Now that the season is over, I'll be writing analysis articles each week until the beginning of the league year and also during the period between the draft and training camp. I'll be breaking down some of the data from the 2012 season and revisiting some of the things I wrote about over the last two offseasons to see if any patterns identified at the time have continued or if any new patterns have developed.

In this week's BGA, I'm going to put some long overdue meat on the bones of a debate that is sure to be revisited all over the place within the next month. With the Jets' two starters at guard (Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore) both out of contract, the team will no doubt be evaluating how well Slauson performed in comparison with Vladimir Ducasse, who rotated in on every third series for the majority of the season. Ducasse remains under contract and therefore looks primed to take over one of the two starting roles. However, the team will be reluctant to hand him the job until they've evaluated how much of a downgrade he represents from Slauson, if any.

After the jump, I present the data which compares how efficiently the offense performed with Slauson at left guard with how it performed when Ducasse rotated in for him.

Introduction

The Slauson-Ducasse rotation began in week two and was a contentious issue all season long. Offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, who was fired last month, said the platoon was a directive that came from "high above [him]" and was lukewarm in his praise of Ducasse, saying he was "playing well enough to be an every third series guy...maybe."

This article isn't going to dedicate too much time to debating the merits or otherwise of such a system, although there were some important factors that do need to be considered. One was that Slauson had agreed to take a paycut in the offseason and it's possible one of the conditions under which he agreed to go along with the paycut was that he would be the starter as long as he remained healthy. At the same time, the Jets did need to get Ducasse some experience so they could evaluate if he had a future with team, especially with the threat of losing both their starting guards during the offseason looming over them. However, Ducasse had a playing time incentive of his own which would have meant that if his playing time exceeded 45% they owed him a $410,000 bonus. Although that's not a major amount, it's enough that the team would only trigger that if they were going to get their money's worth. It's also worth noting that the Houston Texans, one of the league's better teams, rotated their right guards AND right tackles all year long.

I'm not seeking to evaluate how well they played individually in this study. (For the record, both had positive grades per PFF, although Slauson graded negatively as a run blocker. On a per-snap basis, Slauson did have a slight edge, helped by his 20th best pass protection grade among NFL guards.) Instead, I am going to look at how well the offense performed as a unit with each of them in the game. I feel that gives us the most realistic assessment of the effect that plugging Ducasse in for Slauson had on the team.

Usage

Ducasse, following a stellar preseason where he gave up just two pressures in extended playing time, didn't receive any snaps in week one, but the Jets introduced the rotation system the following week in Pittsburgh. Ducasse would basically be on the field for the team's third, sixth, ninth and (if applicable) 12th drive of the game. They didn't always stick to this rigidly, though. If there was a short drive due to an early turnover or if one of Ducasse's turns came at the end of the half when they had no real intention of trying to score, they would often leave Slauson in for an extra series so Ducasse could get the first full series of the second half. They also left Slauson in a few times when it was Ducasse's turn, specifically against the Patriots and in a few games where things were going really badly, for whatever reason.

Overall, this meant that Ducasse's snap count was 27.6% for the season as a whole, but that was because he had fewer than one-third of the drives, not because his drives were necessarily shorter on average.

I was asked a few times during the season whether the Jets called plays any differently while Ducasse was in the game, but I honestly did not see any obvious patterns. It was clear that there were certain things each of them did well (for example, Ducasse was typically better on the move than Slauson was), but there did not appear to be a concerted effort to run those plays when either of them was in the game.

Interestingly, the Jets passed more when Ducasse was in the game (57% of the time, compared with only 52% when Slauson is in), which seems counter-intuitive when pass blocking is not seen as his strength and run blocking was Slauson's weakness. However, these numbers were skewed by two extended drives that saw Mark Sanchez throw ten passes on each. Without both of those drives, the run-pass splits would have been a lot more similar.

Another thought I had is whether the Jets tried to use Tim Tebow more when Ducasse was in the game because the zone blocking techniques employed in the classic Wildcat would tend to suit the more mobile player. The two times Tebow was in at quarterback for more than two straight plays (in Pittsburgh and Tennessee) did coincide with Ducasse being in the game, but even with those, Ducasse was only in on 31% of the Tebow plays, not significantly higher than his overall snap count.

