Earlier this week, the Jets signed free agent fullback/running back Lex Hilliard. Jets fans might not know too much about Hilliard, so I’ve been looking at game footage in detail to investigate what he could bring to the table.

Hilliard spent the preseason with the Vikings before being cut, after which he signed with the New England Patriots, although he didn't see much playing time in two games with them before being let go again. Prior to that, he had been with Tony Sparano's Miami Dolphins, who drafted him in the sixth round in 2008.

After the jump, I look in detail at footage from Hilliard's time in the league to evaluate some of his strengths and weaknesses.

Who is Lex Hilliard?

While he is mainly considered as a fullback now, Hilliard was a tailback in college at Montana. There he rushed for over 4,000 yards - including over 1,300 in 2005 - and caught 57 passes. In 2006, he suffered an achilles injury and missed the entire season and although he bounced back with another 1,000 yard season in his senior year, that may have robbed him of some speed. He only ran a 4.66 at the combine, although he did post impressive numbers in the short shuttle (4.03), vertical jump (36.5 inches) and broad jump (over 10 feet), so clearly he had some explosiveness and agility. Miami drafted him in 2008 and he spent his rookie year on their practice squad.

In 2009, he saw some action on special teams but finally started seeing regular action towards the end of the season - then as a backup tailback. He had a breakout game in Week 16, catching nine passes for 74 yards and a touchdown and rushing for another score. However, in 2010, he didn't play much, touching the ball just once on a three yard catch, but he did see regular action as a backup fullback and occasional halfback in 2011. When New England signed him in 2012, it was purely as a fullback, although he only played nine snaps in two games. It's assumed that's the role the Jets have in mind for him, but with their running backs struggling, maybe he can contribute at the tailback position too.

He is listed at 228 pounds so fits into that hybrid back mold that perhaps the Jets saw in Terrance Ganaway. He's not a 250 pounds pure blocking back like John Conner, but lacks the speed to be a conventional tailback. However, he should be able to run with some power and bring some versatility to the backfield.

The Numbers

Four seasons (plus one on Miami's practice squad)

50 games

Four starts, all in 2011

40 carries, 132 yards, two touchdowns (3.3 ypc)

26 catches, 210 yards, two touchdowns

93% catch rate

No drops or fumbles

One kick return for 14 yards

25 special teams tackles, including 14 in 2009 and nine in 2010, two missed tackles, one penalty (neutral zone)

One offensive penalty committed (false start)

Zero 20+ yard plays

One fumble recovery

One blocked punt recovery for a touchdown

Observations

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

Usage - As noted, Hilliard was mostly used as a tailback in 2009, but has been employed mostly as a fullback since 2010. While he isn't your classic lead-blocking fullback, Hilliard has been mostly used in that role over the last few years. The Dolphins under Sparano also occasionally used him in three back sets, typically in short yardage situations or the wildcat package. They would sometimes employ three backs with two fullbacks and one tailback in the backfield (and even employed the Wing T at one point). However, from that formation, either fullback was often an option to carry the ball too. In their wildcat package, they would often have Ronnie Brown taking the snap with a back either side of him. One would then run to the outside to make a block for Brown to follow and the other would go straight up the middle, sometimes getting the ball from Brown on the handoff. The Dolphins also employed him at times in a dual back set in passing situations, thereby giving one or both backs the option to stay in to pass block.

The most common assumption in the media is that Hilliard has been acquired to fill in temporarily for John Conner (and if he does well, maybe the possibility exists that they'll stick with Hilliard and get rid of Conner). That's probably true, but there's also a chance that adding Hilliard will bring about some versatility to the running game, perhaps with Conner in the game at the same time, or with Hilliard taking his place in certain packages, but Conner still operating as the main lead blocker. They could certainly run three back sets with both at fullback and I would suggest that Hilliard might be better equipped for some of those wildcat plays, because he should be more mobile in terms of getting to the outside. His versatility in general could be a positive thing for those packages and he'll obviously be familiar with the playbook, having played with Miami for the last few seasons.

