Yesterday, the Jets announced that they had signed running back Michael Smith to their 90-man roster. Jets fans might not be too familiar with Smith, so I've been watching game film to get a sense of what he brings to the table.

The 25-year old Smith was a 7th round pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012 and won the job as the kickoff returner in camp. However, after the first game, he was benched and remained inactive for the rest of his rookie year. In 2013, he was back in the mix, but missed the whole season with an injury. The Bucs released him in May.

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

Who is Michael Smith?

The 5'9" Smith attended Utah State where he split reps with Seattle Seahawks running back Robert Turbin. Smith, used in a change of pace role, averaged over seven yards per carry, including 7.6 in his senior year. He had a sparkling performance at his pro day (4.33 forty, 40.5" vertical, 126" broad jump, 23 bench press reps), which led to him being projected as a late round pick in the 2012 draft.

Sure enough, Tampa Bay selected him in the seventh round and he did a good job on kickoff returns in preseason, winning that job. He had also generated 112 yards from scrimmage on 30 touches. However, in his NFL debut, he returned just three kicks and didn't see any action on offense, then was made inactive as the Bucs gave that job to Arrelious Benn. He didn't play again that season, although he remained on the 53-man roster.

In 2013, he again flashed as a return man, but tore a ligament in his foot and was placed on injured reserve prior to the season. He joins the Jets who have already brought in one running back this year (Daryl Richardson) after Mike Goodson failed to report. There could be an opportunity to get some touches in preseason with Bilal Powell currently hurt, Chris Johnson on a "pitch count" and Chris Ivory being monitored closely due to previous injury concerns.

Let's take a brief look at the six preseason and one regular season appearances that Smith has made:

2012 preseason

Week 1 - at Miami

Smith didn't make much of an impact on offense, with just 12 yards on 10 touches, but did flash with this spectacular 74-yard kickoff return. He bounced off one tackle and ran through another on that play, but did get caught from behind. He showed good burst on his other kick return too, as that went for 34 yards. On most of his runs, he really had nowhere to go and did at least move the pile a few times. He was slow out of his stance on one run where the hole closed before he got to the line, perhaps misreading the snap count there. He stayed in to pass block a few times, making an effective cut on an outside linebacker but also missing a pickup on a delayed blitz where the quarterback got rid of the ball quickly.

Week 2 - v Tennessee

Smith had more offensive success in the next game, running for 31 yards on seven carries. 17 came on one play as he showed good burst to hit a big hole on the right side and burst into the open field. He also had a conversion on 3rd and two. On one run, he wasn't able to break out of a tackle by a defensive end on the edge, otherwise he could have had another big gain. While he didn't break any long returns here, he impressively got the ball out past the 20 on five out of five returns, breaking a few tackles in the process.

Week 3 - v New England

In this game, Smith rushed for 38 yards on six carries, caught two passes for 16 yards and returned three kicks for 78 yards. At the start of the fourth, he had an impressive drive where they gave him the ball four straight times and he took the Bucs from their own 28 to the Patriots 38. First of all he ran up the middle for 11, skipping over a tackle at the second level. Then he caught a pass in the flat and slipped a tackle. On the next play they dumped it to him underneath and he broke one tackle and then used a stiff arm as he got outside on another man. Finally he showed burst and drive to pick up seven more. Later on that drive, he had a nine yard run outside, but it was negated by a hold. He had one more run later in the game where he showed patience to drive for six behind his fullback. As a return man, he had a good runback for 39 as he slipped a tackle and drove for extra yardage. However, his other two returns were bad decisions, one seeing him tackled inside the 20 and the other seeing him almost tackled inside the 15, although he managed to slip out to the 22. As a pass blocker, he had one semi-effective cut block as the quarterback got rid of the ball early.

Week 4 - at Washington

In the last preseason game, Smith started and did not play much, rushing just four times for four yards. On each carry he had nowhere to go. He did pick up 11 on a dump-off pass underneath but that was easy yardage on 2nd and 23. He did get some extra pass protection reps and struggled on one pickup as the OLB got him off-balance with an outside rush. However, on another pickup he did well to get in front of a strong safety blitz.

2012 regular season

Week 1 - v Carolina

After a solid preseason as a return man, it was Smith's decision making that cost him the role in the season opener. He was tackled at the 10 and 18 on two of his three returns where he should have just stayed in the end zone.

2013 preseason

Week 1 - v Baltimore

In the first preseason game of 2013, Smith ran for 15 yards on five carries and caught a nine yard pass on a 2nd and 10 screen. On one run he looked to turn the corner, but was nailed in the open field by a safety and stoppped in his tracks for four. He did convert a third and one play. As a kick returner, he had two underwhelming attempts, one of which saw him run into his own man short of the 20. He did have a good blitz pickup off the edge, but on another play, two rushers came free and he picked up the outside guy, leading to pressure up the middle.

