New York Jets defensive tackle Deon Simon (Tim Fuller/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets defensive tackle Deon Simon (Tim Fuller/USA Today Sports Images)

Between now and training camp, we've been looking at some of the veteran players on the Jets roster to assess their potential contributions to the team in 2016. Today, we're going to share the first part of a two-part look at the six players still with the team who were part of last year's rookie class but have yet to make their NFL debut. Which, if any, of these players can we expect to make contributions this season?

Part one saw us take a look at the three offensive players that fit into this category; Quarterback Bryce Petty, offensive lineman Jarvis Harrison and fullback Julian Howsare. Here in part two, we'll look at the three defensive players; defensive lineman Deon Simon and linebackers Deion Barnes and Taiwan Jones

In between now and training camp, we've been looking at some of the veteran players on the Jets roster to assess what kind of contribution we might expect from them in 2016. Today we're going to share the second part of a two-part look at the six players still with the team who were part of last year's rookie class but who have yet to make their NFL debut. Which, if any, of these players can we expect to make contributions this season?

Part one saw us take a look at the three offensive players that fit into this category; Quarterback Bryce Petty, offensive lineman Jarvis Harrison and fullback Julian Howsare. Here in part two, we'll look at the three defensive players; defensive lineman Deon Simon and linebackers Deion Barnes and Taiwan Jones.

Simon

Simon was the only player of these three that the Jets drafted last year (in the seventh round). He began the year on the active roster, but was never activated. Simon was waived at the end of September and put on the practice squad for the rest of the season. He signed a futures deal after the season.

Simon saw plenty of playing time in the preseason, mostly paired with undrafted rookies Davon Walls and Jordan Williams. He was easily the most impressive of the three. While Walls has not been with a team since, Williams signed with Miami and even got some regular season playing time with them.

Simon showed a knack for coming up with big plays, recording 1.5 sacks, a pass break-up, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery. However, the sacks were of the cheap coverage clean-up variety. He recorded one other pressure, showing off his athleticism on a stunt.

It's against the run where he needs to show more, and Simon made some encouraging progress there. In the first game, he was blocked to the ground on a short yardage play and then wasn't able to get across laterally fast enough to prevent a runner from getting to the hole. In the next game, while he was still pushed around at times, he showed an improved ability to penetrate, shed blocks and move well laterally, as he was able to bottle up a couple of runs. If Simon is going to emulate Damon Harrison, who signed with the New York Giants in the offseason, he'll need to improve his consistency because he was blocked out of plays at times, whereas that rarely happened to Harrison even against starters. Nevertheless, it was an encouraging start from him.

Known Mike Maccagnan confidante Charley Casserly said Jets fans need to look out for Simon, comparing him to Harrison.

Barnes

Barnes was an unheralded free-agent signing after going unselected in last year's draft. However, he was the only player on the team to spend the entire regular season on the practice squad.

Barnes had an impressive preseason with 1.5 sacks, which was tied for the team lead with three other Jets including Simon. Trevor Reilly was the only player to record more pressure than Barnes in preseason and he missed a tackle in the pocket in the last game which would have given him the team lead with 2.5 sacks.

Despite his success as a pass rusher, it was against the run where he was surprisingly at his most effective. Barnes displayed a good ability to get good leverage and penetrate. He was able to make stops by holding his ground at the point of attack and by stretching a run out to the sideline, and also had one outstanding play in which he blew up a run at the goal line.

While he fared well against backups, there was a reminder of how far he has to go in the Giants game. He was called upon for just one snap with the first unit and it did not go well, as wide receiver Dwayne Harris easily drove him off the line on the left side:

In the previous installment, I linked to an article by ESPN New York's Rich Cimini in which he named his risers and fallers from mini-camp. Barnes was one of his risers. Linebackers coach Mark Collins also named Barnes as the one player at any position who had made the biggest improvement since last year.

Jones

Jones was another undrafted rookie, but he was the only one of these three to end the season on the active roster. Jones was promoted when wide receiver Devin Smith injured his knee in mid-December, but was kept inactive down the stretch.

In preseason, Jones was quiet over the first three games, but did get in on one stop in each game, including one where he was unblocked and made a tackle in the backfield. He really flashed in the last game, though, making four stops against the run and one in coverage, as well as a big hit down the field. Coverage might be a concern for Jones, who ran a 4.9 40-yard dash at his combine and pro day workouts last season, but he only gave up two catches for 17 yards. He also helped his case by getting in on three special teams tackles.

