Earlier this week, the Jets claimed three players via waivers. Yesterday, we looked at tackle Ben Ijalana and later today we'll be looking at running back Alex Green, but today we focus on defensive end/linebacker Scott Solomon. Jets fans might not know much about Solomon, so I've been taking a detailed look at game footage from the last few years to assess what he brings to the table.

The 24-year old Solomon was a seventh round pick out of Rice last season and was a rotational defensive end for the Titans during his rookie year. This year, they tried to convert him into a 4-3 strongside linebacker, but he failed to make their final roster.

After the jump, I'll be looking in detail at footage from the last two years to assess some of his strengths and weaknesses.

Who is Scott Solomon?

The 6-3 262-pound Solomon was a defensive end at Rice, where he had a school record 24 sacks. At the combine last year, he put up impressive numbers in almost every category, apart from the forty yard dash, where he ran a 4.88. The Titans drafted him in the seventh round and, following a preseason where he had one sack, he made their final roster and played 179 snaps as a backup defensive end.

He only recorded four tackles on defense and a hit and three pressures as a pass rusher, but was an important player for the Titans on special teams. In 2013, the Titans decided to try and convert him to a strongside linebacker role in their 4-3 defense. He played both defensive end and linebacker in preseason, recording 10 tackles and a pass defensed.

Let's look at how he performed in preseason and then go on to discuss some of the things I've observed by watching film on him. Note that some stats, such as snap counts, come from PFF.

2013 Preseason

Week One: Redskins

Solomon started off on the second unit here, playing 40 snaps over the last three quarters and recording four tackles. He was at defensive end on 19 plays and linebacker on 21. Two of his better plays came while at defensive end. He was unblocked off the backside and came downhill to stop a runner for no gain and then dropped off on a screen pass to get in front of the receiver so that he had nowhere to go and was brought down by a team mate for a loss. As a linebacker, he was mostly up close to the line of scrimmage on the tight end's side, but he made one good play where he was lined up alongside the two other linebackers, pursuing a run to the outside, negotiating traffic, taking on a blocker and then making the tackle for a loss. On another play, he forced the run outside and was probably held and he was in on the tackle for a five yard run, shedding his block at the line to bring the runner down as he attacked the hole.

Week Two: Bengals

In this game, Solomon played 14 snaps, all of them as a linebacker. He recorded three tackles, but didn't get into the game until late in the third quarter. He had some struggles here, as he was unable to get off a block on the outside (although the run still went for no gain) and got pancaked by John Conner coming off the edge on one play. His worst mistake was on this touchdown run by Daniel Herron, where he (#90) overpursued to the inside, allowing the runner to reverse his field. He also missed a tackle on a quarterback keeper, although that didn't go for a big gain. Also, he made the tackle on a 22-yard run to the opposite side after chasing across the field, but perhaps could have taken a better angle and prevented such a big gain. He did assist on the tackle on a five yard running play.

Week Three: Falcons

Solomon played nine snaps in this one, again entering for the first time late in the third quarter. He played four snaps as a linebacker and five as a defensive end. On one play he was easily handled and driven back on the edge, although the run went up the middle for no gain. On another, he came off the edge unblocked to make a tackle for a short gain, but it was still enough for the first down. He did set the edge well on one play that went for no gain. After never having dropped into coverage in 2012 or in the first two preseason games, Solomon did drop back three times here and got credit for a pass defensed when he jammed the tight end at the line and then stayed tight with him running down the seam. However, he never turned his head back for the ball, which just hit him in the back. He was pretty physical with the receiver too, so perhaps was lucky not to be flagged.

