(Image via @MetsKevin11)

So, it finally happened.

The Seahawks beat the Packers on a controversial last second play, shining the limelight on the replacement officials presiding over their Monday Night Clash. You knew sooner or later they were going to have to make a call that would decide a game and common consensus is that they got this one wrong. So wrong. Perhaps the only surprising thing is that it wasn’t the Jets who got screwed.

For the second straight game, the gun has sounded on an NFL contest with nobody entirely sure who won for a few awkward moments. When Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker’s field goal was ruled good, I half-expected them to change their mind when Vince Wilfork started leaping around a throwing a hissy fit. (For what it’s worth, I still haven’t seen convincing evidence either way, but if you account for the fact that if the ball goes directly over the goalpost – in other words so that it would have hit the upright had the goalposts been a few feet higher – that still counts as good according to the NFL rulebook, then it probably was good).

I’ve remained pretty silent on the issue until now. Obviously these officials are doing the best they can and, although some of the delays and confusion can be frustrating when the games are played into the early hours of the morning where I am, I can live with the occasional bad call, because we’re accustomed to that anyway. However, when you get a game-deciding call that is non-reviewable or a situation where the same wrong call is being made over and over again, you start to affect the results of games and that is unacceptable.

On the whole, let’s say NFL officials make the correct call 99% of the time. I have no idea if that’s accurate, but this is just for the purposes of illustration. Now, maybe the replacements make the correct call 98% of the time. We all moan and gripe about the bad calls with the normal referees in place and now there are (perhaps) twice as many. Having said that, the NFL should perhaps be commended for at least managing to source a set of officials that are at least competent enough to enable games to be conducted under somewhat controlled and fair conditions.

It would vary from crew to crew (and possibly from week to week) too. Some of the better replacement crews might be doing a better job than some of the worst crews from the regular officials roster (*cough* Jerome Boger *cough*). However, the difference between the top NFL crew and the worst replacement crew is becoming unacceptable. It can’t be a good sign that there was so much controversy attached to the last two games, where the two crews hand-picked to work a nationally-televised game came under fire.

It’s particularly interesting to look back at what happened with the replacement officials in the NBA in 1995. Back in 2008, where it looked like the NBA was going to have to use replacement officials once again, I looked back to some footage from 1995 games and wrote an article about it (linked to here) for an NBA team blog (I know, I know).

At the time, I had been wondering if the replacement officials would be a refreshing change because they wouldn’t ignore certain calls or give certain players preferential treatment like the usual officials did. However, what I found was that when they did make those calls (which NBA players were used to seeing overlooked), this made the players more likely to complain (despite newly instigated tighter technical foul sanctions). This led to a situation where the replacements were even more likely to allow that to influence how they called the rest of the game than the originals.

Fast forward to today and we’ve seen the same thing happening – specifically with pass defense. We’ve seen Santonio Holmes appeal for a flag, both justifiably and non-justifiably, but then we’ve also seen the likes of Ike Taylor complaining about a flag, so that the next time there is a violation, it doesn’t get called. You also end up with a Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf scenario, where a player who isn’t perceived to have been interfered with doesn’t earn the call the next time, because the officials just assume he’s always going to ask for that call.

Perhaps even more distressing is the fact that even when they identify an infraction correctly, they are getting the call wrong. This might be a wacky conspiracy theory, but I wonder if that’s something that has come from higher-up. If a receiver runs deep down the sideline and the defender makes contact with his arm, that is pass interference or it’s a no-call. However, having thrown the flag, the officials often seem content to reach a “compromise” and call illegal contact or holding, so that the offensive player earns a first down but doesn’t get the big yardage.

Maybe that’s a clever way for the officials to hedge their bets. It’s like accepting a plea deal for a misdemeanour instead of being charged with a felony. However, this is rooted in nonsense, because illegal contact can only apply when the quarterback is in the pocket and still with the ball in his hands. Once the ball is thrown, if you impede the receiver, that’s pass interference and if you don’t (for example, incidental contact), then that’s a no-call. They’ve also been calling holding on defensive players where the ball has been thrown and the defender has been holding the receiver. Yes, that’s “holding”, but in the context of preventing them from catching a pass, it should be interference and assessed at the spot of the foul.

You’ve also had controversy after the first game where Mario Williams claimed Austin Howard was using illegal techniques to keep him at bay and I didn’t make a big deal of it this week, but there was a lot of what I would recognize as holding going on in the trenches between the Dolphins and Jets this weekend. All of this pails into insignificance when considering the game-deciding call(s) made over the last two nights though.

Rewind back to 1995 and how did the NBA officiating lockout end? It ended because the situation got out of hand and the NBA moved swiftly to get things resolved so that the regular officials could return. In the NBA, with 82 games in a season and 200 points being scored in most games, there would be less indignation over a game-deciding call. However, a major brawl – which the replacements struggled to get under control – led to a record number of players being suspended and a couple of star players got injured either in scuffles or during particularly physical games. In the NFL, one game and one play can make or break your season, so they’re more or less at breaking point already.

