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

Joe Namath talks Sam Darnold 00:02:45
Jets legend Joe Namath talks about Super Bowl III, advice from Bear Bryant, and his thoughts on Sam Darnold's chances with the current team

Ahead of the Jets honoring the 50th anniversary of their Super Bowl III victory, Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath sat down with SNY's Jeane Coakley to reflect on that upset win, how he prayed "run clock," and what he thinks of today's QB Sam Darnold...

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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darryl Roberts (27) celebrates with cornerback Morris Claiborne (21) in front of Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal (14) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darryl Roberts (27) celebrates with cornerback Morris Claiborne (21) in front of Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal (14) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

 

Click below to listen...

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Jan 1, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews (18) looks to catch a pass for a first down against Houston Texans defensive back Robert Nelson (32) during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)
Jan 1, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews (18) looks to catch a pass for a first down against Houston Texans defensive back Robert Nelson (32) during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)

The Jets are bringing in free agent WR Rishard Matthews for a workout Tuesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The 29-year-old veteran was cut by the Titans last month after he requested a release due to his unhappiness with his playing time. He registered just three catches and 11 receiving yards over the first three weeks of the season.

But with Quincy Enunwa out between three and four weeks with a high-ankle sprain, the Jets are looking for a stopgap at wide receiver.

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New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa fumbles the ball in the second quarter after a hit by Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa fumbles the ball in the second quarter after a hit by Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Quincy Enunwa had developed into Sam Darnold's most reliable receiver early in the season. He was the player Darnold threw to the most and turned to when he needed a third-down catch.

So what is Darnold going to do without Enunwa, who suffered a high-ankle sprain and will probably be out for about a month?

Tags: Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Sam Darnold wasn't just twiddling his thumbs while waiting to get drafted this past spring. Like all fans of his future NFL team, the Jets quarterback was keeping a close eye on the Kirk Cousins free agency saga before the Redskins QB signed with the Vikings.

"I was definitely following it," Darnold said Monday ahead of his Week 7 matchup with Minnesota Sunday at MetLife Stadium, per the New York Daily News. "During the draft process, there's nothing really else to pay attention to. Because I'm not on a team. We're not trying to dial up anything. I'm not at USC trying to figure out what we're going to do the next year. And I'm not on an NFL team trying to figure it out."

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) scrambles during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)
Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) scrambles during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Six weeks into the season, all four of the rookie quarterbacks taken in the Top 10 of the NFL draft have at least three starts on their resume. They've had a chance to get rid of their first-game jitters, or to catch the NFL by surprise, and they're starting to settle in to their rookie seasons.

It will take years, of course, to determine which of the four is the best. It might even take that long for one of them to lead a team to the playoffs. But now that they've all settled down, it's easy to determine which ones are off to the best start.

Here's a look -- and a ranking -- at how the Fab Four are faring so far...

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

On the heels of a strong performance in Week 5, Sam Darnold was tremendous in the Jets' Week 6 win over the Colts. And his Pro Football Focus grades bear that out.

According to PFF, Darnold has the second-best passing grade (89.8) in the NFL over the last two weeks. Over that same span, his 71.4 deep accuracy percentage is third and his accuracy percentage with a clean pocket (87.2) is fourth.

Things opened up for Darnold in Week 5 due in part to the record-breaking game running back Isaiah Crowell had. But in the win over the Colts, he picked apart the Indianapolis defense without the benefit of being able to fall back on a red-hot ground game. 

Tags: Sam Darnold
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 (Richard Mackson)
(Richard Mackson)

The Raiders are awful again, and are reportedly ready to trade some of their most valuable assets -- including WR Amari Cooper. Should the Jets have interest?

Cooper -- the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 Draft -- left the Raiders' Week 6 loss due to a concussion and has had a down 2018 so far after having just 48 receptions for 680 yards in 2017. But he was highly productive during his first two years in the league when the Raiders were actually competitive. 

He had 72 catches for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns during his rookie season in 2015 as the Raiders went 7-9. During Oakland's 12-4 season in 2016, Cooper reeled in 83 catches for 1,153 yards and five touchdowns.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor, Danny Abriano
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Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) makes a catch against the New York Giants during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) makes a catch against the New York Giants during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa will miss around three to four weeks with a high-ankle sprain in Sunday's win over the Colts, SNY.tv's Ralph Vacchiano has confirmed.

Head coach Todd Bowles said Monday that Enunwa, who did not play in the second half on Sunday, suffered a sprained ankle but did not reveal its severity.

The three-to-four-week timeframe is typical for high-ankle sprains, although it could vary.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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Dec 10, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (26) in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)
Dec 10, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (26) in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)

Jets S Marcus Maye suffered a broken thumb during Sunday's win over the Colts, reports SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

According to Vacchiano, the team is still evaluating the extent of the injury. Maye missing three-to-four weeks is a reasonable estimate, adds Vacchiano, but is far from a certainty. 

