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

Nov 12, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) tries to get out of the grasp of Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson (22) during the second half at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)
Nov 12, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) tries to get out of the grasp of Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson (22) during the second half at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)

Over the course of the offseason, the Jets have brought in a dizzying number of players. In addition to their six draft picks and several undrafted free agents, the Jets have acquired 24 veterans since the league year began. Let's attempt to rank each of those additions in terms of their importance for the upcoming season.

24. PK Nick Rose - Rose was brought in as competition at the placekicker position but was replaced four weeks later before he even got a chance to practice with the team.

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell leaps over Jacksonville Jaguars free safety Tashaun Gipson during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell leaps over Jacksonville Jaguars free safety Tashaun Gipson during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Over the next few weeks, we're going to break down each position in terms of which players are fighting for those final roster spots. Who is in danger of being cut? Who has a chance to earn themselves a bigger role? We start with a look at the running back position.

Probable roster locks

Anything is possible, but the expectation heading to camp is that Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell will assume the top two spots. Powell is the incumbent veteran and a Todd Bowles favorite, so he's certainly expected to at least begin camp as the No. 1.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire
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Washington Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor runs with the ball as Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills attempts to make the tackle at FedEx Field. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)
Washington Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor runs with the ball as Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills attempts to make the tackle at FedEx Field. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets and Redskins will have joint practices from Aug. 12 to Aug. 14 ahead of their preseason game on Aug. 16, and Washington's defense seems to be ready to go after current Jet wide receiver Terrelle Pryor.

Redskins linebacker Zach Brown called out Pryor, who signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal with New York after one year with the Redskins, by saying other members of Washington's defense "have it out for him."

"That's going to be something right there," Brown said on "Inside the Locker Room" on Team 980, according to NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay. "The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now ... [head coach] Jay [Gruden] ain't here to protect you anymore."

Tags: Washington Redskins
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Jamal Adams (center) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jamal Adams (center) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Jets S Jamal Adams has never liked to lose, and his father -- former NFL RB George Adams -- gave the perfect anecdote to explain why. 

"As a G.A. Giant, we didnt' lose," George told The Post's Steve Serby as he referenced Jamal's Pop Warner days. "I gave the ball to J., he got the first down, and they came out and measured and then they said, 'No, no, no. We gotta remeasure.' So they didn't give us a first down, so they got the ball and they scored and we lost.

"He cried like a baby. So what I told him, I said, 'That's life. That's football. You're gonna get some people to say one thing and it's another, but the thing is, I'm teaching you how to lose.' And that really just didn't set with him, because he just don't like losing."

Tags: Jamal Adams, Scott Thompson
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Sep 10, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (11) (Geoff Burke)
Sep 10, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (11) (Geoff Burke)

This offseason, the Jets signed QB Teddy Bridgewater, drafted QB Sam Darnold and re-signed QB Josh McCown. Regardless of who gets to be the starting quarterback, they're going to need someone to throw to. 

WR Terrelle Pryor, who signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal in March, certainly believes he can be that guy, after having 'minor' ankle surgery recently.

"Right now I'm healthy and I'm ready to get back to form and have a dominant year," Pryor said...

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General overall view of MetLife Stadium Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
General overall view of MetLife Stadium Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Former Jets TE Kellen Winslow Jr., who was just arrested for suspicion of burglary last week, has even bigger problems with the law in his latest arrest. 

Winslow was arrested on Thursday and faces two counts of forcible rap, two counts of forcible sodomy and one count of forcible oral copulation, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. He also faces charges of kidnapping with the intent to commit rape, residential burglary and indecent exposure. 

It is unknown whether or not Winslow's arrest last Thursday corresponds to this arrest...

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New York Jets cornerback Derrick Jones runs a drill during organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets cornerback Derrick Jones runs a drill during organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Over the next few weeks, we're going to look back at last year's rookies in an effort to assess what their role will be in 2018 and where we can expect them to make improvements on what they brought to the table last year.

Derrick Jones was considered a bit of a long-term project when the Jets selected him with their final pick in 2017's draft. He's a terrific athletic with excellent size and length, but was considered raw having spent much of his collegiate career as a wide receiver, starting just eight games in total. The Jets carried him on their active roster all year, but he only suited up for three games and didn't get any defensive reps.

Tags: Derrick Jones, Robby Anderson
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Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

A lot will change between mid-June and September 10th, the day of the Jets season opener, but if they were to play that week one game against the Lions tomorrow, Todd Bowles knows who his starting quarterback would be: Josh McCown. 

