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

Nov 20, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The New England Patriots defeated the San Francisco 49ers 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports (Kelley L Cox)
Nov 20, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The New England Patriots defeated the San Francisco 49ers 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports (Kelley L Cox)

In 2007, Jets fans will never forget the infamous "Spygate" scandal involving New York's season opener against the Patriots. But new details have surfaced regarding the moments that led to the accusation in the first place. 

ESPN's Ian O'Connor has a new book coming out entitled "Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time," and in its bindings is the coach's journey to where he is now with all the struggles and controversies in between. One of the biggest was obviously Spygate, and O'Connor revealed what occurred when a Patriots staffer had his camera confiscated for filming the Jets' coaches from the sideline. 

FBI Agent Bob Bukowski and Meadowlands security officials Jim Crann and Pat Aramini -- who also worked as New Jersey state troopers -- were in the middle of a debate between Patriots security chief Mark Briggs and two Jets officials over the camera. Briggs wanted the camera back, but the Jets weren't giving it up. 

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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)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles enjoys watching a couple of TV shows, but "Hard Knocks" is not one of them.

The HBO show, which follows a different NFL team during training camp each season, last featured the Jets in 2010 under then-head coach Rex Ryan. When asked if he would want the Jets to be on the show, Bowles admitted he would not be the liveliest of stars on the show.

"If I had to do it, we'd do it," Bowles said after initially declining to comment. "I'd probably be the most boring person. I don't think they want to come this way."

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Sep 16, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; 
		Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) intercepts a pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (16) in the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Robert Deutsch)
Sep 16, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) intercepts a pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (16) in the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on TwitterOn Thursday night, Jets WR Terrelle Pryor makes his return to Cleveland, where he enjoyed a breakout season in 2016. The former quarterback converted to wide receiver full-time in 2015, but only caught one pass and was even released and re-signed by the Browns at one point. However, in 2016, Pryor was one of the biggest surprise packages around the league.

He ended the season with 77 receptions for over 1,000 yards and four touchdowns, adding another touchdown as a runner. In fact, it could have been an even bigger year than that as his production cooled off somewhat after the bye week.

Reviewing the footage from his 2016 season reveals that Pryor is a much more natural receiver than you'd expect for someone who was only in his second year at the position. He runs smooth routes, has natural hands and his size and athletic ability are assets in terms of getting downfield separation and being a threat after the catch.

Tags: Terrelle Pryor
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Jets D preps for Browns 00:00:55
Todd Bowles and Leonard Williams talk about the elusive Tyrod Taylor and the Cleveland Browns rushing attack

LB Josh Martin (concussion) and TE Neal Sterling (concussion) have both been ruled out of Thursday night's game against the Browns, head coach Todd Bowles said on Tuesday.

Martin also missed Week 2 against the Dolphins.

Jets S Marcus Maye (foot), who has missed the first two games of the season, has not yet been ruled out for Thursday night.

Tags: Marcus Maye, Neal Sterling
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Curtis Martin Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Curtis Martin Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

Being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a blessing, but some of those enshrined want more than their bust, ring, and gold jacket. 

In a letter addressed to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, and Pro Football Hall of Fame President C. David Baker, Eric Dickerson -- the chairman of the newly-assembled Hall of Fame Board -- sent out demands that includes "health insurance and an annual salary for all Hall of Famers that includes a share of league revenue."

"They see us honored and mythologized before games and at halftime, and it would be reasonable if they thought life was good for us," Dickerson wrote. "But on balance, it's not. As a group we are struggling with sever health and financial problems. To build this game, we sacrificed our bodies. In many cases, and despite the fact that we were led to believe otherwise, we sacrificed our minds."

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Josh Gordon (12) Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Galvin)
Josh Gordon (12) Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Galvin)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | ArchiveJosh Gordon is a tantalizing prospect. He's a 6-foot-3, 225-pound receiver who once had an incredible, 87-catch, 1,646-yard, nine-touchdown performance in a season in which he played only 14 games. That was supposed to be only a scratch in the surface of his great talent. And he's still only 27 years old.

Now he's headed to the New England Patriots, after the Cleveland Browns struck a deal to send Gordon for a 2019 fifth-round pick. If Gordon is not active for 10 games, a 2019 seventh-round pick will be returned to the Patriots. The Jets, meanwhile, still don't have a true No. 1 receiver to gift-wrap to their young quarterback, Sam Darnold.