So let's move on and look at the success the Jets enjoyed with Ducasse at left guard and then compare this to the overall numbers...

2012: The Numbers

Whilst compiling the numbers for the offense when Ducasse was in for Slauson, I was pretty underwhelmed. It didn't look like they had a great deal of success. However, let's not forget that the offense was pretty bad all year, so it would be interesting to compare with the overall results.

These were the final numbers:

On 46 drives*, the Jets gained 1,200 yards, scoring seven touchdowns and two field goals. They compiled a total of 72 first downs (including the seven touchdowns) and rushed for 464 yards on 109 carries. Between them, the quarterbacks threw 123 times with Ducasse in for Slauson, completing 70 for 747 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions.

(* Note: On two drives, Slauson was in for the first play and then Ducasse replaced him, so the data for the drive from that point onwards was compiled. There was one series where the Jets simply threw one pass before halftime and then the clock ran out, so that has been omitted from the data.)

On their own, these numbers are pretty underwhelming, but let's compare them with the data for the offense as a whole:

- The offense as a whole gained 25.8 yards per drive (not including kneel-downs at the end of the half). With Ducasse in for Slauson, they averaged 26.0 yards per drive.

- Their drive success ratio (the percentage rate at which the team managed to pick up a first down or touchdown - see above link again) was 64.7% (27th in the league). With Ducasse in for Slauson, this went up to 66.7%, which would have been good enough for 21st.

- The Jets scored 26 offensive touchdowns and seven of them came on drives where Vlad was in for Slauson. That's basically in line with his snap count.

- Having said that, they only kicked two field goals, which contributed to the fact their points-per-drive with Ducasse in for Slauson was under 1.2, whereas overall it was 1.30.

- With Ducasse in for Slauson, the Jets gained 4.3 yards per carry, well above their season's average of 3.8 yards per carry. This was not influenced dramatically by outliers - even if you remove the longest run, a 36-yard Shonn Greene run against Miami from the numbers, you still get 4.0 which is still better than the overall average. Also, any yard per carry numbers could be looked at with skepticism because of the 252-yard game against the Colts which skews the numbers upwards, but they gained just 57 yards on 14 carries with Ducasse in for Slauson in that game, so his average was pretty consistent throughout the year.

- They also gained 80 rushing yards per game with Ducasse in for Slauson, which is 27% of the team total, again in line with his snap count.

- When the Jets passed the ball with Ducasse in for Slauson, they completed 57% of their passes (overall 55%) and gained over 10.7 yards per completion (overall 10.6) but they had five interceptions and only three touchdowns, so the QB rating was lower (66.0 compared with 68.3 overall).

- With the offensive explosion in week one (when he didn't play) and a slow start in weeks two, three and four (16 yards per drive with no scores), Ducasse had a lot of ground to make up over the remainder of the season. For the last 12 weeks, the Jets posted the following numbers with him in the game for Slauson (together with where that would put you in the league standings for the whole year in parentheses): 29.7 yards per drive (19th), 1.54 points per drive (24th), 4.6 yards per carry (7th), 60% completions (17th), 72.5 QB rating (still 30th).

Ducasse AND Slauson

If the Jets had Moore locked up for next season - and maybe that's a priority, who knows? - then the question of Ducasse v Slauson would be a very straightforward matter. You'd pick the one who is the better player - or if it's close, the best value - and roll with them as your left guard. However, that's not necessarily the case. The Jets may re-sign Moore or may fill that other guard position with another free agent or draft pick. However, there's one other option and that's to play Ducasse and Slauson together.

It's a small sample size, but we do have some data on this. Last year, they had Ducasse in for Moore for two series against the Patriots. The first saw them run the ball three times for five yards and then punt. The second was slightly more successful with two runs for 16 yards, a five yard pass and two incompletions leading to a field goal. Some more substantive data exists in the form of the week 17 game against the Bills where Ducasse filled in for Moore at right guard for the final 59 snaps and the Jets ran all over the Bills (gaining 197 yards on 38 carries over those last 59 snaps). The Bills were a demoralized bunch at that stage of the season though.

