The news that Jim Leonhard's collision with Patrick Turner caused a broken leg that will sideline him for the rest of the season has no doubt thrown Rex Ryan's plans for the upcoming game against New England into chaos. It also raises questions about how the Jets will perform at the safety position and who is going to step up to fill the void.

I've been breaking down Jets footage all season long and although we cannot say for certain how the Jets will perform without him - mainly because he's only missed six snaps all year (all in goalline situations) - there are certainly a few things that can give us some idea.

Join me after the jump for some in-depth analysis.

Eric Smith

Although Smith had started the previous game, he was the one named as Leonhard's replacement by the team this week. (Clearly Brodney Pool is going to return to the starting lineup.) The team had already lauded Smith's communication skills and the Jets immediately reaped the benefits of those on Thursday night with a much more organized display than they had produced over the previous few weeks, especially in zone coverage. Smith will definitely be the one to take over Leonhard's crucially important role of organizing the secondary.

In terms of role, it's not like Smith (or Pool) will be thrown into a situation they haven't already faced this year. Although both have primarily been deep safeties, they have each spent plenty of time in the box. The one major adjustment is that when they played together it was always in a three-safety alignment, with Leonhard there too.

Smith is a better tackler than Leonhard, but is less reliable in coverage. However, he is much bigger than Leonhard, so at least he does not have as much of a size mismatch against tight ends. While Smith's skillset would seem to suit the strong safety role, I wouldn't be surprised to see him deep, so that he is in a better position to read the offense.

One thing that I've often thought about Smith is that when he is pressed into full time action, he often performs well, whereas in a role-playing situation, he struggles. It's as if he benefits from being aware of his role from the start and is able to prepare fully and get into the rhythm of the game faster. I had absolutely nothing to back this up, but when you think back to when he has started in the past - At the start of 2008, before he was concussed in the collision with Boldin, when Kerry Rhodes was benched last year, at the start of this year when Pool was out and last week, after Pool was benched - he always seems to perform well.

So, I did a little sleuthing and the results are quite striking. Smith has played more than 50 snaps a game five times and in those five games he has performed at a very high level compared to when he plays less than that:

Run defense

* More than 50 snaps - 32 solo tackles (6.4 per game), no missed tackles, PFF rating +6.9

* Less than 50 snaps - 40 solo tackles (1.2 per game), nine missed tackles, PFF rating -2.5

Pass coverage

* More than 50 snaps - 9-for-15, 84 yards, no touchdowns. QB rating 75.4, PFF rating +0.3, no 20 yard plays given up

* Less than 50 snaps - 23-for-40, 314 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions. QB rating 86.9, PFF rating -13.5, four 20 yard plays given up

Pass rush

* More than 50 snaps - Three pressures in 15 pass rush attempts, PFF rating +0.3

* Less than 50 snaps - 15 pressures in 150 pass rush attempts, PFF rating -9.4

Overall

PFF rating in games where he played more than 50 snaps is +7.5 and when he plays less than 50 snaps is -28.7

Maybe it's a small sample size right now but, so far, the numbers suggest that Smith is a very poor backup safety, but a very good starter. Maybe this indicates he is capable of stepping up.

Searching for flaws in the model

What happens if he starts, but then ends up with fewer than 50 snaps because he doesn't perform well enough to stay out there? The only recent example of that was in the first New England game this year. Smith was seemingly benched after 36 snaps, just before halftime, because he should have been deep when Randy Moss beat Revis for a score. However, that particular game still stands up to scrutiny, again suggesting he performed better than normal due to the fact he started. He had two tackles, no missed tackles, a pressure and gave up no receptions for a PFF rating of +0.2 (which would have been higher had he not been docked 0.9 points for his "helmet" to "helmet" penalty on Wes Welker.)

Also, why make 50 snaps the cut off point? I decided to look at whether there was any correlation between number of snaps and performance. If you look at the five games where he played between 40 and 50 snaps, his performance is not as good as when he plays more than 50, but it is still better than normal (and arguably better than Jim Leonhard has been this year). In those five games, his PFF rating was -3.5, so not quite as bad as the -25.2 total rating for the 24 games with less than 40 snaps, especially when you factor in the additional snaps. He had 14 tackles in those five games, with two missed tackles, and opposing QB's went 5-10-59 against him, with one TD and one interception (a 62.1 rating).