Running Ability - The first thing that stands out about Hilliard's stats is his poor yards per carry average. However, this is somewhat misleading because he was used so much in short yardage situations. On the basis of all the footage I watched, I've calculated his success rate in short yardage situations to be 80%. That happens to be somewhere that the Jets have been struggling - to the point where they've been reluctant to even try running the ball in those situations. However, there were several examples of Hilliard driving the pile in short yardage situations, so he was able to get a first down even when there wasn't a hole. He even converted a short yardage situation earlier this year with the Pats, so although they hardly used him, clearly they saw his worth in that area.

What Hilliard doesn't bring as a runner is any breakaway ability. He has never had a 20-yard play (as a runner or a receiver) in the NFL. Having said that, he did have a 39-yard touchdown run in preseason in 2009. He does flash the ability to get to the second level though. On his first ever carry, on 3rd and 15, he broke two tackles and drove the pile downfield to pick up 18 and a first down. That remains the longest run of his career, although he averaged just 3.2 yards on the rest of his carries that year. He did have a respectable 2.9 yards per carry after contact though. Other than as a short yardage back, he's pretty limited as a runner, although he scored one touchdown on a Jet Sweep out of the wildcat formation. His other touchdown came as the Dolphins had first and goal from the eight yard line and just gave it to him three times until he scored (although, after it clearly looked like he broke the plane on second down, it actually looked like he didn't on third down). On just 40 career carries, he has broken nine tackles, although that may be a little misleading because only one of them came since the end of the 2009 season and his move to fullback.

Run Blocking - Conner's biggest problem since getting in the league has been that he is sometimes inconsistent with sustaining his blocks. Often that's a product of trying to "light up" a guy in the hole, which - with NFL players - often means they just bounce off you and make a play. Hilliard, being a little smaller also sometimes lets guys get off his blocks to make plays, but it's usually more to do with him getting overpowered or losing the leverage battle. However, his lack of size doesn't necessarily stop him from making conventional fullback blocks. I saw one play where he met a linebacker in the hole and drove him out of the play. He also handled Muhammad Wilkerson last season, to set up a huge lane for a 28-yard Steve Slaton run. As you'd expect, he does look better than Conner at getting out on the move to make a block in space, although he did sometime miss his target at the second level.

He's not a dominant blocker by any means, but he didn't seem to blow too many assignments and there were only a few plays where guys threw him aside to make plays - the worst of which was in his own end zone and led to a safety.

Pass Protection - Hilliard had some issues in pass protection in 2009, giving up two sacks, two hits and one pressure in 39 pass block sacks. Both sacks were by Lamarr Woodley in the last game of the regular season. He also got beaten for a hit that led to an interception. Since then, he's only given up two pressures and no sacks or hits in 38 pass blocking snaps. That may be a product of him becoming a fullback and perhaps improving his strength because on some of those 2009 plays, he was driven off his spot and didn't keep a strong base. Conner has never looked that good in pass protection, so Hilliard could be an upgrade here too.

Receiving Threat - As a receiver, Hilliard was useful as a safety valve out of the backfield. Looking at the footage, it was basically the same play over and over again - he ran a diagonal to the flat, then caught the ball and turned upfield. On a few occasions, he had the speed to beat the linebacker to the outside and turn it into a decent gain, although his longest play was only 18 yards (on two occasions). One of these came as the quarterback scrambled around on 3rd and 13 and he found a soft spot for a dump off, which he caught in stride to get the first down. He also had two touchdowns in consecutive games at the end of the 2009 season on the same dump-off play - one where he dived for the pylon and another where he was wide open for a walk-in score.

Hands - Another impressive stat that jumps out is that Hilliard caught 20 passes on 20 targets in 2009. Since then, he's caught six of eight. Having said that, all of these were dump-offs, as he has never been thrown to more than 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Still, that's a good sign of how reliable he is in the short passing game, which might be a good way to get Sanchez into a rhythm and create holes for the running game by stretching the defense. There was one play where he juggled the ball and was tackled for no gain, but otherwise, he was very sure handed. He also has zero fumbles in his NFL career.

Special Teams - Hilliard has been a good contributor on specials teams. He was productive as a tackler, especially in 2009 and 2010, and also contributed in other ways, for example as a blocker on the kick return unit and on the punt return unit where he scored a touchdown on a blocked punt in 2011.

