During the offseason, I’ll be looking back at certain aspects of the Jets’ season by analyzing data compiled from all nineteen games, rather than watching film. I will be tackling as many diverse topics as possible, but welcome your suggestions or requests in the comments.

In analyzing the way the Jets' season ended, one of the most eye-opening statistics all season involved missed tackles, as the Jets - by my count - missed 14 against the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. Even more revealing was the fact that they missed 13 in the first half - as they fell into a 24 point hole - and only one in the second half, as they battled back within one score.

Undeniably, missed tackles were a big factor in that game, which ultimately decided the fate of the 2010 Jets. However, were missed tackles a key issue during the season? How did the 2010 Jets compare with the other teams in the league and other Jets teams from recent seasons? Is there any correlation between the teams that don't miss a lot of tackles and the best teams in the league - and are the worst teams those ones that miss a lot of tackles? Finally, who were the most and least reliable tacklers on the Jets last season?

After the jump, I look at the data and investigate the above issues to try to determine how much of a difference it would make if the Jets performed better in this area.

Tackling the Data

In much the same way as they do not track dropped catches, the NFL does not keep track of missed tackles, presumably because they consider it too difficult to accurately determine when a tackle has been missed. Whenever I have been asked to look at missed tackles, I will count anything where the would-be tackler has the ball carrier lined up with an unimpeded opportunity to make the stop, or momentarily has them within their grasp. For the purposes of this analysis, I have used missed tackle statistics from ProFootballFocus.com in this article, to ensure I am working with an unbiased data set with the type of play that constitutes a missed tackle consistently defined.

Although this is an inexact science, at least it gives us a set of data that we can trust to be sufficiently accurate for the purposes of making comparisons. Note that I have ignored missed tackles on special teams or by offensive players following turnovers.

2010 Jets Analysis

We know the Jets had a strong defense in 2010. Was this because they tackled consistently, or could improved tackling have actually made the defense even more impenetrable?

Looking at the raw data, the Jets missed an average of 4.8 tackles per game. Is there a strong correlation between missed tackles and how the team performed though? Looking at the eight missed tackles in the 45-3 loss to New England and the one missed tackle in the 17-16 wild card win over Indianapolis, one might be forgiven for thinking that was the case. However, they had 11 in the Divisional Playoff win over the Patriots and only four in each of the two midseason games where the Browns and Lions took them into overtime.

4.8 missed tackles per game has the Jets ranked 11th best in the NFL in terms of not missing tackles. This tells us that there perhaps is some room for improvement, but that they are not too far off the pace of most of the teams in the league. All but seven teams had between 4.0 and 6.0 missed tackles per game.

So, is it the better teams that tend not to miss tackles? Actually, only four of the top ten made the playoffs. These included the Ravens, Bears and Steelers, three of the more respected defenses in the league, but the highest ranked playoff team was actually New England. The Patriots were only fourth in the league though, as three non-playoff teams missed fewer tackles per game than everybody else - Denver, Oakland and Dallas.

Is it possible to rationalize this? One theory I had was that these were teams that seemed to give up a lot of long plays. So, where the Jets might give up a touchdown on an eighteen play drive where they missed five tackles, as happened against the Steelers, these teams were giving up yardage to wide open receivers and offenses were not having to rely on someone avoiding or breaking a tackle to get the ball downfield on them.

Can a team that misses a lot of tackles still be successful, then? Looking further down the rankings, four of the bottom eight teams in terms of missed tackles did make the postseason, although all four were ousted in the first round.

The Cold Harsh Truth

In analyzing the data, I've taken postseason games into account, but this may not be fair to postseason teams. Anecdotally, missed tackles increase at the end of the season, with the weather getting colder and the statistics seem to bear this out. It's therefore likely that most of those playoff teams slid down the ranking by having me include the data from one (or more) extra cold weather game.

In fact, if you take out the last two postseason games - since the first one was in a dome anyway - the Jets would improve their position and end up tied with the Patriots in 4th place in the NFL.

