Earlier this week, the Jets signed free agent wide receiver/return specialist Joshua Cribbs to their active roster. Unlike some of the recent signings they've made, Cribbs is a fairly well-known player, but he is now into his thirties so it will be interesting to try and assess what he has left in the tank. We've therefore been looking at game footage in detail to investigate what he could bring to the table.

The 30-year old Cribbs is a 6'1", 215 pound receiver who was an undrafted free agent in 2005 out of Kent State. He is best known for his kick returning abilities, which have seen him make three Pro Bowls and be named as an All-Pro on two occasions. His eight career kickoff returns for a touchdown have him tied for the NFL's all-time record and he has also caught over 100 passes in his eight NFL seasons. However, he's been dealing with some knee issues recently and this led to him being cut by the Browns and then also by the Raiders, who he had signed with in May.

After the jump, a review of Cribbs' career and observations from having looked at film from the last few seasons to evaluate some of his strengths and weaknesses.

Who is Josh Cribbs?

Josh Cribbs was an undrafted free agent in 2005 having played quarterback for Kent State. After signing with the Cleveland Browns, Cribbs made an immediate impact as a kick returner in his rookie season, averaging 24.5 yards per return and scoring one touchdown to earn himself a six-year contract extension.

He continued to put up good kick return numbers in his second season and then also took over as the team's punt returner in 2007, leading the NFL in all-purpose yardage. While he had been used sparingly on offense over his first three seasons (11 carries, 14 catches) they increased his role in 2008 as he carried the ball 29 times for 167 yards - often out of the wildcat formation. The following year, he caught 20 passes, which was more than he had achieved in the first four years combined and had a career high 381 rushing yards. In 2010 and 2011 he didn't have as much success as a runner but improved on his receiving numbers, peaking at 41 catches for 518 yards and four touchdowns in 2011. However, last year he did not see much action on offense and with the Raiders in preseason he was solely used as a kick returner.

The Numbers

Eight seasons

124 games

31 starts

107 catches, 1,161 yards, seven touchdowns

10.9 yards per catch

63% catch rate (last five seasons only)

10 drops

128-753-2TD rushing (5.9 average)

4-12-45-INT passing, sacked twice

Career kick return average 25.9 with eight touchdowns

Career punt return average 11.0 with three touchdowns

34 career fumbles (9 lost) - Four as a receiver, three as a runner, one as a passer, nine as a kickoff returner, 17 as a punt returner

103 career tackles, including 92 on special teams

23 20+ yard plays (17 as a receiver, six as a rusher) and two 40+ yard plays (both as a receiver)

34 40+ yard kickoff returns and eight 40+ yard punt returns

Observations

Based on all the footage watched, here was what Cribbs brings to the table, divided into categories:

Usage - Obviously Cribbs has been used in a variety of ways, eventually developing into more or less a full time wide receiver (playing 52% of the snaps in 2011). However, in 2012 his non-special teams work diminished and he played just 63 snaps, most of which were at the wide receiver position. He did take five snaps as a wildcat quarterback though. When lined up at receiver, he was primarily on the outside, playing in the slot just over 10% of the time in 2011.

Deep threat - Cribbs hasn't been that productive on downfield throws, catching five of 23 passes thrown 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage in the past five years per PFF. He has been able to get deep for some big plays, as seen in the examples here and here, although the first of those was more of a coverage breakdown and the second was over three years ago. He was not targeted more than 20 yards downfield in 2012.

Blocking - For a converted quarterback, Cribbs is a surprisingly good blocker. He actually graded out as the third best blocking wide receiver in the NFL in 2009. The Browns often used bunch formations or motioned him onto the tight end's shoulder and he did a good job of driving linebackers to the inside or making blocks at the second level by hustling and being physical.

Routes - Browns fans grew frustrated with Cribbs' "sloppy route running" as the Browns used him more and more in a receiver role and that may have factored into his drop in playing time last year. From what I saw, he was most effective when running a go route or a crossing route, but anything that required a change of direction was more hit and miss. He also sometimes allowed cornerbacks to get physical with him in press coverage to prevent him from getting where he wanted to go.

Hands - Although he has a respectable catch rate and only 10 drops in the last five seasons, Cribbs' hands can be very inconsistent, some of which were due to poor concentration. The catch rate is artificially inflated by the number of short passes they throw him. That includes 20 screen passes for 172 yards over the past four years. With that said, he is capable of making athletic catches by going up to get it or laying out to make a diving grab like this one. Fumbles are a concern, as he's racked up 34 over the course of his career, although a good proportion of these were muffed kick or punt returns that he recovered himself.

Instincts - As a runner, his instincts are terrific. However, when playing wide receiver, he lacks experience and this can affect things like adjusting his route in response to the coverage or reacting to a quick pass when he's the hot read.

