Earlier this week, the Jets signed offensive lineman Hayworth Hicks off the Indianapolis Colts practice squad. He must therefore, by rule, remain on the Jets’ active roster for at least the next three weeks. Jets fans might not know too much about Hicks, so I’ve been looking at game footage in detail to investigate what he could bring to the table.

Hicks spent the preseason with the Colts after going undrafted in the 2012 draft. This followed a solid career at Iowa State, which saw him earn Second Team All-Big 12 honors. He didn’t make their final roster, but was added to the practice squad, where he remained until this week. The Jets had placed a waiver claim on him at the time, but they withdrew this when three other higher-priority claims were successful.

After the jump, I look in detail at footage from the preseason to evaluate some of his strengths and weaknesses.

Who is Hayworth Hicks?

Hicks is over 330 pounds and played guard in college, where he started 24 games. There was some talk that he was learning the center position, but in preseason he exclusively played at right guard. Reports on his preseason performances were generally favorable, but we’ll look at those in more detail further down.

Indianapolis used to run a zone blocking scheme, but switched to a man-scheme for this year, which should ensure Hicks will be prepared for Tony Sparano’s system. In recent weeks, the Colts have been incorporating more zone blocking and have seen some success in doing so. Presumably Hicks has been tasked with learning those plays, so that will also help his versatility in the event the Jets do something similar.

Iowa State actually plays a spread offense with man blocking, although they do use a lot of inside zone runs, like many man blocking teams. Once again, this should mean he would translate to the Jets’ system better than someone from a pure zone background, athough often spread offenses do have simpler blocking systems compared with NFL schemes.

2012 Preseason

As noted, in preseason, Hicks played right guard with the Colts. He was on the second unit for each of the last three games, after starting off on the third unit in the first game.

Week 1 – Rams

Just played the fourth quarter (14 snaps) …

- Rode his man down to the ground on the inside to set up a four yard run

- Opened a hole on the right side, with help from a double team from the RT for a nine yard run

- Drove a linebacker back at the second level, but the run went for no gain behind him

- In pass protection, he initially knocked his man back, but then let him get past him, although the pass was completed for a first down before the pressure got there

- Got a good surge on a straight-ahead block, but then lost leverage and allowed his man to get off his block

- Tried to leverage his guy to the outside, but ended up shoving him into the path of the runner

- Blocked his man to the ground

- Pulled to the right and whacked a DB at the second level

Not a bad first performance, although he wouldn’t have graded out too well. He was moving his opponents about but it wasn’t leading to a huge amount of success, although I would attribute this more to the line not really blocking well as a unit and running plays not developing fast enough. His one issue in pass protection was more down to the fact that the quarterback (a certain Drew Stanton) held the ball for quite a long time.

Week 2 – Steelers

Played the entire second half (34 snaps) …

- Let his man get off his block to assist on a tackle for a short gain

- Gave his man too much of a clean release on a screen pass

- Initially blocked his man in pass protection but then he looped around the outside for a clean run at the quarterback, although the throw was completed for a first down before the pressure arrived

- Blocked his man well in pass protection, although he would end up chasing the quarterback out to the sideline as he scrambled

- Blocked down and drove his man back to create a seam for a short gain

- Surged through the line and then made a block at the second level but the run went for a short gain behind him

- Just about managed to handle a bullrush long enough to enable a touchdown pass to be thrown. Driven back initially before stabilizing

- Pulled to the left to block the MLB but he read the cutback run up the middle and was able to beat the block to the inside and make the play

- Made what looked like it was supposed to be a pulling reach block going left, but the runner went to the inside instead of outside and therefore his man had inside leverage to make the play and he ended up getting called for a hold as he tried to prevent that

- Driven back by a bullrush in pass protection

- Surged forward and then tried to make a second level block but let his man get off it

- Flattened a guy at the second level enabling a run to be bounced outside

- OLB was unblocked and made a tackle in the backfield. It looked like it was the RT’s fault but it might have been Hicks who missed his assignment

- Pulled left and set the edge with the help of a double team block from the right sided fullback in a three back set

Hick was up and down here, but did show flashes of potential dominance. His blocking in space was pretty solid, but he didn’t always sustain his blocks. Some of his mistakes could be attributed partially to bad reads by the runners.