Brodney Pool

Leonhard's injury thrusts Brodney Pool back into the limelight, after the team suggested he was struggling to get to grips with where he needed to be and was the source of some of their defensive breakdowns in recent weeks. In the first game against the Patriots, Pool replaced Smith at halftime and his superior cover skills proved useful, helping the Jets to shut out New England in the second half. After his benching for last week's game, he still saw plenty of action in three-safety alignments and - much like the other two safeties - performed well. The coaching staff suggested that taking certain things "off his plate" seemed to have helped him out.

Early in the season, Pool was used almost exclusively as a deep free safety. He has good range and ball instincts, so performed reasonably well in that role. However, when Jim Leonhard started to get picked on in man-to-man situations, they experimented with using Pool in the box. Again, he did reasonably well at this, but since then the Jets have increasingly been using their safeties in zone coverages and this seemed to be where he was struggling. This perhaps suggests that if the Jets are going to play zone, Pool should be in the box and if they are going to play man, he should be deep. It is possible for the safeties to be interchangeable, but they would need to be careful about making this too obvious, because even if you switch them at the last moment, this can still tip your hand, which Tom Brady will be capable of exploiting.

If you read the comments from an anonymous GM earlier in the year, you'd have been forgiven for thinking that Brodney Pool is a hard-hitting playmaker. As a result, he has been viewed by many as a bit of a disappointment. However, as I noted at the time, that report was nonsensical, because Pool is a rangey, athletic safety with good size, but has never been known for his tackling. In fact, some of you may recall Jets 2005 draft pick Andre Maddox declaring that he was better than Pool, because "He can't tackle". What the Jets need Pool to be is a disciplined centerfielder with range and instincts, that will keep mistakes to a minimum. In other words, a poor man's version of what Kerry Rhodes would have been, if he listened to his coaches.

Kerry Rhodes

While we're on the subject of Kerry Rhodes, I was going to do an "Expendables" update this week, but Wordpress "ate" three hours worth of work and I ran out of time. However, my research into Rhodes revealed some interesting factors.

Last year, I repeatedly stated (and was often berated for doing so) that, despite his obvious flaws, Rhodes had performed well all season. This was because he hadn't made many mistakes or given up many big plays, so - even when you factored in his apparent lack of impact plays - his performance put him among the better safeties in the league (albeit in a down year for safety play league-wide).

We all know how Rhodes wanted to be placed in a role where he could showcase his playmaking ability more and how he wasn't keen to perform the thankless task of roaming centerfield, despite the fact he was the only Jet equipped to do so with such efficiency and that it was the most productive use of his abilities. Rhodes made the mistake of listening to "twiticisms" about his lack of impact plays, perhaps fuelled by his talk during the off-season. As a result, he started gambling and making mistakes, for example missing tackles by going for a big hit rather than wrapping his man up or gambling underneath and vacating deep centerfield on Ted Ginn's touchdown catch. This landed him on the bench, after which he returned to the team, played more disciplined football and was able to let some impact plays come to him rather than trying to make something happen and risking a costly error.

So, now he's with the Cardinals and is still being mostly employed in centerfield. Moreso, in fact, than when he was with the Jets. Early in the season, Rhodes did make some huge plays - a game clinching interception, fumble returns for touchdowns in consecutive weeks - and everyone in Arizona seemed more than happy with his impact. However, to go along with those big plays, he was also giving up big plays too.

Last year, Rhodes missed only five tackles (in 19 games), so even though he was often seen to be shying away from contact, he was at least keeping the ball carrier in front of him. This year, he's already missed eleven tackles, including a few particularly costly ones. Overall in coverage, he's been okay, but not quite as good as last year. He got beaten for a touchdown (something which didn't happen last year) and gave up a 53 yard pass play a few weeks ago (again not something that happened last year). QB's have a 69.8 rating when throwing his way, compared with 59.7 last year.

He has been a more productive tackler (61 tackles already, after just 71 in 19 games last year), but a lot of that is down to the fact that Arizona's run defense is nowhere near as good as the Jets, so runners are getting to the second level more. He's also had some strange moments - getting ejected for touching an official and fumbling the ball at the goalline for a touchback. Now it seems the impact plays have dried up too. Rhodes has two interceptions and no sacks. A few weeks ago, I was saying that Rhodes was going to get his first Pro Bowl appearance in the worst season of his career, but now, I'm not sure that he will make it.