Yards after the catch - Clearly this is an area where Cribbs' return skills can be utilized and that has proven to be the case. His highest rank was 6th in the league for YAC per reception in 2010 and has always been well above average statistically. He forced 10 missed tackles on 41 catches in 2011.

Special Teams - Cribbs' special teams contributions are not just confined to the return game. He's also capable of being extremely productive in kick coverage and as a punt gunner. He is a solid open field tackler, missing just two tackles since 2009. However, it's in the return game where he shines brightest. His 2012 numbers were really good (27.4 yards per kick return and 12.0 per punt return) but his most recent body of work in preseason was underwhelming. On seven returns, his longest was 27 yards and he lost a fumble.

Demeanor - Brady Quinn this week described Cribbs as a "tremendous teammate". By all accounts, he has a good attitude and is a hard worker. There was a minor controversy in terms of a contract dispute and a dissatisfaction with his playing time last year, but no serious off-field issues.

Injuries - Cribbs' knee was obviously a problem, because the Jets and Cardinals both balked at the chance of signing him back in May. However, they are apparently satisfied he's good to go now. Until then, he'd been fortunate in terms of injuries, missing just two games since his rookie season and four overall.

Conclusions

It's a testament to Cribbs' athletic skills that he was able to be so productive as a receiver despite the fact that he is clearly very raw technically, but I'm always impressed by guys that will hustle, make an effort as a blocker and fight for yardage. The question now becomes whether there's any realistic chance of him being able to be that kind of player again or is he past his use-by date?

Based on how he was used in preseason and his diminishing offensive role last year, my expectation would be that the main reason the Jets brought in Cribbs was simply to return kicks with both Mike Goodson and Clyde Gates headed to injured reserve.

However, the Jets' offense is designed to get its playmakers the ball in space and Cribbs is capable of being exactly the kind of playmaker that could thrive in such situations. While I don't anticipate a main-rotation role for Cribbs on offense (unless there are even more injuries at the wideout position), I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Jets install some special packages which involve him, even if only for a couple of snaps a game.

Failing that, they needed a reliable kick returner and Cribbs has been exactly that (and usually more) even as recently as last year. Let's hope he can contribute well to the Jets' return game where - let's face it - he doesn't have much to live up to if he's going to provide any kind of an upgrade.

Note: The Jets also added wide receiver Greg Salas this week, but since he's injured, we'll delay his BGA until next weekend.

Some stats from PFF were used in the completion of this article.

Tags: BGA, Bent Double

Jenkins on overcoming addiction 00:03:29
On Jets Game Plan, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins sits down with Jeane Coakley to share about how he overcame his battle with addiction.

 

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Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) during first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) during first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- On the day the Jets re-signed Muhammad Wilkerson in the summer of 2016 to a blockbuster, five-year, $86 million contract, they made it clear they were banking on him and not Sheldon Richardson. Fourteen months later, Richardson was traded.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)

RB Bilal Powell, who missed last week's game due to a calf injury, practiced on Thursday and will return when the Jets face the Dolphins on Sunday in Miami, head coach Todd Bowles said.

DE Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder/toe) was the only Jets player who didn't practice on Thursday.

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: Powell should hopefully give a boost to the Jets' struggling running game, although I suspect the team's inability to get the running game going has more to do with how overmatched the Jets have been in the trenches...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Ken Blaze)
(Ken Blaze)

He may be one of the most productive tight ends in football at the moment, but Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins admits his career was taking a dive before joining the Green and White. 

Seferian-Jenkins has caught 23 passes over the last four weeks of the season. It could be more if he didn't have to serve a two-game suspension that stems from his DUI arrest last September when he was with the Buccaneers.

But ASJ doesn't mind the numbers. He is happy that he is still playing the game he loves in the first place. 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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The Jets (3-3) take on the Dolphins (3-2) on Sunday in Miami at 1 p.m. Here's what's going on today...

Need to know

The Jets practice today at Florham Park. Will Bilal Powell, Muhammad Wilkerson, or Robby Anderson return to practice after sitting out on Wednesday?

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will be out at practice. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the happenings...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Muhammad Wilkerson, Robby Anderson
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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon look back at a tough loss to the New England Patriots. The guys discuss the brutal mistakes by the Jets which kept the Pats in the game, and the blown call at the goal line involving Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Plus, Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon joins the show to talk about the struggles of Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams, and his role on the team. Later, Brian Costello of the New York Post calls in to give his take on the loss to NE, and how the Jets missed out on Deshaun Watson.

Click below to listen!

Tags: Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McLendon
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DNL: 2017 Jets season so far 00:02:58
The DNL panel discusses the Jets' season so far including if Todd Bowles deserves more credit and which player has disappointed the most.