Week 2 - at New England

Another promising runback from Smith here, as he takes this one 63 yards, bursting into the open field and turning a would-be tackler around in the open field. This would be his only significant contribution though, as he did not play on offense and suffered the foot injury that would end his season.

Observations

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

Usage - In 2013, Smith was used exclusively as a half back. However, he did line up out wide once in 2012.

Running Ability - Despite the fact his speed is his greatest asset and he doesn't have ideal size, Smith is a direct, straight-ahead runner. He doesn't dance around or make many fancy moves, just powers ahead mostly. One thing I did notice was that where he broke tackles, it tended to be on defensive backs rather than big front seven players. As most of this action was two years ago, he might have developed more power since then, which could make a difference.

While his preseason rushing numbers were pretty underwhelming, a lot of that was down to poor blocking from the backups in front of him. As a decent statistical comparison, he had 83 yards on 26 carries in 2012 whereas Mossis Madu had 60 on 23 carries. He beat out Madu for the last roster spot and then Madu spent time with the Jets last year, so maybe we can conclude he has slightly more to offer than Madu.

Pass Protection - In the last preseason game of 2012, they were using Madu on running downs and then bringing Smith off the bench to pass protect so that may be a sign that he was ahead of him in that area too. However, it might just have been an area where they wanted Smith to get extra reps.

While we didn't see much from Smith in this area, he didn't make any terrible mistakes. He looked overmatched at times, but generally did what he could to allow the quarterback to get his throw off. Smith actually looked good against defensive backs, but again struggled with bigger players, something that he might have improved upon if he's added strength since then.

Receiving Threat - All in all, Smith caught five passes for 38 yards, so he showed moderate capabilities in this area. Each time he was targeted was a completion, but he didn't showcase much versatility, as they were all checkdowns underneath. On the one play where he lined up outside, he ran a shallow crosser and was actually uncovered underneath but the quarterback didn't see him and was sacked.

Hands - His hands seem pretty good, albeit that he never had any difficult catches to make when receiving or returning. He didn't have any drops or fumbles.

Instincts - There were a couple of moments where Smith didn't appear to find a suitable space to sit down in for a dump-off pass in time and where the quarterback scrambled but Smith missed the chance to make a block downfield. These struck me as rookie mistakes, perhaps caused by him concentrating too hard on his primary assignment.

Injuries - Smith should no longer be troubled by the foot injury that wrecked his 2013 season. He also missed most of 2010 with a toe injury when he was in college.

Special Teams - This is where Smith has the most chance to contribute. He broke some long returns and showed that he was capable of bringing the ball out past the 20 consistently, showing burst, vision and an ability to break tackles when he can accelerate up to top speed. Other than on kickoff returns, I didn't see any other special teams contributions from him.

Earlier today, Rich Cimini tweeted that Smith can return punts, but I think he's been ill-informed. Smith never returned punts in college or while with the Bucs and didn't even try it in practice when the Bucs were desperate for someone in 2012 and he was sitting on the roster inactive every week. (And yes, I know the 74-yard return above says "punt return" in the link but that was a mistake by NFL.com too).

Conclusions

The Jets often bring up a back during camp and they might get a chance to see action in preseason but rarely challenge for a roster spot. Smith's return skills might give him an outside shot, especially since there's no obvious candidate for the role currently on the roster. However, I think it's more likely that an actual contributor will double up and take the role because the Jets may not have enough spare roster spots to afford the luxury of a specialist.

Still, Smith is young and has upside, so if he makes the most of his opportunities, maybe he can turn some heads - especially if other backs continue to suffer with injuries.

Tags: bentdouble, BGA, Bent Double

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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In the latest episode of The Jet Stream, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon look back at the eight sacks the Jets' D laid on the Tennessee Titans, as well as Christian Hackenberg's performance. Later, the guys discuss the wide receivers, offensive line, and their expectations for this week's matchup with the Detroit Lions.

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 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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JRSportBrief: NFL work stoppage? 00:01:54
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR talks about the idea of an NFL work stoppage in a few years.

In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR talks about the idea of an NFL work stoppage in a few years.

 

 

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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown watches as quarterback Christian Hackenberg warms up before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown watches as quarterback Christian Hackenberg warms up before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

While New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles did name a starting quarterback for Saturday's preseason game against the Detroit Lions, he is expected to give Josh McCown more playing time.

McCown, who did not get receive any reps at Thursday's practice when the Jets did game-plan prep, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini, played the opening drive last week in New York's 7-3 win over the Tennessee Titans, but Christian Hackenberg then played the following eight possessions.