They need a player like Gordon. It's just that acquiring Gordon would've been a terrible idea.

Tags: ArDarius Stewart, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets tight end Neal Sterling fights for yards as Atlanta Falcons defensive back Tyson Graham tackles during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets tight end Neal Sterling fights for yards as Atlanta Falcons defensive back Tyson Graham tackles during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets tight end Neal Sterling likely won't play in Thursday's game against the Cleveland Browns after he suffered a concussion in Sunday's loss to the Miami Dolphins, head coach Todd Bowles told reporters after practice on Monday.

Sterling, safety Marcus Maye and linebacker Josh Martin all did not practice on Monday with a short week, while offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum and offensive guard James Carpenter were limited with respective foot injuries.

Wide receivers Quincy Enunwa and Terrelle Pryor, who are dealing with thumb and ankle injuries, respectively, practiced in full.

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On the latest episode of The Jet Stream podcast, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon deliver their weekly over analysis of Sam Darnold, check in with the New York Post's Brian Costello at Florham Park, and do a deep dive into the Fear of the Week for Jonas (and Jets fans).

Click below to listen...

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Jets get ready for Browns 00:00:57
Todd Bowles and Sam Darnold discuss the Jets' short turnaround for Thursday's prime time game against the Cleveland Browns

The Jets are 1-1 to start their 2018 campaign, and they have a short week after their Week 2 loss to the Dolphins as they play Thursday night football. They will travel to Cleveland to face off against the 0-1-1 Browns, where they are considered the underdogs. 

Yes, you read that correctly. Despite the Browns not having a win, they are favored by three points, according to Bleacher Report. It is the first time Cleveland is being favored on their home field since December 2015. 

The Browns have been noticeably better to start this season, but they still don't have the results. They had the chance to win both of their first two matchups, but couldn't seal the deal.

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 (Ken Blaze)
(Ken Blaze)

Josh Gordon's days as a member of the Cleveland Browns are over, with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reporting the embattled WR is expected to get dealt before 4 p.m. ET on Monday. And it appears they've found a suitor in the AFC East. 

No, it isn't the Jets, but rather the Patriots that are reportedly close to a deal to land Gordon, Rapoport said. There has been no official word yet from either team. 

Rapoport notes that a mid-round pick could get it done for Gordon, with Josina Anderson of ESPN listing the Jets and 49ers among the teams who have expressed interest in trading for him. 

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Sep 16, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; 
		Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against New York Jets defensive back Morris Claiborne (21) at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Robert Deutsch)
Sep 16, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against New York Jets defensive back Morris Claiborne (21) at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets suffered a disheartening 20-12 defeat to the Dolphins in their home opener on Sunday afternoon. Let's break down how each unit performed.

Quarterbacks

While Sam Darnold passed for over 330 yards and a touchdown, the Jets missed several opportunities to get back into the game. There is cause for concern over Darnold's ability to see the field as he didn't anticipate a safety sitting on the route on his first interception and failed to see a couple of wide-open receivers that were open for potential big plays...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Brandon Shell, Brian Winters, Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, James Carpenter, Kelvin Beachum, Leonard Williams, Morris Claiborne, Neal Sterling, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Steve McLendon, Terrelle Pryor
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New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during second half at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during second half at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Miami Dolphins only led by eight points when they got the ball back with 5:56 left in the game. One stop, like maybe on the third-and-19 with 3:36 remaining, and Sam Darnold would've gotten the ball back in his hands with a chance to tie the game.

Everyone in the Meadowlands wanted to see that. And everyone felt confident that the way Darnold was playing, if it actually happened, the Jets would've had a pretty decent shot.

Tags: Miami Dolphins, Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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SNY's Week 2 Jets Report Cards 00:09:05
Ray Lucas, Willie Colon, and Bart Scott hand out their report cards after the Jets lost to the Dolphins in their Week 2 home opener, 20-12.

Ray Lucas, Willie Colon and Bart Scott hand out their report cards after the Jets lost to the Dolphins in their Week 2 home opener, 20-12.

Tags: Miami Dolphins, Sam Darnold
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold made his home debut on Sunday, but couldn't come away with a win against the Dolphins. 

Darnold went 25-for-41 for 334 yards through the air with one touchdown and two interceptions. 

The 21-year-old now has three interceptions in his first two games, and these two this afternoon were crucial ones. His first came in the first quarter when TJ McDonald anticipated a slant route by Quincy Enunwa, and jumped the route. It led the Dolphins to their first touchdown of the game with Kenyan Drake scoring three plays later. 

