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

New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa catches the ball during New York Jets training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa catches the ball during New York Jets training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa hopes to play for the first time since last year's preseason opener when the Jets face the Giants on Friday night, and he hopes he's on the right track to do so.

"He looked quick, he should have the freshest legs in camp," Jets head coach Todd Bowles said, according to Newsday's Bob Glauber, of Enunwa, who practiced Saturday and Sunday. "He caught the ball well and we're working him in slow as well. Just happy to have him back."

The 26-year-old Enunwa missed last season with a bulging disk in his neck. He was healthy enough to return to mini camp and believes that's in the past now.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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New York Jets quarterback Teddy Bridgewater rolls out against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Teddy Bridgewater rolls out against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Pat Shurmur was standing just a few feet away from Teddy Bridgewater back in the summer of 2016 when the quarterback suffered his horrific knee injury. And he was there in Minnesota to watch how hard Bridgewater fought to get back.

So he knows as well as anyone why it would be a mistake to count Bridgewater out.

"The only thing I would say is, 'Don't sleep on Teddy,'" the current Giants coach said. "Because he's got it in him."

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

Jets head coach Todd Bowles may know in his head who he wants starting Week 1, but he's going to wait until these final preseason games before he makes a final decision. 

Bowles got to see Darnold and Bridgewater in action on Thursday, giving him more tape to watch to determine what to do with his quarterbacks room. McCown didn't see any time in the bout against the Redskins, but that was expected as the Jets look to get Darnold and Bridgewater more reps. 

"I have some ideas in my head, but I'll wait till the last two preseason games," Bowles told The Post's Greg Joyce on Saturday.

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

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Teddy Bridgewater was terrific in the Jets' preseason game in Washington on Thursday night and through two games he's looked like the best quarterback on the roster. But such is the state of the Jets' quarterback riches that nobody's asking the 25-year-old about his chances to win the Jets' starting job. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

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

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

CLICK BELOW TO HEAR NORMAN'S COMMENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WATCH:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater
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