One interesting pattern I noticed was this: Out of the six teams who missed the most tackles per game, only the Titans play their home games outdoors. The other five all play in a dome. Initially, you might think that this disproves the cold weather leading to more missed tackles theory, but when you think about it, it's perhaps more likely to mean that teams that are used to playing in domes struggle to adjust to playing outdoors more than the rest of the teams in the NFL. Sure enough, the bottom team in the league - Detroit - missed only 40 tackles at home but 67 tackles on the road. For the record, the other three dome (or retractable roof stadium) teams were 9th, 13th and 23rd and none made the postseason.

Comparing With Previous Years

Last season, the Jets missed 4.7 tackles per game, so there was hardly any difference between 2009 and 2010. However, if we go back to 2008 - the Mangini era - the Jets only missed 3.2 tackles per game, which would have placed them 2nd in the league in 2010.

Mangini preached discipline, but his defenses were nowhere near as successful statistically as the defenses have been for the last two years under Rex Ryan. Here's where the total number of missed tackles can be a misnomer. The weakness of those Jets teams under Mangini was their soft underbelly. Even jouneymen quarterbacks and over-the-hill receivers were able to pick up consistent yardage every time underneath, so teams were able to move the chains without the need to break too many tackles. Also, while they may have tackled at a better rate, this doesn't mean that they didn't give up a lot of yards after contact. In fact, in 2010, the Jets gave up slightly fewer yards per carry after contact that they did in 2008, despite the increased numbers of tackles that were missed.

2010 Individual Analysis

In terms of total missed tackles, the Jets "leaders" were as follows:

David Harris - 11

Drew Coleman - 9

Eric Smith - 8

Brodney Pool - 7

Calvin Pace - 6

Jason Taylor/Kyle Wilson - 5 each

Everybody else - 4 or less

Of course, this doesn't account for the fact that Harris is in on nearly every play, whereas someone like Kyle Wilson does not play much. Perhaps, therefore, it is more revealing to look at what percentage of potential tackles have been made. If someone made six tackles, but missed two, their tackle rate would be 75%. There are the players with the lowest tackle rate (ignoring anyone who played less than 300 snaps):

Wilson - 77.3%

Coleman - 81.6%

Dwight Lowery - 83.3%

Taylor - 86.5%

Smith - 88.2%

Pool - 88.3%

The first thing we notice is that most of these are defensive backs. That stands to reason, because they will have to make open field tackles more often, sometimes against bigger players, so it is perhaps better to look at the position groupings separately.

Defensive Backs

Continuing on with the defensive backs, then, we can see how those that struggled fared compared with the other defensive backs on the team:

Jim Leonhard - 93.1%

Darrelle Revis - 92.9%

Antonio Cromartie - 91.1%

Leonhard is a particularly interesting case study, as we can see from an article PFF did on 2009 tackle efficiency for safeties:

Jim Leonhard['s] TIR of 19.05 was seventh-worst in the list. Many Jets fans will point out that Leonhard played much of the year with a broken thumb, and a protective cast on his hand, and while this is true (three of his misses can be attributed to his first game playing with that cast), more than half of his misses came when he was fully healthy before any injury. And only two came after that first game back with the cast on his hand.


Leonhard's obvious improvements in this area may surprise those who felt he underperformed this season, but the high tackle rate for Antonio Cromartie - who has a reputation for being a bad tackler - is likely to be an even bigger surprise. Sure enough, last year he was not very efficient and was again mentioned by PFF when they looked at cornerbacks:

Recent Jets acquisition Antonio Cromartie has often had a reputation as a player who isn’t as keen on tackling as maybe he should be, and he finds himself just outside the bottom ten with a 16.22 TIR.