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Jets fall to Dolphins, 20-12 00:01:00
Todd Bowles, Sam Darnold, and Jamal Adams look back at mistakes, and look ahead to what's next after the Jets fell to the Dolphins, 20-12

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jets fans filled the Meadowlands on Sunday afternoon, hoping to see for themselves what all the Sam Darnold excitement was about. Instead, they got reminder of the truth about rookie quarterbacks: No matter how good they are, they all struggle and make inexcusable mistakes.

In other words, The Darnold Era hit its first bump in the road.

It's not that Darnold was bad. He wasn't. He 25 of 41 for 334 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, and he had some really terrific throws and moments in the Jets' 20-12 loss to the Miami Dolphins. It's just that he did what he mostly avoided doing in the opener last Monday night. He made some big mistakes in some big spots.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Miami Dolphins, Jordan Jenkins, Leonard Williams, Morris Claiborne, Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold warms up before the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold warms up before the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The Jets (1-0) vs. the Miami Dolphins (1-0) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 1 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

Sunny and 80 degrees. ... See, even Mother Nature would dare rain on the Jets' parade.

WHAT IT MEANS

It might just be the happiest home opener in years for the Jets. It might even be a sellout. And why not? Who wouldn't want to see Sam Darnold, the future, after what he and the rest of the Jets did to the Lions last Monday night. Darnold playing well wasn't a surprise. The Jets pounding Detroit 48-17 was a pretty big shock, though. Maybe it was a fluke, but don't tell that to the players. If they can do anything close to that again, their bandwagon may be full.

Tags: Miami Dolphins, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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DraftKings Sportsbook Minute 00:00:56
Pat Mayo takes a look at the Jets/Dolphins Week 2 matchup in the latest DraftKings Sportsbook Minute

Coming off a short week after playing Monday and heading into another short week with playing the Browns next Thursday, Pat Mayo says that Jets/Dolphins "screams close game coming down to the wire" and that it may be best to take the points and Dolphins +3.

What do you think?

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Kearse and Bowles on next steps 00:00:42
Jets coach Todd Bowles and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse talk about the WR crew as Gang Green gets ready for their home opener on Sunday.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles and WR Jermaine Kearse discussed the wide receivers crew ahead of their Week 2 matchup against the Dolphins.

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Marcus Maye during the Jets' game against the Dolphins.  (AP)
Marcus Maye during the Jets' game against the Dolphins. (AP)

Jets S Marcus Maye (foot) remained out of practice on Friday and is doubtful for Sunday afternoon's game against the Dolphins. 

LB Josh Martin (concussion) has been ruled out. 

LB Neville Hewitt (knee) and WR Jermaine Kearse (abdomen) both practiced in full on Friday and are expected to play. 

Tags: Marcus Maye
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New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa celebrates a first down during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa celebrates a first down during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets may not have a player who's regarded as a true No. 1 wide receiver or running back, so they're embracing the depth they have on offense.

"You can't win with one player,'' Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates said, according to the New York Post's Mark Cannizzaro. "We need every man that's dressed to contribute. If everyone shows their talent -- and it's our job as coaches to showcase what they do best -- then it takes a team effort and you get a team win.''

New York entered the season without a receiver who was regarded in the same tier of stardom as players like Antonio Brown or Julio Jones, but it did boast its depth. After all, the Jets, thanks to a receiving corps of Quincy EnunwaRobby AndersonJermaine Kearse and Terrelle Pryor, are the only team with four players with an 800-yard season.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson
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Sep 10, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Andre Roberts celebrates after returning a punt for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)
Sep 10, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Andre Roberts celebrates after returning a punt for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Raj Mehta)

On Monday night against the Lions, Sam Darnold's fantastic NFL debut rightfully dominated conversations. But the Jets did something they haven't done in a long time: a touchdown on a punt or kickoff return.

Andre Roberts returned a punt 72-yards for a touchdown in the third-quarter, as the Jets scored 31 unanswered points to run away with the game. It was their first return touchdown since 2012. Special teams coach Brant Boyer was able to find the humor.

"All right, you can all say it: It's about damn time," Boyer said Thursday.

Tags: Andre Roberts
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Jets prep for Fish 00:01:04
Jeremy Bates, Avery Williamson and Todd Bowles talk about the challenges presented by the Dolphins in Sunday's home opener

Here are the key takeaways from Jets head coach Todd Bowles' Thursday press conference...