Bowles said he didn't anticipate any lineup changes, but left the door open to it by saying, "we'll discuss it."

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Detroit Lions, Josh McCown
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New York Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin in action against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin in action against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

New York Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin tweaked his back and sat out practice Thursday, leaving him uncertain for the preseason game at Detroit on Saturday night.

Mauldin had been dealing with a back issue earlier during training camp, but returned to the field Wednesday. Coach Todd Bowles said the third-year linebacker was inside receiving treatment during practice Thursday.

Bowles added that he was unsure how long Mauldin would be sidelined, but said that he would likely not play against the Lions.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Detroit Lions, Lorenzo Mauldin, Matt Forte, Quincy Enunwa
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets camp 00:03:01
Jeane Coakley talks to Muhammad Wilkerson about being one of the older, vocal leaders in the locker room at Jets camp.

 

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Daily News Live: Bowles' future 00:04:48
The Daily News Live panel discusses what Todd Bowles can do to save his job and if he is the right coach to lead a rebuilding effort.

 

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

Looking to gain a physical edge on the field, Jets linebacker Darron Lee gained nine pounds heading into training camp. 

Lee, who was 227 pounds after minicamp ended, is now 236 at training camp. 

"On my conditioning test, everybody was like, 'You look noticeably bigger,'" Lee said, according to the New York Daily News. "Hey, I put in that work."

Tags: Darron Lee
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Bowles rewards team during camp 00:02:29
Jeane Coakley and Ralph Vacchiano report from Florham Park where Todd Bowles allowed his team to remove pads during practice on Wednesday.

 

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 (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
(Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin showed up to a Manhattan court on Wednesday for his alleged assault of a Queens man, but the case has been delayed because prosecution wasn't ready to file paper work, according to multiple reports

Mauldin had turned himself in to authorities in late June for his alleged role in the nightclub attack that took place on April 2. The New York Post reported on June 21 that Mauldin had been charged with misdemeanor assault, which carries a maximum sentence of year in jail.

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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - In the wake of the ugly riots in Charlottesville, Va., there's a possibility that more NFL players will decline to stand for the national anthem during preseason games this weekend, joining a protest started by Colin Kaepernick last year. So far there's no indication any Jets players will join them.

But if they do, their coach will have their back.

"We don't have a rule book on what's right to protest and not protest," Bowles said at Jets training camp on Wednesday. "You don't know those things until the course of time, whether it's sitting for the anthem, whether it's raising your fist, wither it's speaking out, a walk to Washington -- who's to say whose protest is good or bad?"

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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

John Morton seemed to like everything he saw with Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg on Saturday night. He liked his poise, his decisiveness, the decisions he made. It was clearly a step in the right direction.

But was it a big step toward Hackenberg getting the starting job?

That's a question that Morton, the Jets new offensive coordinator, wasn't willing to answer on Tuesday. In fact, Morton made it sound like Hackenberg still has a long ways to go.

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Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets WR Lucky Whitehead, who suffered a broken foot during Monday's practice, will have surgery for the injury, head coach Todd Bowles said on Wednesday.

Prior to deciding on surgery, Whitehead was expected to miss four-to-six weeks, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed.

Whitehead joined the Jets after he was released by the Cowboys on July 24. He returend two punts and a kickoff in the Jets' preseason opener. Serving primarily as a returner, he caught three passes for 48 yards for the Cowboys in 2016.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets camp 00:01:46
Jeane Coakley reports from Jets camp, where Todd Bowles was pleased with his team's response to his criticism.

 

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Jets Training Camp report 00:01:37
SNY's Jeane Coakley reports from Jets training camp where head coach Todd Bowles was not pleased with the team's most recent practice.

 

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New York Jets running back Matt Forte is tackled by Miami Dolphins corner back Tony Lippett during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets running back Matt Forte is tackled by Miami Dolphins corner back Tony Lippett during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Jets running back Matt Forte is missing time in the preseason and training camp due to a hamstring injury for the second year in a row, but told NJ.com's JJ Conrad he feels he is close to returning to the field.

"I'm feeling good, but not good enough to be in full practice yet," Forte said to Conrad on Monday. "I'm just going through what the trainers tell me, easing back in. I don't want to go back out there immediately and get injured again."

Forte, who did not play in Saturday's 7-3 win over the Tennessee Titans in the Jets' preseason opener, said he the trainers are being cautious with him given the nature of hamstring injuries and the fact the veteran running back underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus at the end of last season.

Tags: Matt Forte
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Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; General view of a New York Jets helmet during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Kartozian)
Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; General view of a New York Jets helmet during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Kartozian)

The Jets have signed undrafted rookie WR Daniel Williams, and waived WR Deshon Foxx, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano. 