Jones has also received some positive offseason buzz, as draft insider Tony Pauline reporting that the team sees him as a potential future replacement for David Harris.

Conclusions

Unlike with the three offensive players we looked at, there's been a positive buzz about all three of these players. There's potentially room at the back end of the roster for all three of them with the chance they could exceed expectations even further to earn an even more significant role.

I look upon Simon as having the best chance. While there isn't much roster space on the defensive line, Steve McLendon is the only other natural nose tackle the team has. The Jets brought in three undrafted defensive linemen, but they all seem more likely to be longer-term projects than immediate competition. Perhaps Simon could make a push to split time with McLendon and possibly even start over him within a year.

Barnes is in a group of players with a chance at a backup outside linebacker role. While I assume the current plan is for Lorenzo Mauldin and Jordan Jenkins to eventually be the two players atop the depth chart, Barnes will compete with the likes of Reilly and Freddie Bishop for time. He might even have an outside chance at starting off ahead of Jenkins if he's more NFL-ready than the rookie.

Finally, while Harris might not need a replacement for another year or two, if Jones can lock down that fourth inside linebacker spot and start earning some playing time, that will be a positive step ahead of next year. With Erin Henderson and Darron Lee expected to battle for the spot alongside Harris, Jones' most obvious competition for that role is likely to be Bruce Carter, who is only on a one-year deal.

There are not many recent examples of players following this inactive as a rookie-to-contributor in year two path with the Jets. The only one from last year was Dexter McDougle, who almost certainly would have played as a rookie had he not suffered a season-ending injury.

While it's good to see players developing and unexpected contributors emerging to provide the team with valuable low-cost depth, it's perhaps disappointing the strength here is on the defensive side of the ball when there is arguably more of a need on offense. However, there are plenty of other young offensive prospects on the team, so it will be interesting to see who steps up.

Tags: David Harris, Deion Barnes, Deon Simon, Erin Henderson, Lorenzo Mauldin, Taiwan Jones, Trevor Reilly

New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) celebrates with teammates Marcus Maye (26) after recovering a fumble during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)
New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) celebrates with teammates Marcus Maye (26) after recovering a fumble during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)

If Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins was happy about his team's first win in six weeks, he didn't show it. Instead, Jenkins had sharp words for young Bills quarterback Josh Allen and outside left tackler Dion Dawkins after New York edged Buffalo 27-23 on Sunday.

Allen pulled away from Jenkins, who was charging at the quarterback at the 15-yard line, for a 6-yard touchdown on Buffalo's first drive of the game. But Jenkins' emotional response during his postgame press conference was driven by Dawkins' chop block on the first play from scrimmage. 

The play caused Jenkins to retreat to the locker room with an ankle injury. Moments later, SNYtv's Ralph Vacchiano reported Jenkins was returning to the field, despite being doubtful to return. Jenkins finished with two tackles, including one tackle for loss.

Tags: Jordan Jenkins
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New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold scrambles out of the pocket against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold scrambles out of the pocket against the Buffalo Bills during the second quarter at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)

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Until the final drive, Sam Darnold's performance in his return to the starting lineup would be defined by his best and worst play. However, Darnold's composure in leading the team downfield for the late game-winning score in Sunday's 27-23 win over the Buffalo Bills was exactly the kind of thing the Jets and their fans had been hoping to see from him this year.

Let's look at some specific examples before we draw conclusions:

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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What to make of Sam Darnold 00:00:51
Sam Darnold returned to action against the Bills. What should Jets fans takeaway from the young QB?s season so far?

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Fourteen years ago there was a young quarterback in New York who had struggled through an up-and-down rookie season. He showed flashes of his potential, but not nearly enough to convince everyone he would someday be the man to lead his franchise.

Then in Week 17, Eli Manning got the ball with 1:41 remaining and drove the Giants down the field for a game-winning drive capped by a 3-yard Tiki Barber touchdown run. The Giants beat the Cowboys 28-24 that day and it seemed like the moment that Manning arrived.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Eli Manning, Elijah McGuire, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Report Cards from the Jets win 00:02:37
Willie Colon and Bart Scott give their grades for the Jets 27-23 win over Buffalo. It's all A's for special teams but what about the rest?

