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

Bowles on quarterback situation 00:00:47
Jets head coach Todd Bowles gives an update on the teams' quarterback competition at this point in the preseason.

 

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The Jets released RB Jordan Todman and signed RB Jahad Thomas on Wednesday, reports SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

The Jets acquired Thomas after the Cowboys waived him earlier in the week. The rookie, from Elizabeth, N.J., went undrafted after playing college football at Temple. He had 953 yards and 13 touchdowns his senior year.

Todman, who has spent time on six NFL teams, served primarily as a kick returner for the Colts in 2016. He received nine carries for 59 yards last season, averaging 6.8 yards per carry. In the Jets' first preseason game against the Titans, he carried the ball eight times for 20 yards but had just one carry in the team's second game.

The Jets' backfield already includes Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, and Elijah McGuire.

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In the latest episode of The Jet Stream, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon welcome some very special guests. Former Jets special teams coach and current SNY Analyst Mike Westhoff joins the show to talk about the preseason matchup against the Giants, the development of the team's defense, and his thoughts on Christian Hackenberg.

Later, former Jets lineman Damien Woody calls in to help break down the offense, discuss how a good line can help a young quarterback, and to chat about the anthem protest issue in the NFL.

Click below to listen!

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 (Raj Mehta)
(Raj Mehta)

The Jets announced they waived WR Marquess Wilson, and signed TE Brandon Barnes.

Wilson had missed time at Jets camp due to a hip injury, and he wasn't able to play in the team's latest preseason matchup against the Lions on Saturday. 

A seventh-round pick by the Bears in 2013, Wilson hauled in 56 receptions for 777 yards and three touchdowns in four seasons with Chicago. He signed with the Jets in June after becoming a free agent. 

Tags: Marquess Wilson
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GEICO SportsNite: Forte returns 00:01:47
SNY's Jeane Coakley reports from Jets practice where running back Matt Forte returned for the first time since July 31.

 

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New York Jets running back Matt Forte runs with the ball during the first half of their game against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Matt Forte runs with the ball during the first half of their game against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Matt Forte's hamstring is feeling healthy and he's ready for some game action.

The New York Jets running back practiced fully on Tuesday for the first time in more than three weeks and insists he'll be ready to play in the regular-season opener.

"No doubt," said Forte, who was sidelined since July 31 with a hamstring injury that limited him to only individual drills the last several days. >> Read more

Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press

Tags: Matt Forte
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan ignored speculation to draft Saints RB Alvin Kamara as he didn't want to take the risk, reports NY Daily News' Manish Mehta

Kamara is turning heads as the rookie has shown out in his two preseason games with the Saints so far this year. Mehta says the Jets wanted to make a push to draft Kamara this year, but Maccagnan decided to stay where they were on the draft board as he viewed Kamara as too much of a risk.

The Jets drafted WR ArDarius Stewart at No. 79 overall in the third round, but now they are seeing what they could have possibly gotten with Kamara in their backfield. The 5-foot-10, 194 pound back has totaled 118 yards and a touchdown on just 10 touches in two preseason games. 

Kamara is shaping up to be a difference maker if he can continue the pace he is on, and the Jets could certainly have used his talents. However, head coach Todd Bowles believes there are playmakers already on his roster...

Tags: ArDarius Stewart
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles believes his team will perform better than anyone is expecting them to this season, per ESPN's Rich Cimini

Bowles spoke to Mike Francesa on WFAN radio at camp Monday, and gave the Jets' fan base an encouraging message. 

"I would tell them that we're not going to be a terrible team," Bowles said. "We're going to come out there and fight, and blood, sweat and tears will go out to the city and our fans, and we're going to win more games than everybody ever expected."

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Jeane Coakley on Jets camp 00:01:55
Jeane Coakley reports from Jets training camp where Todd Bowles wants more consistency and hopes to name a starting quarterback soon.

 

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Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles coaches against the Tennessee Titans during the second quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles coaches against the Tennessee Titans during the second quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said he will "probably" name a starting quarterback next Monday.

Bowles said on Monday that he wants to first watch film of Saturday's game against the Giants before making an announcement. The Jets will conclude their preseason schedule with a matchup against the Eagles at home on August 31.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Jets owner Woody Johnson has passed on the duties of team chairman and CEO to his brother, Christopher Johnson, the team announced on Monday.

