The Jets this week announced the signing of tight end Shawn Nelson to the active roster. Unlike the Eron Riley signing, he was a free agent when they picked him up, so there is no requirement for them to keep him on the roster for a minimum of three weeks. Some have therefore suggested he’s only been signed to gain information on the Jets’ next opponents, his former team - Buffalo. However, the Jets have been looking at tight ends since Jeff Cumberland was injured and, with Matt Mulligan struggling, there might be an opportunity to stick. I have therefore been looking at game footage to get a feel for what he brings to the table.

Shawn Nelson was a 6-foot-5, 240 pound blocking tight end, drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 draft by the Bills. I say “was” because he bulked up during the lockout and the Bills were already listing him at 273 pounds back in August. However, he was 240 when the games I analyzed were played, so adjust your expectations in terms of speed, strength and mobility accordingly.

Nelson got plenty of playing time for the Bills in 2009 and although his 2010 season was eaten into by injuries and a suspension, there is plenty of regular season footage to analyze, unlike for the likes of Baxter, Schlauderaff and Riley, who only really played against backups in preseason.

However, I first became aware of Nelson back in 2005 when he caught six passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns to win MVP honors as Southern Miss beat Arkansas State in the New Orleanns Bowl. Back then, he was a 225-pound receiver, but they were already moving him around and using him in a variety of ways. By 2007, he had converted to tight end, although he was still considered more of a pass catching threat than a blocker. In a game against Boise State, he stayed in to block a lot early on, but later got open downfield for a 31-yard catch and scored a 22-yard TD on a screen pass as he ran untouched to the endzone. He could have had another touchdown, but badly dropped an over-the-shoulder catch in the endzone.

At the start of his rookie season, Nelson missed an entire week of OTAs due to “personal problems”. This is perhaps not a big deal, especially since the activities were not mandatory, although it was the first of many occasions where Nelson was not available. He made it into the rotation, even scoring a touchdown in his first game, but then injured his shoulder in week two and missed the next game. After returning to the lineup, he played in the next three games, before missing the next three with migraine issues.

In 2010, he injured his groin in preseason and had to have surgery. Then, it was announced that he had violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy and would be suspended for four games. He returned to the lineup in week seven and played the next five games, only to suffer more migraine issues and end up on injured reserve.

In 2011, he showed up 30 pounds heavier, which he had said was to help him with blocking. However, when the Bills surprisingly cut him, the media reported that it was because he showed up overweight. He hadn’t participated in any camp activities due to an undisclosed injury and the emergence of Scott Chandler obviously made him surplus to requirements.

Clearly, Nelson hasn’t been particularly reliable so far, although much of that probably isn’t his fault. Hopefully he’s spent the last two months getting in shape and re-dedicating himself to the game. Let’s now get a sense of how he performed when he DID play.

2009 Season

Week One – New England

Nelson caught two passes for 13 yards and (his only) NFL touchdown. He also dropped a pass and was called for two penalties.

An interesting sequence of plays late in the first quarter saw him line up on the right hand side and pull to the left three times. On the first one, he made a great seal block on the outside linebacker coming off the edge. This opened up a huge hole for a 17-yard gain. On the next one, a couple of plays later, the outside linebacker read the play and pinched in. Nelson couldn’t really find anyone to block and the run was stuffed. On the play after that, he pulled left again, but this time, as the linebacker avoided him, it was a play-action pass and he leaked into the flat to catch the ball and dive in at the pylon for a nine yard touchdown.

He also showed an ability to run block in space, sustaining his block well on Adalius Thomas on the edge for an 11-yard run that was negated by an illegal formation penalty and again on a 3rd and 3 conversion. However, on one similar play the linebacker battled with him to get outside leverage and in his efforts to allow the runner to turn the corner, Nelson grabbed his man’s arm and was called for a hold. The runner did get to the edge for a 12-yard gain, which was obviously called back. Nelson’s other penalty was a false start in the first quarter.

He was targeted another two times, with a pass in the flat being thrown too high so he had to jump to catch it and was held to a 4-yard gain. On another, he got good downfield separation going across the field on a square-in route, but the pass was thrown behind him and he dropped it.

Week Two – Tampa Bay

Nelson caught one pass for 13 yards, but left with a shoulder injury.

Nelson’s only target in this one saw him leak to the outside where he was wide open for a 13-yard catch and run.

