he's still only 26, just one year older than Qvale.

Both players provide some versatility and can fill in at the guard position as well as at either tackle spot, if required. Ijalana has mostly played left tackle in preseason and regular season action, but did step in for Willie Colon for a couple of snaps at right guard in 2014. In addition to his regular season jumbo package work, Qvale has mostly played at right tackle in preseason action, but saw some action at left tackle and spent large parts of training camp working at guard. I understand he's also been learning to snap the ball for potential emergency center duties.

One other factor that might be overlooked is their respective salaries. As he's been in the league longer, Ijalana has a minimum salary that is $840K and therefore higher than Qvale's at $525K. However, since he qualifies for the minimum salary benefit, only $680K of Ijalana's salary will count towards the cap. The Jets also guaranteed $150K of that sum so there is not much of a net saving if they release him.

Other alternatives

Could someone other than Qvale or Ijalana force their way into the conversation? Looking at the current roster, the Jets have a lot of players that can play tackle but that are probably better suited to playing inside. For example, 2015 draft pick Jarvis Harrison was getting some reps at right tackle last week according to Rich Cimini, although he apparently struggled in pass protection.

Waiting in the wings, but perhaps a year away from contributing, is rookie Brandon Shell. Shell, the team's 5th round pick this April, has good measurables and I was impressed with his film. If Shell's development curve can be accelerated faster than expected that will give the team another viable option, but we'll have to wait and see what he looks like once the pads go on.

The only other player listed at tackle is futures signing Jesse Davis who I broke down here. Davis has to be considered an extreme long-shot to make the roster and had apparently been getting work on the inside anyway during OTAs.

Conclusions

It's evident that the Jets see something in Qvale. On performance alone, he probably didn't deserve to make last year's team, but they obviously viewed him as a player with room to grow that could eventually be a valuable asset. The way they used him last year, giving him the occasional low-complexity offensive assignment as an extra blocker and finding a few garbage time snaps here and there is a good way of giving him some real-game experience and helping him to build some confidence.

Contrast that with Ijalana, who rode the pine all year and then didn't seem like an option to return until Ferguson's retirement and you can see where this regime has invested their time. While Ijalana's performances at the NFL level have been much more consistent, the team perhaps views him as being closer to his ceiling.

Qvale didn't really live up to the pre-camp hype of being a potential starter last season, as it seemed like he was never really in the mix once Colon was brought back into the fold. As he enters his third offseason, he needs to become a lot more consistent if he's going to deliver on the organization's faith in him.

With Shell perhaps being groomed as a future starter, Qvale must make advancements this offseason otherwise his role will stall at the extra blocker/potential injury replacement stage again.

As for Ijalana, doesn't he deserve more of a shot? While injuries may mean he might not have the same athleticism he entered the league with, he's still a player with good length and technique who has shown in spot duties that he can play with good consistency. He has been unfortunate to play for a team who has had both starting tackles play virtually every snap in each of his three seasons. 

Had he received a chance to start at some point, maybe Ijalana would have proven that he could play with the same level of consistency in real game time and that he could have been the kind of viable starter teams expected him to develop into back when he was a draft prospect. Instead, once he hit the open market, no teams seemed to show any interest, perhaps assuming that because he never got a chance to start with the Jets, his development must have stalled, when the reality is probably that he was just behind more established veterans.

It should be fun to gauge the progress of Qvale and Shell against that of Ijalana in camp this summer. If one of these three can show that they deserve a longer look as a potential starter, then that will get Giacomini looking over his shoulder and it will be interesting to see how well he responds.

Tags: Ben Ijalana, Brent Qvale
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Dec 2, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins linebacker Stephone Anthony (44) runs onto the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Dec 2, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins linebacker Stephone Anthony (44) runs onto the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The Jets unfortunately lost LB Avery Williamson for the season after he suffered a torn ACL against the Falcons in preseason Week 2. But GM Joe Douglas was quick to fill his roster slot on Tuesday. 

The Jets announced the signing of LB Stephone Anthony, a four-year NFL vet and former first round pick back in 2015. 

Spending the past two seasons with the Dolphins, Anthony has Jets ties with head coach Adam Gase at the top of that list. Having played with the Saints for his first two seasons, he also knows linebackers coach Joe Vitt. 

Tags: Avery Williamson
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 (Mark J. Rebilas)
(Mark J. Rebilas)

Despite what was reportedly a "very attractive offer" from the Jets, veteran wide receiver Dontrelle Inman instead chose to sign with a different NFL team in the AFC on Tuesday.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the sixth-year pro was "impressed" with the Jets' pitch, but will head back to his former team as he signs with the Los Angeles Chargers.

