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 Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Demario Davis, Darron Lee

Projected backups: Bruce Carter, Connor Harris

Tags: Darron Lee, David Harris, Demario Davis
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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

The Jets' new linebackers coach, Hall of Famer Kevin Greene, is looking to instill more aggression and power in his players, especially LB Lorenzo Mauldin.

The 25-year-old has shown spurts of potential in two seasons with the Jets, but his 2.5 sacks last season isn't the production they had expected. Greene intends to change that, and he told NJ.com's Darryl Slater why he uses this specific approach to his coaching. 

"Everybody at this level has skill, correct?" Greene said. "They'rea ll athletic, and agility and dexterity and all that stuff. Well, what separates people initially is their physical level of play. That's always our first step, is we have to play more physical than whoever is in front of us, because we're all athletic." 

Tags: Lorenzo Mauldin
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A pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is broken up by Buffalo Bills cornerbacks Corey White and Kevon Seymour during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
A pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is broken up by Buffalo Bills cornerbacks Corey White and Kevon Seymour during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson

Projected backups: Jalin Marshall, Charone Peake, ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Charone Peake, Eric Decker, Jalin Marshall, Quincy Enunwa
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) watches from the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) watches from the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Preseason Stats: 17-for-47, 159 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, 1-15 rushing, one fumble

Regular Season Stats: Did Not Play

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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Part 2 of Jets mini-camp 00:02:01
SNY delivers part 2 of an all-access behind-the-scenes recap of New York Jets minicamp, including the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

Click here to watch Part 1

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Behind the scenes at Jets camp 00:01:48
SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

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New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)

President Donald Trump plans to nominate Jets' owner Woody Johnson as the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, the team confirmed on Thursday.

In the case that Johnson is nominated and confirmed by the US Senate, he would hand over his duties as Chairman and CEO to his brother, Christopher Johnson, who will directly oversee the team's day-to-day operations.

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Jets DE Sheldon Richardson says head coach Todd Bowles has been more strict than in the past, per Darryl Slater of NJ.com. 

Bowles has been left with a young team following the Jets' roster purge that including veterans like C Nick Mangold and LB David Harris. With his job possibly in jeopardy, he has been putting emphasis on working harder.

"It's completely different from the last couple years," Richardson said at minicamp. "A lot more strict now. We weren't loose [in the past], but it's a lot more strict now. It's even more enforced than what it has been in the past."

Tags: Brandon Marshall, David Harris, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nick Mangold, Sheldon Richardson
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets LB Lorenzo Mauldin turned himself in to authorities Wednesday morning in Manhattan for his alleged role in a nightclub attack that took place on April 2, according to TMZ Sports.

Mauldin, who is also being sued in civil court, was not arrested or charged after the incident. The Jets said earlier this month that they're aware of the lawsuit but had no further comment.

An NFL spokesman told ESPN's Rich Cimini that the league is looking into the incident. 

Tags: Lorenzo Mauldin
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 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

Former Jets LB David Harris has agreed to a two-year deal with the New England Patriots worth $6.75 million, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The Patriots offered Harris more than the Jets offered him earlier this month prior to his release, reports Mike Florio of NBC Sports.

Harris visited with the Patriots on Wednesday after speaking with head coach Bill Belichick (and coaches from five other teams) earlier this week, notes Florio.

Tags: David Harris
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Los Angeles Rams former and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Kevin Greene attends a NFL football game at between the Miami Dolphins and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Kirby Lee)
Los Angeles Rams former and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Kevin Greene attends a NFL football game at between the Miami Dolphins and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Kirby Lee)

The Jets were one of the worst pass-rushing teams in the NFL last year, finishing the season wtih just 27 sacks, and only 5.5 of them coming from the team's outside linebackers.

Todd Bowles brought in former NFL linebacker Kevin Greene as New York's new linebackers coach, and Greene has already expressed optimism towards his young group of players.

"The sky's the limit for all my kids," Greene told Daniel Popper of the Daily News. "I'm teaching my kids technique and fundamentals not based on athletic ability and skill. It's based on physicality. It's based on drive and desire and want-to and being a student of the game. ... All my kids can really be as good they want to be."