Cromartie's improvements don't necessarily represent that he has improved as a tackler, but could instead be indicitative that he has been coached to approach tackling conservatively and make sure the ball carrier doesn't get beyond him, even if that means he is able to pick up extra yards as Cromartie focuses on staying in front of him rather than aggressively trying to meet the runner as early as possible and risking a missed tackle.

The reason I suggest this is that Kerry Rhodes went completely the other way when he left the Jets. Rhodes has a similar reputation for not being a good tackler, and yet he posted similar efficiency numbers to Cromartie in his last year as a Jet. PFF also noted this:

Much has been made recently about the play of Kerry Rhodes and his tackling. Although this list doesn’t pretend to account for occasions where a player simply shies away from the tackling attempt, it shows that when Rhodes attempted a tackle, the new Cardinals safety was reasonably efficient at making it stick. His TIR of 9.09 was good enough to rank him inside the best 25 safeties on the season.


Although Rhodes sometimes threw his shoulder at a ball carrier rather than making a form tackle and often looked tentative and/or was dragged for extra yardage as he approached a ball carrier in the open field, the number of occasions he actually let his guy get away from him was surprisingly low. Contrast that with this season, where he gambled a lot more and ended up with the 3nd most missed tackles in the entire NFL - not just for safeties - and you can see why I might suggest that there's a difference in the way he's being coached or at least in how he has decided to approach the game. He was more statistically productive too, so his tackle rate was just outside the bottom ten, but that's still a huge drop-off from last year.

One final point on the defensive backs, it's obvious that the Jets have coached their defensive backs to try and strip the ball when making a downfield tackle or one where they are second on the scene. This is why you will often see guys like Darrelle Revis stay on their feet and fish for the ball rather than making a physical stop on their man. This paid dividends several times during the season, with Drew Coleman perhaps partially making up for his nine missed tackles with six forced fumbles, a couple of which came after big plays, including a vital one against the Browns.

For the record, 40 NFL defensive backs were in double figures in terms of missed tackles in 2010, so no Jet made that list, although Coleman was close and Smith and Pool were not far behind.

Let's now consider how many yards were gained on plays where defensive backs missed tackles. Again, this is an inexact science, because I do not have enough information to determine how many extra yards were gained because of the missed tackle. However, it does enable us to compare which players were involved in some of the more costly plays. You would expect the yardage gained to be higher than for linebackers and linemen, since a lot of the tackle attempts would be made downfield.

Where two or more players missed a tackle on the same play, I have split the yardage equally between them. I have only looked at guys with at least four missed tackles.

Cromartie - 23.0 yards per play

Pool - 18.6 yards per play

Lowery - 17.0 yards per play

Coleman - 16.3 yards per play

Smith - 12.0 yards per play

Leonhard - 10.8 yards per play

Wilson - 8.4 yards per play

Notably, although Wilson had the lowest tackle rate, four of his five missed tackles were on plays that gained less than 10 yards, so he did not make any really costly mistakes with his tackling. The relative numbers do seem to correlate strongly with how close you might usually expect each of these players to play to the line of scrimmage. Dwight Lowery's average would have been 21.2 yards per play, but there was a 38 yarder that was negated by an illegal motion penalty.

Although nobody's stats are too bad, there is room for improvement and we can look back to the last couple of seasons to see whose performance improved or declined.

- As noted, Leonhard and Cromartie made big improvements on last year.

- Revis' tackle rate has consistently been in the low 90's in each of the last three seasons.

- Lowery was in the low 90's in each of the last two seasons, but dropped to the low 80's this year, although that was perhaps not unexpected with the move to safety.

- Coleman is consistently in the 80-85% range, which is slightly disappointing. Despite the forced fumbles, he does seem to miss a few too many tackles and in 2010, he also missed four on special teams.