Week 3 – Redskins

Entered on the second possession of the third period, with over 10 minutes left and played the rest of the game (36 snaps) …

- Pulled left and was initially stood up by his man, but then countered to get a late surge and set up a short gain

- Sustained his block on the edge just well enough to allow the runner to break his man’s tackle in the hole

- Failed to pick up a delayed blitz in pass protection

- Pulled to the outside and rocked the OLB on the edge, setting up a run up the middle

- Appeared to miss his assignment in pass protection, leading to a QB hit

- Rocked the OLB again on a similar pulling block to the play mentioned above, but this time he bounced off to assist on the run for a short gain

- Was almost driven back into the QB on a bullrush, but just managed to regroup and hold him off

- Was seemingly taken by surprise on a run blitz, allowing his man to get off the block and force a fumble, although it was ruled down by contact by the replay booth

- Good second level block was inconsequential as the run went for a short gain behind him

- On 4th and goal from the two, his man almost made the stop, but he just about got enough of him to enable the touchdown to be scored

- Allowed a stunting DE to beat him to the QB but he was the second guy to get there, so he wouldn’t have been “credited” with giving up the pressure

Some signs of rawness here from Hicks, but he was never really badly beaten and did have some positive moments.

Week 4 – Bengals

Entered the game in the first with 2:25 to go on the third Colts possession and played the rest of the game although a nine minute Bengals drive in the third helped limit his total snap count to just 42 …

- Allowed a lineman to shoot the gap and make a tackle for a short gain

- Pulled left and had to dive to make contact, just doing enough to prevent a tackle in the backfield

- Drove his man laterally out of the play to set up a seven yard run

- Was beaten for a pressure as his man set him up to the outside and then made a duck under move to beat him on his left shoulder

- Pulled left and leveraged his man back to the inside to create the seam for a seven yard touchdown run. This was arguably Hicks’ best highlight and can be seen here (Hicks is number 61)

- Made a pulling block which he held well, enabling the runner to cutback for five. It looked like he could easily have been flagged for holding, but he perhaps deserves credit for keeping that on the clean side of legal

- Rode his man to the ground at the second level, allowing the run to be bounced outside for nine. Holding was called on the right tackle, where again it could potentially have been called on him

- Was beaten on the inside, but this was one of those plays where the whole line seemed to mess up so they probably screwed up the call or something. Two other guys were beaten worse than he was and the play was easily stuffed for a loss

- Made a surging block, although the ball was fumbled going up the middle

- Drove his man to the outside, setting up a short gain for the runner

Of the four, this was probably Hicks’ best game. He still made one or two mistakes but did have a positive impact on several runs.

Observations

Based on all the footage I watched, here was my take on what Hicks brings to the table, divided into categories:

Usage - As noted, Hicks only played at right guard.

Athletics Ability - As you can see from the breakdowns, Hicks was called upon to pull quite a lot and had some success doing so. For a big man, he is surprisingly light on his feet and appears to be pretty nimble.

Run Blocking - Like most young linemen (and fullbacks) Hicks’ biggest issue seems to be that he sometimes makes a block initially but lets his man get off the block to make a play. That’s an adjustment you have to make because it’s much harder to sustain blocks against NFL players. In space, he seems to be pretty good at finding his assignment and when he does lock onto a block, he seems to have the ability to leverage his man out of a play. His ability to pull will come in handy if he gets any playing time with the Jets, but one thing he didn’t show in preseason was any trap blocking up the middle, something he’d be expected to be able to do with the Jets. He did a pretty good job of drive blocking when asked to do so.

Pass Protection - Most of the time, Hicks was employed in a free safety role. In other words, the other four linemen would block their man and Hicks would remain free to pick up a delayed blitzer or help out if one of his teammates lost leverage. This is a good test of both his instincts and his ability to react and move into position laterally. Overall, he did a pretty good job of this, but there were one or two missed assignments.

When matched up one-on-one, he mostly held his own, only getting beaten for a pressure once. However, he was driven backwards by some bullrushes.