Week Four: Vikings

In the last game, he got plenty of reps over the last two and a half quarters; 26 in total, all at linebacker, and dropping into coverage 14 times. He was targeted three times, per PFF, for 23 yards and one incompletion and was also flagged for defensive holding on one play. Looking at the footage, one of these was on a nine yard dump off in front of zone coverage, where it was probably actually another player who was responsible for the receiver in question. The incompletion was a dropped pass thrown to the flat in the red zone, where he was clearly a step behind and might even have been beaten for a touchdown if the pass had been out in front of the receiver. On another play, he was again a step or two behind as the fullback leaked into the flat at the first down marker, but the quarterback elected to throw downfield and got picked off. He made a couple of tackles on pass completions where he wasn't the targeted defender, but was also cut to the ground on one screen pass. In the running game, he was blocked out of a few plays, including one where he was pancaked again. He usually would be engaging with a tight end or full back in the running game but on one play he was blocked off the edge by a pulling guard.

On the basis of the preseason as a whole, Solomon's performance was pretty disappointing. While he didn't grade out too badly, a lot of the positive plays he made were unblocked and - as is perhaps to be expected - he did look pretty lost in space and in coverage at times. He also contributed nothing as a pass rusher. I would therefore suggest that the Jets did not sign him because they were impressed with how well he was handling the switch to linebacker.

Could it instead be that they were impressed with his potential as a defensive end last year and will move him back there? Again, based on the footage I watched from last year, I doubt that. Again, he graded out okay and made a few nice plays here and there penetrating gaps and making unblocked tackles in the running game, but he was also blocked out of some plays and lost contain sometimes.

As a pass rusher last year, while he generated pressure a few times, he didn't really impress even when he did. Of his four pressures last year, only one came in the last 14 games. The first came as he dropped off at the line and wasn't blocked so when Tom Brady stepped up he was able to jump in his face, but that still went for a touchdown. On the second, the line broke down altogether and he was actually the last of three guys to get to the quarterback. The following week, he did actually beat a lineman for a pressure for the first time, driving him upfield and then making an inside move to pressure the throw. His one quarterback hit on the year saw him come unblocked on an inside stunt up the middle. While he did have one preseason sack in 2012, even that wasn't particularly impressive because he only beat Bobbie Massie, who at the time was in a massive slump and getting beaten like a drum on almost every play - the Cardinals surrendered four sacks and 10 quarterback hits that day, according to NFL.com. Solomon did beat Massie around the outside, but Kevin Kolb actually escaped his grasp, only to stumble to the ground so he was ruled down in the pocket.

So, if the Jets didn't claim him because of his on-field performance as either a defensive end or a linebacker, why make this claim at all? I see two possible reasons. Firstly, they like his potential and versatility and want to develop him on the active roster (he is not practice squad eligible). Secondly, something I haven't mentioned yet, they must like his special teams ability.

The one place where Solomon really did flash last season was on special teams. He operated as a front line ("wedge") blocker on their kick return unit, showed an uncanny knack for getting downfield in kickoff coverage (where he had three special teams tackles, including one inside the 20) and there was one play in particular where he was one of three linemen to collapse the offensive line on a field goal attempt, enabling the safety to come up and block it, then scrambling to his feet and getting out in front of the return man to throw a couple of downfield blocks. I think Mike Westhoff would have loved this guy.

In particular, his role as a blocker on the kickoff wedge could be something they specifically need from him over the first game or two while Garrett McIntyre is starting. They might be reluctant to use McIntyre in that role until Coples returns. In the past, the Jets have used guys like Mike DeVito, Lex Hilliard and Patrick Turner in that role, all of whom are gone. While Konrad Reuland and Jeff Cumberland remain, I can't imagine they'd risk using both of those two in that role and I don't see any obvious candidates in the receiving corps or on the defensive line this time.

Conclusions

I've pretty much already arrived at my conclusion, which is that Solomon has been added to the roster primarily for special teams purposes. Once Garrett McIntyre returns to a backup role, he might even be surplus to requirements and they could replace him with Lansanah or something. My conclusion might not be correct, but based on the research I carried out, it seems the most plausible explanation.

While he's here they will get a chance to look at him to see whether he has any long-term potential. In terms of a role on this defense, his most closely resembles that of Calvin Pace (or, when Coples is back, McIntyre again). That could be a spot they're looking to fill in future, so if he can demonstrate potential in that area then maybe he'll stick around for a backup role or to develop for the future. As noted, he is not practice squad eligible, so if they want to retain his rights, they'll have to keep him on the active roster unless he gets injured.