So what’s the answer? I purposely haven’t got into the financial or political side of things, but both teams seem reluctant to budge. Maybe the NFL will now be under more pressure to convince the owners that this needs to be sorted out, but they’ve been satisfied to run the games under these conditions and the officials’ union doesn’t want to blink first –even though they’re losing money at a rate that will be hard to recoup via the negotiations themselves. So, while the NFL could panic and surrender some bargaining power to bring back these guys, what happens in the meantime?

I’d like to see the NFL address this somehow. It’s difficult to do anything about it on the fly, but admitting these officials need help would be a good first step. While most calls are judgment calls and therefore non-reviewable, as they should be - otherwise games would last forever – maybe the NFL could implement procedures whereby such calls are considered reviewable in the last two minutes of a one-score game or something.

I’m still not entirely certain there was enough video evidence to overturn either of the last two results, or that a regular crew of officials would have called those plays any differently (remember Jets-Packers from 2010?) but at least that would be seen as a positive step towards ensuring an even worse miscarriage of justice is avoided in future.

As of today, the NFL is a laughing stock. I can’t imagine Roger Goodell sitting idly by and allowing that to continue.

Don’t expect me to spoil you like this every week, but I’ll be back with another BGA Special about Darrelle Revis later tonight. Also, BGA Extra will be here tomorrow night, so remember to head on over to the BGA for this week’s game if there’s anything you want me to analyze.
Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

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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 (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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GEICO SportsNite: Jets camp 00:02:31
Jeane Coakley reports from Jets training camp to preview their first preseason game of the 2017-18 season on Saturday, August 12.

 

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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 | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The memories of Christian Hackenberg from last season are few and not very good. He had two ugly preseason performances and then was buried on the depth chart, only resurfacing to occasionally misfire in practice. His future didn't appear bright at all.

That's why all eyes will be on Hackenberg when the Jets open up their preseason slate against the Tennesssee Titans at the Meadowlands on Saturday night.

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Jets training camp 00:01:42
Jeane Coakley breaks down the latest news and updates from Jets camp as they get ready for their first preseason game on Saturday.

 

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

Jets corner Buster Skrine thinks this year's secondary will not only be an improvement over last year's but that the group also has the potential to stand out. 

"This is my seventh year in the NFL and this is one of the most aggressive groups I've been around - and confident," Skrine said, according to Newsday.

Tags: Buster Skrine
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) attempts to pass during New York Jets training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) attempts to pass during New York Jets training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg had another tough day at practice Wednesday, throwing two interceptions during team drills. It marked the second straight day that Hackenberg threw two picks during 11-on-11 drills. 

The second-year quarterback had not thrown an interception during his first eight practices of training camp. Head coach Todd Bowles is still confident in what Hackenberg can do on the field, regardless of what has happened the last two days. 

"It's practice," Bowles told reporters Wednesday. "The defense has got to get turnovers. I'd be concerned if they weren't. They got two today, but we're cleaning some things up, and we're learning as we go. It's going to be up and down every day, so we'll just go from there."

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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

Though the Jets lost WR Quincy Enunwa for the rest of the season, the other receivers are not viewing it as a setback, per Newsday's Kimberly A. Martin.

Leading the wide receiver corps now is WR Robby Anderson who saw limited time in his rookie year last season. The 24-year-old viewed the situation entirely different than the reporters asking him questions after practice Tuesday. 

"It's not a challenge," Anderson said, "it's an opportunity."

Tags: Jalin Marshall
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets' offense 00:01:57
Jeane Coakley reports from Jets camp in Florham Park to discuss the Jets' depth chart and how the offense can stay competitive this season.

 

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New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Todd Bowles has had more than enough of the Sheldon Richardson-Brandon Marshall feud.

After 11 months of sniping back and forth between the two of them, and one day after Richardson reignited the war by ripping Marshall in a radio interview, the Jets coach made it clear he's had enough of their fighting. Bowles even grew testy with the media when asked about Richardson's latest remarks.

 

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Sheldon Richardson
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets rookie S Marcus Maye has been one of the best players at training camp so far, per NY Daily News' Manish Mehta. 

Maye, the Jets' second-round pick out of Florida, was known to be extremely aggressive and instinctive coming in, and he has certainly shown CB Morris Claiborne he is NFL-ready.

"You can tell: He's a guy that's all about his business," Claiborne said. "He's just aggressive and smart. You wouldn't expect the football smarts from him at this stage. But he's picking up the defense well and going out and making plays."

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Jets are down with Enunwa out 00:01:09
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR wonders how the Jets will ever be able to score without the injured Quincy Enunwa.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Quincy Enunwa is nice receiver with decent size (6-2, 225) who can make tough catches. And his production last season as the Jets' No. 2 receiver after Eric Decker got hurt was unexpectedly good.

But he's never been thought of as one of the players the Jets could least afford to lose. He's never been considered irreplaceable.

Tags: Charone Peake, Chris Harper, Jalin Marshall, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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