Attitude - It’s difficult to read too much into his demeanor because he wasn’t demonstrative and finishing blocks to (and beyond) the whistle like a Jason Smith, but there was nothing that stood out in terms of laziness, lack of effort or arguing with teammates or opponents. There were one or two mix-ups but, as ever, we can never be certain where the blame lies and it did seem like he appeared to get his assignment right most of the time.

Conclusions

Despite the fact Hicks drew rave reviews during the offseason, if I had been grading these games, it’s likely he’d have graded negatively for the most part. Having said that, he never looked overmatched and managed to avoid any horrible missed blocks leading to big plays or anything like that, so maybe he’s capable of filling in and holding his own even if he isn’t ready to dominate.

I’d liken this signing to the Austin Howard signing last season. Is Hayworth Hicks going to be ready to contribute this year? Probably not, unless he’s come on a long way over the last few months. However, it gets a guy into the system that has obvious potential and could be ready to contribute by next year, when the Jets’ guard situation is in flux with both starters out of contract.

Unless Brandon Moore is hurt, or the Jets fall out of contention, I wouldn’t expect to see Hicks on the field this season. In fact, even if either or both of those things happen, Caleb Schlauderaff would probably be the first to get an opportunity. Hicks could theoretically be in the mix with Schlauderaff and Ducasse to flesh out the roster at the guard position next year.

Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan ignored speculation to draft Saints RB Alvin Kamara as he didn't want to take the risk, reports NY Daily News' Manish Mehta

Kamara is turning heads as the rookie has shown out in his two preseason games with the Saints so far this year. Mehta says the Jets wanted to make a push to draft Kamara this year, but Maccagnan decided to stay where they were on the draft board as he viewed Kamara as too much of a risk.

The Jets drafted WR ArDarius Stewart at No. 79 overall in the third round, but now they are seeing what they could have possibly gotten with Kamara in their backfield. The 5-foot-10, 194 pound back has totaled 118 yards and a touchdown on just 10 touches in two preseason games. 

Kamara is shaping up to be a difference maker if he can continue the pace he is on, and the Jets could certainly have used his talents. However, head coach Todd Bowles believes there are playmakers already on his roster...

Tags: ArDarius Stewart
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles believes his team will perform better than anyone is expecting them to this season, per ESPN's Rich Cimini

Bowles spoke to Mike Francesa on WFAN radio at camp Monday, and gave the Jets' fan base an encouraging message. 

"I would tell them that we're not going to be a terrible team," Bowles said. "We're going to come out there and fight, and blood, sweat and tears will go out to the city and our fans, and we're going to win more games than everybody ever expected."

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Jeane Coakley on Jets camp 00:01:55
Jeane Coakley reports from Jets training camp where Todd Bowles wants more consistency and hopes to name a starting quarterback soon.

 

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Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles coaches against the Tennessee Titans 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; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles coaches against the Tennessee Titans during the second quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said he will "probably" name a starting quarterback next Monday.

Bowles said on Monday that he wants to first watch film of Saturday's game against the Giants before making an announcement. The Jets will conclude their preseason schedule with a matchup against the Eagles at home on August 31.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Jets owner Woody Johnson has passed on the duties of team chairman and CEO to his brother, Christopher Johnson, the team announced on Monday.

The anticipated move came after Woody Johnson was sworn in as US Ambassador to the UK and Northern Ireland on Monday.  

Earlier this month, Woody Johnson was confirmed by the Senate to serve in the role.

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 (Jim O'Connor)
(Jim O'Connor)

Jets fans took to Twitter after Sunday night's episode of HBO's Game of Thrones to jokingly suggest the Night King should be their quarterback.

Warning: Episode spoilers below!

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December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams (92) and outside linebacker Darron Lee (50) celebrate after the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The Jets defeated the 49ers 23-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams (92) and outside linebacker Darron Lee (50) celebrate after the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The Jets defeated the 49ers 23-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

The NFL has cleared Jets players Darron Lee and Leonard Williams of any violations of league rules after an investigation into an incident at a New York music festival in June turned up a lack of evidence.

The incident involved Williams dragging Lee away from what Jets coach Todd Bowles later described as "an argument with his girlfriend" during the Governors Ball on Randalls Island. The argument and the aftermath were caught on video and posted to social media.