I'll be back to look at Alex Green later today. And, yes, Brady Quinn is on my to-do list as well, if he lasts that long.

Tags: BGA, Bent Double

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part II...

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Daily News Live: Mike Westhoff 00:03:54
Mike Westhoff joins Daily News Live to discuss the notion of the Jets tanking and Todd Bowles' job security prior to Jets camp on Thursday.

If you Googled 'New York Jets owner' early Thursday afternoon, it wasn't Woody Johnson who came up. Instead, it was New England Patriots QB Tom Brady.

Click below to see the image

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The Jets have claimed RB/KR Marcus Murphy off waivers, reports Brian Costello of the NY Post.

The Saints waived Murphy earlier this week.

Murphy, 25, played in 16 games for the Saints between 2015 and 2016 while being used mostly on special teams.

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Bill Cowher on set for the Thursday Night Football before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)
Bill Cowher on set for the Thursday Night Football before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)

Former NFL head coach and current CBS analyst Bill Cowher believes Jets coach Todd Bowles has a tough challenge ahead this season. 

After going 5-11 this year, the Jets have lost key pieces on both sides of the ball, and Cowher says this will only make things harder for New York's third-year head coach. 

"The biggest challenge for Todd is to create a culture of winning because I think until you win the close games, until you win back-to-back, there's constantly going to be that one point in the game where you say, 'Oh boy, here we go again,'" Cowher said, according to Newsday.

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part II...

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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Despite the uncertainty the Jets face this season at many positions, Matt Forte believes this year's team will have better environment in the locker room. 

This offseason, the Jets have seen Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Ryan Fitzpatrick, among others, leave for other teams. 

"It's a detriment to a team if you have guys that are selfish and only want to get their job done for a certain reason instead of the main reason, being for all of us to get our job done to win," Forte said, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

Tags: Matt Forte
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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)

Giants safety Duke Ihenacho believes the rival Cowboys completely botched the situation with Lucky Whitehead, who was recently cut and claimed off waivers by the Jets. 

Whitehead, 25, had been involved last week in an apparent case of mistaken identity, where he was initially implicated for shoplifting. Ihenacho took to Twitter to lash out at the Cowboys for getting rid of the innocent player. 

Tags: Dallas Cowboys
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Loud Mouths: Ralph Vacchiano 00:05:05
SNY's NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano joins Loud Mouths to play a round of Boom or Bust on the upcoming NFL season.

 (Brad Rempel)
(Brad Rempel)

The Jets have claimed former Cowboys WR Lucky Whitehead off waivers and cut WR Devin Street, the team announced Wednesday.

Whitehead, 25, had been involved last week in an apparent case of mistaken identity, where he was initially implicated for shoplifting.


Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

On the surface this seems like an odd and unnecessary move for a rebuilding Jets team. Yes, Whitehead was apparently an innocent victim of mistaken identity in his recent "arrest." But the Cowboys decision to cut him anyway for an alleged pattern of bad behavior should raise plenty of red flags...

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part I...

Read More

GEICO SportsNite: Davis on camp 00:01:56
Jets linebacker Demario Davis speaks with Michelle Yu about training camp opening up this weekend.

Jets linebacker Demario Davis speaks with Michelle Yu about training camp opening up this weekend.

Tags: Demario Davis
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 (Orlando Jorge Ramirez)
(Orlando Jorge Ramirez)

Former Chargers G Orlando Franklin had a visit with the Jets today, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

Franklin, 29, was released from the Chargers after they drafted Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney in the second and third rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. 

He signed a five-year, $36.5 million contract with the Chargers in 2015. 

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The word that defined the Jets during the offseason was "rebuilding" - unless, of course, you were Jets GM Mike Maccagnan. To him, it was all about "competition". And with a roster in flux, he certainly has created a lot of that.