"Inman strongly considered them," Rapoport said of the Jets, who are likely to carry six wide receivers on the 53-man roster under first-year head coach Adam Gase.

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For Jets a change is in the air 00:01:35
Ralph Vacchiano talks about how a change is noticeable at Jets camp with Gase and Douglas' improved relationship between coach and GM.

"There really is a new energy inside the Jets building about the pairing of general manager Joe Douglas and coach Adam Gase," SNY's Ralph Vacchiano said. "A feeling that can best be described as, thinking that they finally have a general manager and coach on the same page, who can work together, who can think alike."

The Jets hired Gase as their head coach in January, he went 23-25 in three seasons as the Miami Dolphins head coach from 2016-2018. Joe Douglas was hired in June as the general manager, after working as the Philadelphia Eagles' vice president of player personnel from 2016-2019. The two worked together for the Chicago Bears in 2015, while Gase was an offensive coordinator and Douglas was the director of college scouting.

"Of course, Douglas and Gase have a long history together," Vacchiano said. "Douglas, in many ways, was Gase's hand-picked general manager and the truth is, well we anticipate things will go smoothly, we're not really going to know until the off-season. That's where the bulk of Douglas's work -- team building -- is going to be."

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Sep 20, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive back Derrick Kindred (26) tackles New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
		
		 (Ken Blaze)
Sep 20, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive back Derrick Kindred (26) tackles New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports (Ken Blaze)

The Jets continue to reshape their secondary this season, as GM Joe Douglas brought in CB/S Derrick Kindred off waivers on Tuesday, the team announced.

Kindred rejoins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who he worked with on the Browns for the past two seasons. A former fourth-round pick by Cleveland back in 2016, Kindred had been working with the Colts this preseason, but he was waived by the team this week. 

The 25-year-old has 42 games of NFL experience, where he's started 17 times. Last season, the TCU product tallied 45 combined tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and one pass defended. 

Tags: Trumaine Johnson
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Why Mosley chose the Jets 00:01:32
C.J. Mosley tells Bart Scott how Jamal Adams' intensity helped him choose the Jets in free agency.

Before C.J. Mosley signed with the Jets in the offseason, he and Jamal Adams were teammates in last year's Pro Bowl, while Mosley was still a member of the Ravens. 

It didn't take long for Mosley to take note of the standout safety out of LSU. 

"One of the first things I noticed was his voice," Mosley said of Adams. "It takes a lot when guys come to the Pro Bowl to be amped up and ready to play. I saw the competitiveness in that. 

Tags: CJ Mosley, Jamal Adams
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Jul 25, 2019; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (26) during Jets training camp at Atlantic Health Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jul 25, 2019; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (26) during Jets training camp at Atlantic Health Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Christian McCaffrey has quickly developed into one of the NFL's most versatile running backs with the Panthers. With his size, speed, and ability to catch the ball, he is everything teams are looking for in today's backfield. 

The Jets have arguably a bigger threat in Le'Veon Bell as their running back entering the new season, a player McCaffrey can thank for helping him back in his college days when he was envisioning himself in the league. 

McCaffrey spoke on NBC Sports' Peter King's podcast, and explained how Bell reached out to him while he was at Stanford trying his best to get NFL teams on his radar. He said Bell, who was with the Steelers at the time, was more than willing to offer advice whenever he could. 

Tags: Le'Veon Bell
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 (Bob Donnan)
(Bob Donnan)

Sometimes it just takes a step away from the game to realize that you're just not done with it yet. Just ask Brett Favre. He did it numerous times. 

This is Ryan Kalil's first time returning to the game after announcing his retirement after last season. Jets GM Joe Douglas convinced him that it wasn't his time to lock up the cleats and pads for good, and he knew it was the right move on Sunday -- when he was pacing the Jets' locker room getting ready for his initial first team reps of training camp. 

"Everyone was making fun of me, I was pacing the locker room like 30 minutes before anybody else was dressed," Kalil told The Post's Mollie Walker after practice. "It's why I came back. I love football. I just do." 

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 (DALE ZANINE)
(DALE ZANINE)

Jets head coach Adam Gase had a simple, three-word response when asked if he regretted leaving in Avery Williamson as long as he did in Thursday's preseason win over the Falcons.

"Yes, I do."