Bowles also confirmed that Teddy Bridgewater is the current backup, leaving rookie Sam Darnold as the third-string. But all three will have ample time during training camp to change his mind, when "a lot of things count."

"Josh will start come training camp and we will see what happens at the end of training camp," Bowles said after minicamp...

Tags: Josh McCown
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg works out prior to an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg works out prior to an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Former Jets QB Christian Hackenberg visited the Patriots on Thursday, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

The Patriots currently have Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer and rookie seventh-round pick Danny Etling. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports that the Patriots aren't expected to sign Hackenberg, though he remains an option going forward...

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Elijah McGuire the new LT? 00:01:58
Marc Malusis and Jon Hein discuss Jets running backs coach Stump Mitchell saying that Elijah McGuire could be the next LaDainian Tomlinson.

Entering his second season in the league, Elijah McGuire is expected to make an impact on the Jets in 2018.

The running back had 377 rushing yards in 2017 but those within the organization see something more in the 24-year-old-- they see one of the best running backs ever: LaDainian Tomlinson.

"He has the skillset to be a LaDainian Tomlinson, if he was given that opportunity," Jets running backs coach Stump Mitchell said...

Tags: Elijah McGuire
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See the Jets in minicamp action 00:00:59
SNY captures the highlights, routes and deep throws at New York Jets minicamp Thursday.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets are heaping praise on the shoulders of their prized rookie quarterback, but to them it's more than just dreamy hype. They're not just trying to sell everyone on the promise of Sam Darnold. They believe it. In fact, so far he's been even better than they expected.

That's why he has "a real chance" to be the opening day starter, according to a team source.

The 21-year-old Darnold has been that good since the Jets took him with the third overall pick in the NFL Draft. They've been giving him regular first-team reps throughout the spring and through this week's three-day mini-camp. And given how well he's handled them, this summer he can expect even more.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets strong safety Jamal Adams (33) lines up against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)  (Jack Dempsey/AP)
New York Jets strong safety Jamal Adams (33) lines up against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) (Jack Dempsey/AP)

If there is one player Jets S Jamal Adams would like to emulate in his career, it would certainly be one of the best to ever play the safety position. 

Former Steelers S Troy Polamalu, an eight-time Pro Bowler and four-time First Team All-Pro member, changed how safeties were perceived in the NFL. Polamalu wasn't just a ballhawk as his position was normally asked to do, but he was relentless on the blitz as well as run defense. 

Adams says it was Polamalu's smarts along with his physicality that makes him his role model now that he is in the NFL...

Tags: Jamal Adams
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May 22, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) runs after a catching the ball during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 22, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) runs after a catching the ball during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

This offseason, Jets WR Robby Anderson has been battling numerous legal issues. He has been arrested twice in nine months, but the Jets have had his back throughout this process. 

That doesn't mean the NFL will. 

Anderson, who has one of his two legal cases still in the works, knows the NFL has the jurisdiction to suspend him for his run-ins with the police...

Tags: Robby Anderson
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Darnold impresses at Jets camp 00:03:04
Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates breaks down the performance of rookie QB Sam Darnold at the team's minicamp on Wednesday.

Jets QB Sam Darnold may be a rookie, but his new team isn't treating him like one. 

The No. 3 overall pick hasn't been eased into his new role with the Jets, but rather, the team is throwing everything they can at him. Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates said the entire playbook has been thrown his way during the team's three-day mandatory minicamp. 

The reason? Bates says that's how you see what Darnold can truly handle.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater
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Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Josh McCown (15) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

With all NFL talk revolving around the new national anthem policy, Jets QB Josh McCown wants people to focus on the work behind the scenes that doesn't get as much recognition. 

McCown, who is a member of the Players' Coalition, has been a big supporter and advocate for social justice reform. For one, he was one of a few Jets members that signed a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other officials calling for bail reform in the country. 

It is work like that letter that McCown wishes got more attention than the anthem policy...

Tags: Josh McCown
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Over the last few weeks, we've been looking back at last year's rookies in an effort to assess what their role will be in 2018 and where we can expect them to make improvements on what they brought to the table last year.

Jeremy Clark spent virtually the entire 2017 on the injured list, which was something the Jets must have anticipated when they drafted him. Clark was recovering from a torn ACL when the Jets selected him in the sixth round, presumably on the basis that he'd have gone much sooner had he been healthy. He was unable to practice at training camp and his rookie season was essentially a redshirt year. However, the Jets were able to activate him at the end of the year and he made his NFL debut in the season finale.

