(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

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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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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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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 ( 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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 (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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Giants offensive lineman Justin Pugh took to Twitter to take some playful jabs at the Jets and their fans, but not before Jets defensive Muhammad Wilkerson chimed in.

Tags: Justin Pugh, Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
(Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Jets' plan to build a helicopter landing pad at their New Jersey training facility has drawn objections from some who question the need since an airport is just a couple of miles away.

The borough of Madison has lodged objections to the Jets' application, NJ.com reported. The borough says that there's "no demand" for a helipad so close to the Morristown Airport.

"Any purported public benefit from the availability of a helistop for emergency uses is illusive," officials wrote. The borough also argued that the pad could introduce a safety risk.

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

Projected Starters: Wesley Johnson, Brian Winters, James Carpenter, Ben Ijalana, Kelvin Beachum

Projected Back-ups: Brandon Shell, Dakota Dozier, Brent Qvale

On the bubble: Jeff Adams, Ben Braden, Chris Bordelon, Javarius Leamon, Craig Watts, Alex Balducci, Jonotthan Harrison

Departures: Nick Mangold, Breno Giacomini, Ryan Clady

Tags: BGA
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 (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)
(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Coming out of South Carolina, Brandon Shell's size and athleticism stood out, but he also impressed with his technique in pass-protection and his discipline. He posted outstanding pass-protection numbers against some good teams and when matched up with pro prospects. That bodes well for his ability to be successful at the NFL level, although he's not the type of tackle you'd typically leave out on an island.

Preseason Stats: Four games, one start, one sack surrendered.

Tags: Brandon Shell
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New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Morris Claiborne, Buster Skrine

Projected backups: Juston Burris, Marcus Williams, Darryl Roberts, Jeremy Clark,

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darrelle Revis, Marcus Williams
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New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Projected backups: Eric Tomlinson, Jordan Leggett

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Julian Howsare, Sheldon Richardson
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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Jets' first round pick, S Jamal Adams, has already impressed his new teammates, according to NJ.com's Connor Hughes. 

The Jets were exuberant when Adams fell to their No. 6 slot in the 2017 NFL Draft as he was the player the wanted most. Participating at OTAs and mandatory minicamp, Adams has shown his teammates, like CB Morris Claiborne, why the front office was so high on him.

"The things he has done so far?" Claiborne said. "He's unbelievable...He's been out here playing lights out. Picking up the defense, checking to different things, knowing what he wants to check to. He's having fun doing it, too. His spirit is awesome. He's having fun doing what he knows how to do, and that's football." 

Tags: Jamal Adams
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Dec 25, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James (81) is tackled by Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Zach Orr (54) after making a catch during the fourth quarter of a game at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports (Mark Konezny)
Dec 25, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James (81) is tackled by Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Zach Orr (54) after making a catch during the fourth quarter of a game at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports (Mark Konezny)

The Jets are interested in signing former Ravens linebacker Zach Orr, according to the New York Post.

The 25-year-old retired during the off-season due to neck and spine problems, but he is now trying to revive his career to after receiving positive news from his doctor.

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 (Brad Mills)
(Brad Mills)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Fourth round pick Juston Burris has received plenty of buzz this offseason. He's been receiving lots of first-team reps and is reportedly in the mix to start alongside Morris Claiborne. However, what does his rookie season tell us about his chances and where he needs to develop to increase his role?

Preseason Stats: Four games, one start, five tackles, seven passes defensed, one interception

Tags: Juston Burris
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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)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Demario Davis, Darron Lee

Projected backups: Bruce Carter, Connor Harris

Tags: Darron Lee, David Harris, Demario Davis
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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

The Jets' new linebackers coach, Hall of Famer Kevin Greene, is looking to instill more aggression and power in his players, especially LB Lorenzo Mauldin.

The 25-year-old has shown spurts of potential in two seasons with the Jets, but his 2.5 sacks last season isn't the production they had expected. Greene intends to change that, and he told NJ.com's Darryl Slater why he uses this specific approach to his coaching. 

"Everybody at this level has skill, correct?" Greene said. "They'rea ll athletic, and agility and dexterity and all that stuff. Well, what separates people initially is their physical level of play. That's always our first step, is we have to play more physical than whoever is in front of us, because we're all athletic." 

Tags: Lorenzo Mauldin
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A pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is broken up by Buffalo Bills cornerbacks Corey White and Kevon Seymour during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
A pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is broken up by Buffalo Bills cornerbacks Corey White and Kevon Seymour during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson

Projected backups: Jalin Marshall, Charone Peake, ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Charone Peake, Eric Decker, Jalin Marshall, Quincy Enunwa
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Preseason Stats: 17-for-47, 159 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, 1-15 rushing, one fumble

Regular Season Stats: Did Not Play

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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Part 2 of Jets mini-camp 00:02:01
SNY delivers part 2 of an all-access behind-the-scenes recap of New York Jets minicamp, including the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

Click here to watch Part 1

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Behind the scenes at Jets camp 00:01:48
SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

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New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)

President Donald Trump plans to nominate Jets' owner Woody Johnson as the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, the team confirmed on Thursday.

In the case that Johnson is nominated and confirmed by the US Senate, he would hand over his duties as Chairman and CEO to his brother, Christopher Johnson, who will directly oversee the team's day-to-day operations.

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