As a blocker, he had mixed results. Early on, he drove DE Jimmy Wilkerson back five yards as the runner gained five up the middle. Later, he met an OLB in space and drove him out of the play as the Bills gained four more. After that, he did a good job of making a block at the second level, but then did not sustain the block and his man was able to get to the runner. That ended up being a six yard gain. Finally, a linebacker diagnosed the run and got to the hole before Nelson could make the block, beating him inside to stuff the run for a loss.

Week Four - Miami

Nelson made his return from injury but was not targeted.

An interesting sequence here saw him blocking Jason Taylor on the outside. On the first play, he met him on the edge and made a good kickout block to set up a nine yard gain. On the next play, he lost outside leverage and Taylor was able to string the play out for a loss.

Week Five - Cleveland

Nelson was targeted four times, but caught just one pass for no gain. He was in the game for a career high 67 snaps (85% of the time).

In this game, Nelson’s only catch saw a cornerback come off his man to tackle him in the backfield. This was almost a safety. As a blocker, he had problems sustaining his blocks on a couple of occasions. On one, his man got off his block on the outside and missed the tackle in the backfield before recovering to make the tackle for a loss with his second effort. On another, his man got off his block on the inside and held the run to a three yard gain.

Week Six - Jets

Nelson caught two passes for 34 yards and was called for one penalty. After this game, he missed three weeks with migraine issues.

This must be where Nelson first found his way onto Rex Ryan’s radar screen. Entering the game, the Jets were hitting the opposing quarterback five times per game on average and the Bills were not regarded as a strong pass-protecting team. However, in this game, they thwarted the Jets’ overload blitzes by leaving extra guys in, moving the pocket and generally being extremely well-organized in pass protection. Nelson was one of these guys, as he stayed in seven times and did not allow any pressure. Overall, the Jets blitzed 14 times, but had just one sack and one QB hit.

As a pass catcher, he had a 25 yard gain on a seam route and a nine yard reception on his only two targets.

In the running game, he threw a good early block to set up a 12-yard run, but was beaten on two runs that were stuffed either side of the end of the first quarter. He also had a false start. In the third quarter, he made three consecutive good blocks as the Bills gained nine yards on three straight runs. The first saw Terrell Owens gain nine on an end around as Nelson made a pulling block. Nelson also made a good pulling block on the third of those runs.

Week Ten - Tennessee

Nelson made his return and caught three passes for 13 yards and was also called for a hold on a kickoff. In addition, he recovered a fumble early in the second half.

His most important catch was a five yard gain as he leaked out into the flat on 2nd and 3. As a run blocker, he had a good early block where he blocked the first guy, then peeled off to block a second guy on the edge. The run went for seven yards. Later on, he tried to make a pulling block, but Kyle Vanden Bosch diagnosed the play and avoided him to make the tackle, albeit downfield for a five yard gain, so at least he did enough to enable the runner to get through the line. As a pass blocker, William Hayes got a step on him to the outside and used his strength to pressure the quarterback. This is the only pressure Nelson has given up so far in his career, having stayed in to block 79 times.

Week Eleven - Jacksonville

Nelson was thrown at three times and caught one pass for 25 yards. He also had a costly penalty.

His one catch, late in the second quarter saw him leap over a linebacker to make the grab downfield. On one of the other two targets, he was well-covered and the pass was broken up.

Late in the first quarter, he lined up in the slot and made a cut block on the defensive end to spring an outside run for a 9-yard touchdown. Unfortunately, blocking below the waist is illegal if you are lined up outside the tackle box, so the touchdown was negated.

Other than that, he had mixed results as a run blocker. He made a good second level block on an outside run for 11 and combined with a fullback to seal a run-blitzing linebacker on the inside as a run went outside. He also made two good pulling blocks, cutting his man to the ground on one. Unfortunately, those last three plays netted just seven yards as his linemates didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. Another run went for four yards, but this time it was Nelson’s man who made the stop as he pulled but did not sustain.

Week Twelve - Miami

Nelson was in for 58 snaps, but caught just one pass for 22 yards. Overall, he was targeted four times and had one drop.

Nelson’s one catch here came on a crossing route. Aside from his drop, he also ran a poor route to allow Yeremiah Bell to jump in front of him and intercept a pass. He didn’t have much of an impact as a blocker.