Anyway, where I am going with all this, to bring it back to the original topic, is that the Jets might not necessarily be much better off had they retained Kerry Rhodes. Ignoring the impact his contract would have on their efforts to retain all their free agents this offseason, I was concerned that Rhodes' coverage skills were going to be hard to replace (and I was right). However, my bigger concern would be that they retained him and he played with poor discipline as he did at times last season. If that was going to be the case - and the Jets are the only people who could make a sensible judgement on the basis of his attitude - then they would be better off without the distraction. We will never know whether he would have fallen into line, but if his performance in Arizona suggests that he would have been gambling to try and make impact plays and giving up big plays as a result, then - even with Leonhard's injury - they might be better off for having traded him. Especially if Pool, who they wouldn't otherwise have signed, can fill in adequately.

One final thought: Does anyone agree with me that - even before this injury happened - Darren Sharper probably would have been a pretty good offseason pickup for this team?

The third safety

Pool and Smith have each had plenty of reps at both safety positions. However, the effect of late-season injuries is often felt further down the depth chart. Last season, when Lito Sheppard, Bart Scott and Donald Strickland got hurt against the Colts, it meant that Drew Coleman, Dwight Lowery and James Ihedigbo were all forced to play almost the whole game. All three have been up and down, but on the whole are solid role-playing backups for this team and will hopefully continue to be so. However, when forced to start, they can be exposed. A similar situation arose earlier this year with Darrelle Revis and Kyle Wilson/Drew Coleman, which the Jets were fortunate enough to overcome.

With any luck, the Jets will not lose too much from having Smith and Pool as their starting safeties. If they can iron out any communication issues and keep the breakdowns to a minimum, whether that requires a scheme simplification or not, hopefully the Jets defense will still be able to play at an elite level. The next question, however, is what they will do when they go to their three safety alignments.

Although he's coming off a concussion, many people are hoping Dwight Lowery will be able to step into that role. Although a lot of people are suggesting the Jets could "convert him to safety", this is a change that has already taken place. Third safety is exactly the role Lowery had when Pool was out earlier in the season. Against Baltimore, he was in on 23 snaps, all of them at safety. All but three of his season high 37 snaps against the Pats in week two were as a safety. While Revis was hurt, he filled in at cornerback, but then returned to his role as the third safety against Minnesota and since then has filled in at both safety and slot corner as and when required. He got plenty of playing time against the Packers, because they went to a spread formation, for example.

So - if he's declared fully healthy - Lowery is equipped to fill in as the third safety and his ball skills should serve him well. If Lowery can't go, or if there's another injury to a safety, what other options do they have?

One option is to go corner-heavy. For the Pats game, if the first three Rex v Belichick matchups are anything to go by, the Jets will have at least five DB's on the field at all times and sometimes as many as seven. Even though Randy Moss is gone, the Patriots do still have a pass-first offense, so I don't expect that to change. Maybe they could go with four corners and two safeties, which would mean extra playing time for Drew Coleman and either Kyle Wilson or Marquice Cole.

The other option - if we ignore the possibility of signing somebody off the street like Hank Poteat - is to use James Ihedigbo more. Ihedigbo has carved out a nice role for himself as a special teamer, pass rusher and run blitzer, but when pressed into service as a replacement for the injured Bart Scott in the AFC Title game last year, he looked a little lost, particularly in coverage. Largely based on this game, the feeling is that Ihedigbo will struggle if used as a conventional safety.

However, that's the only extended action we have to go on. Who can say whether he has made improvements since last year? He has certainly been playing more and although he is usually employed in those same run blitzing and pass rushing situations, that is not always the case and his comfort level has undoubtedly grown.

Again, it's a ridiculously small sample size, but Ihedigbo has been employed in coverage 27 times this year and only given up one catch. He is being used in coverage more than last year, where he didn't drop into coverage more than once in a game until week 13. So, they can still use him coming off the edge and drop him into coverage from time to time, seemingly without other teams being able to exploit him, at least so far.

Conclusions

Jim Leonhard was not having a particularly good season so, on the face of it, this shouldn't be an insurmountable loss. Unfortunately, the timing couldn't have been much worse because Leonhard had been playing solid football over the last month, the zone defense which was presumably going to be an important weapon against Brady and the Patriots had just started to look solid and they were just in the process of finalizing their preparations for the biggest game of the year so far, many of which involved Leonhard's input significantly. Toss in the fact that Brodney Pool's form had not been good and it's no wonder Rex Ryan looked a little shaken on Friday afternoon.