Vacchiano adds that there is some hope that if Maye heals quickly and can tolerate the pain, he may be able to play with a cast on (Maye was wearing a cast after Sunday's game)...

Tags: Marcus Maye
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Kacy Rodgers Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Kacy Rodgers Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers received some good news on Monday.

Rodgers, who has been battling a serious undisclosed medical condition the last two weeks, was cleared to slowly return to his coaching duties and will be the defensive play-caller again this Sunday.

Head coach Todd Bowles, who had taken over the defensive play-calling responsibilities in Rodgers' absence, revealed the good news in a conference call on Monday calling it a "big relief."

Tags: Morris Claiborne
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Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

In Sunday's 42-34 win over the Colts, Jets QB Sam Darnold put together his most complete performance as a pro, completing 24 of 30 passes for 280 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Let's look at some specific examples before we draw conclusions...

Tags: Brian Winters, Jordan Leggett, Neal Sterling, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) catches a pass over Indianapolis Colts cornerback Chris Milton (28) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) catches a pass over Indianapolis Colts cornerback Chris Milton (28) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The presence of all those Super Bowl III heroes on Sunday wasn't just a celebration of the Jets' greatest achievement, it was a painful reminder of why it's so hard to believe in this year's team. There have been too many years of heartache, too many seasons of disappointment, too many times the rug was pulled out from under everyone's feet.

So when these Jets beat the Indianapolis Colts 42-34 on Sunday, barely hanging on in the end, there were surely a few skeptics who saw the team's obvious flaws. And when Todd Bowles stepped to the podium and said "We're right back in the thick of these things," it's understandable if everyone rolled his or her eyes.

Tags: Darron Lee, Indianapolis Colts, Leonard Williams, Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets talk 42-34 victory 00:01:09
Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold, Jermaine Kearse, Chris Herndon and Todd Bowles talk about the positives after a huge win over the Colts, 42-34.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - As the Jets celebrated the 50th anniversary of their last Super Bowl championship team, Sam Darnold gave them even more reason to believe that the next one won't be too far off.

The 21-year-old Darnold, in his first real shootout against a top tier NFL quarterback, out-played Andrew Luck on Sunday afternoon. He completed 24 of 30 passes for 280 yards with two touchdowns and one interception to lead the Jets to a 42-27 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Luck was pretty good too (23 of 43, 301 yards and 4 touchdowns), except for the fact that he threw three interceptions. He also even nearly engineered a second-half comeback but fell an onside kickoff recovery short. But overall, Darnold was the more impressive quarterback for most of the game, after he shook off a shaky start. He did get help from a Jets defense that forced four turnovers, but the running game wasn't nearly as good as it has been...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Buster Skrine, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (10) rushes for yards after a catch as Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore (23) pursues during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (10) rushes for yards after a catch as Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore (23) pursues during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: The Jets held off the banged-up Colts for a 42-34 win on Sunday to improve to 3-3 on the season. Let's highlight three of the best performances, along with three players who were disappointments.

Winners

QB Sam Darnold 

Tags: Marcus Maye, Sam Darnold, Terrence Brooks
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SNY's Week 6 Jets Report Cards 00:02:46
Ray Lucas, Willie Colon, and Bart Scott hand out their report cards after the Jets beat the Colts on Sunday, 42-34.

The Jets have moved to 3-3 on the season after defeating the Colts 42-34 on Sunday. The Jets Post Game Live crew handed out their grades for each unit, and what they ultimately thought of the Jets' latest performance. 

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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

Sam Darnold has seemed comfortable as the Jets put together back-to-back wins to move to 3-3 on the season.

During Sunday's victory over the Colts, the rookie quarterback was 24 of 30 for 280 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. 

So what's the area where Darnold has improved the most?

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets former quarterback Joe Namath during pre game warm up before game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets former quarterback Joe Namath during pre game warm up before game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Legendary Jets QB Joe Namath is a fan of rookie Sam Darnold, but stressed that how high Darnold reaches will be about his surrounding cast.

"I do see a physical ability and I understand a mental ability," Namath said Sunday before the Jets honored the 50th anniversary of their Super Bowl III victory. "But I can't emphasize enough -- it's about the front line of both sides of the ball, it's about the kicking game, it's about the entire team, man."

Namath then started talking about Archie Manning, who he said would have been the first Manning Hall-of-Famer if the Saints (the team Namath referred to as the 'Aints') had put a quality team around him.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Danny Abriano
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New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets RB Isaiah Crowell (ankle) will play in Sunday's game against the Colts.

Crowell, who was a game-time decision, was limited in practice earlier in the week. 