Tags: Avery Williamson, Neville Hewitt
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Gase on Bell and Williamson 00:01:31
Adam Gase informed everyone that Le'Veon Bell won't play in the preseason while admitting he regrets Avery Williamson getting hurt.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When Le'Veon Bell takes the field on Opening Day, he will have gone 19 months without playing in an actual NFL game. And as much as he says he'll be ready, and the Jets believe him, there's no way anyone can know for sure.

But that's OK. A little mystery is better than an untimely injury - especially one that could ruin the Jets entire season. That's why Adam Gase is smart to be cautious with his star running back. And the decision he announced on Sunday night to keep the 27-year-old Bell out for the entire preseason is absolutely the right move.

The last thing the Jets need is to lose Bell before they even have a chance to use him. They spent $52.5 million on him in March, even upping their offer to seal the deal, because they knew he'd be the linchpin of Gase's attack. They viewed him as the perfect weapon to help their young, star quarterback and a way to take the pressure off their undermanned receiving corps.

Tags: Le'Veon Bell, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jul 25, 2019; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (26) during Jets training camp at Atlantic Health Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jul 25, 2019; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (26) during Jets training camp at Atlantic Health Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Le'Veon Bell did not suit up for either of the Jets' first two preseason games, and as head coach Adam Gase told reporters following Sunday's Green and White scrimmage, he won't see the field until their Week 1 matchup with the Bills on Sept. 8. 

"Le'Veon will not play this week," Gase said. "He won't play in the fourth game. We will be holding him until the season." 

Gase had previously hinted at the possibility of keeping Bell on the sidelines until the regular season opener following Saturday's practice.

Tags: Le'Veon Bell
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Aug 16, 2018; Landover, MD, USA; New York Jets kicker Taylor Bertolet (6) kicks a field goal against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Aug 16, 2018; Landover, MD, USA; New York Jets kicker Taylor Bertolet (6) kicks a field goal against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants once learned the lesson in the most painful way possible. For years they took their specialists for granted. They got kickers and punters as cheaply as possible, converted long-snappers from other positions, and considered all three very disposable and interchangeable parts.

Then came their horrific loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs in 2003, when they lost 39-38 on a dreadful triple disaster by their long-snapper, punter/holder, and kicker when they were lining up for what should've been a game-winning kick.

That's when GM Ernie Accorsi vowed: Never again. And that offseason he went on a special spending spree, bringing in quality veterans at long-snapper (Ryan Kuehl), punter (Jeff Feagles) and kicker (Mike Hollis, and later Steve Christie). He did not want to see his team lose a game ever again just because he tried to save a few bucks at those positions.

Tags: Jason Myers, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (DALE ZANINE)
(DALE ZANINE)

As a defensive back for the team from 2015-18, Buster Skrine has seen the Jets' quarterbacks firsthand across four years in New York.

Now with the Chicago Bears, Skrine discussed where his former team is heading under Sam Darnold.

Skrine returned to MetLife Stadium on Friday for week two of the preseason in the Bears' 32-13 loss to the Giants. After the game, he spoke to Darryl Slater of NJ Advance Media and had high praise for his former quarterback.

Tags: Buster Skrine, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sam Darnold
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Aug 15, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (26) prepares for a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Brett Davis)
Aug 15, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (26) prepares for a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)

For the second-straight game, the Jets took the field for a preseason meeting without running back Le'Veon Bell on Thursday. That same trend could continue during their final two preseason games as well. 

New York head coach Adam Gase indicated on Friday that Bell, 27, didn't play during the team's exhibition against the Falcons because of a good week of practice. 

"I just liked his week of practice," Gase said. "He got a ton of reps this week."

Tags: Le'Veon Bell
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The Jets have added a new linebacker following Avery Williamson's season-ending torn ACL.

The team announced on Saturday afternoon that they have signed veteran Albert McClellan and placed Williamson on Injured Reserve.

A 33-year-old out of Marshall, McClellan played his first six seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, before splitting time last season with the Ravens and New England Patriots. 

Tags: Avery Williamson
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Three Jets to bring to dinner 00:01:26
Jamal Adams is a given, but Trevor Siemian as a dinner guest? Adam Gase and Joe Douglas list the three Jets they would take to dinner.

Which three current Jets would you invite to dinner?

That was the question asked to head coach Adam Gase and general manager Joe Douglas, as they walked the Jets' practice field.

Jamal Adams seems like an obvious answer, but some of Gase's choices may be a bit of a surprise. 

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Jets QB Josh McCown (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)
Jets QB Josh McCown (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

Former Jets quarterback Josh McCown, who retired in June after spending the last two of his 16 professional seasons with the team, has now decided to un-retire according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. McCown will sign a one year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, making them his eleventh NFL team. The contract includes $2 million fully guaranteed and could be worth up to $5.4 million, per source.