However, this is a team that has won games without Jenkins, Ellis, Pace, Revis, Sanchez, Cotchery and Holmes under the current regime. Add Leonhard to that group and maybe it would be the straw that broke the camel's back. Unfortunately for the Patriots, other than Jenkins, the others will all be there on Monday night, along with the rest of the Jets roster, which will be hungry to make Leonhard's absence seem like an afterthought. Beyond Monday, who knows? Right now, who cares?

Tags: Main Page, Bent Double

Jets DE Sheldon Richardson took a swipe at former teammate Brandon Marshall on Tuesday after the Jets' first day of OTAs.

While answering a question regarding whether he wanted to remain with the Jets (he does), Richardson said the "locker room is a whole lot easier to get along with now."

After being asked why the locker room is better, Richardson said "let's just say there are 15 reasons why it's better." Marshall wore No. 15 with the Jets...

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Sheldon Richardson
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 (Kyle Terada)
(Kyle Terada)

Roger Goodell announced the NFL will be more laid back when it comes to touchdown celebrations this season, according to his Commissioner Letter. 

The NFL has been harsh when it came to players getting creative in the end zone, and after speaking with over 80 current and former players, Goodell decided it was time for that to change. 

"We are relaxing our rules on celebrations to allow players more room to have fun after they make big plays," Goodell said in his letter.

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New York Jets wide receiver Devin Smith watches team warm up from sidelines before game against Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets wide receiver Devin Smith watches team warm up from sidelines before game against Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Jets waived/injured wide receiver Devin Smith on Monday, the team announced.

Smith suffered a torn ACL for the second time since the Jets drafted him in the second round in 2015.

"It's bad luck and bad timing because the kid worked so hard to get back," head coach Todd Bowles said during the NFL Draft, according to a press release. "He has to persevere and adversity will help him get stronger. But unfortunately in this game, over my course of time playing and coaching, you see these types of things. Some of the best athletes get hurt and don't get a chance to get on the field and it's just bad timing, bad luck."

Tags: Devin Smith
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Former Jets CB Darrelle Revis may not find a new home in the NFL soon due to his bleak market value, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Released by the Jets on March 9, there has been no talk about Revis generating interest around the league. Cimini states his decline in performance and lack of passion and commitment have turned off any potential suitors at the moment.

Revis is no longer the shutdown corner he used to be due to age and injuries from his ten-year career. His latest injury came in 2012 when he tore his ACL in Week 3. He would need microfracture surgery to repair it which ended his season. This was one reason the Jets traded him to the Buccaneers the following year.

Last season, Revis had a significant lapse in production as he secured only one interception which came in Week 17. He amassed five in 2015, which was good for sixth-best in the NFL.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) prepares to throw the ball against the New England Patriots during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) prepares to throw the ball against the New England Patriots during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed former Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrickthe team announced Friday morning.

The deal is for one year and worth $3 million, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Fitzpatrick appeared in 14 games for the Jets last season, throwing for 2,710 yards with 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. 

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick
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McCown on team chemistry 00:01:51
Jeane Coakley talks to new Jets QB Josh McCown about how Bart Scott's Taste of the Jets event is bringing the whole team together

Jeane Coakley talks to new Jets QB Josh McCown about how Bart Scott's Taste of the Jets event is bringing the whole team together.

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Leggett on Jets offense 00:01:43
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano talks with Jets rookie tight end Jordan Leggett about his adjustment to the NFL and his role in the team?s offense.

The Jets have signed fifth-round pick Jordan Leggett who the team selected with the 150th overall pick in last month's NFL Draft...

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New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs with the ball during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland)
New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs with the ball during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland)

Jets running back Matt Forte says the Jets do not want a repeat of last season's locker room issues this year.

"Being in that locker room and going through that season, we know what the issues were," Forte told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday. "We identify those issues as a group and meet with the coaches and talk about, 'How do we change that? How do we change the culture in the locker room? How do we change the mistakes we made last year?'"

Forte went on to say that team leaders have conducted "a lot of meetings" with the coaching staff throughout the offseason, and have relayed the message to the rest of the team. The veteran running back touched on a topic that was brought up by WR Quincy Enunwa at the end of last season, about how the Jets simply did not play as a team.