 

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

The Jets featured many key players out during practice Wednesday including RB Bilal Powell, DE Muhammad Wilkerson, and WR Robby Anderson. 

Powell, who is nursing a calf injury, stretched with the team, but he didn't participate in anything else. He already missed last week with the same injury.

Wilkerson played through his shoulder injury in Weeks 4 and 5, He didn't practice throughout those weeks, so this might be the same scenario for No. 96...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Muhammad Wilkerson, Robby Anderson
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Daily News Live: Cool your Jets 00:03:02
The DNL panel discusses how the controversial play and loss to the Patriots could affect the Jets' mentality going into Week 7.

The DNL panel discusses how the controversial play and loss to the Patriots could affect the Jets' mentality going into Week 7.

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New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (3-3) take on the Dolphins (3-2) on Sunday in Miami at 1 p.m. Here's what's going on today...

Need to know

The Jets practice today at Florham Park.

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will be out at practice on Thursday and Friday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors...

Tags: Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye
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Daily News Live: Colon 00:01:10
Willie Colon's sources at the meeting between NFL owners and Roger Goodell on anthem protests say no progress was made Tuesday.

SNY's Willie Colon said sources told him that players felt "nothing was accomplished" during a meeting on Tuesday between the NFL, executives, players, and the NFL Players' Association.

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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

After a hot start to his rookie season, Jets S Jamal Adams became the latest victim of Patriots' star TE Rob Gronkowski in the Jets' 24-17 loss on Sunday. 

Adams had troubles with Gronk from the beginning of the game. The Jets had a 14-0 lead when Patriots QB Tom Brady launched a ball toward the back of the end zone intended for Gronkowski. Adams made a play on the ball, but refs said that he made too much contact with the 6-foot-6 tight end resulting in a pass interference call.

Dion Lewis would score on the next play, and Adams was still surprised as to why the refs threw the flag. 

Tags: Jamal Adams
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Oct 15, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams (Brad Penner)
Oct 15, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams (Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: The Jets gave a good account of themselves and, despite some glaring weaknesses, continue to prove that they're a more talented group than most people gave them credit for before the season. Let's break down the performances on the defensive side of the ball from the Jets' loss to the Patriots in Week 6:

Defensive Line

The defensive line once again didn't make any major contributions, with New England rushing for 118 yards at an average of 4.7 per carry and officially surrendering just four quarterback hits and no sacks. However, that was partly due to the Jets' gameplan. They didn't blitz much, sending just four rushers on average. And some of the bigger runs they gave up came with pass defense personnel on the field or one of Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson on the bench...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Juston Burris, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Rontez Miles, Steve McLendon
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (Ben Margot/AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (Ben Margot/AP)

The Jets (3-3) take on the Dolphins (3-2) on Sunday in Miami at 1 p.m. Here's what's going on today...

Need to know

The Jets are off today.

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will be out at practice on Thursday and Friday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors...

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Buster Skrine, Jalin Marshall, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Daily News Live: Reffed Up 00:03:44
The Daily News Live panel discusses the controversial "fumble" call on Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the Jets' loss.

 

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New York Jets wide receiver Jalin Marshall (89) runs past Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Mike Thomas (13) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Jalin Marshall (89) runs past Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Mike Thomas (13) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets assigned wide receiver Jalin Marshall to the practice squad on Monday after they waived him on Saturday.

Marshall, who served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, was waived to make room for cornerback Xavier Coleman on the team's active roster for Sunday's 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots.

The 22-year-old Marshall recorded 14 catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games last season. He also returned 18 punts for 100 yards and 13 kickoffs for 324 yards.

Tags: Jalin Marshall
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The decision to turn an Austin Seferian-Jenkins' touchdown on Sunday into a hard-to-explain fumble and touchback was a "clear and obvious" decision, according to the replay official who made the call.

Al Riveron, the NFL's senior VP of officiating, strongly defended his call in a conference call with reporters on Monday morning, one day after it impacted the Jets' 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots. He said the reversal of the touchdown after a video review was absolutely the correct decision based on the rule, and he didn't see anything controversial about it.

"No doubt about it, it was clear and obvious," Riveron said. "And we use that (standard) for every replay. Unless it's clear and obvious to us, we will not change the ruling on the field, and this definitely met that criteria."

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

Jets QB Josh McCown got off to a hot start on Sunday, but couldn't hold on to the lead as the Patriots earned the win on the road. 

The Jets jumped to a quick, 14-0 lead in the first half. However, the offense couldn't get anything going allowing Tom Brady to do what he does best and get the Pats the lead back. 

"Obviously we broke stride there and didn't keep pace the way we'd like," McCown told Jets.com's Eric Allen. "We have some short-yardage situations that we have to find a way to convert and be better at. We weren't converting and (we were) putting our defense right back out there. You can't give Tom (Brady) that many chances."

