Free agency is underway and the Jets have already signed a few guys that Jets fans might not know too much about. Over the next week or so (and throughout the free agent signing window), I'll be taking a closer look at each of the new signings and trying to assess what they can bring to the table for the Jets in 2013.

First up, I take a look at 6-3, 310-pound defensive tackle Antonio Garay. The 33-year old signed a one-year, minimum salary contract to join the Jets last week and looks set to help fill the void left by the departure of veterans Sione Po'uha and Mike DeVito on the defensive line.

Garay was a sixth round pick out of Boston College in 2003, but injuries slowed down his progress early in his career. However, by 2010, he was a key member of the San Diego Chargers organization.

After the jump, I'll be reviewing his career so far and looking in detail at how well he performed last season, before considering what he could provide the Jets with this year and going forward.

Who is Antonio Garay?

After attending high school in New Jersey, Garay - who is also a talented wrestler and comes from a family of athletes - ended up at Boston College, where he was drafted as a late round project by the Browns. He debuted in 2003, but didn't play at all in 2004 or 2005 after tearing his ACL. However, he made the Bears roster in 2006, only to suffer another horrific injury when he broke his leg and shattered his ankle on an illegal block against the Redskins in December 2007. That would have been enough to end most players' careers, but Garay persevered and eventually landed on the Jets' practice squad in 2009. At that stage, he'd been in the league five years, but had only played in 14 games and recorded 12 tackles.

Garay got to work with Rex Ryan and his coaching staff for a couple of months before the Chargers pounced, adding him to their active roster at the end of the 2009 season. He got on the field in a couple of late season games, but then really flashed his potential in the postseason - against Ryan's Jets. Garay was only on the field for 11 snaps, but three times managed to shed his blocker (twice Alan Faneca and once Nick Mangold) to stuff a run for a short gain (on a day when the Chargers gave up 169 yards on the ground). He also assisted on one other tackle. Although the Chargers lost, Garay's breakthrough performance had the Chargers organization excited about his potential and he would win the starting job at nose tackle the following season.

2010 would be the best season of his career by far. He started 15 games and racked up 48 tackles and 5.5 sacks. Pro Football Focus named him as a second team All Pro as only Kyle Williams had a better overall grade than him. He ranked first in the NFL for DT pass rushing productivity, but also had the 5th best grade against the run. In 2011, he didn't quite have the same impact, registering just 2.5 sacks, but he did lead the San Diego defensive line in tackles with a career-high 57 and led the team in tackles for a loss with nine. He still ranked 4th in the league for DT pass rushing productivity and started 13 games.

In 2012, he suffered another ankle injury in August, not good news for a player who has suffered season ending injuries on five different occasions in his career. Although he was cleared to practice much earlier, he didn't play until week nine as the Chargers were getting good production out of Aubrayo Franklin and may have been trying to keep Garay fresh for later in the year. Garay played in eight of the last nine games, averaging just under 20 snaps per contest. Although he only had one sack, he again had better pass rushing productivity than every DT who rushed the passer at least 50 times, apart from one. He did have a negative grade against the run, but only just below neutral.

Garay was set to earn $5m in 2013, but was released and the Jets made their move for him last week. He's developed himself into a consistently productive pass rusher but can he still contribute against the run and what does he have left in the tank? I went back and looked at all 151 of his snaps from last season to get some insight.

2012 Season

Week 9 - v KC

His first snap of the season was a bit of a rude awakening, as a double team took him and drove him 5-6 yards off the line. However, the play only went for a short gain behind him. On another running play, he got some good penetration, but couldn't get off the block. In the fourth quarter, he had a QB hit as he got off his block just as the QB stepped up.

Week 10 - at TB

Garay got off to a good start in this one, bullrushing his man into the backfield to flush the quarterback out of the pocket. Later in the game, he did a good job of stretching a run out to the sideline.

Week 11 - at Denver

Garay did get called for an encroachment penalty in this one, but made up for it by helping to stuff a run at the point of attack and getting a pressure in the red zone by setting up his man to the outside and then executing a textbook swim move to beat him on the inside.