Attitude - Hilliard seems to have a positive attitude, as summed up by this quote, which perhaps is the sort of positive example it makes sense to add to the team:

"I'll play whatever. It may have to be on special teams. I'm ready to go. I'm ready to do whatever it takes to help the Miami Dolphins win."


(Obviously, replace "Miami Dolphins" with "New York Jets" within that quote).

I didn't see too many brain cramps and missed assignments by Hilliard, although there was a miscommunication on a draw play which indirectly led to Chad Henne's season ending injury last year and there was also one play where he recovered a muffed kickoff at the one and took a knee in the endzone, which should have been a safety, but he got lucky with the call.

Conclusions

This might be exactly what everybody says it is - a temporary move to replace an injured starter - but Hilliard may bring some things that the Jets currently lack and therefore end up making a positive contribution. He's not a great blocker, but might be more consistent than Conner. He's not a dynamic runner, but might be a better short yardage option than anyone on the roster. He might also give them a bit of backfield versatility that could allow them to run certain packages more effectively, including the wildcat. Indications are that he'll also provide a positive attitude and a good understanding of the playbook.

Let's hope he brings something...however long he's here.

Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

Aug 19, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) warms up prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Camporeale)
Aug 19, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) warms up prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Camporeale)

Mark Sanchez is back in the NFL. 

The former Jets quarterback was signed by the Washington Redskins on Monday to serve as Colt McCoy's backup, per Field Yates of ESPN. 

The Redskins were in need of another quarterback after Alex Smith suffered a season-ending injury, breaking his tibia and fibia, which required immediate surgery, during Sunday's 23-21 loss to the Texans. 

Tags: Washington Redskins
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Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) jogs off the field after the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports (Patrick Gorski)
Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) jogs off the field after the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports (Patrick Gorski)

Sam Darnold still is not cleared to practice. 

The Jets returned from their bye week on Monday but their rookie quarterback remained sidelined with a strained right foot. 

Darnold did not play in the Jets' Week 10 loss to the Bills but was seen after the game without his walking boot. 

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets outside linebacker Brandon Copeland (51) takes a knee moments before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports (Quinn Harris)
Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets outside linebacker Brandon Copeland (51) takes a knee moments before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports (Quinn Harris)

Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland is going back to school, just not as a student. 

The 27-year-old plans to teach a financial literacy course at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, during the spring semester, according to the New York Post.

The class Copeland will teach is called "Inequity and Empowerment: Urban Financial Literacy" and he will teach it alongside Brian Peterson, who has a doctorate in education. 

Tags: Brandon Copeland
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets will head into the offseason with more salary cap space than almost every other team in the NFL. They've vowed to be aggressive. They have an obvious need for offensive play-makers.

And they have absolutely no excuse to do whatever it takes to make sure they land free agent running back Le'Veon Bell.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson
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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets former quarterback Joe Namath Before the National Football League game between the New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets former quarterback Joe Namath Before the National Football League game between the New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

It was set to be a good Week 11 matchup between two top teams in the American Football League. But, on this date 50 years ago, a game between the Jets and Raiders would change professional football forever. 

On Nov. 17, 1968, the Jets took a late 32-29 lead over the Raiders with 1:05 left to go in the fourth quarter. The game was being aired on NBC, and after cutting to a commercial following the score, the game never came back on. 

Instead, the movie "Heidi" ran at its 7 o'clock start time despite the game not being over. And, of course, the game ended in dramatic fashion with the Raiders scoring two touchdowns in the final nine seconds to win 43-32.

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Is there a playoff team in NY? 00:00:47
SNY takes on the question... Could you make an NFL playoff team by combining players from the Jets and Giants in 2018?

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

This is a terrible time for New York football, with the Giants and Jets sitting on what feels like rock bottom. They are a combined 5-14 this season, and the playoffs are already out of reach. And they are a combined 13-38 (.254) since the beginning of 2018.

But while there may not be hope at the moment for either team, there is still some talent on their two rosters. If they could only somehow combine the two, they might even have the makings of a playoff team.