Last season with the Jets, he appeared in four games after starter Sam Darnold was out with a foot injury. McCown had been a strong mentor for the No. 3 pick in the 2018 Draft, and had spoken very highly of him.

"I root for those guys, and I want to see Sam have a lot of success. Now he has to make it happen. If he needs me, I'm only a phone call away," McCown said.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold
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Jamal Adams praises C.J. Mosley 00:01:07
Bart Scott asks Jamal Adams about his request for more "dogs," and how the addition of C.J. Mosley adds to the team and helps the defense.

Jamal Adams has already proven himself to be a leader on the back end of the Jets' defense.

This past offseason, the team went out and added CJ Mosley in free agency, adding another playmaker, and giving Adams another leader he can rely on in the Jets' front seven.

Tags: Jamal Adams
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 (DALE ZANINE)
(DALE ZANINE)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The most important thing for every NFL team in every preseason game is to simply come out of it with their starting lineup intact. Whatever the starters get out of a few meaningless snaps is rarely worth the risk of a devastating injury.

The Jets and linebacker Avery Williamson were just reminded of that in the worst way possible, thanks to the worst decision of Adam Gase's short Jets career.

The Jets suffered a huge blow on Friday when their worst fears were confirmed - that Williamson suffered a torn ACL in the Jets' 22-10 win in Atlanta on Thursday night. And the insult to the injury is that it was truly meaningless and could have - should have - been avoided. The 27-year-old was injured with 3:52 left in the first half, long after all the other Jets defensive starters had departed.

Tags: Avery Williamson, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets inside linebacker Avery Williamson (54) speaks to medical personel after injury against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) (John Bazemore/AP)
New York Jets inside linebacker Avery Williamson (54) speaks to medical personel after injury against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) (John Bazemore/AP)

The Jets received a big blow to their defense on Friday as linebacker Avery Williamson has suffered a torn ACL. SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed NFL Network's Ian Rapoport's first report on the injury. Williamson will miss the entire 2019 season. 

Williamson was curiously left in Thursday's preseason contest against the Falcons for an extended amount of time when he sustained the injury. 

Williamson went down on the field with approximately four minutes left in the first half while in coverage on a passing play. The Jets brought in a new defensive coordinator this offseason in Gregg Williams and Williamson was tabbed as the defensive play-caller on the field. 

Tags: Avery Williamson
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 (DALE ZANINE)
(DALE ZANINE)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

New Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said this week that he hasn't really started bringing the pressure with his play-calls yet.

All that changed on Thursday night.

Actually, it didn't matter because he was getting plenty of pressure from his defensive line, but Williams turned up the heat in the second game of the preseason. The Jets were all over Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in a 22-10 win in Atlanta. They sacked him three times on the 17 times he dropped back to pass, and pressured him on almost every other pass. He was still 10 of 14 for 118 yards thanks to his talent and a porous Jets secondary. But by the time he left, one thing was clear:

Tags: Avery Williamson, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Darnold talks exciting offense 00:01:08
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold explains the impact running backs Le'Veon Bell and Ty Montgomery will have in Jets offense.

Through two preseason games, the Jets have looked strong on both sides of the ball.

Sam Darnold and the first-team offense have shown efficiency moving the ball down the field, and Gregg Williams' defense proved on Thursday that they can bring the heat on opposing quarterbacks.

One glaring issue for the Jets through these two games, though, has been their kicking game.

Tags: Sam Darnold
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New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder (82) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the New York Giants Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Michael Owens) (Michael Owens/AP)
New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder (82) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the New York Giants Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Michael Owens) (Michael Owens/AP)

The Jets wide receiver room doesn't exactly scare anyone from top-to-bottom, but there's talent. 

The top-three targets for quarterback Sam Darnold on the outside are Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder and Quincy Enunwa. In that group, New York head coach Adam Gase doesn't want or see football players.

Instead, Gase wants basketball players, and he thinks he's got them. 

Tags: Jamison Crowder, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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Dec 23, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darryl Roberts (27) warms up before his game against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Dec 23, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darryl Roberts (27) warms up before his game against the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

The Jets continue their preseason schedule on Thursday night on the road against the Falcons in Atlanta. Their first game was a loss in the "Snoopy Bowl" to the Giants, something they're looking to bounce back from tonight. 

It will definitely be a tough task to do so, especially when you consider one big strength and one big weakness for the Falcons and Jets respectively. 