Whether that's a good thing remains to be seen, and depends on the talent he has assembled. He will have plenty of training camp position battles to watch, though.

Here's a quick look at the Top 5..

Tags: Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, Buster Skrine, Christian Hackenberg, Jalin Marshall, Juston Burris, Lorenzo Mauldin, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
(Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Even though they didn't pick a wide receiver in the first six rounds, a trio of rookie wideouts made significant contributions for the Jets in 2016. Charone Peake, who was selected in the seventh round, combined with undrafted rookies Robby Anderson and Jalin Marshall to register 75 catches for 935 yards and four touchdowns.

Preseason Stats: Jalin Marshall: 9-94, Charone Peake: 10-103-TD, Robby Anderson: 13-264-3TD.

Tags: Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

It's hard to pick out the most important players on a team that has such low expectations. In the case of the Jets, tomorrow matters more than today, and the most important players now might not be part of their long-term future.

Or to put it another way: Who is more important - Josh McCown or Christian Hackenberg? A resurgence by McCown could cause the Jets to surprise some people. But is that more important than Hackenberg proving whether he can be the Jets' quarterback of the future?

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The evidence is hard to refute. They jettisoned almost every recognizable veteran they had. They didn't add any significant free agents. The veteran quarterback they added is a 38-year-old journeyman. The Jets were 5-11 last season, and it's hard to argue this year won't be worse.

So yes, it sure does look like the Jets are "tanking" this season, with their eyes on the top of next year's quarterback-rich draft. They're not, of course. Tanking is almost impossible to do effectively, especially in the NFL. But they are doing a bit of scorched-Earth rebuilding and know they are in for a long, losing season.

There'll be a lot of short-term pain. And intentional or not, for the long run that's not so bad...

Tags: Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye run a drill during Jets rookie minicamp, (AP)
Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye run a drill during Jets rookie minicamp, (AP)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jamal Adams, the Jets' top draft pick and one of the cornerstones of their rebuilding project, agreed to terms on his rookie contract on Thursday night and is expected to be at training camp on time when it opens in eight days.

The agreement, announced by agents on Twitter and confirmed by the Jets on Friday, is projected to be worth about $22.2 million over four years with a signing bonus of approximately $14.3 million. The money is fully guaranteed for the No. 6 overall pick out of LSU. As with all first-round picks, Adams' deal also includes a team option for the fifth year.

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New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When safety Jamal Adams agreed to his rookie contract Thursday, the Jets finally locked up all nine of their draft picks. And that's good; given the state of their roster, they're probably going to need all of them.

There certainly will be plenty of opportunities for all the draftees on this young and rebuilding team, and maybe even a few undrafted free agents too. The Jets will enter camp next Friday with an open mind at almost every position, both for this year and in the future. Almost all jobs will be somewhat up for grabs.

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JRSportBrief: McCown & the Jets 00:01:36
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR explains why Josh McCown just needs to hold down the fort for the Jets.

Jets quarterback Josh McCown gave his new team a vote of confidence in an interview with ESPN's First Take on Thursday, highlighting the positives he has seen from both veterans and newcomers alike.

"There's still some guys there that are pros," McCown said. "When you watch how a guy like Matt Forte comes in and does his job every day, Mo Wilkerson had a great spring, came in and worked hard, and our rookies coming along, Jamal Adams so impressive coming in as a rookie out of LSU, a high draft pick."

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 (Mark J. Rebilas)
(Mark J. Rebilas)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Darron Lee had his ups and downs after being the Jets' first round pick last season, but the team seems compelled to proceed with the plan to build around him as one of the cornerstones of the defense. Entering his first season, everyone knew that Lee was a terrific athlete, but he still had to prove he had the instincts to play inside linebacker in a pro-style defense.

Preseason Stats: Four games, no starts, seven tackles, one sack

Tags: Darron Lee
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New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, the NFL is still reviewing an incident invovling Jets' LB Darron Lee and DE Leonard Williams from early June, reports ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

The incident occured at Governors Ball Music Festival on Randalls Island in June where Lee had to be restrained by Williams after getting into an argument with a woman. An eye witness video showed Williams getting in between his teammate, and eventually, carrying him away from the argument.