 

Tags: Dalvin Tomlinson, Darron Lee, Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Landon Collins, Marcus Maye, Nate Solder, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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2018 Report Cards for the Jets 00:03:48
Halfway through the season, Bart Scott and Ray Lucas give their midseason grades for the Jets. Some grades are better than others.

As the Jets enter their bye week, Ray Lucas and Bart Scott break down their midseason report cards for New York this season. And they aren't pretty...

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Nov 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

On the latest episode of The Jet Stream podcast, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon face the reality that Jonas' fear of a loss to the Bills came true in the worst possible way. The guys look at the potentially very short future of the tenure of Todd Bowles, wonder if Mike Maccagnan deserves the blame as well, and hand out some hardware - that's right - the bye week means a mid-season award show on The Jet Stream!

Subscribe to the show here: https://on.sny.tv/2Od2Qzt

 

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN

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Le'Veon Bell (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)
Le'Veon Bell (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

An online sportsbook already pegs the Jets as favorites to land Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell in free agency. And several other NFL sources reportedly believe he's headed to the Meadowlands, too.

One Steelers source told Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman, "I think it's a foregone conclusion" that Bell dons green and white next season, and several other people around the league believe the same.

Of the 10 NFL personnel sources Freeman spoke to, six believe Bell will be a Jet next season after he sit out the 2018 season with Pittsburgh.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Pittsburgh Steelers
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Sam Darnold sits down with SNY 00:01:07
Sam Darnold sits down with Jeane Coakley to chat rookie life in New York, on Jets Nation: Midseason Report, Thursday at 6:30p on SNY.

Sam Darnold sits down with SNY's Jeane Coakley to chat rookie life in New York, including watching NBA games courtside with Josh McCown.

"I would not have been able to play professional basketball," the Jets quarterback said. "Those guys are freak athletes that can also shoot the ball and can handle it, so it's pretty incredible to watch them play up close."

See the full interview on "Jets Nation: Midseason Report," Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on SNY.

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Le'Veon Bell refused to report to the Steelers by 4 p.m. on Tuesday and is officially ineligible to play the 2018 season.

This could be good news for the Jets. 

The 26-year-old running back will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason and the Jets will likely be in the market to upgrade their backfield. 

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

Jamal Adams told Bleacher Report during the offseason that the 2017 Jets lacked energy in the locker room and seemed as if "everybody wanted to do the bare minimum."

Now halfway into the 2018 season, the safety says it's same old, same old.

"Honestly, I can sit here and sugarcoat everything, but things have not changed," Adams said Tuesday on WFAN's "Carlin, Maggie and Bart" show. "Obviously we're still losing and I'm not saying that we have guys like that in the locker room. But at the same time it's not changing, it hasn't changed and we've been losing. At the end of the day we're going to get it fixed, and the sun will shine."

Tags: Jamal Adams
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September 16, 2018; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Detroit Lions linebacker Marquis Flowers (59) before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The 49ers defeated the Lions 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
September 16, 2018; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Detroit Lions linebacker Marquis Flowers (59) before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The 49ers defeated the Lions 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

The Jets are bringing in former Lions OLB Marquis Flowers for a workout on Tuesday, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

New York could use all the help it can get on defense -- with Sunday's 41-10 loss to the Bills serving as the latest bit of evidence.

Flowers, who was taken by the Bengals in the sixth round in the 2014 NFL Draft, has played in five games with the Lions this season, including their season-opening loss to the Jets on Sept. 10. He tallied one solo tackle and one assist for Detroit before the team cut him on Oct. 10.

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Todd Bowles is on the hot seat with the Jets. Mike Maccagnan is not.

That may not seem fair, considering they came to New York together in 2015 and have had equal hands in this Jets mess ever since, but that's the way it appears to be, according to several sources familiar with the Jets' thinking. Bowles seems to be on the fast track to being fired after the season while Maccagnan's job doesn't appear to be in danger at all.

And the reason is simple: Maccagnan's job is to build for the long term, and his long-stated plan has been to compete for a playoff berth in 2019. All his moves -- including moving up in the draft to land the Jets their franchise quarterback -- have been with that goal in mind. And part of that plan was to capitalize on the $100 million-plus in salary cap space he created for them to use next offseason.