Week Thirteen - Jets

Nelson was not targeted in this game, but again had an important role in pass protection, staying in to block on 12 snaps and helping limit the Jets to just nine QB disruptions.

Nelson’s best block here came on special teams as he met James Ihedigbo head-on and turned him around. You may remember Fred Jackson’s 36-yard run where Kerry Rhodes seemed to be running away from the ball carrier downfield. That play came about because Calvin Pace was blocked on the edge and David Harris got caught in traffic. On that play, Nelson was looking for someone to block at the second level, but there was nobody there. Bart Scott came from the opposite side and was almost able to blow the play up, but Nelson just saw him in time and got enough of him to spring the runner. Later on, despite the fact that the play only went for a two yard gain, he had a very impressive block on Shaun Ellis on the edge. Ellis couldn’t get off the block and was unable to drive Nelson off his spot as he did a good job of standing his ground and sustaining the block until after the whistle.

Week Fourteen – Kansas City

Nelson caught two passes for 19 yards, but also fumbled once.

Nelson had a nice downfield catch on a square-in route, showing soft hands as he got his hands to a high ball and then pulled down a juggling catch. His other catch in the flat, saw the ball stripped away from his grasp for a turnover.

As a run blocker, he did a good job of turning and driving a DE out of the play and forcing his man to the inside to create a small seam behind him. Both plays gained just four yards.

Week Fifteen – New England

Nelson was targeted five times and made a career high four catches, but for just 17 yards. He did recover a muffed punt on special teams, though.

On one of his catches, he was tackled for a loss and on another, he was hit for a short gain and fumbled the ball out of bounds. As a run-blocker, he did a good job of forcing Tully Banta-Cain to the inside, so that the runner could get to the edge for six yards, then made a second level block on another run for eight. However, he was beaten to the inside on a run that was stuffed for a one yard gain.

Week Sixteen - Atlanta

Nelson was not targeted in this game, but performed well as a blocker.

As a run blocker, Nelson did a decent job on DE Chauncey Davis, driving him five yards off the line on one play and turning him out of the play on a short yardage conversion. He also had a good block to drive a safety out of the play on a screen pass for an eight yard gain.

2010 Season

Week Seven - Baltimore

After missing the first six weeks due to injury/suspension, Nelson returned to the lineup and caught two passes for 16 yards on three targets. However, he also lost a fumble.

Nelson was targeted in the endzone late in the first quarter and seemed to have a size mismatch, but the pass was off-target and out of his reach. He did make a great first down catch where he made contact with his man downfield and then broke off his route to the outside. He used his size well on that one. His other catch was less promising as Ray Lewis was able to stop him for a short gain and then ripped the ball away from him as he fought for extra yardage. This was a crucial turnover in overtime that ended up costing the Bills the game.

As a run blocker, there were three runs for 32 yards where Nelson was involved in a key block. On the first, his man shed his block, but luckily Eric Wood was right behind him to block the guy anyway and the play went for 11. Early in the second quarter, he was matched up with Haloti Ngata, who shot the gap and beat him to the inside. However, Nelson used Ngata’s momentum to ride him out of the play and the runner cut back to where they had come from to gain 13. I don’t think that was by design, but if it was, Nelson did a great job. It’s more likely he got badly beaten, but made a good recovery and the back made a good read. Another run to the outside picked up eight as Nelson drove his man back and slowed him up enough to allow the runner to turn the corner.

Week Eight – Kansas City

Nelson was in for just six snaps and was not targeted. He did have a special teams tackle.

Week Nine - Chicago

Nelson was only in for one snap.

Week Ten - Detroit

Nelson was not targeted and was only in the game for 11 snaps.

In this game, Nelson did have one good block, meeting safety Louis Delmas on the edge and springing a huge run with a solid kickout block that he made look easy because of the size difference (six inches, 40 pounds).

Week Eleven - Cincinnati

Nelson was in for nine snaps, catching one pass for nine yards. He left the game with migraine issues and was ultimately placed on injured reserve.

Conclusions

It’s not difficult to see why the Bills cut Shawn Nelson. When you’re a rebuilding team, you don’t want to rely on someone who has proven to be unreliable. However, Nelson showed flashes of being an emerging talent over those first two seasons, so if the Jets can nurture that, they may have found themselves a productive player.