Tags: Matt Forte, Quincy Enunwa
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Aug 19, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) looks on from the sidelines against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field.  (Brad Mills (USA Today))
Aug 19, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) looks on from the sidelines against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills (USA Today))

Jets linebacker David Harris said on Monday at a charity golf outing that former Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis still has "a lot of football left in him."

"I think he'll keep playing," Harris said. "I think he has a lot of football left in him. He didn't have his best year last year, and he knew that. But I'm sure somebody will pick him up. He knows too much of the sport and he's too good of a player to be finished.

"I'm pretty sure he'll get picked up," he said. "I know Darrelle. He works hard. He's a student of the game. He loves football. So I think somebody will give him a shot.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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Chad Hansen talks joining Jets 00:03:52
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano catches up with rookie WR Chad Hansen to talk about his long road to the NFL Draft, and his opportunity with the Jets.

The Jets have signed wide receiver Chad Hansen, their fourth-round selection out of California in last month's NFL Draft, the team announced on Tuesday.

Hansen (6'2", 202) ranked third in the FBS as a redshirt junior last season, with 9.2 catches/game and fourth with 124.9 receiving yards/game. He totaled 92 catches for 1,249 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing two games with an ankle injury...

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Derrick Jones on minicamp 00:02:13
SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets rookie cornerback Derrick Jones about his first workouts with the team.

SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets rookie CB Derrick Jones about his first workouts with the team, and starting to learn the playbook.

 

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New York Jets player Jamal Adams (33) during New York Jets mini rookie camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets player Jamal Adams (33) during New York Jets mini rookie camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)

Jets linebacker David Harris was surprised when the Jets selected safeties in the first two rounds of last month's NFL Draft.

"It's very odd to have two safeties get drafted in the first and second rounds," Harris said to Connor Hughes of NJ.com. "All you can do is trust [the front office's] decision and try to move on." 

New York selected LSU's Jamal Adams at No. 6, and 33 picks later, took Florida's Marcus Maye. It marked the first time in franchise history the Jets selected two safeties, and also defensive backs, with its first two picks.

While he expected the team to draft one safety, Harris said management "surprised everybody" by doubling down and selecting two. 

Tags: Calvin Pryor, David Harris, Marcus Gilchrist
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New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Latest Update (May 16)

8:55AM:  An arraignment hearing has been set for Jets WR Robby Anderson on June 6, according to Miami-Dade court records.

Anderson has been participating in the Jets' voluntary offseason program. 

New York is scheduled to practice on June 6.

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 (Jim Brown)
(Jim Brown)

The Jets have signed LB Jevaris Jones and released LB Austin Calitro, the team announced Monday.

Jones attended the Jets' recent rookie minicamp.

He had 106 tackles last season for Division II Shorter University.

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 (Kelley L Cox)
(Kelley L Cox)

The Jets currently have 100-to-1 odds to reach Super Bowl LII, according to a list released by Bovada sportsbook in Las Vegas.

Their odds are tied with the Browns for the worst in the AFC.

The Jets currently have 150-to-1 odds to win Super Bowl LII. They opened at 75-to-1 odds shortly after the Super Bowl in February, which moved to 150-to-1 odds on April 1...

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 (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)
(Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)

Jets QB Christian Hackenberg is more confident and comfortable heading in to his second season with the team, he said Monday, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.

Hackenberg, who will battle with Josh McCown and Bryce Petty for the starting job, said he's excited about the opportunity.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said earlier this offseason that there will be an open competition for the starting quarterback job...

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
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Chad Hansen talks joining Jets 00:03:52
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano catches up with rookie WR Chad Hansen to talk about his long road to the NFL Draft, and his opportunity with the Jets.

In the last two years, the Jets have loaded up on young wide receivers. With all of the depth New York now has at the position, the team is ready for a great competition as the young receivers prepare to battle for a spot on the roster.

Quincy Enunwa and possibly Robby Anderson look like the two receivers whose spots on the team are secure, while veteran Eric Decker is returning from hip and shoulder surgeries and doesn't necessarily fit with the Jets' youth movement.

Second-year players Anderson, Charone Peake, and Jalin Marshall will compete in training camp with third-round pick ArDarius Stewart and fourth-round pick Chad Hansen as the young receivers fight to get on the field.