The Jets crew hands out grades after Sam Darnold led the Jets to a last-minute comeback drive in Sunday's 27-23 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at New Era Field.

Tags: Buffalo Bills
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Jets beat Bills 27-23 00:01:17
The Jets got their much-wanted revenge on the Buffalo Bills, winning 27-23. After the game it was all smiles in the locker room.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When Sam Darnold limped off to the locker room after the Jets' first series, it looked like this season was going to go from bad to much worse. This season had always been about him. But he had already missed three games with a foot injury after three terrible performances.

And now he was going to be out again?

Well, though it wasn't exactly a Willis Reed performance, Darnold returned quickly enough to give some life and hope to what's left of this Jets season. He went 12 of 18 for 139 yards in the second half and led a game-winning touchdown drive in the final two minutes to give the Jets a 27-23 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Elijah McGuire, Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell looks for a hole to run through during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell looks for a hole to run through during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

Running back Isaiah Crowell left Week 14 against Buffalo with a foot injury. The Jets announced he is questionable to return. 

The 25-year-old was sidelined at Jets practice with a toe issue all week, and it could be related to Sunday's injury. Crowell had three touches for seven yards before exiting. Elijah McGuire took over for Crowell as the New York's lead back.

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Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) jogs off the field after the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports (Patrick Gorski)
Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) jogs off the field after the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports (Patrick Gorski)

Jets QB Sam Darnold left Sunday's game against the Bills after just three plays, heading to the locker room with team doctors before being replaced by Josh McCown.

Darnold missed one drive before jogging back on the field and coming back in the game. 

He is playing in his first game since Week 9, when he suffered a right foot strain.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Danny Abriano
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Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) and Josh McCown (15) watch second half of play against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) and Josh McCown (15) watch second half of play against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

After missing the last three games due to a foot injury, Sam Darnold will return as the Jets' QB on Sunday against the Bills, the team announced. 

Darnold practiced in full on Friday, but head coach Todd Bowles said a final decision on his availability wouldn't be made until right before the game. 

"We'll decide that on Sunday," Bowles said. "Both he and Josh (McCown) had good weeks."

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Nov 4, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Nov 4, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Jets (3-9) at the Buffalo Bills (4-8) at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. ET.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Parry Nickerson (43) and defensive end Leonard Williams (92) celebrate a fumble by the Indianapolis Colts during a NFL game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Parry Nickerson (43) and defensive end Leonard Williams (92) celebrate a fumble by the Indianapolis Colts during a NFL game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)

As the Jets enter the final quarter of their schedule in the 2018-2019 season, the reality that there will be no postseason football for Gang Green has set in. But that does not mean players are packing it in on the whole.

That's certainly not how Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams sees it.

"You can tell guys are tired of it - they want to win, no more losing," Williams told the New York Post on Friday. "I think it shows a lot."

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Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports (Quinn Harris)
Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports (Quinn Harris)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The last time Sam Darnold was under center for the Jets, his rookie season was in a freefall.

In his last three games, he had completed just 47.3 percent of his passes for 588 yards, with two touchdowns and seven interceptions. He had a dismal passer rating of 43.2.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Manish Mehta responds to Bowles 00:02:56
Daily News Jets writer Manish Mehta responds to Todd Bowles' denial of his story about tension between and GM Mike Maccagnan and himself.

Even though Todd Bowles claims there was "never any tension" between him and anyone else on the Jets staff, New York Daily News Jets writer Manish Mehta isn't buying it. 

Mehta doubled down on his Daily News report Friday, saying the head coach's denial of friction between him and GM Mike Maccagnan were "predictable" and he wouldn't expect the two to publicly say otherwise.

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New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee is chased by Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack after an interception in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee is chased by Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack after an interception in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets season still manages to reach a new low. 

Linebacker Darron Lee was suspended four games without pay for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, the team announced on Friday. 

Lee will begin his suspension immediately and will be eligible to return to the Jets' active roster on Dec. 31, the day after their final game. 

Tags: Darron Lee
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Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy looks on from the sideline in the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. (Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy looks on from the sideline in the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. (Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports)

In the latest episode of The Jet Stream, Jonas Schwartz is joined by Good Morning Football's Peter Schrager to discuss why a younger, offensive-minded head coach would be a lot better than hiring Mike McCarthy and could get the most out of Sam Darnold. Lastly, The Athletic's Jets beat writer Connor Hughes goes in-depth on the Jets roster and how the losing is impacting the locker room.