The anticipated move came after Woody Johnson was sworn in as US Ambassador to the UK and Northern Ireland on Monday.  

Earlier this month, Woody Johnson was confirmed by the Senate to serve in the role.

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 (Jim O'Connor)
(Jim O'Connor)

Jets fans took to Twitter after Sunday night's episode of HBO's Game of Thrones to jokingly suggest the Night King should be their quarterback.

Warning: Episode spoilers below!

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December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams (92) and outside linebacker Darron Lee (50) celebrate after the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The Jets defeated the 49ers 23-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams (92) and outside linebacker Darron Lee (50) celebrate after the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The Jets defeated the 49ers 23-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

The NFL has cleared Jets players Darron Lee and Leonard Williams of any violations of league rules after an investigation into an incident at a New York music festival in June turned up a lack of evidence.

The incident involved Williams dragging Lee away from what Jets coach Todd Bowles later described as "an argument with his girlfriend" during the Governors Ball on Randalls Island. The argument and the aftermath were caught on video and posted to social media.

The Twitter user who posted the video said the woman was "shaken and in tears" after the incident. The user also described Lee as "aggressive" and claimed the Jets linebacker "started to manhandle" the woman, "grabbed" her, and "started dragging her away."

Upon announcing that the league's investigation was closed, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email "Following a review, we concluded there was insufficient evidence to support a finding that there was a violation of the personal conduct policy."

Tags: Darron Lee, Leonard Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (right) poses for a photo with NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith prior to Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (right) poses for a photo with NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith prior to Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is close to getting a five-year contract extension to remain in his position atop the league, according to multiple reports.

According to the Sports Business Journal, Goodell will earn close to what he is during his current contract, which is set to end in 2019. Goodell has presided over the NFL since 2006 since he took over for Paul Tagliabue. The extension would keep him on as commissioner until 2024.

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 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

After losing some veterans on the offensive line, the Jets are looking for some answers and reliability in the trenches as they march toward the regular season. 

The offense struggled as a whole in Saturday's loss at the Lions, producing just 85 rushing yards and six total points. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg only went 2-of-6 for 14 yards in the first half. Head coach Todd Bowles attributes that to some issues on the line. 

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In the latest episode of The Jet Stream, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon look back at the eight sacks the Jets' D laid on the Tennessee Titans, as well as Christian Hackenberg's performance. Later, the guys discuss the wide receivers, offensive line, and their expectations for this week's matchup with the Detroit Lions.

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Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Dexter McDougle (23) breaks up a pass intended for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Darius Jennings (15) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Dexter McDougle (23) breaks up a pass intended for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Darius Jennings (15) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

This preseason, I'll be spotlighting an under-the-radar player who impressed me in each game and assessing that player's chances of making the team. Today, we'll look at one of the top performers in the Jets' 16-6 loss to the Lions, cornerback Dexter McDougle.

Who is he?

Tags: Dexter McDougle
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Aug 19, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Aug 19, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Remember all that progress that Christian Hackenberg appeared to make in the Jets' preseason opener? Well, by Week 2 it was gone.

Hackenberg, getting a surprise start over veteran Josh McCown, gave an ugly and unproductive performance in the Jets 16-6 loss to the Lions at Ford Field in Detroit. He was a miserable 2 of 6 for 14 yards, with both completions coming on dump-offs to running back Bilal Powell. In a full half of action he led the Jets to just two first downs and a total of 43 yards.

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Aug 19, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) drops back to pass to running back Bilal Powell (29) during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Aug 19, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) drops back to pass to running back Bilal Powell (29) during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

Christian Hackenberg could only complete two passes, the Jets' defense failed to contain Matthew Stafford, and the Lions beat the Jets, 16-6, in the second preseason game.

Hackenberg was sacked twice and completed two of his six passes. During the Jets' opening drive, Hackenberg fumbled after he was hit by Detroit's Cornelius Washington, but the Jets recovered. Bryce Petty completed 15 of his 24 passes for 160 yards and threw an interception for the Jets, who were 4-for-13 on third down.