Tags: Charone Peake, Eric Decker, Jalin Marshall, Quincy Enunwa
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New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) makes a catch during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) makes a catch during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)

Jets WR Eric Decker is recovering well from hip and shoulder surgeries that were completed at the end of 2016.

According to SB Nation's Gang Green Nation, Decker said he is "back" and has "been doing everything." 

"The first phase was just the workout, so we were in the weight room and running," Decker said. "Now, we're on the field and I've been out there as a full participant. I feel great. It was a long four or five months, but to be where I am now and feel how I do, I'm excited."

Tags: Eric Decker
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Marcus Maye on joining Jets 00:02:43
SNY's Jeane Coakley talks with Jets rookie Marcus Maye about being drafted and playing alongside fellow rookie safety Jamal Adams.

SNY's Jeane Coakley talks with Jets rookie Marcus Maye about being drafted and playing alongside fellow rookie safety Jamal Adams.

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JR Sport Brief: Jets predictions 00:01:45
In the latest installment of JR Sport Brief on SNY.tv, JR has some solid advice for Muhammad Wilkerson and the rest of the Jets.

In the latest installment of JR Sport Brief on SNY.tv, JR has some solid advice for Muhammad Wilkerson and the rest of his Jets teammates.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets have seemingly been searching for a franchise quarterback since Joe Namath was wearing green. So it's no surprise that Namath doesn't want to see them waste any more time in their search.

The Jets legend made it clear that he wants to see Christian Hackenberg emerge as the starting quarterback for his old team this season, not the soon-to-be-38-year-old Josh McCown. Speaking before the United Way's Gridiron Gala in Manhattan on Tuesday night, Namath said he understands why the coaches might go with McCown.

But he said if there's a chance the 22-year-old Hackenberg is the future, then the future has to be now...

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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Elijah McGuire on his future 00:02:26
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano talks with Jets rookie running back Elijah McGuire about being drafted and his professional football future.

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano talks with Jets rookie running back Elijah McGuire about getting drafted by the Jets and what he can add to the team.

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New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa misses a catch against Indianapolis Colts cornerback Darius Butler in the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa misses a catch against Indianapolis Colts cornerback Darius Butler in the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

A year ago at this time Quincy Enunwa was just a former sixth-round pick with modest credentials who had been used mostly as a pseudo-tight end in the Jets' offense. He hadn't had his breakout season yet. And he was very deep in the shadow of some talented veterans on his team.

One year later, he's essentially the elder statesman and potentially the Jets' No. 1 receiver.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Cornerback Jeremy Clark, one of the Jets' three sixth-round picks in the NFL draft, officially signed his rookie contract on Wednesday. Now he can focus on getting on the field.

Clark, whom the Jets took with the 13th pick of the sixth round (197th overall), became the last of the Jets' three sixth-rounders to sign, joining Ole Miss cornerback Derrick Jones (20/204) and Lousiana-Lafayette running back Elijah McGuire (4/188). The 6-3, 220-pound Clark, though, isn't quite ready to join his teammates. He's still rehabbing a torn ACL he suffered early in his final season at Michigan.

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NFL legend Joe Namath arrives on the red carpet prior to the 6th Annual NFL Honors at Wortham Theater. (Kevin Jairaj)
NFL legend Joe Namath arrives on the red carpet prior to the 6th Annual NFL Honors at Wortham Theater. (Kevin Jairaj)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Woody Johnson thinks this Jets season should be measured by progress, not wins. Some Jets fans think the team should tank the whole season to secure the No. 1 pick in next year's draft. The expectations for this team could not be much lower.

Joe Namath understands all that. But count him among the few who believe the Jets will be a better team this year.

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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is pursued by New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser/USA TODAY Sports)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is pursued by New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

As bad as things were for the New York Jets last season, most people think things are about to get even worse. But not Muhammad Wilkerson. He sees something different.

After a miserable 5-11 season, he sees the Jets on the way back up.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Baylor Bears wide receiver KD Cannon celebrates after catching a touchdown pass against the Boise State Broncos in the first quarter during the Cactus Bowl at Chase Field. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
Baylor Bears wide receiver KD Cannon celebrates after catching a touchdown pass against the Boise State Broncos in the first quarter during the Cactus Bowl at Chase Field. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Jets acquired former Baylor wide receiver KD Cannon off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday, the team announced.