Last season, the Falcons -- led by Matt Ryan on the offensive side of the ball -- were a pass-heavy team. That's not to say the rest of the NFL hasn't turned into that, but the Falcons did better than most teams. They finished fourth in passing offense for the regular season with 209.8 yards per game. 

Tags: Trumaine Johnson, Scott Thompson
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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (26) looks on during the second half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (26) looks on during the second half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

The Jets' hottest new commodity in Le'Veon Bell is still getting acclimated to his new team. He was absent from most of the team's offseason voluntary workouts as he continued his routine of working out in Miami to prepare for the new season. 

But, since Bell has been at training camp for the past few weeks, his new Jets teammates are learning what the dynamic running back is like on and off the field. 

In between the hashes, Bell is the exact same player that he was when we last saw him: a patient yet explosive back that knows how to read defenses and make his opponents miss. He didn't show that against the Giants in preseason Week 1 as he sat out, but there have been spurts at practice where he's shown his mastery with the ball in his hands. 

Tags: Avery Williamson, Kelvin Beachum, Le'Veon Bell
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From Alabama to New Jersey 00:00:32
Quinnen Williams may turn some heads when you hear how the Jets defensive tackle thinks New Jersey is just like Alabama.

As Quinnen Williams gets acclimated to his new team, the Jets first-rounder is also getting used to his new surroundings. 

Sitting down alongside his D-linemate Leonard Williams and SNY's Jeane Coakley, Quinnen Williams admitted that he has never been this far north. He has been in Alabama his entire life, growing up in Birmingham and playing in Tuscaloosa. 

But Quinnen Williams is slowly learning how cool New York City and New Jersey can be. And maybe one day soon Leonard Williams will take him out on the town...

Tags: Leonard Williams
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Darnold talks Gase relationship 00:01:33
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold discusses the relationship he has with new head coach Adam Gase and what's he's learned from him.

Sam Darnold had an impressive preseason debut last Thursday, and that may have a lot to do with his relationship with head coach Adam Gase.

The second-year quarterback was recently asked to describe what he enjoys the most about getting to know his new head coach, and Darnold explained that Gase has offered him advice pertaining to both on the field and off of it. 

"He's crazy in the best way. I think we all are," Darnold said about his head coach. "You've got to be a little crazy in this profession, and it's fun to be able to gameplan with him, talk about football, but the coolest thing is being able to talk to him about things outside football - family life, friends and family, all of that kind of stuff."  

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Dec 23, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive back Marcus Cooper (21) warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Dec 23, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive back Marcus Cooper (21) warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

After the Jets lost their top cornerback in Trumaine Johnson following Sunday's practice, GM Joe Douglas moved swiftly to help fill the void.

The Jets signed seventh-year veteran Marcus Cooper, the team announced on Tuesday, waiving tight end Nick Truesdell to create room.

The Detroit Lions cut Cooper on Monday.

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

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets knew the cornerback position was their biggest flaw, even before Trumaine Johnson injured his hamstring at practice on Sunday. They were shorthanded from the start at one of the most important positions in football.

Now, with Johnson out for the foreseeable future -- "I don't think it's going to be months," Adam Gase said, "but I mean, we'll see." -- the situation is dire.

Tags: Brian Poole, Jamal Adams, Parry Nickerson, Trumaine Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Williams on competition at camp 00:01:25
Gregg Williams says if you have to tell players they need to be competitive then they're not the right players, and high praise for Quinnen.

The Jets' intensity level at training camp thus far has been through the roof, and that's always a good sight when there is so much change going on with a franchise. Head coach Adam Gase is setting the tone early on with his offensive group, and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is doing the same with his unit. 

When those competitive juices do get flowing at practice, the Jets have seen a scuffle or two occur on the gridiron. 

And that's perfectly fine for Williams in particular. Speaking after practice on Tuesday, Williams explained to the media that he loves his highly-competitive group, and the fights and arguments at practice will happen when everyone is competing for a job on the 53-man roster. 

Tags: Jamal Adams
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Namath on Darnold's improvement 00:01:10
New York Jets Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath discusses the expectations and improvement he's seen in starting quarterback Sam Darnold.

If there's anyone who knows what it takes to play quarterback for the Jets, it's probably the man who was under center for the team's lone Super Bowl appearance and victory. 

And Joe Namath continues to be impressed by the player who is now taking snaps for Gang Green some 50 years later, Sam Darnold.

"I liked what I saw of him physically when he was at Southern Cal before he got here," Namath said. "When he got here, I liked what the coaches and players had to say about him.

 

Tags: Sam Darnold
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