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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

A day after the Jets were crushed by the Bills, head coach Todd Bowles was as even keeled as usual during his roughly eight-minute conversation with reporters on Monday.

Bowles, whose job status is tenuous, said he has not yet spoken with Jets owner Christopher Johnson about his future.

Johnson declined comment on Bowles after Sunday's game.

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Rex Ryan on 'Get Up' (via @raymanjr, ESPN)
Rex Ryan on 'Get Up' (via @raymanjr, ESPN)

Rex Ryan is not pulling any punches when it comes to his former team. 

A day after the Jets' 41-10 loss at home to the Matt Barkley-led Bills, the former Gang Green head coach appeared on ESPN's 'Get Up' and called it "one of the most humiliating defeats' in team history. And that is coming from the man who coached the Buttfumble game. 

Click below to watch...

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Nov 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Jets were humiliated by the Bills on Sunday, with calls coming after for the team to fire head coach Todd Bowles. 

Click below to see how the back pages in New York reacted...

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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles coaches against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles coaches against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A year ago, Jets owner Christopher Johnson made it clear he won't judge Todd Bowles on wins and losses alone. He said his evaluation would be about "progression" and whether or not he saw it would "be obvious to all."

It certainly was obvious on Sunday afternoon when the Buffalo Bills humiliated Bowles' Jets 41-10. New York looked unprepared, disinterested and incredibly incompetent.

And if Johnson wasn't considering firing Bowles before that, he certainly has to be now.

Tags: Jamal Adams, Morris Claiborne, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Firing Bowles best for Jets? 00:01:26
On Jets Post-Game Live, Bart Scott and Willie Colon discuss if firing Todd Bowles would be beneficial for the Jets or create more problems.

Jets owner Christopher Johnson declined comment on the job status of head coach Todd Bowles after Sunday's humiliation at the hands of the Bills.

And shortly after, Bowles spoke about the 41-10 loss that sealed the Jets' fate this season and may have sealed his fate as someone who's on the way out the door. 

"We stunk it up as coaches. We stunk it up as players," Bowles said. "Everybody played bad. Everybody coached bad."

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SNY's Week 10 Jets Report Card 00:02:04
Ray Lucas, Willie Colon, and Bart Scott hand out their report cards after the Jets lost to the Bills on Sunday, 41-10.

The Jets crew hands out grades after New York's humiliating 41-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Tags: Buffalo Bills
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on before his game against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on before his game against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets safety Jamal Adams and cornerback Buster Skrine were among the players who defended head coach Todd Bowles after Sunday's 41-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

"T-Bowles is not the problem," Adams told reporters. "I'm gonna ride with T-Bowles until the end. It doesn't matter. I don't care what the fans say. It's T-Bowles. I'm gonna support my coach."

Sunday's loss, an embarrassment in which the Jets were outgained 451-199, committed two turnovers and trailed 31-3 at halftime, was New York's fourth straight loss and dropped the Jets to 3-7 heading into their bye week. 

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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown reacts during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown reacts during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets head to the bye week with a 3-7 record after a humiliating 41-10 loss to the Bills. Let's review three of the best and worst performances from Sunday's game.

Losers

QB Josh McCown

In his first start since last December, McCown was disappointingly erratic. He went just 17-for-34 with two interceptions, as he had five passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. Most of his 134 yards came in garbage time, as he averaged just four yards per attempt. Moreover, the majority of those yards came after the catch as the Jets ran an uninspiring horizontal passing offense.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Buster Skrine, Elijah McGuire, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Josh McCown, Sam Darnold
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Jets unhappy after Bills loss 00:00:55
Todd Bowles, Jamal Adams and other Jets players voice their disappointment after their blowout loss to the Buffalo Bill

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - A week ago the Jets threw away their playoff hopes with a loss in Miami, but at least they showed some fight in that game.

This week, against the horrible Buffalo Bills, the Jets didn't show up at all.

In what has to be one of the worst losses in a franchise history filled with terrible losses, the Jets absolutely embarrassed themselves in their 41-10 loss to the Bills on Sunday. They were down 31-0 in the first half to a team that had totaled 20 points in its last three games. They were outgained 186 yards to 1 - one! - in the first quarter and 313-68 by halftime.