Week 12 - v Baltimore

Garay was again called for a penalty - this time a neutral zone infraction - in this one, but otherwise had one of his most productive games of the year. Against the run, he got good penetration to stuff one run and blew up another one by beating his man on the inside and redirecting the runner to the outside where he was tackled for a loss. He did get kicked out and blocked to the ground on one play. As a pass rusher, he generated pressure several times. One came as he got a good initial punch and then turned the corner to hit the quarterback as he threw, two came on a bullrush - one seeing him flush the quarterback out of the pocket and the other ending with another hit as the quarterback stepped up - and the last one saw him drive upfield and then make an inside move on the left tackle.

Week 13 - v Cincinnati

He had one tackle in the Bengals game - and no pressures. He did make one good play where he stood up his man and got a good push to bottle up a run for a short gain, but he was driven off the line a couple of times and sealed on the inside on a short yardage run off the edge. He did get good penetration on one play, only for that to leave a gap behind him that the runner exploited.

Week 14 - at Pittsburgh

Did not play. (Healthy scratch).

Week 15 - v Panthers

Garay responded well to his week off with a performance that saw him make a season high four tackles and register a sack and a pressure. His sack saw him come off the edge and do a good job of containing Cam Newton as he stepped up and his pressure saw him chase Newton on the roll - although Newton did connect on a touchdown pass. He did stand up his man to bottle up two runs for short gains, but there was one play where he was knocked on his back and they ran for 13 yards right up the middle.

Week 16 - at NY Jets

Garay had a big influence on this game, which was where Greg McElroy ended up being sacked 11 times. Garay played a big part in two of the sacks, each time beating Nick Mangold with a bullrush that forced McElroy to try and escape, only to be sacked by someone coming off the edge. He also got outside leverage on Matt Slauson and drove him back into McElroy for a hit. He made a big impact in the running game too. On one play he beat Mangold to get into the backfield and although he missed his tackle, the runner had nowhere to go and was cut down for a loss. On another, he got Slauson off balance with a powerful initial thrust and then stuffed the run. Maybe his most impressive play saw him explode into the backfield to knock Konrad Reuland flying. Reuland was lead blocking from the fullback position on a Joe McKnight run to the edge. McKnight ended up one on one with a defender on the outside, but managed to spin out of his grasp behind the line of scrimmage to gain seven. Interestingly, Garay's productive day saw him make a slow start as he was initially at DE matched up with Austin Howard. Howard drove him off the line on a play that went for 12 and generally handled him well until he moved inside.

Week 17 - v Oakland

A quiet way to end the season for Garay, who had one tackle and no pressures. He was driven back on a run that was bounced to the outside and didn't make much of an impact in a game where many of the players may have been going through the motions.

Conclusions

Let's summarize my observations into categories:

Position

Garay played a variety of roles with the Chargers last year. Approximately half of his snaps were as a 3-4 defensive end with one-third as a nose tackle and the rest as a defensive tackle on a four man line. That differs somewhat from 2010 and 2011 where he played the nose approximately 80% of the time and played as a defensive end less than 10% of the time. In 2009, he didn't play the defensive end position at all with 36 of his 43 snaps coming as a nose tackle and the rest as a 4-3 defensive tackle.

What's interesting to note here is that, in the Jets game in particular, he did seem to have a better impact from that nose tackle position. So, while the ability to move about on the line is important, it's probably at the nose where he fits in best - which is just as well because that's likely where the Jets need him most.

Pass rush

Pass rushing is what Garay is best known for and he gets a constant surge as well as having an innate ability to get off blocks and after the quarterback. As you'd expect from any 310-pounder, he gets double-teamed a lot but even on plays where he was unable to get any pressure, it was not uncommon to see the defender starting to slide backwards as he got some traction. It's also worth noting that he wasn't necessarily put into the game in passing situations, so a lot of his production came on conventional first or second downs.

Moves

Despite his obvious size and athleticism, the most outstanding thing about Garay's game is his technique. He uses his hands superbly to get blockers off him with a variety of rip, swim and strike moves. That was something I noticed Muhammad Wilkerson improve dramatically with over the course of last season, so I wonder how much of that came from Garay's short time working with Ryan. It's not uncommon for defensive tackles with a wrestling background to do well because they understand the principles of leverage and Garay brings that to his game all the time, driving his man off balance and then using excellent hand-fighting skills to free himself at the appropriate moment. Even if Garay doesn't have much left in the tank, he can still be an asset if guys like Kenrick Ellis and Damon Harrison can learn these techniques from him.