Without knowing what kind of shape he’s in, it’s difficult to know how indicative of what we can expect from him this footage will prove, but Nelson showed that he can get downfield, catch the ball and run after the catch. He also showed that he has good strength and an ability to drive people, including defensive linemen, off their spots and to sustain blocks. Perhaps most importantly of all, he didn’t seem to make many dumb mistakes as a blocker and it was rare that he was cleanly beaten.

If this provides a realistic assessment of what Nelson is likely to be able to provide the Jets, then I would say he has more to offer as a pass catcher and blocker than Matt Mulligan does, based on current form. His consistency as a pass blocker has been much more reliable – although he only stayed in to block seven times in 2010. As a run blocker, his strength is impressive and he appears better at finding a man in space and at sustaining blocks than Mulligan. Drops and fumbles are always concerning, but less important if he's been brought in primarily as a blocker.

Even if he has worked his way back into shape, the question is how much effect will that extra 30 pounds have on his speed – he ran a 4.56 at the combine – and will it improve his blocking? If Nelson is ready to re-dedicate himself as his former teammate Aaron Maybin seems to have, then perhaps he is ready to turn his career around. If not, the Jets haven’t lost anything by trying – and, who knows, maybe they’ll pick up some useful information along the way.

Check back tomorrow for a midseason "Expendables" update!
Tags: BGA, Bent Double

New York Jets inside linebacker Darron Lee (Ron Schwane/AP)
New York Jets inside linebacker Darron Lee (Ron Schwane/AP)

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 continue with a look at the inside linebacker position.

Probable roster locks

The initial plan for the inside linebacker position is clear: Darron Lee and Avery Williamson will start, barring injury. Beyond that, all bets are off, as everyone else will compete for the backup roles and to be employed as special teams contributors.

Tags: Darron Lee
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Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) during second half against Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) during second half against Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Jets WR Robby Anderson now has both of his legal issues behind him. 

Anderson received six months of "non-reporting probation" stemming from his arrest on reckless driving charges from January, reports Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network. The expectation, according to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, had been that the issue would be resolved before training camp in July. 

While he won't face any more legal ramifications, the incident is still under review by the NFL under their Personal Conduct Policy.

Tags: Robby Anderson
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New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) celebrates with wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) after Enunwa scored a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze)
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) celebrates with wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) after Enunwa scored a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The never-ending rebuilding loop that the Jets always seem to be stuck in finally seems to have an end in sight. And they will have plenty of high hopes for the future when the full team reports for training camp on July 26.

Here is Part 2 of what to look forward to when Jets training camp begins...

The return of Quincy Enunwa and a better-than-you-think receiving corps

Tags: ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen, Leonard Williams, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Terrelle Pryor, Ralph Vacchiano
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Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA;New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen (16) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA;New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen (16) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Chad Hansen is looking to impact the Jets more in his second season, which is why he linked up with his former college quarterback who had great success in his second year.

Rams QB Jared Goff and Hansen played together at Cal, and they both spent time in Southern California working together in preparation for next year. Goff, who had a shaky rookie season, shined in his second year as he led his team to a NFC West division title. 

Hansen wants the same success as his former teammate in his second season, and he thinks he can do so in any role with the Jets. 

Tags: Chad Hansen, Scott Thompson
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New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire runs with the ball as Cleveland Browns middle linebacker Joe Schobert and outside linebacker James Burgess bring him down during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Elijah McGuire runs with the ball as Cleveland Browns middle linebacker Joe Schobert and outside linebacker James Burgess bring him down during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | ArchiveThe never-ending rebuilding loop that the Jets always seem to be stuck in finally seems to have an end in sight. And they will have plenty of high hopes for the future when the full team reports for training camp on July 26.

Here is Part 1 of what to look forward to when Jets training camp begins, which will be followed by Part 2 on Thursday...

The rise of Sam Darnold

Tags: ArDarius Stewart, Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Elijah McGuire, Jamal Adams, Jordan Leggett, Josh McCown, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold works out during the team's NFL football organized training activities, Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold works out during the team's NFL football organized training activities, Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold has the eighth-best selling jersey in the NFL, ahead of Patriots QB Tom Brady, who comes in at No. 9.

Giants rookie RB Saquon Barkley tops the list, which was released by the DICK's Sporting Goods Jersey Report.

Tags: Saquon Barkley
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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)

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.

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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