Tags: Elijah McGuire, Jordan Leggett, Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

If these truly are the final games of the Todd Bowles era, the Jets have an enormous, franchise-defining decision to make. If they expect to be a contender in 2019, if they expect Sam Darnold to be their long-awaited franchise savior, the next coach they hire absolutely can't miss.

So whom could they hire to replace Bowles? Here's a look at 12 candidates that figure to be on their list:

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) and Josh McCown (15) watch second half of play against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) and Josh McCown (15) watch second half of play against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Jets QB Sam Darnold (foot strain) will be inactive against the Bills on Sunday afternoon.

Darnold's status had been in doubt all week, and it was revealed Thursday that Josh McCown would get the start. However, head coach Todd Bowles had not ruled Darnold out as the potential backup.

However, the Jets' hand was tipped a bit on Saturday when SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed that QB Davis Webb was going to be activated from the practice squad in advance of Sunday's game...

Tags: Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Danny Abriano
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Jets QB Josh McCown (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)
Jets QB Josh McCown (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Jets (3-6) vs. Buffalo Bills (2-7) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

It'll be a chilly day, with temperatures topping out in the mid-40s and moderate winds. It should be sunny, though.

WHAT IT MEANS

The Jets pretty much took any real meaning out of this game by losing to the Dolphins a week ago. A win only gets them back to 4-6 heading into their bye week, and they'd still need a miracle against a tough schedule after Thanksgiving to even sniff a shot at the playoffs. So all a win does is make them feel a little happier heading into their week off. But a loss? Whoa, would that turn things in a bad way against the Jets. This is an awful Bills team that even the Jets should crush, especially with veteran Josh McCown taking over at quarterback for a suddenly shaky Sam Darnold. If they lose this game, they could be headed to a season worse than last year, and there may be nothing that could save Todd Bowles' job.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) jogs off the field after the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports (Patrick Gorski)
Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) jogs off the field after the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports (Patrick Gorski)

On the latest episode of The Jet Stream podcast, Jonas Schwartz is joined by NFL Network Analyst Brian Baldinger and ESPN's Rich Cimini to discuss the injury to Sam Darnold, who watched practice in a walking boot on Tuesday. They break down the strained foot of the rookie quarterback, the progress of his on-field development, and the state of the Jets moving forward as the season starts to splinter for Todd Bowles.

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Tags: Sam Darnold
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Aug 17, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Giants quarterback Davis Webb (5) looks for an open man during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Aug 17, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Giants quarterback Davis Webb (5) looks for an open man during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles wouldn't completely rule out rookie QB Sam Darnold against the Bills. But their latest roster move says otherwise.

The Jets will activate QB Davis Webb from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed. And while the Jets haven't officially confirmed it yet, Webb is expected to be the team's backup. 

Darnold was listed as doubtful on the Jets' injury report after being diagnosed with a foot strain earlier this week. Bowles told the media on Thursday that veteran QB Josh McCown will get the start for the Jets, with Darnold not expected to be 100 percent.

Tags: Davis Webb, Josh McCown, Sam Darnold
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Bowles talks McCown 00:00:39
Todd Bowles talks about Josh McCown starting in place of Sam Darnold this Sunday vs the Bills

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The Jets had no intentions of sitting Sam Darnold, no matter how much he's struggled over the last few weeks. They were going to let him play through his growing pains, to find his own way out, no matter what it did to their season.

Maybe that's the right way to do it. No doubt most NFL quarterbacks would argue that it is.

But given how lost he's looked on the field for the last three weeks, it couldn't hurt for Darnold to watch a little from the sidelines. So maybe this strained foot he suffered will turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Nov 4, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Matt Barkley (5) on the field before a game against the Chicago Bears at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Nov 4, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Matt Barkley (5) on the field before a game against the Chicago Bears at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

The Bills announced QB Matt Barkley will start against the Jets on Sunday.

The 28-year-old former USC product was signed by the Bills on Oct. 30 as insurance and has not played a down in the NFL since 2016.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Josh Allen
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