Preseason Stats: Did not play.
Regular Season Stats: One game played.
Projected Role: Back-up cornerback.

Tags: Jeremy Clark
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the New York Giants Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the New York Giants Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Former Jets QB Christian Hackenberg was waived by the Raiders on Tuesday.

Hackenberg was traded last month for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2019 -- a pick the Raiders will now get to keep. 

"I was disappointed in not really giving Christian the opportunity to go to camp," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said after Tuesday's practice, per ESPN. "We felt like we needed to add a couple defensive linemen. We ran out of numbers, and that's not good at that position heading into camp."

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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Sam Darnold on adjustments 00:00:32
Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold explains the challenges he's facing while making the adjustment to calling plays in the huddle in the NFL.

Jets QB Sam Darnold on Tuesday shed light on the learning curve he has experienced during his transition to the NFL.

"It hasn't been super easy to adjust but it's all the same plays," Darnold said on the first day of the Jets' mandatory minicamp. "It's just getting used to the different terminology... being able to picture the play in my head when it's called makes it easier to call it in the huddle."

Darnold, the Jets' first round pick this year, earned roughly 20 first-team reps, according to Newsday. QB Josh McCown led the pack with around 20 first-team reps, while Teddy Bridgewater also had a handful of first-team snaps.

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Jets QB's throwing deep 00:00:33
See Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown throwing darts to their receivers at New York Jets minicamp on Tuesday.

Check back here for highlights from the Jets' first day of mandatory minicamp...


The first day of the Jets' three-day mandatory minicamp kicked off on Tuesday, and rookie QB Sam Darnold continues to get some reps with the first-team offense. Throughout the day, Darnold bounced around the depth chart by taking most of his reps with the third team to go along with his few throws with the first team. 

CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE VIDEO

Tags: Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor
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Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; General view of a New York Jets helmet on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)
Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; General view of a New York Jets helmet on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes)

Last Thursday in San Diego, California, ex-Jets tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was arrested on suspicion of burglary at a mobile-home park, reports NBC San Diego's Rafael Avitabile.

A burglary call was made at around 2:30 p.m. by a neighbor in the Park Encinitas Mobile Home Park.

According to Winslow's publicist, Denise White, "An over-reactive neighbor called police after she saw Kellen walking around a mobile home." Winslow was later arrested and charged with first-degree burglary as well as being held on $50,000 bail. 

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Five Things for the Jets 00:00:33
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano reveals the five most interesting things to watch for during this week's New York Jets minicamp.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The next few weeks and months are all about one thing for the Jets, really - the preparation for The Sam Darnold Era. It's going to begin at some point. The Jets believe it will be glorious.

The only question is: When?

Tags: ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen, Dylan Donahue, Jordan Jenkins, Jordan Leggett, Josh McCown, Leonard Williams, Lorenzo Mauldin, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Terrelle Pryor, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson (60) walks off the field following training camp at SUNY Cortland. (Richard Barnes)
New York Jets offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson (60) walks off the field following training camp at SUNY Cortland. (Richard Barnes)

Former Jets OL D'Brickashaw Ferguson still gets asked if would kneel during the national anthem despite being out of the NFL today. 

Well, he broke that silence on Monday when he penned an article addressing that exact question. Ferguson began his piece by noting his thoughts about the anthem protests reached its peak while watching the Jets against the Dolphins last season.

He saw how the entire team locked arms on the sideline, and wondered what he could do. 

Tags: D'Brickashaw Ferguson
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New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire lunges for yards defended by Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire lunges for yards defended by Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

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Over the next few weeks, we're going to look back at last year's rookies in an effort to assess what their role will be in 2018 and where we can expect them to make improvements on what they brought to the table last year.

Elijah McGuire had what looked like being a breakout performance against the Jaguars in Week 4, when he racked up 131 yards on 12 touches, including a spectacular 69-yard touchdown run. However, that breakout never fully materialized as he struggled to produce much over the rest of the year, other than the occasional flash. Will he be able to earn a more significant role in 2018?

Tags: Bilal Powell, Brian Winters, Elijah McGuire, Matt Forte, Wesley Johnson
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Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue (49) before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)
Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue (49) before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)

Over the next few weeks, we're going to be looking back at last year's rookies in an effort to assess what their role will be in 2018 and where we can expect them to make improvements on what they brought to the table last year.