Tags: Darron Lee, Jordan Jenkins
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 (Mike Dinovo)
(Mike Dinovo)

The Jets have signed former Bears WR Marquess Wilson, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Wilson only played in three games last season as he was on the IR with a broken foot. He is a big target, standing at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, and will add some competition before training camp begins.

In four seasons with the Bears, Wilson played in 31 games, hauling in 56 receptions for 777 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

The Jets new running backs coach, Stump Mitchell, believes RB Bilal Powell has Pro Bowl ability, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

Mitchell has been impressed with Powell since joining the Jets this season, and he thinks if he didn't have to share time with another back, he has would attain Pro Bowl status. 

"Bilal is a Pro Bowl back if he was playing by himself, make no doubt about that," Mitchell said at minicamp.

Tags: Bilal Powell
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Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory is tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins during the first quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory is tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins during the first quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected Starters: Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin

Projected Backups: Dylan Donahue, Josh Martin

Tags: Deion Barnes, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin, Mike Catapano, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets minicamp 00:02:24
Quarterback Christian Hackenberg and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson break down Jets minicamp and their expectations for the season.

Quarterback Christian Hackenberg and Defensive Lineman Sheldon Richardson break down Jets minicamp and their expectations for the season.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Sheldon Richardson
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Former Jets LB Larry Grantham dies at age 78: Larry Grantham, a member of the Jets' only Super Bowl team in 1969, died on Tuesday at the age of 78. Apart from being a Super Bowl Champion, Grantham has been enshrined in the Jets Ring of Honor as well. 

Elsewhere in New York sports the Mets dropped a slugfest to the Dodgers, the Yankees lose their top prospect to injury, and the NBA draft is just two days away. 

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

The Jets' roster purge and commitment to begin rebuilding this season earned them a "C+" offseason grade, per ESPN's Rich Cimini.

As the offseason is normally used to rebuild rosters, the Jets tore theirs down thanks to move made by owner Woody Johnson. Among the roster cuts were LB David Harris and WR Eric Decker, which saved the Jets almost $14 million in payroll alone. C Nick Mangold and CB Darrelle Revis were also part of the 11 veterans the Jets go rid of this offseason. 

Cimini said the grade should be worse considering the Jets now have one of the worst rosters in the NFL, but looking at the big picture, the Jets are acknowledging their rebuild and will have $80 million to work with next offseason.

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell leaps over Miami Dolphins safety Isa Abdul-Quddus during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell leaps over Miami Dolphins safety Isa Abdul-Quddus during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected Starter: Matt Forte

Projected Backups: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire

Tags: Bilal Powell, Matt Forte
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GEICO SportsNite: Larry Grantham 00:00:26
Michelle Yu reports on the passing of former Jets linebacker Larry Grantham, a member of the Jets Ring of Honor, who was 78 years old.

The Jets announced former LB Larry Grantham, a Ring of Honor member and Super Bowl III champion, has died at age 78.

Grantham opted to join the AFL's New York Titans despite being drafted in the NFL by the Baltimore Colts in 1960. The Titans became the Jets in 1963, and Grantham would stay with them until his retirement in 1972. 

He was the starting linebacker for the Jets' Super Bowl III championship team where he called all the plays on defense. Grantham played in 175 career games, and was a five-time AFL All-Star and a five-time all-NFL selection. 

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets receivers 00:01:37
Jeane Coakley talks to Quincy Enunwa to discuss his expectations for himself and the young receivers for the upcoming season.

SNY's Jeane Coakley talks to Quincy Enunwa after the conclusion of Jets minicamp to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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Former Jets wide receiver signed a deal with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.  (Bill Wippert/AP)
Former Jets wide receiver signed a deal with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. (Bill Wippert/AP)

Former Jets wide receiver Eric Decker is now a Tennessee Titan after agreeing to a deal on Sunday. 

Elsewhere, Jacob deGrom homers, the Yankees drop their sixth straight, Bradley Wright-Phillips scores twice and the Rangers, Islanders and Devils announce their protected players list ahead of the NHL Expansion Draft. 