The Twitter user who posted the video said the woman was "shaken and in tears" after the incident. The user also described Lee as "aggressive" and claimed the Jets linebacker "started to manhandle" the woman, "grabbed" her, and "started dragging her away."

Upon announcing that the league's investigation was closed, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email "Following a review, we concluded there was insufficient evidence to support a finding that there was a violation of the personal conduct policy."

Tags: Darron Lee, Leonard Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (right) poses for a photo with NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith prior to Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (right) poses for a photo with NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith prior to Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is close to getting a five-year contract extension to remain in his position atop the league, according to multiple reports.

According to the Sports Business Journal, Goodell will earn close to what he is during his current contract, which is set to end in 2019. Goodell has presided over the NFL since 2006 since he took over for Paul Tagliabue. The extension would keep him on as commissioner until 2024.

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

After losing some veterans on the offensive line, the Jets are looking for some answers and reliability in the trenches as they march toward the regular season. 

The offense struggled as a whole in Saturday's loss at the Lions, producing just 85 rushing yards and six total points. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg only went 2-of-6 for 14 yards in the first half. Head coach Todd Bowles attributes that to some issues on the line. 

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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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Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Dexter McDougle (23) breaks up a pass intended for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Darius Jennings (15) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Dexter McDougle (23) breaks up a pass intended for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Darius Jennings (15) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

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 one of the top performers in the Jets' 16-6 loss to the Lions, cornerback Dexter McDougle.

Who is he?

Tags: Dexter McDougle
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Aug 19, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Aug 19, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Remember all that progress that Christian Hackenberg appeared to make in the Jets' preseason opener? Well, by Week 2 it was gone.

Hackenberg, getting a surprise start over veteran Josh McCown, gave an ugly and unproductive performance in the Jets 16-6 loss to the Lions at Ford Field in Detroit. He was a miserable 2 of 6 for 14 yards, with both completions coming on dump-offs to running back Bilal Powell. In a full half of action he led the Jets to just two first downs and a total of 43 yards.

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Aug 19, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) drops back to pass to running back Bilal Powell (29) during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Aug 19, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) drops back to pass to running back Bilal Powell (29) during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

Christian Hackenberg could only complete two passes, the Jets' defense failed to contain Matthew Stafford, and the Lions beat the Jets, 16-6, in the second preseason game.

Hackenberg was sacked twice and completed two of his six passes. During the Jets' opening drive, Hackenberg fumbled after he was hit by Detroit's Cornelius Washington, but the Jets recovered. Bryce Petty completed 15 of his 24 passes for 160 yards and threw an interception for the Jets, who were 4-for-13 on third down.

Myles White led the Jets in receiving with three catches for 43 yards, while Jordan Leggett hauled in two catches for 40 yards. Bilil Powell carried the ball nine times for 32 yards as the Jets were unable to get much going in the running game.

Darron Lee and Morris Clairbone had five tackles to lead the Jets on defense, while Demario Davis, Josh Martin, and Corey Lemonier each had a sack. >> Box score

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson has become more of a vocal leader this season as he has taken it upon himself to fill that void in the locker room.

Linebacker David Harris was the voice in the Jets' locker room for years. Now that he is gone, Wilkerson is the next man in line and he is embracing the new role. 

"I've been here for a long time now," Wilkerson told The Post's Brian Costello, "I always looked up to older guys who are no longer here. I stepped into the footsteps into being a leader. I wasn't vocal [before], but I've always been a leader on this team. David Harris isn't here anymore, so I took it upon myself to speak up more and get out of my comfort zone." 

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

The Jets are undefeated, which at the moment is insignificant. But really, given all the predictions of doom and gloom, some people probably thought they wouldn't even end up with one preseason win.

They did, but it wasn't pretty (7-3 over the Tennessee Titans at home last Saturday), and they barely answered any of the many, many major question marks surrounding their season and long-term future. Maybe their game in Detroit against the Lions on Saturday night will provide a few more clues about the direction they're headed.

In the meantime, here are five things worth watching at Ford Field tonight:

Tags: Bilal Powell, Christian Hackenberg, Dylan Donahue, Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Daily News Live: Hack Attack 00:02:52
As the Jets get ready for their second preseason game, the panel discusses if a good game from Hackenberg can win him the starting job.

 

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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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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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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