Cannon, a 5-foot-11, 182-pound receiver, was waived on Sunday after the 49ers signed him as an undrafted free agent.

He scored 27 touchdowns and recorded 3,113 receiving yards in three seasons at Baylor, including 13 touchdowns and 1,215 receiving yards in his junior season in 2016.

Tags: Bryce Petty
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field following a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field following a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

The Jets will play three preseason games at MetLife Stadium this year.

New York opens its preseason slate at home against the Titans on Aug. 12 at 7:30 p.m. before traveling to Detroit to play the Lions on Aug. 19 at 7:30 pm.

The Jets will be the road team at MetLife Stadium against the Giants on Aug. 26 at 7 p.m., before closing the preseason by hosting the Eagles on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.

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Donahue talks rookie camp 00:02:37
SNY's Jeane Coakley talks with Jets rookie linebacker Dylan Donahue about rookie minicamp, getting drafted and his small school background.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It was a long road to the NFL for Dylan Donahue, from an NAIA school in Montana to a junior college in San Diego, to a Division II school in Georgia. Those aren't the places prospects usually go to get noticed.

Good thing for him he caught a Pro Football Hall of Famer's eye.

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New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) and quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) prior to action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. (Bill Streicher)
New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) and quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) prior to action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. (Bill Streicher)

Former Jets quarterback Michael Vick, who doesn't know which quarterback will get the starting job this season, is not optimistic on the Jets' chances this year.

"Man, good luck," Vick said to Andy Vasquez of NorthJersey.com with a laugh. "I don't even know who the quarterback is going to be. Good luck. I know there's three of them."

The Jets do have three quarterbacks under contract, and will hold an open competition throughout training camp to determine who will be the starter. The team signed veteran Josh McCown to battle against youngsters Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
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GEICO SportsNite: Willie Colon 00:01:38
Willie Colon talks with former Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick at his golf outing on the outlook for quarterback Christian Hackenberg.

Brick, Colon and Mangold reunite 00:02:33
It's a New York Jets offensive line reunion, as Willie Colon chats with D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold on Monday at his golf outing.

It's a New York Jets offensive line reunion, as Willie Colon chats with D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold on Monday at his golf outing.

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Leggett on Jets offense 00:01:43
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano talks with Jets rookie tight end Jordan Leggett about his adjustment to the NFL and his role in the team?s offense.

Jordan Leggett is aware of how little tight ends have mattered to the Jets over the last two seasons. But he's been assured that's all about to change.

After talking with new offensive coordinator John Morton, Leggett - a tight end out of Clemson whom the Jets took in the fifth round of the draft - is convinced that he can be a big part of the Jets' new scheme. He said Morton, the former New Orleans Saints receivers coach, "loves" tight ends and plans to use them as a "go-to" guy in his passing attack.

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 (Brett Davis)
(Brett Davis)

The Jets may not be any better this season than they were last season, but one thing seems certain: Their coaching staff will be a lot louder.

That was crystal clear on Saturday, just listening to two of Todd Bowles' newest assistants -- outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene and offensive coordinator John Morton. The two could be heard constantly yelling and screaming at players -- both criticism and encouragement. Greene even slammed a garbage can after one broken play.

Yes, it was only rookie mini-camp and two practices filled with players who have little chance of making the team. But the intensity was high, particularly from Greene, the 54-year-old Hall of Famer who seemed more intense than just about every player on the team.

"Kevin is like Hulk Hogan and Randy 'Macho Man' Savage," Bowles said.

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Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Donald Hawkins during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. (Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports)
Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Donald Hawkins during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. (Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Jets signed offensive linemen Benjamin Braden and Chris Bordelon from rookie minicamp and cut long snapper Zach Triner and offensive tackle Donald Hawkins, the team announced on Sunday.

Braden, who measures at 6-foot-6 and 335 pounds, started two years for Michigan and was an All-Big Ten second team selection in 2016. Bordelon, who is 6-foot-6, 315 pounds, started 12 games at Nicholls State.

Hawkins spent time on New York's practice squad last season, while Triner had signed a reserve/futures contract in January.

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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)

Former Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards ripped owner Woody Johnson on Instagram and Twitter on Saturday.