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Eric Decker (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
Eric Decker (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Former Jets wide receiver Eric Decker agreed to a contract with the Tennessee Titans, the team announced Sunday.

Decker, 30, played 33 games with the Jets over the past three seasons, totaling 163 catches, 2,183 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.

Decker had appeared healthy entering organized team activities in May after he missed 13 games last season due to rotator cuff and hip injuries.

New York released him last Monday when they were unable to find a trading partner. The Jets will face a $1.5 million cap hit this year and next after releasing Decker.

Tags: Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans
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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

RB Matt Forte says the Jets aren't tanking the season, despite the fact that they've cut the majority of their veteran players this offseason.

"It's a good thing we don't operate off of what the fans think and what everybody on the outside thinks," Forte said, according to The Record. "What we think as a team, that's what's going to happen. And none of us on the team think that we're going to tank. So all I have to say about that is: Bring it."

The Jets, who went 5-11 last season, have cut Brandon MarshallEric DeckerDavid HarrisDarrelle RevisNick MangoldNick Folk, and Breno Giacomini since the season ended. They also declined their option on Ryan Clady.

Tags: Matt Forte
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 (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
(Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It's really quite an accomplishment for the Jets to come off a disappointing and perhaps disastrous 5-11 season and find a way to get worse. But they did it. They purged their roster of most of their veterans and replaced them with untested, unknown players. They're playing the long game, even though their short term looks rather bleak.

Who knows if they're "tanking" with their eyes on a top draft pick next season? Maybe they're just acknowledging the need to experience short-term pain for long-term gain. Whatever it is, there isn't a lot of hope for the 2017 season. Their eyes are on 2018, or perhaps beyond.

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Rookie Marcus Maye on minicamp 00:01:51
SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets rookie safety Marcus Maye about his first minicamp in the NFL.

SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets rookie safety Marcus Maye about his first minicamp in the NFL.

The Jets selected Maye in the second round of Apri's NFL Draft.

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Jets quarterbacks practice during minicamp on Wednesday. (Julio Cortez/AP)
Jets quarterbacks practice during minicamp on Wednesday. (Julio Cortez/AP)

Jets coach Todd Bowles said Thursday there is no frontrunner for the srarting quarterback job. 

Elsewhere, the Yankees lose in extra innings, Juan Lagares is injurede in a Mets loss and the Giants ink their first-round pick. 

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:02:10
Jeane Coakley talks to Jets coach Todd Bowles as they wrap up spring practices about the quarterback competition and the rookie safeties.

Jeane Coakley talks to Jets coach Todd Bowles as they wrap up spring practices about the quarterback competition and the rookie safeties.


 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets DE Sheldon Richardson wants to stay with the team for the rest of his caeer, but is not open to giving a hometown discount. 

The Jets, who finished 5-11 last season, are entering a rebuilding phase. But Richardson wants to be a part of it.

"A lot of guys just want to go jump on a bandwagon," Richardson told Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News earlier this week. "Older guys. Later in their career, it's easy to go jump into a good situation. It's a free market, so by all means, do your thing. But me personally, I like to make history, not be a part of it."

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles insinuated the team's starting QB is job still up for grabs, noting Thursday that there is currently no frontrunner.

The Jets, who are expected to turn to Josh McCown as their starter, have also been giving reps to Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty.

McCown, 37, signed a one-year deal worth $6 million this offseason.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
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New York Jets inside linebacker Demario Davis (56) comes away with a fumble recovery during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. (Steven Ryan)
New York Jets inside linebacker Demario Davis (56) comes away with a fumble recovery during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. (Steven Ryan)

Jets linebacker Demario Davis took a $2.7 million pay cut in order to help facilitate the trade that brought him back to New York, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

Davis, who was set to earn $3.7 million in the final year of his contract, will now make $1 million this season. This includes a $100,000 signing bonus and a $900,000 base salary. He can also earn $1.225 million in incentives. 

Davis re-structured his contract at the time of the June 1 trade. 

Tags: Demario Davis
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