Linebackers

Let's look at the tackle rates for the five main Jets linebackers in 2010:

Bryan Thomas - 98.2%

Bart Scott - 94.5%

David Harris - 90.0%

Calvin Pace - 89.7%

Jason Taylor - 86.5%

For Thomas, this was his second highly efficient season in a row in terms of his tackling. He was tenth in the league last year with a 96.3% tackle rate and actually improved on that. He is one of just a few players who is missing fewer tackles than he did in the final year under Mangini, where he was only just over 90%. Taylor, on the other hand, posted a tackle rate that would have placed him just outside the bottom ten last year. Calvin Pace, you may be surprised to learn, was a much less efficient tackler last year (below 85%), but was very efficient in the last year under Mangini (over 95%), so he seems to have found a happy medium. Bart Scott improved slightly over last year and David Harris posted similar numbers, but it is interesting to note that in 2008, Harris led the team at 98.2% (only one missed tackle) playing a role similar to Scott's current role, where he took on more blockers and was less statistically productive.

Let's look at how costly these missed tackles were:

Harris - 13.5 yards per play

Taylor - 7.6 yards per play

Pace - 6.1 yards per play

Scott - 6.0 yards per play

As you can see, if Harris misses a tackle, this tends to be more costly than if any of the other linebackers does. In fact, he's often the one to show up and limit the damage if another linebacker happens to miss. The Jets defense is designed in such a way that Harris is often in space and making a crucial tackle. Usually he does this, but on the 11 occasions he couldn't, nine of those plays went for 10 or more yards. For me, this underlines his importance and the Jets should be very wary of downgrading even slightly at this position. (Note: In 65 snaps in relief of Harris over the last two years, Ryan Fowler and Josh Mauga have three missed tackles and a 40% tackle rate. Try extrapolating that over a whole season!)

Bryan Thomas is not considered due to having fewer than four missed tackles on the year.

For more discussion on Bart Scott and missed tackles, re-read my BGA Extra on the AFC Title Game, where I dispute Rich Cimini's assertion that this was his worst game.

Although the missed tackle numbers across the board are not bad for the linebackers, that doesn't account for when a player has been blocked out of a play. For Pace and Thomas in particular, this seemed to be an area where they regressed in 2010. If anything, Harris did a better job of avoiding that this year.

For the record, 11 inside linebackers were in double figures for missed tackles and 14 led the league. In terms of 3-4 OLB's, only six had six or more and eight led the league.

Defensive Linemen

Missed tackles are not generally a big issue for defensive linemen, especially when you have a three man front, which practically guarantees that each lineman will be engaged with a blocker.

However, the Jets did have some costly missed tackles from their linemen in the postseason.

In fact, Mike DeVito, Trevor Pryce, Sione Pouha and Shaun Ellis combined for seven missed tackles in the last two postseason games, after having had just seven between them in the first 17 games of the year.

DeVito was the only one with more than four and the total damage on the five plays where he missed a tackle was just 11 yards. However, Pryce and Pouha did give up 29 costly yards against the Steelers with two missed tackles each - despite entering the game with just one each.

Here were the tackle rates:

Pouha - 94.1%

Ellis - 91.7%

DeVito - 90.6%

These were the only three that played more than 300 snaps. All three posted similar tackle rates over the last two years.

For the record, there were only six 3-4 linemen with five or more missed tackles and seven led the league.

Conclusions

On its own, the number of missed tackles can be a very misleading statistic, but - given the correct context - it does allow us to investigate certain trends. Clearly the Jets are a team that does a good job of getting its defensive playmakers into a position where they can stop a play, which might lead to them being credited with more missed tackles than certain other teams, despite being more effective overall.

The team had games where they were able to overcome a lot of missed tackles and still win, but equally there were times when missed tackles were the main reason for their undoing. While there is always room for improvement, notably with certain individuals, the Jets as a team did a solid job of tackling for most of the year, compared to the rest of the league, so if they want the defense to improve, they will probably see more dramatic results from focusing on other areas, such as improving their depth and bolstering the pass rush.

As ever, I welcome any submissions for what you would like me to cover next week.

Tags: BGA, Main Page, Bent Double

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.

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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."

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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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