Standing his ground

Garay was also double teamed a lot in the running game and did get blocked out of a few plays over the course of the season. Although he was blocked off the line of scrimmage a couple of times, it was only a couple of times. Most of the time, if he did get driven back initially, he was able to get off the block and get his momentum going in the direction of the ball carrier again.

Goal line

While the Chargers used him in short yardage situations, they didn't seem to use him in their goal line package. That might just be a case of resting him for those situations or even concern about putting a guy with a history of season-ending injuries into a pile-up situation.

System Familiarity

The Chargers generally play 3-4 but do mix in some 4-3 looks from time to time. This should prepare Garay well for the hybrid defense that Rex likes to employ. Obviously the couple of months he spent here in 2009 will be a useful experience too.

Batting passes

Interestingly, Garay didn't have a single batted ball in his four seasons with San Diego. If there's one criticism I can make about his pass rushing it's that he's so busy with his hand-fighting techniques that he sometimes misses an opportunity to get his hands up in the passing lane. However, since that's perhaps his best asset, I'd imagine his coaches are reluctant to get him to change that.

Athleticism

Garay is pretty light on his feet and displayed an ability to chase after the quarterback having flushed him from the pocket, or move laterally down the line to string a run out to the sideline. Every now and then he'll make a sensational highlight-reel worthy athletic play like the Reuland play mentioned above, the play in 2010 where he bullrushed ferociously, driving Jeff Linkenbach into Peyton Manning or the play in 2011 where he guessed the snap count and shot the gap into the backfield to tackle Tim Tebow just a split second after he received the snap.

Here's my favorite though - check out what he does to Brandon Moore on this play in 2011:

(Yes, BGA is introducing homemade GIFs this season!)

Sanchez did escape the rush and actually scrambled 25 yards on the play, but any time you have one of the best offensive guards in the league and they're getting chokeslammed by an opposing defensive lineman, that's something special.

Penalties

One thing that has hurt Garay's grades over the past few years has been penalties. Garay was called for 11 penalties over the past three years, including seven in 2011. However, six of those seven were encroachment, offsides or neutral zone infractions (and the other was defensive holding). Part of that could be something to do with the fact that I've noticed the Chargers often try to guess or figure out the opposing quarterback's cadence in an effort to get a head-start into the backfield, which is obviously going to cause a risk of some penalties.

Motor

While Garay pretty much always plays to the whistle, it's difficult to say how much playing time he has the stamina to handle. In 2012, he usually came off the bench late in the first quarter and rotated in and out from that point onwards. He's never been in a game for more than 65% of the snaps or 45 snaps total. Last year, his season highs were 38% and 26 snaps.

Demeanor

Garay is clearly a character on and off-the-field. There was one example of him getting into a shoving match after the whistle, but nothing too outstanding in terms of attitude or cockiness.

Overall

While Garay has a tough injury history, his story is an inspirational one. His health has actually been better than ever over the past few years. He was healthy throughout the period from 2009 to 2011 and although he missed the first half of last season, that seems to have been more of a lingering issue than anything serious or long term.

He seems to have good character and heads to New York with what seems like the right attitude and a determination to do well. He also should be a good role model for some of the younger players who would previously have looked up to Po'uha.

At his best Garay is (or was) an elite pass rusher for his position and a very good run stopper. Last season wasn't his best, but he still made a lot of positive contributions to the team and showed that he is more than capable of making an impact in a rotational role and being productive, especially as a pass rusher. If he can repeat those contributions, as well as providing a good example to some of the youngsters on the team, this could prove to be an excellent move.

Bonus links - the guys from Turn on the Jets also took an in-depth look at Garay and PFF wrote this glowing tribute in 2011.

Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click below to listen

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Tags: Buster Skrine
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) attempts to pass during New York Jets training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) attempts to pass during New York Jets training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg had another tough day at practice Wednesday, throwing two interceptions during team drills. It marked the second straight day that Hackenberg threw two picks during 11-on-11 drills. 

The second-year quarterback had not thrown an interception during his first eight practices of training camp. Head coach Todd Bowles is still confident in what Hackenberg can do on the field, regardless of what has happened the last two days. 

"It's practice," Bowles told reporters Wednesday. "The defense has got to get turnovers. I'd be concerned if they weren't. They got two today, but we're cleaning some things up, and we're learning as we go. It's going to be up and down every day, so we'll just go from there."

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