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

New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty throws in the second half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty throws in the second half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

After Jets quarterback Josh McCown suffered a broken left hand in Sunday's 23-0 loss to the Denver Broncos, second-string quarterback Bryce Petty said he feels "ready" to step up for New York's Week 15 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

"I am going to give my heart and soul and prepare for this week for New Orleans," Petty said, according to NJ.com's Connor Hughes. "Whatever happens in the future, happens, but all I can do is worry about things I can control. Whether Josh plays, or whether he doesn't, I am going to go in there prepared and ready to lead this team."

Given McCown's injury is on his non-throwing hand, it is unclear if he will play during the team's final three games of the season. Head coach Todd Bowles said McCown will undergo further tests this week to evaluate his status for the rest of the season.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Denver Broncos, Josh McCown, New Orleans Saints
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Bowles and McCown on 23-0 loss 00:02:13
Jets head coach Todd Bowles and quarterback Josh McCown talk about what went wrong for the Jets in their 23-loss to Denver.

Jets quarterback Josh McCown suffered a broken left hand in Sunday's 23-0 loss to the Denver Broncos, head coach Todd Bowles told reporters.

"It just sucks," an emotional McCown, who was brought to tears at the podium, said after the game.

McCown left the game late in the third quarter with the Jets trailing 20-0. He previously left the game in the first half after scrambling for a first down, but returned two plays later.

He walked off the field and underwent X-rays during the game. It is unclear if the injury will end McCown's season, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. McCown will undergo further tests, Bowles said.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Elijah McGuire, Josh McCown
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Jets Post Game Overtime: 12/10 00:12:08
The Jets Post Game crew hands out its report cards after the Jets' defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos, 23-0.

Bowles and McCown on 23-0 loss 00:02:13
Jets head coach Todd Bowles and quarterback Josh McCown talk about what went wrong for the Jets in their 23-loss to Denver.

The Jets recorded 100 yards of total offense and turned the ball over twice as they were shut out against Von Miller and the Denver Broncos, 23-0, Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Josh McCown threw an interception and lost a fumble before leaving the game late in the third quarter due to a left hand injury. Bryce Petty completed just two of nine passes for 14 yards in his absence.

Bilal Powell and Matt Forte combined for 48 rushing yards on 19 attempts, while Robby Anderson, who totaled 253 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the past two games, was limited to three catches for 27 yards.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Bryce Petty, Denver Broncos, Josh McCown, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson
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Adams on playing for Gang Green 00:02:14
Jets safety Jamal Adams sits with Jeane Coakley to discuss his relationship with Marcus Maye and what it's like to play for Todd Bowles.

New York Jets running back Matt Forte is tackled by Buffalo Bills free safety Jordan Poyer during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Matt Forte is tackled by Buffalo Bills free safety Jordan Poyer during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

RB Matt Forte, G Brian Winters, and WR Robby Anderson are all active for the Jets on Sunday in their road matchup against the Denver Broncos. 

Anderson was questionable after being limited in practice due to a hamstring injury, while Forte has been hampered by a knee injury. Winters has dealt with an abdomen issue.

QB Christian Hackenberg, CB Derrick Jones, CB Jeremy Clark, OLB Freddie Bishop, LB Bruce Carter, OLB Ben Ijalana, and OL Jonotthan Harrison are inactive for the Jets.

Tags: Ben Ijalana, Brian Winters, Christian Hackenberg, Derrick Jones, Jeremy Clark, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson
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Vacchiano's 3 keys to a Jets win 00:01:49
SNY NFL insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys to a New York Jets victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his 3 keys to a Jets victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon are back in the studio for another edition of The Jet Stream podcast, as they look back at an impressive victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. First, the guys welcome Connor Hughes of NJ.com to the show to discuss Todd Bowles' job security and the benching of Muhammad Wilkerson. Later, Jets safety Rontez Miles calls in to talk about Bowles and his two rookie teammates, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye.

Click below to listen

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Rontez Miles
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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The Jets (5-7) face the Denver Broncos (3-9) at Sports Authority field at Mile high in Denver, on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 4:05 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER:

December in Denver is always a little nicer than I think it's going to be. Temperatures on Sunday should be slightly over 60 with light winds and sunny skies.

