Earlier today, the Jets announced that they had signed 34-year old pass rusher Jason Babin. Babin, a two-time pro bowler had worked out for the Jets on Monday and will presumably be in the mix for a situational pass rushing role, with Antwan Barnes currently on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

The 6-3, 267-pound Babin was a first round draft pick in 2004 and has made stops with several teams since then. He was a pro bowler with Tennessee in 2010 when he registered 12.5 sacks, but he topped that in 2011 with the Eagles when he led the league with 18 sacks and was named as an all-pro. While he hasn't threatened that number since, he did have seven sacks in 2012 and 7.5 last year.

After the jump we review footage from the 2013 season to try and assess what he still has in the tank and how he might fit into the Jets defense.

Who is Jason Babin?

As noted, Babin was a first round pick in 2004. However, this was a surprise. While he was recognized as a first-team all-American after a breakout senior season where he recorded 15 sacks, he still wasn't a projected first rounder in many places, even after showing an impressive slate of workout numbers at the combine, including a 4.62 forty, 28 bench press reps and a 121-inch broad jump. However, the Texans traded 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th round picks to get back into the first round and selected him with the 27th pick.

In his first three years with the Texans, he recorded 13 sacks but never more than five in a season. He was then traded to Seattle, which was frustrating for Babin because they had a set rotation which meant he barely played in 2007. In 2008, the Seahawks released him early in the season, but the Chiefs picked him up and he did record two sacks in seven games for them.

In 2009, he joined the Eagles, for whom he had 2.5 sacks but it was in 2010 when he joined the Titans and finally got an opportunity to break out. His 12.5 sack season saw him reach the pro bowl for the first time and enticed the Eagles to bring him back.

In 2011, he was outstanding, peaking towards the end of the season when he had a run of three games where he recorded eight sacks. The third of those games was against the Jets and saw him spark them to a 45-19 win as he lit Wayne Hunter up in a three sack performance. Big deal, right? Everyone was tearing Hunter up that year, weren't they? Actually, no. Prior to that game, Hunter had really settled down, giving up one pressure or less in six of the previous 10 games. Babin entered the last two games with 18 sacks and a chance to challenge the all-time record, but came up empty.

In 2012, Babin was having a reasonably good season with 5.5 sacks in the first 11 games but the Eagles struggled as a team and fell out of contention early. That's why Babin was released just prior to the waiver deadline, enabling the Eagles to create additional cap room for the following season when he was claimed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. After some initial speculation that Babin wouldn't be motivated to play for the Jaguars because he was hoping to get picked up by a contender, he committed himself to playing hard for them and recorded nine sacks in 21 games for them.

After opting out of the final year of his contract, Babin actually re-signed with the Jaguars but then was released when they signed Chris Clemons and brought in a couple of other pass rushers. He joins the Jets on a two-year deal with the second year apparently being a team option.

The numbers

Ten seasons

130 games

90 starts

347 tackles

62.5 sacks

12 passes defensed

14 forced fumbles

Three fumble recoveries

Here's what I observed from watching footage of Babin, divided into categories:

Usage

Babin was primarily used as a conventional 4-3 defensive end most of the time. He typically lines up wide, well outside the tackle, in an unconventional four point stance. He sometimes stood up and played as a 3-4 linebacker, but rarely more than a handful of snaps in a game. He played both on the left and the right, which was a departure from his Eagles days, where he was almost exclusively on the left. While Babin has been a starter for the last few seasons, he has typically played around two-thirds of the snaps and when he does rotate out, it's typically on running downs.

Pass rush

This is obviously Babin's forte and he still demonstrated a burst off the edge and some good speed and techniques. He has a knack for coming up the middle untouched on stunts, partly due to good timing but also because he disguises the inside rush well before making a hard plant. A pure speed rush off the edge is something the Jets didn't have much of last year, especially once Barnes got injured. However, what sets Babin apart is that when he is initially repelled, he transitions from speed to power really well and often drives his blocker back, either collapsing the pocket or creating separation to enable him to regain a leverage advantage. When a second blocker comes across to pick him up, perhaps off a stunt or if he beats the first man, you'll often see Babin drive that guy back.

Moves

Babin uses the spin move a lot. In fact, at times, he arguably may have overused it. However, it was extremely successful against certain teams. As well as a conventional or clean spin move, Babin seems to have a knack for spinning off his man while driving him back towards the quarterback and falling to the ground to pressure the quarterback low. This is interesting because there aren't many Jets who use the spin move and it's believed Karl Dunbar favors other techniques. Could Babin mentor someone like Quinton Coples to get him to add this to his arsenal?

As noted, if he doesn't beat his man off his initial move, he keeps moving forward and this creates opportunities for him to rock them with a secondary thrust, or duck under to get to the quarterback.