Subscribe to the show here: https://on.sny.tv/2Od2Qzt

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN

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Todd Bowles denies rift with GM 00:00:36
Jets head coach Todd Bowles denies a published report that there's a rift between himself and GM Mike Maccagnan.

Todd Bowles insists everything is just fine between him and GM Mike Maccagnan

The Jets head coach denied a report form Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that said there was "friction and passive aggressive petulance" between Bowles and Maccagnan. 

"I'm not big on responding to articles, but there's never been any tension between me or anybody else in this building," Bowles told SNY's Jeane Coakley on Friday.

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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on before his game against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on before his game against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

After a 30-9 Titans beatdown on the Jaguars Thursday night, the Jets were officially eliminated from playoff contention this season. 

A 3-9 Jets team had extremely slim chances of staying afloat, but Tennessee put the nail in the coffin to send New York packing after Week 17 for the eighth straight season. This playoff drought is the second-longest in franchise history. 

In turn, head coach Todd Bowles' job could be in some serious jeopardy. SNY's Ralph Vacchiano says it "seems like a given at this point" considering the lackluster performance the team has had all season long. So, while fans will be focused on the Jets' high draft pick, finding a new head coach will also be on their radar. 

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Nov 4, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy on the sideline during the third quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports (Stew Milne)
Nov 4, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy on the sideline during the third quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports (Stew Milne)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There doesn't seem to be any way for Todd Bowles to save his job now, which means the Jets are probably already thinking about what comes next. Most good executives always have a list of future potential coaches. Surely GM Mike Maccagnan and CEO Christopher Johnson have lists, too.

It's hard to say for sure who is on it with four games to go in the regular season. It's not even absolutely certain who will lead the search, though one team source indicated Maccagnan will have "strong influence" if not total control. Regardless, the Jets will have several strong candidates from which to choose.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Darnold looks good, could start 00:00:53
New York Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates is encouraged by what he's seen from Sam Darnold in practice, but will he play on Sunday?

Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold was back with the first team at practice on Thursday, which means the first-year signal-caller could see action for the first time in nearly a month when the Jets hit the road Sunday to take on the Buffalo Bills.

Talking on "Good Morning Football" this morning, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said Darnold is "expected to exit the injury report pretty soon." Darnold took part in full practice drills, and seems to be back on track after a foot injury that sidelined him in Week 9.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles hasn't said whether or not Darnold will start across from fellow rookie QB Josh Allen. Darnold noted feeling great after practice Wednesday, as he continues to practice hard...

Tags: Josh Allen, Sam Darnold
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New York Jets safety Jamal Adams reacts during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets safety Jamal Adams reacts during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets are looking to avenge their embarrassing 41-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills last month, and in Jamal Adams' eyes, "It's personal.

"They came in and they whupped us," Adams continued, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. "They don't like us, we don't like them, so it's going to be a tough battle."

So much went wrong for the Jets on Nov. 11 that it was fair to question of the players quit. The heat under head coach Todd Bowles' hot seat was scorching; owner Christopher Johnson did comment on Bowles' job status after the game. 

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Jamal Adams, Josh McCown, Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold
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Get to know Jonotthan Harrison 00:02:19
Jonotthan Harrison would be a homicide detective if he wasn't playing football. He shared a lot of interesting facts with Jeane Coakley.

Jets C Jonotthan Harrison is something of a Renaissance man.

The 27-year-old University of Florida product revealed to SNY's Jeane Coakley some of his varied interests.

Harrison said football came later in his life because he was simply too big to play in his youth. That put the sport on the back burner until around halfway through college, he said.

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New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, right, talks to the team's latest addition, wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who recently signed with the team, as they conversed during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, right, talks to the team's latest addition, wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who recently signed with the team, as they conversed during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, at Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Mark Sanchez seems to be taking his "Butt Fumble" saga in stride, but Plaxico Burress is still firing his shots.

The former Giants receiver caught Sanchez in his crosshairs Wednesday, two days after the quarterback added another butt-centric fumble play to his repertoire in his debut with the Redskins.

"I can't wait to see this QB play for the Washington Redskins for the rest of the season," Burress tweeted. "@mark_sanchez Let me grab my popcorn. #comedyfor3hours #checkdowning Yup I said it!!"