"Keep your squad together from 2010 and the promise land shall reveal itself," the now-retired wide receiver said on Instagram. "Don't feel close to losing the franchise so now lie to save face and fans.

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Jets rookies report for camp 00:02:22
Ralph Vacchiano discusses the stories and early standouts from Jets rookie mini-camp in Florham Park on GEICO SportsNite.

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles, center, looks on after challenging a call during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles, center, looks on after challenging a call during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles spoke to reporters at Saturday's rookie mini-camp and said that the ultimate goal of the Jets season is to win the championship.

"Our ultimate goal is to get to the Super Bowl," Bowles said, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. "Obviously, we have to take steps. We have a lot of guys we have to get acclimated, chemistry-wise, right away. But our goal is to win, regardless of whether we've got younger guys or older guys. Our goal is to win.

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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field following a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field following a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

The Jets waived former All-Star CFL cornerback John Ojo on Saturday afternoon. 

Ojo played three seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos, leading them to the Grey Cup in 2015. That same season, Ojo was selected as a member of the CFL West All-Star team. 

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Jamal Adams is selected as the No. 6 overall pick to the New York Jets in the first round the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
Jamal Adams is selected as the No. 6 overall pick to the New York Jets in the first round the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- There were plenty of people who didn't understand the Jets' decision to draft safeties in both the first and second round, but Marcus Maye wasn't one of them. As far as he's concerned, the Jets' plan was obvious and simple. 

"They tried to get the best two safeties in the draft," he said. "And they did that." 

Those are strong words coming from the former Florida safety whom the Jets took in the second round, one day and round after they took LSU safety Jamal Adams with the sixth overall pick - especially since three other safeties were chosen in between them. But the Jets don't necessarily disagree with that assessment. 

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets rookies 00:02:28
Jeane Coakley talks to the young Jets about their experience at rookie mini-camp.

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) (Ben Margot/AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) (Ben Margot/AP)

Connor Harris, a three-way player out of Lindenwood University in Missouri, took part in his first day of rookie minicamp with the Jets on Friday after signing a contract as an undrafted free agent.

If Harris makes the roster, he will be competing for a role at inside linebacker and a position on the special teams unit in his first NFL campaign. The college linebacker/wildcat quarterback/punter/kicker has 30 1/8-inch arms (short for a standard NFL player), but also won the 2016 Cliff Harris award for the nation's top defensive player at the Division II, III and NAIA levels, and is the NCAA's all-time tackle leader. 

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Daily News Live: Jets camp 00:04:41
The DNL panel discusses the changes in the Jets defense heading into rookie training camp this year.

RB Khiry Robinson is among 39 players trying out at the Jets' rookie minicamp this weekend.

Robinson was waived in March after breaking his leg for a second time.

Click here to see the full list of tryout players, which includes three quarterbacksl, five running backs, four wide receivers, and three tight ends.

Tags: Khiry Robinson
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 (Matt Rourke/AP)
(Matt Rourke/AP)

Giants All-Pro safety Landon Collins thinks not having veterans in the secondary to offer advice and leadership to recent Jets draftees Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye could be a detriment.

"There was pressure from the team on me to take over the back end [of the secondary], but I didn't have any old heads [veterans] that could coach me up on the field and teach me about the quarterbacks," Collins told the NY Post about his first year in the league in 2015.

"I was out there on the field trying to figure it out. I basically felt like I was on my own."

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 (James Snook)
(James Snook)

Once the draft was over, the Jets had room to sign six undrafted free agents -- although they can create room for more by cutting other players on their roster.

Below is a list of the UDFAs they are believed to have signed since the end of the NFL draft on Saturday night. 

On Friday morning, the Jets announced the signing of eight of the nine players listed below (all but DE Jareid Combs).

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Who will be the Jets' 2017 QB? 00:01:44
Jonas Schwartz, John Harper, Willie Colon and Peter Botte ask if the New York Jets should hold an open competition for the starting QB job.

 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

The Jets have released S Marcus Gilchrist and waived CB Nick Marshall and FB Chris Swain, the team announced Thursday.

Gilchrist was due $6 million in salary this season, and the Jets cleared $4.6 million in cap space by releasing him.

The 28-year-old had 66 tackles last season before injuring his knee in Week 14 and winding up on injured reserve.

The Jets drafted two safeties -- Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye -- during last week's NFL Draft, making Gilchrist expendable.

Tags: Marcus Gilchrist
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