Note: There was another three plays in 2012 where Ducasse came in at guard when Nick Mangold was hurt and Slauson slid over to center, but we'll ignore these three plays - two runs for 12 yards and a false start penalty.

Other Observations

One alarming thing about going back through the footage to check which drives Ducasse entered the game for was that there were five or six occasions when the Jets committed a pre-snap penalty on the very first play after he entered. This is evidence of one of the downsides of a rotational system - that it can cause people not to be on the same page and take you out of your rhythm. Ducasse only committed one of these penalties himself though and, if anything, it reflects well on him that the offense still had the same amount of success despite this factor. (Penalty yardage is factored into the data).

In terms of pass protection, there was no evidence to suggest Sanchez was under pressure any more often when Ducasse was in the game rather than Slauson and no obvious signs that the Jets were giving one more help than the other. Ducasse only gave up two sacks and one QB hit all year, although that wouldn't be surprising if he was helping someone with a double team most of the time. This didn't seem to be the case though, as both he and Slauson had plenty of one-on-one assignments.

Conclusions

The numbers seem to suggest that there was no real difference in how the offense performed when the Jets put Ducasse in for Slauson, other than in terms of the running game, where they fared better with Ducasse in. In fact, over the last 12 games, they fared considerably better with Ducasse overall.

Maybe it is unfair to do a direct comparison because Ducasse gets to enter the game when he is fresh and others are not and also perhaps once the offense have established some tendencies on their early drives, which they can then break to exploit the defense's expectations. The team may also be more conservative early on in games. However, based purely on the numbers, the suggestion is that if Ducasse was to replace Slauson at left guard next year, the offense wouldn't suffer dramatically and might even see some improvements.

Nobody knows how well Ducasse will adapt to being a full time player - although in his limited extended action in the regular season and in preseason he has shown an ability to settle down and get comfortable. Another factor is the new system, which is a concern considering how long Ducasse took to pick up Bill Callahan's blocking scheme. However, Ducasse's athleticism should serve him well in a west coast offense that will likely use a lot of stretch/zone runs and he did seem to pick up Sparano's system pretty well (faster than Mangold by some accounts).

In weighing up who is the better value between the two, obviously Ducasse is earning the minimum in 2013 so that figures to be a lot less than what Slauson will command (although I'd only expect him to get a deal somewhere around $3m per year). However, if Ducasse does a decent job this year, the Jets could find that extending him at the end of the season ends up costing them more than Slauson would have, so that could be another consideration.

While this study gives me comfort that Ducasse can probably handle a starter role, that doesn't answer the question of what to do with their other guard spot. Moore seems to be the guy most fans would like to see back, but Slauson could end up returning instead of him and getting paired with Ducasse instead.

One thing Slauson has in his favor is an ability to play center and either guard position. He's even worked at tackle (for "emergency purposes"). Moore, a converted defensive lineman, has only ever played right guard and Ducasse - while he has played tackle in the past - cannot play center in the event of another Mangold injury like Slauson can.

It's up to the Jets to make this crucial decision count but based on this study, spending anything substantial to keep Slauson in the lineup and Ducasse on the bench probably wouldn't give you very good value for money...and that's something which should be of prime importance during the first year of the Idzik regime.

I'll be back next week with something "special" as we head towards free agency. I've got several articles in the works, but if there's anything you'd like me to investigate or revisit, let me know in the comments.

Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

Jul 28, 2018; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo at Vikings training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)
Jul 28, 2018; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo at Vikings training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)

Another NFL coaching whiz became available on Thursday when the Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo -- and the Jets likely already have their eyes on him.

DeFilippo is expected to be on the Jets' shortlist to replace head coach Todd Bowles, according to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

The 40-year-old DeFilippo was the Jets' quarterbacks coach in 2009, and the team even tried to interview him for its offensive coordinator job in 2017 before the Eagles blocked him. DeFilippo helped develop QB Carson Wentz over two seasons in Philly, but his 2018 season with Minnesota was cut short due to a struggling, Kirk Cousins-led offense. 

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

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

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

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

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

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

And now he was going to be out again?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: Leonard Williams
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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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