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New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez looks to pass during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
		
		 (John Minchillo/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez looks to pass during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (John Minchillo/AP)

It has been six years since that infamous day at MetLife Stadium. The Jets and Patriots were pitted against each other in a division matchup on Thanksgiving, and New England was the obvious favorite. 

But it was one play in particular during this blowout loss for Gang Green that would be cemented in history -- and it wasn't good. Jets QB Mark Sanchez wanted to hand the ball off for a fullback dive, but miscommunication forced him to run himself.

Well, Jets fans know what happened next...

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Bowles and Darnold on QB status 00:00:57
Jets head coach Todd Bowles and Sam Darnold talk about the rookie QB's health, and Jamal Adams talks about his desire to beat the Bills

Jets QB Sam Darnold spoke Wednesday about his ongoing recovery from a strained foot and how he feels about his chances to return Sunday against the Bills.

"I'm really excited about this week and where we're headed," Darnold said. "Really excited about how I felt today, so as of right now I'm really excited about hopefully getting the chance to play Sunday."

"I like to take everything one day at a time, especially this injury that I had," he added. "I'm really just trying to practice hard every single day. And when Sunday comes and I'm healthy, I'm really looking forward to going out there and playing well."

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack (25) runs against New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (26) during a NFL game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports  (Robert Deutsch)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack (25) runs against New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (26) during a NFL game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said S Marcus Maye underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair his shoulder injury that placed him on the IR for the remainder of the season. 

When asked about his expected recovery, Bowles answered with "a couple months," which is a good sign for the second-year player.

Maye, a second-round pick in 2017, is the seventh-leading tackler for the Jets in 2018-2019. He tallied 34 tackles, a half-sack, a forced fumble and one interception in six games this season.

Tags: Marcus Maye
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Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan reacts on the field before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan reacts on the field before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

With a 3-9 record, the Jets are currently on pace to make the third overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.

But their road to the No. 1 pick remains complicated with four games left in the 2018 season.

The 49ers and Raiders are the leading contenders for the top pick with a shared record of 2-10. In the event two or more teams are tied for the worst record at the end of the season, the team with the lowest strength of schedule is awarded the No. 1 pick.

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Should the Jets pursue McCarthy? 00:01:03
Ralph Vacchiano defends Mike McCarthy as a good option to be the next head coach of the Jets over the likes of Lincoln Riley.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There is no more accomplished coaching candidate on the market right now than former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, and there isn't likely to be one when this season is over. His record is stellar. He's coached a string of top-10 offenses. He even has a Super Bowl ring.

He could be exactly the coach the Jets need to turn around the star-crossed franchise.

Of course, that might be what they're thinking in Cleveland and Tampa Bay -- and maybe Cincinnati, Baltimore, Denver and a few other cities, too.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 3, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (55) sacks Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) causing a fumble during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Dec 3, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (55) sacks Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) causing a fumble during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Is this what redemption looks like for Mark Sanchez?

Taking his first NFL snaps since Jan 1, 2017, the former Jets QB came in for the Redskins Monday night against the Eagles after Colt McCoy left the game with a season-ending leg injury in the second quarter.

And it didn't take long for Sanchez to inadvertently remind the football world of the most infamous play of his career.

Tags: Washington Redskins
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on before his game against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on before his game against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets have had some bad losses during the Todd Bowles era, but it was Sunday's 26-22 defeat to the Titans that elicited such a strong response from the normally reserved Jets head coach. 

"This game will stick with me for the rest of my life," he told reporters on Monday. 

Bowles, who has never made the playoffs and has had just one winning season in his four-year head coaching career, oversaw his team blow a 16-point lead that they held late in the second quarter to drop their sixth straight game. 

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy reacts after a 29-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy reacts after a 29-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Timing can be everything for a team that is rebuilding. It needs to bottom out in a year when the right players and coaches are available to help with their long-term plan.

That's why the Jets should consider it a sign that the Green Bay Packers fired coach Mike McCarthy on Sunday afternoon. And as soon as they fire Todd Bowles after the season (which seems like a given at this point), they need to put McCarthy at the top of their list.

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Grades for the Jets 26-22 loss 00:03:49
Ray Lucas, Victor Green and Chad Cascadden deliver their grades for Jets performance against the Titans in the 26-22 loss.

The Jets crew hands out grades after New York's fourth-quarter meltdown led to a 26-22 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

Tags: Tennessee Titans
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