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jeremy Kerley, Josh McCown, Robby Anderson
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Oct 15, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (14) runs in for a touchdown against New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon (30) (Brad Penner)
Oct 15, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (14) runs in for a touchdown against New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon (30) (Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

While much of the attention from the Jets' loss to the Patriots will be focused on the controversial overturned touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Jets only have themselves to blame for giving up 24 unanswered points and letting New England back into the game.

Nevertheless, they gave a good account of themselves and, despite some glaring weaknesses, continued to prove that they're a more talented group than most people gave them credit for before the season...

Tags: ArDarius Stewart, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, Brian Winters, Chad Hansen, Elijah McGuire, James Carpenter, Jordan Leggett, Josh McCown, Kelvin Beachum, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson, Wesley Johnson
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The New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine misses the catch during the 1st half against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
The New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine misses the catch during the 1st half against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Jets sometimes seem like they've cornered the market on finding interesting new ways to lose. Five years ago, it was the infamous "Butt fumble." This time, it was a fumble that maybe, probably, never was.

But the differences between those two plays are as stark as the differences between those two teams. The "Butt fumble" was an embarrassment on Thanksgiving 2012 that turned Mark Sanchez and the Jets into a national joke. The fumble by Austin Seferian-Jenkins on Sunday -- the "What fumble," as some have named it -- wasn't funny to anyone.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Jamal Adams, Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, New England Patriots, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets Post Game Overtime: 10/15 00:11:29
The Jets Post Game Overtime crew breaks down the Jets' 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 6.

 

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Jets Post Game Live: Overturned 00:02:19
The crew on Jets Post Game Live gives its thoughts on Austin Seferian-Jenkins' overturned touchdown.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins rolled into the end zone midway through the fourth quarter and the official's arms went up, the Jets were just like everyone else in the building and watching on TV: They were sure they had just scored a touchdown.

And long after their 24-17 loss to the New England Patriots, they were still shocked, confused and absolutely livid that the touchdown was overturned.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, New England Patriots, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets lose 00:03:36
Ralph Vacchiano tries to make sense of the controversial decision to take away Austin Seferian-Jenkins' touchdown against the Patriots.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Jets gave their fans quite a thrill for much longer than anyone expected. Not only were they battling for first place in Week 6 of what was supposed to be a lost season, they were leading for most of the first half.

The fact that the bubble burst on Sunday -- perhaps with a little help from the replay officials -- and the Jets ended up losing 24-17 may feel disheartening, but if ever a team could take a moral victory out of a loss, this would be the time. Yes, this was a blown opportunity for the Jets. Yes, they could've thrust themselves into a real, live playoff chase if they could only have held on to their 14-0 lead.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Josh McCown, Ralph Vacchiano
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Bowles and McCown on 24-17 loss 00:01:58
Jets head coach Todd Bowles and quarterback Josh McCown break down the team's 24-17 loss to the Patriots.

The Patriots escaped MetLife Stadium with a 24-17 win on Sunday after stopping Josh McCown and the Jets ' offense on a potential game-tying drive in the final minutes. >> Box score 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Josh McCown, Matt Forte
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Jeremy Kerley plays Pick Six 00:02:26
Jets receiver Jeremy Kerley plays Pick Six with SNY's Jeane Coakley before the Jets' home game against the Patriots.

 

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

Heading in to the 2017 season, the expectation was that the Jets would be one of the worst teams in the league and the Giants would be one of the best.

Well, the Jets are 3-2 and the injury-ravaged Giants are 0-5.

Click below for the video from The Ringer

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (AP)

DE Muhammad Wilkerson will play in the Jets' Week 6 matchup with the Patriots, but RB Bilal Powell is among seven players who are inactive.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Christian Hackenberg, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Vacchiano's 3 keys to a Jets win 00:01:18
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys to a Jets' victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys to a Jets victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday.

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New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire runs with the ball as Cleveland Browns middle linebacker Joe Schobert and outside linebacker James Burgess bring him down during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire runs with the ball as Cleveland Browns middle linebacker Joe Schobert and outside linebacker James Burgess bring him down during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The New England Patriots (3-2) vs. the Jets (3-2) at Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 1 p.m. ET.


Coverage on SNY:

Tags: Bilal Powell, Cleveland Browns, Elijah McGuire, Leonard Williams, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, New England Patriots, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets wide receiver Jalin Marshall (89) runs past Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Mike Thomas (13) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Jalin Marshall (89) runs past Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Mike Thomas (13) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets have waived wide receiver Jalin Marshal and promoted cornerback Xavier Coleman to the active roster from the practice squad, the team announced Saturday. 

Marshall had tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs before the season and was suspended four games by the the league. He was set to return from the suspension this week and had been practicing with the team. 

Tags: Jalin Marshall
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