Jets' head coach Todd Bowles later indentified the woman as Lee's girlfriend, and noted that the team will not be disciplining the linebacker. However, he thinks he needs to take caution in the future. 

"You don't want that stuff to happen, obviously," Bowles said earlier on the situation. "With social media going on these days, they've got to take better care of themselves. Darron understands that. I just know, from the past, any time you go to a concert, there's going to be trouble around, just as an ex-player and as a coach. When you go to a concert, a lot of things can happen. You have to be very mindful and very aware of where you are, and your surroundings -- and handle yourself better and keep yourself out of trouble."

Tags: Darron Lee, Leonard Williams
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (right) and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (right) and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Demario Davis, Darron Lee

Projected backups: Bruce Carter, Connor Harris

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin
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New York Jets punter Lachlan Edwards (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets punter Lachlan Edwards (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected specialists: Chandler Catanzaro (K), Lachlan Edwards (P), Tanner Purdum (LS), Jalin Marshall (KR/PR)

Key contributors: Rontez Miles, Josh Martin, Dylan Donahue, Juston Burris, Charone Peake

Tags: Antonio Allen, BGA, Calvin Pryor, Charone Peake, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Dexter McDougle, Jalin Marshall, Juston Burris, Loc Edwards, Nick Folk, Quincy Enunwa, Ronald Martin, Rontez Miles, Tanner Purdum
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New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs for a touchdown (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs for a touchdown (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Speaking with the New York Post, Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa said he would not be surprised if the Jets have another struggling, losing season in 2017. 

"It's hard to argue [with] that," Enunwa said, "when everybody else sees all the stuff that's going on."

This offseason, the Jets have cut ties with many players, including receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Despite the possibility of another tough year ahead, Enunwa believes the players will still play hard when the season begins. 

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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Former Jets QB Chad Pennington believes head coach Todd Bowles deserves the chance to turn the team around, per Brett Bonder of NY Daily News. 

If the Jets are to tank this sesaon, Pennington doesn't think it will be fair to put the blame on Bowles as he thinks he is the right guy for the job.

"My one hope for the Jets is that they give coach Bowles a chance to right the ship, don't pull everything away from him and then make him the reason why they're getting rid of him because of the lack of success," Pennington said. "He is the right guy, I think he showed that in his first year, last year wan an anomaly and this year you can see, wow, what a task he has."

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

Former Jets WR Brandon Marshall said he requested his release because he couldn't deal with the Jets not having a chance this season, per ESPN's Eric Cimini. 

Marshall was on WFAN's Boomer and Carton Show Thursday where he admitted his former team wasn't going to have a good 2017 season, and he didn't want to be a part of it.

"I wouldn't have made it through an entire season, knowing we didn't have a chance," Marshall said. 

Tags: Brandon Marshall
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 (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

USC QB Sam Darnold said last week's report that he might remain in school instead of entering the 2018 NFL Draft did not come from him, but remained vague about his future.

"I don't really have many thoughts about that," the potential No. 1 pick said during an appearance on ESPN's "The Fix". "I don't think any team should tank their season because of me. I'm just taking this every day, one day at a time. That's all I can do."

"I'm looking forward to whatever lies ahead of my future," he said. "But I'm really just taking it one day at a time."

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 (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

After a solid rookie season, Jordan Jenkins is hoping to thrive in a full-time role in 2017. The 23-year old has spent part of his offseason back in Georgia, working on his pass rush techniques with pass rush guru Chuck Smith.

Preseason Stats: Two games, two starts, four tackles, no sacks, two quarterback hits.

Tags: Jordan Jenkins
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Projected Starters: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye

Projected Back-ups: Rontez Miles

On the bubble: Shamarko Thomas, Ronald Martin, Doug Middleton, Corey White

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