The 25-year-old Crowell is coming off a record-breaking game in Week 5 when he had a Jets-record 219 rushing yards and added a 12-yard reception in the Jets' win over the Broncos. 

Tags: Buster Skrine, Charone Peake
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How Namath became Broadway Joe 00:01:25
Jets legend Joe Namath reveals the origin of the name "Broadway Joe," see the full interview on Jets Pre Game Live, Sunday at 12pm on SNY!

How exactly did Joe Namath become known as "Broadway Joe" during his career?

In an interview with SNY, Namath said the nickname was coined by offensive lineman Sherman Plunkett

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Todd Bowles Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Todd Bowles Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Bruce Arians has always been a big believer of Todd Bowles, which is why the former Cardinals head coach is also a big believer in the future of the Jets. 

Arians, who will call the Jets' game against the Colts for CBS on Sunday, told the New York Post on Friday that Gang Green is headed in the right direction and that they have the right man to get them there. 

"I think (Bowles) is doing a great job there, especially now that he's got a quarterback," Arians said.

Tags: Sam Darnold
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New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams on the sidelines during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams on the sidelines during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

DL Leonard Williams missed Thursday's Jets practice due to a "sore back," according to Todd Bowles. (NY Daily News)

"He just woke up like that," the head coach said, per the Daily News. Bowles did not say how the sudden issue impacts Williams' availability on Sunday against the Colts.

Williams, a vital piece to the Jets' defense, enjoyed his best game of the year in Week 5 against the Broncos with two sacks. 

Tags: Leonard Williams
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Bowles, Bates prep for Indy 00:00:55
Jets head coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates discuss the Jets' mindset heading into Sunday's match-up with the Colts.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates discuss the team's mindset heading into Sunday's matchup with the Colts.

The Jets (2-3) kick off against Indianapolis (1-4) Sunday at 1 p.m. at MetLife Stadium.

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Sam Darnold (14) Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Sam Darnold (14) Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

Jets WR Jermaine Kearse and rookie QB Sam Darnold are locker room buddies. They sit right next to each other in the room, and Kearse takes advantage of that by preaching his veteran wisdom whenever he can on the 21-year-old signal caller. 

One way he does that is recalling the time he was a rookie in Seattle back in 2012, and a fellow rookie in QB Russell Wilson was in the same boat as Darnold this season. He was a young gun coming off a solid Wisconsin career, and was looking to make an immediate impact in the NFL. 

During a break in game action in the Seahawks' second preseason game, Wilson returned to the huddle and heard Kearse talking as he began to speak. What he did next immediately caught the attention of Kearse. 

Tags: Sam Darnold, Scott Thompson
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Pennington talks Darnold 00:02:36
Former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington looks back on his time in New York, and shares his thoughts on the development of rookie Sam Darnold

Former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington looks back on his time in New York and shares his thoughts on the development of rookie Sam Darnold.

Pennington also spoke about his ongoing work with the Mayo Clinic.

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Darnold and Bowles on Indy 00:00:37
Sam Darnold and Todd Bowles talk about building on last week's big win, and finding a way to beat the Colts on Sunday.

Jets QB Sam Darnold and coach Todd Bowles look ahead to the team's matchup against the Colts on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Jets are hoping to build from their week 5 win over the Broncos, which ended a three-game skid.

 

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Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

As Colts head coach Frank Reich started preparing to face Jets QB Sam Darnold, he couldn't help but notice some similarities between the Jets' QB and Carson Wentz, who he coached during his time as offensive coordinator of the Eagles.

"It feels like a little bit of the same personality; it's not too big from the standpoint of intellectually, but also emotionally, the game's not too big," Reich said, per the NY Post. "Physically, just being able to make the throws, and some of the athleticism."

 Wentz, who suffered a torn ACL in the final weeks of the regular season last year, finally returned under center for the Eagles in Week 3 and has totaled five touchdowns and one interception.

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New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets running back and reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week Isiah Crowell did not participate in Wednesday's practice due to an ankle injury.

CB Trumaine Johnson (quad), CB Buster Skrine (concussion), WR Charone Peake (hamstring), WR Andre Roberts (elbow/foot), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (foot) and C Spencer Long (knee/finger) also missed practice.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said Crowell hurt himself during Sunday's win over the Broncos. Crowell set a franchise record with a career-high 219 rushing yards in the victory.

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Kacy Rodgers Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Kacy Rodgers Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said Wednesday there's a "small chance" that defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers will return to the sideline against the Colts Sunday at MetLife Stadium. (Connor Hughes)

The 49-year-old Rodgers missed the Week 5 victory over the Broncos with what Bowles called a "serious illness." The head coach previously said Rodgers could be absent for several weeks.

But Bowles said Rodgers was at Jets practice on Wednesday after ungoing medical tests, the results of which Rodgers expects to have next week.

 

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