Run defense

Babin made plenty of positive plays against the run, as you might expect making use of his speed and athleticism to shoot gaps, fight off blocks and hold his ground.

He has one major weakness though and that sees him caught inside quite a lot. If there's ever a counter, a run that's bounced outside or any other misdirection, he is at risk of being caught up in traffic, which means the Jaguars gave up a lot of yardage on outside runs where he wasn't able to set the edge. It also seems like his instincts in the running game are lacking because if the other team ever motions a guy in his direction or gets someone lined up outside to block down on him, it's rare that he anticipates this and eludes the block. He also overpursues to the inside on occasion.

You expect a pass rushing specialist to create running lanes by being too focused on getting upfield but this wasn't an issue very often for Babin. If the plan is to use him in passing situations, then any deficiency in his run defense would be less of an issue anyway.

Pursuit

Babin is impressive in pursuit and still has pretty good speed. On one play, the 49ers ran a naked bootleg that looked to set Colin Kaepernick up with a chance to make some decent yardage, but Babin reacted quickly, closed on him and forced a throw away. On another, he chased all the way across the field to tackle CJ Spiller on an 18-yard run.

Tackling

Statistically, Babin is a very reliable tackler. According to PFF, he only has 11 missed tackles since 2006. Having said that, his four in 2013 were the most he's had since then. A sign that he's lost a half-step, perhaps? One of these was a play where he blew up a run and someone else finished the play off though and two were near-sacks.

Playbook

Babin has played primarily with 4-3 teams in recent years, but as noted they did use him as a linebacker at times, so he will at least have some level of familiarity there. While Barnes was healthy, the Jets primarily operated out of a four-man front on passing downs, but they went to three-man fronts with Wilkerson playing the nose more in the second half of the year. Either way, using Babin in these packages and getting him to do what he does best shouldn't be alien to him.

Coverage

Coverage isn't really part of Babin's job description. However, he did drop into coverage 24 times last year after having done so just 35 times from 2007 to 2012 inclusive per PFF. On a couple of plays, he reacted well to a short pass and made the tackle. One of these was an outstanding play where he blew up a shovel pass near the goal line. In terms of actually dropping into coverage, there was actually one play where he took a deep drop and jumped to deflect a pass incomplete down the field. On another he dropped back and then when there was a dump-off pass underneath he came off his man to try and make the tackle, but overpursued in the open field.

Penalties

One concern could be penalties. Babin has averaged 11 per season over the last four years. He jumps offside a lot and also had a couple of unnecessary roughness calls for getting into it with another player after the whistle last year. I could see him getting some roughing penalties for hitting the quarterback low, although he didn't in 2013. He did get one for a helmet-to-helmet hit though. On the other side of the ledger, he does draw a lot of holds.

Special teams

At 34, I wouldn't anticipate much in the way of special teams contributions from Babin. However, the Jags did use him on the punt rush unit a handful of times.

Instincts

As noted, Babin's instincts in the running game may be lacking, but he should know all the tricks of the trade when it comes to generating pressure. In 2008 he admitted he was much more comfortable rushing the passer as an end and that learning to stop the run was a challenge for him.

Athleticism

Maybe Babin has lost a step but he still shows impressive flashes of speed, strength and power. I don't think there's any question he still has gas in the tank.

Injuries

Unlike most of the low-cost, potential value moves the Jets have made under John Idzik, Babin is a player without major injury concerns. He hasn't missed a game since 2009. He did miss some time in preseason in 2012 when he hurt his calf and he was playing through a groin strain last year.

Motor

As noted, Babin played about two-thirds of the snaps in 2013. The most snaps he played in any game was 66. If he ends up in a situational role with the Jets, then he'll surely be able to handle a lower workload and remain fresh enough to put forth a consistent effort. He did play hard with the Jaguars, but there were plenty of games where they were getting blown out and you sensed everyone was just going through the motions.

Overall

If you asked me yesterday if I thought the Jets should sign Jason Babin, I'd have probably said no. However, he is a talented pass rusher and does still seem to have the athleticism to contribute consistently.

I really hope this is a case of "you can never have too many good players" rather than a sign that Antwan Barnes isn't expected back any time soon. Babin would seem to be a short term stop-gap, but if he's able to mentor or pass on any knowledge to some of the younger players on the roster, then maybe his influence will be wider-reaching.

One thing of relevance to the work I've been doing recently is the fact that he did seem to draw a lot of double teams for someone lining up exclusively on the outside. As we've learned from my research in recent weeks, it might not be possible for offensive teams to give him the same level of attention with the Jets that he was getting in Jacksonville. Therefore the optimistic view would be that he could easily surpass last year's production. However, as he's a year older, he'll also have to fight off Father Time, who might be a more formidable opponent than any double team blocker he might face.

Exclusive stats from PFF were used in this article and we thank them for giving us access.

Tags: bentdouble, BGA, 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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