On how Quincy Enunwa would play after missing a year:

"Well, you see him in the spring, first thing you want him to be healthy, once we got him healthy you see him in practice and doing everything the right way, your confident out there and then when you see him in pads for the first time, you're wondering if he could take the hits and everything else. Once he shows he fine you kind of let it go. He's worked his tale off to get to where he is right now and we're happy with it."

Tags: Quincy Enunwa, Steve McLendon
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Dec 10, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (26) in the first quarter 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 free safety Marcus Maye (26) in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)

Jets S Marcus Maye (foot) remained out at practice on Thursday after missing Monday's season-opener.

LB Josh Martin (concussion) and LB Neville Hewitt (knee) also remained out as the team prepares for Sunday's game against the Dolphins.

For the Dolphins, RB Frank Gore (not injury related) and G Josh Sitton (shoulder) were out. LS John Denney (shoulder) was limited.

Tags: Marcus Maye
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Vacchiano reports on Jets CEO 00:01:24
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano shares some insight on Jets CEO Christopher Johnson's comments about the team and the National Anthem controversy.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Christopher Johnson is trying his best to be "Ice Man" in the wake of the Jets' rousing Opening Night win. He believes the Jets can be "a team to be reckoned with" this season. He doesn't think the playoffs are out of reach.

And the truth is he's setting his goals a little higher than that.

Tags: Ereck Flowers, Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets get set for Miami 00:00:59
Sam Darnold, Todd Bowles and Darron Lee talk about this Sunday's Jets home opener against the Miami Dolphins

The Jets were indoors for practice on Friday as they continue to prep for their Monday Night Football game against the Lions.

And after the session, head coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates preach team goals for the game with question about rookie QB Sam Darnold's confidence coming their way...

Tags: Sam Darnold
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New York Jets' Marcus Maye kneels during NFL football practice, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)
New York Jets' Marcus Maye kneels during NFL football practice, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)

Jets S Marcus Maye (foot) remained out at practice Wednesday after missing Monday's season-opener.

LB Josh Martin (concussion) and LB Neville Hewitt (knee) were also out as the team prepares for Sunday's game against the Dolphins.

For the Dolphins, WR Danny Amendola (not injury related) and G Josh Sitton (shoulder) were out. LS John Denney (shoulder) and WR DeVante Parker (finger) were limited. 

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New York Jets acting CEO Christopher Johnson on the sidelines before a game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets acting CEO Christopher Johnson on the sidelines before a game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Christopher Johnson can talk all he wants about his "team to be reckoned with" and missing Sam Darnold's pick-six while in the elevator ("my heart sank"), but the Jets CEO is barred from discussing the national anthem.

"I wish I could talk about this," Johnson told reporters Wednesday afternoon, "but the league, even though they suspended the implementation of the rule, they have still asked us to not comment on anything about the anthem."

Here are the highlights of Johnson's discussion with the media, two days after Gang Green kicked off its season with a win over the Lions.

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Darron Lee (58) Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Darron Lee (58) Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

After a mediocre rookie season in 2016, Jets LB Darron Lee showed improvement in 2017. However, he was looking for more this season as he enters his third year, which many look at as the breakout year. 

One aspect of his game that he wanted to improve on was turnovers, more specifically hauling in his first career interception. 

"I've got to get some picks," Lee told NJ.com's Darryl Slater. "That's going to be my main focus this year. I definitely had a way better second year. I think I've used those first two years to just absorb what I could do better. Now, I can really, really hone in."

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On the season premiere of The Jet Stream podcast, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon kick off the new season with their first look at Sam Darnold, offensive line talk, some self-analysis of their own SNY broadcast on Monday night, and an examination of Darron Lee.

Click below to listen...

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Sam Darnold (14) Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Sam Darnold (14) Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold did exactly what he wanted in his NFL debut: He got a win. He also had himself a pretty good game in the box score. 

Darnold's first pass had the worst possible outcome in a pick-six, but he bounced back immediately. Overall, he finished 16-for-21 for 198 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He also had a 116.8 quarterback rating in the end.

So, how does this long-awaited debut stack up against past Jets quarterbacks taken in the NFL Draft? Here are a few debuts from "The Sanchize" to "Broadway Joe..."

Tags: Geno Smith, Sam Darnold
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