Dylan Donahue will be hoping to bounce back after a rookie season that was cut short by injury and an offseason which saw him dealing with off-field issues. The coaching staff has been high on his potential, but he didn't really get much of a chance to deliver on that yet.

Preseason stats: Three games, four tackles, 0.5 sacks
Regular-season stats: Four games, five tackles
Projected role: Situational pass rusher

Tags: Dylan Donahue
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Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson (22) in action during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo) (Kelvin Kuo/AP)
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson (22) in action during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo) (Kelvin Kuo/AP)

After the Jets missed out on QB Kirk Cousins in free agency this offseason, the team almost had more cap space than they knew what to do with. 

They gave some of that money to QB Teddy Bridgewater, but they handed the most to CB Trumaine Johnson, who inked a big five-year, $73 million contract with the Jets. 

Johnson played for the Rams his entire career but was free to leave this offseason after the team acquired Aqib Talib, Sam Shields and  Marcus Peters. As the top corner on the market, he had options. But he chose to sign with the Jets to win games...

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New York Jets players and coaching staff lock arms during the national anthem before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets players and coaching staff lock arms during the national anthem before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | ArchiveThe NFL as a whole would prefer to have its players standing at attention during the national anthem, with no more player protests. For some owners, that's a patriotic gesture. For others, it's simply business. Mostly, though, NFL owners just really want this whole anthem/protest controversy to go away.

That's why it's so bizarre that the league has instead managed to make it infinitely worse.

The NFL knows it too, which is probably why Commissioner Roger Goodell remained so silent when President Donald Trump and the Philadelphia Eagles managed to turn the traditional visit to the White House by the Super Bowl champs into a political football earlier this week. Most of the Eagles weren't planning to go, so the president loudly cancelled the event.

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New York Jets acting CEO Christopher Johnson on the sidelines before a game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets acting CEO Christopher Johnson on the sidelines before a game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets are continuing to try and impact the community, as Jets CEO Christopher Johnson, along with QB Josh McCown, LT Kelvin Beachum and former Jets LB Demario Davis, sent a letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo calling for bail reform.

The letter was not only addressed to Cuomo, but also to the speaker of the house and the senate president. It brings up several points that the Jets hope lawmakers will take into account.

 

Some of the points raised are...

Tags: Demario Davis, Josh McCown, Kelvin Beachum
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Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) is sacked by New York Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) (Brad Penner)
Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) is sacked by New York Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) (Brad Penner)

With two NFL seasons in the books, Jets LB Jordan Jenkins knows what he needs to do to set himself apart in his third year: finish sacks. 

Jenkins was always known as a great run stopper, using his speed to scale sideline to sideline. However, the pass rush has been an element of his game that has been inconsistent. 

In his rookie season, Jenkins totaled 2.5 sacks while accumulating three in 2017. It might be progress, but those numbers don't jump off the page. That is why Jenkins is ready to set himself apart this season by making sure to get the quarterback to the ground, and ultimately, show people how dominant he can really be on the field.

Tags: Jordan Jenkins
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Sep 24, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) stiff arms Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back J.J. Wilcox (27) during the second half at Soldier Field. Chicago won 23-17 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)
Sep 24, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) stiff arms Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back J.J. Wilcox (27) during the second half at Soldier Field. Chicago won 23-17 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Wierzbicki)

Free agent S JJ Wilcox took a flight to New Jersey on Tuesday night, confirmed SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, and the Jets' signing of Wilcox became official on Wednesday, with the Jets waiving LB Freddie Bishop

Wilcox flew to New Jersey just hours after rejecting the 49ers at the last minute, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. One source told Schefter that Wilcox "flipped" after he was at the 49ers' offices to sign with them, and wanted to instead play for the Jets under head coach Todd Bowles.

Another source told Schefter that "he got stage fright." 

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Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Jordan Leggett (49) runs with the ball during the second half of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Jordan Leggett (49) runs with the ball during the second half of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Over the next few weeks, we're going to be looking back at last year's rookies in an effort to assess what their role will be in 2018 and where we can expect them to make improvements on what they brought to the table last year.

What the Jets' coaching staff will hope to see from tight end Jordan Leggett this season hasn't really changed from a year ago, because he didn't get a chance to suit up during the season. He's therefore not had a chance to showcase his blocking, route-running or pass catching skills, other than in preseason.

Preseason Stats: Three games, five catches for 40 yards.
Regular Season Stats: Zero games played.
Projected Role: Reserve tight end.

Tags: Jordan Leggett
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