Myles White led the Jets in receiving with three catches for 43 yards, while Jordan Leggett hauled in two catches for 40 yards. Bilil Powell carried the ball nine times for 32 yards as the Jets were unable to get much going in the running game.

Darron Lee and Morris Clairbone had five tackles to lead the Jets on defense, while Demario Davis, Josh Martin, and Corey Lemonier each had a sack. >> Box score

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson has become more of a vocal leader this season as he has taken it upon himself to fill that void in the locker room.

Linebacker David Harris was the voice in the Jets' locker room for years. Now that he is gone, Wilkerson is the next man in line and he is embracing the new role. 

"I've been here for a long time now," Wilkerson told The Post's Brian Costello, "I always looked up to older guys who are no longer here. I stepped into the footsteps into being a leader. I wasn't vocal [before], but I've always been a leader on this team. David Harris isn't here anymore, so I took it upon myself to speak up more and get out of my comfort zone." 

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

The Jets are undefeated, which at the moment is insignificant. But really, given all the predictions of doom and gloom, some people probably thought they wouldn't even end up with one preseason win.

They did, but it wasn't pretty (7-3 over the Tennessee Titans at home last Saturday), and they barely answered any of the many, many major question marks surrounding their season and long-term future. Maybe their game in Detroit against the Lions on Saturday night will provide a few more clues about the direction they're headed.

In the meantime, here are five things worth watching at Ford Field tonight:

Tags: Bilal Powell, Christian Hackenberg, Dylan Donahue, Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Daily News Live: Hack Attack 00:02:52
As the Jets get ready for their second preseason game, the panel discusses if a good game from Hackenberg can win him the starting job.

 

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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JRSportBrief: NFL work stoppage? 00:01:54
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR talks about the idea of an NFL work stoppage in a few years.

In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR talks about the idea of an NFL work stoppage in a few years.

 

 

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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown watches as quarterback Christian Hackenberg warms up before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown watches as quarterback Christian Hackenberg warms up before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

While New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles did name a starting quarterback for Saturday's preseason game against the Detroit Lions, he is expected to give Josh McCown more playing time.

McCown, who did not get receive any reps at Thursday's practice when the Jets did game-plan prep, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini, played the opening drive last week in New York's 7-3 win over the Tennessee Titans, but Christian Hackenberg then played the following eight possessions.

Bowles said he didn't anticipate any lineup changes, but left the door open to it by saying, "we'll discuss it."

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Detroit Lions, Josh McCown
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New York Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin in action against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin in action against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

New York Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin tweaked his back and sat out practice Thursday, leaving him uncertain for the preseason game at Detroit on Saturday night.

Mauldin had been dealing with a back issue earlier during training camp, but returned to the field Wednesday. Coach Todd Bowles said the third-year linebacker was inside receiving treatment during practice Thursday.

Bowles added that he was unsure how long Mauldin would be sidelined, but said that he would likely not play against the Lions.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Detroit Lions, Lorenzo Mauldin, Matt Forte, Quincy Enunwa
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets camp 00:03:01
Jeane Coakley talks to Muhammad Wilkerson about being one of the older, vocal leaders in the locker room at Jets camp.

 

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Daily News Live: Bowles' future 00:04:48
The Daily News Live panel discusses what Todd Bowles can do to save his job and if he is the right coach to lead a rebuilding effort.

 

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 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Looking to gain a physical edge on the field, Jets linebacker Darron Lee gained nine pounds heading into training camp. 

Lee, who was 227 pounds after minicamp ended, is now 236 at training camp. 

"On my conditioning test, everybody was like, 'You look noticeably bigger,'" Lee said, according to the New York Daily News. "Hey, I put in that work."

Tags: Darron Lee
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Bowles rewards team during camp 00:02:29
Jeane Coakley and Ralph Vacchiano report from Florham Park where Todd Bowles allowed his team to remove pads during practice on Wednesday.

 

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 (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
(Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin showed up to a Manhattan court on Wednesday for his alleged assault of a Queens man, but the case has been delayed because prosecution wasn't ready to file paper work, according to multiple reports

Mauldin had turned himself in to authorities in late June for his alleged role in the nightclub attack that took place on April 2. The New York Post reported on June 21 that Mauldin had been charged with misdemeanor assault, which carries a maximum sentence of year in jail.

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