WHAT IT MEANS

It means everything to the Jets. They are two games behind the Baltimore Ravens in the race for the last wild-card spot in the AFC with only four games to play, so they can't afford any slip-ups. They also have to hope for some help because just to get to the Ravens, they have to jump over the Chargers, Bills and Raiders, who are all one game ahead of the Jets. It's not going to be easy. It's probably impossible. But the Jets have no shot if they don't win all four of their remaining games.

Tags: Brandon Shell, Christian Hackenberg, Denver Broncos, Josh McCown, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Bowles elated 00:00:28
Todd Bowles gives the reaction of the season after a short press conference, and Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys for a Jets win.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles was ecstatic about how short his post-practice press conference was on Friday. 

Bowles, who is usually reserved, couldn't hold in his happiness after the press didn't have any more questions for him.

CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE TWEET

Tags: Brian Winters, Matt Forte
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New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson catches a touchdown pass against Buffalo Bills corner back Tre'Davious White during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson catches a touchdown pass against Buffalo Bills corner back Tre'Davious White during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson will play in Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos despite being limited at practice on Thursday due to a hamstring injury, head coach Todd Bowles told reporters on Friday.

The Jets listed running back Matt Forte (knee) and offensive guard Brian Winters (abdomen, ankle) as questionable, while linebacker Bruce Carter was ruled out due to a groin injury.

 

Tags: Brian Winters, Demario Davis, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson
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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) talks to his line before the snap against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) talks to his line before the snap against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

The Jets (5-7) face the Denver Broncos (3-9) on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Here's what's going on today...

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GEICO SportsNite: McCown 00:03:38
The Football Night in New York crew discuss if Josh McCown will return to the Jets next season and debate Steve Spagnuolo's future.

The Football Night in New York crew discuss if Josh McCown will return to the Jets next season and debate Steve Spagnuolo's future.


New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) celebrates with wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) after Enunwa scored a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze)
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) celebrates with wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) after Enunwa scored a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze)

Jets WR Quincy Enunwa was named the Jets' nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, reports Sports Illustrated.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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 (Steve Nesius/AP)
(Steve Nesius/AP)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles is not undermining the reeling Broncos ahead of the team's trip to Denver this weekend for a Sunday afternoon matchup.

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Jamal Adams on his rookie season 00:03:43
Jets rookie safety Jamal Adams sits down with SNY's Jeane Coakley to discuss his rookie season and his style both on and off the field.

Jets rookie safety Jamal Adams sits down with SNY's Jeane Coakley to discuss his rookie season and his style both on and off the field.


Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Jets RB Matt Forte (knee) was a limited participant at practice on Thursday after missing on Wednesday. 

 

Tags: Brian Winters, Juston Burris, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson
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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

Instead of sulking over his suspension last week, Jets LB Darron Lee used his time to view the game from a new perspective. 

Lee was suspended by head coach Todd Bowles after Lee arrived late to the team's walk-through last Saturday. The second-year pro hadn't missed a practice before the punishment, but either way, he has learned from his first suspension of his career.

"Yeah, we won, man," Lee told NJ.com's Darryl Slater. "There ain't nothing to be down about. I mean, who cares? This ain't about me. It's about the team."

Tags: Darron Lee
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Jets (5-7) face the Denver Broncos (3-9) on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Here's what's going on today:

Need to know

The Jets practice again today at Florham Park. SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will be attending practice this week. Follow @RVacchianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors…

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:01:24
Jeane Coakley reports from Florham Park on the status of the Jets, who are treating every game left like it's a playoff game.

Dec 3, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs the ball against Kansas City Chiefs corner back Darrelle Revis (24) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 3, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs the ball against Kansas City Chiefs corner back Darrelle Revis (24) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Only three Jets were kept out of Wednesday's practice: RB Matt Forte (knee), LB Bruce Carter (groin) and S Terrence Brooks (excused absence).

Forte has not practice since injuring his knee on Nov. 2 against the Bills, although he's played in each of the Jets' last two games.

CB Juston Burris (concussion) and RG Brian Winters (abdomen, ankle) were limited participants.