Williams spent time with the Oakland Raiders after going undrafted out of Jackson State (Miss.). Standing at 6-foot-2, 234 pounds, he totaled 184 receptions for 2,497 yards and 19 touchdowns in four years at college. 

Foxx went undrafted as well out of UConn in 2016. He spent time on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad before joining the Jets this offseason. The Jets waived him on May 9, but eventually resigned him on May 22. 

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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) watches as quarterback Josh McCown (15) warms up before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) watches as quarterback Josh McCown (15) warms up before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

With Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty still early in their NFL careers, Josh McCown is taking a leadership and mentorship role at quarterback in his first season with the Jets. 

"Every quarterback goes out there and they want to finish each drive with a touchdown, so when those things are happening, there is kind of an inner fight of, man, do I need to do more?" McCown said, according to Newsday. "Things happen and you get kind of delayed, but the fight as a quarterback is to stay in the system, stay within the game and don't be greedy and force the ball. So my hat is off to both of them for not doing that."

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
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SNY's Jonas Schwartz and former NFL guard Willie Colon are live from Jets training camp in Florham Park. The guys open the show with SNY Jets reporter Jeane Coakley to discuss the biggest storylines from camp. Then, they welcome in tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who opens up about the troubled start to his NFL career, and how he is a changed man. Later, rookie safety Marcus Maye joins the show to give his thoughts on his first NFL training camp, and how he is adjusting to life in the New York area.

Click below to listen

 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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Atlanta Falcons free safety Robenson Therezie returns a pass interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second quarter at the Georgia Dome. (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)
Atlanta Falcons free safety Robenson Therezie returns a pass interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second quarter at the Georgia Dome. (Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets signed former Atlanta Falcons defensive back Robenson Therezie after safety Doug Middleton reportedly suffered a torn pec.

Therezie, a 26-year-old free safety, recorded one interception, two passes defensed and 36 combined tackles in 25 games with Atlanta over the past two seasons. He was an undrafted free agent out of Auburn.

Middleton, who was competing for a backup role with New York, recorded six combined tackles and one pass defensed in four games as a Jet last season. He suffered the injury in the fourth quarter in Saturday's 7-3 preseason win over the Tennessee Titans and is expected to undergo surgery, according to the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta.

The Jets also announced they waived fullback Algernon Brown, who appeared in eight offensive plays and two plays on special teams on Saturday. He recorded 1,310 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns in four seasons with BYU.

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Jets WR Anderson on Hackenberg 00:01:31
Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson chats with SNY's Jeane Coakley about the Jets' preseason win over the Tennessee Titans.

 

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This preseason, I'll be spotlighting an under-the-radar player who impressed me in each game and assessing that player's chances of making the team.  Today we'll look at defensive lineman Claude Pelon, who was one of the top performers in the Jets' 7-3 win over the Titans in the preseason opener.

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Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The last time anybody saw Christian Hackenberg in a game was the preseason finale almost a year ago. It was a disaster. He completed just 11 of 31 passes for 54 yards and threw an interception, too.

It was a much, much different and better Hackenberg that the Jets got to see on Saturday night.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Alex Tanney (11) is sacked by New York Jets linebacker Julian Stanford (51) during the second quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Alex Tanney (11) is sacked by New York Jets linebacker Julian Stanford (51) during the second quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Josh McCown threw the Jets' first touchdown of the preseason and the team's defense tallied eight sacks in a 7-3 win over the Titans on Saturday at MetLife Stadium.

The Jets kept the Titans out of the endzone for the duration of the game, allowing only a field goal on a five-play, 49-yard drive in the third quarter. 

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The good news is the Jets really have no choice but to play most of their starters in their preseason opener. Or maybe that's the bad news given the low expectations for this team.

But Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles have promised competition all summer long for almost every job on the roster, and the competition begins for real against the Tennessee Titans at the Meadowlands on Saturday night. Not all jobs are up for grabs, of course, but quite a few are.

Here's an inside look at some of the battles and 10 intriguing players to watch:

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Chris Harper, Christian Hackenberg, Juston Burris, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Some of the Jets' newest additions, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins and S Marcus Maye, had high praise for their new head coach, Todd Bowles. 

Both appeared on SNY's The Jet Stream podcast, and when asked who is most impactful to the Jets this season, Seferian-Jenkins showed love to his coach. 

"I would definitely say, first of all, coach Bowles," Seferian-Jenkins told SNY's Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon. "I never had a coach like that, that really just says a real, honest thing. Just tells you the truth. He doesn't want to lie to you, he doesn't want to sugarcoat anything. I think he's a phenomenal coach."

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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