Tags: Brian Winters, Juston Burris, Matt Forte
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Oct 18, 2017; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to media after the NFL owners meeting at Conrad Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports (Catalina Fragoso)
Oct 18, 2017; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to media after the NFL owners meeting at Conrad Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports (Catalina Fragoso)

Roger Goodell has signed a contract extension that will extend his role as NFL commissioner through 2024.

According to the Washington Post, Goodell could earn up to $40 million per year, with roughly 90 percent of that total incentive based.

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Dec 3, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) celebrates his touchdown during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports  (Ed Mulholland)
Dec 3, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) celebrates his touchdown during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Just days after leading the Jets to an impressive win which netted him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, Jets quarterback Josh McCown was officially named the starter for the rest of the season by coach Todd Bowles.

The 38-year-old completed 26-of-36 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns against the Chiefs on Sunday. He scored the go-ahead touchdown on a one-yard sneak with 2:15 left to help the Jets keep their playoff hopes alive with a 38-31 win at MetLife Stadium.

Tags: Josh McCown
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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

After a three-touchdown performance in a comeback victory, Jets QB Josh McCown was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. 

The Jets were down 14-0 early in the first quarter, but that didn't stop McCown from leading a comeback. Relying on his favorite targets through the air -- Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse -- McCown racked up 331 yards on 26 of 36 for a 72.2 completion percentage. 

Despite throwing for a touchdown, it was McCown using his legs to pick up his other two, including the game-winner. It was his second straight week with a QBR over 100 (109.8), but McCown was only focused on how the team bounced back from the deficit after the game. 

Tags: Josh McCown, Robby Anderson
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Dec 3, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches warmups before game against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports  (Ed Mulholland)
Dec 3, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches warmups before game against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

The Jets (5-7) face the Denver Broncos (3-9) on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Here's what's going on today:

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets overcame a shaky start to break out of their slump with their finest offensive performance of the season so far against the Chiefs. A late touchdown by Josh McCown gave the Jets the lead and the defense held on to preserve a 38-31 shootout win.

Let's review the defensive performance from Sunday's win:

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Rontez Miles, Steve McLendon
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 34-21. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 34-21. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (AP)

The Jets are still mathematically alive for the two Wild Card spots in the AFC, though it would take a lot for them to get there.

With their win over the Chiefs on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, the Jets improved to 5-7 -- two games behind the 7-5 Ravens for the final Wild Card spot and three games behind the 8-4 Jaguars for the first Wild Card spot.

However, between the Jets and the Ravens are the Chargers, Bills, and Raiders, who are all 6-6.

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New York Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse catches a pass during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse catches a pass during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (5-7) face the Denver Broncos (3-9) on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Here's what's going on Tuesday:

Need to know

The Jets return to practice on Tuesday after head coach Todd Bowles gave the team the day off following "Victory Monday" in celebration of Sunday's 38-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will be attending practice this week. Follow @RVacchianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors.

 

Tags: Calvin Pryor, Demario Davis, Denver Broncos, Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Sheldon Richardson
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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) (Noah K. Murray)

A day after he benched Muhammad Wilkerson for most of the first quarter because he showed up late to a team meeting, Jets head coach Todd Bowles said he still considers the 28-year-old defensive end a team leader.

Wilkerson sat for most of the first quarter for arriving to a team meeting late on Saturday, the third straight year he has been benched for being late to a team meeting in his career.

But Bowles said Wilkerson and linebacker Darron Lee, who was a healthy scratch from Sunday's 38-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs for showing up late to practice, have "earned a lot of trust.

"You make a mistake, and you lose a little trust, and you just have to earn it back," Bowles said at a press conference on Monday. "So going forward, we'll go from there."

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches warmups before game against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches warmups before game against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Todd Bowles is a man of few words in public, never one to be the life of the party or a quotable media darling.

The New York Jets coach has won over his players for that very reason. It's the stuff that no one else sees that has his squad professing loyalty to the man leading the way.

"As a man, as a player, I love him," left tackle Kelvin Beachum said. "I'd run through a wall for him. I've only been here a year and I love everything about him.

Tags: Josh McCown
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