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

Nov 26, 2016; East Hartford, CT, USA; Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Nov 26, 2016; East Hartford, CT, USA; Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

With the first of their three sixth-round picks in last month's draft, the Jets selected Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson. This regime has already brought in several young cornerbacks, but none of them have managed to separate themselves from the pack.

Does Nickerson's skill-set give him a chance to eventually become the home-grown starter they've been trying to develop?

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North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd, of Fort Hays State, runs drills during the North team's practice for Saturday's Senior Bowl NCAA college football game in Mobile, Ala., Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd, of Fort Hays State, runs drills during the North team's practice for Saturday's Senior Bowl NCAA college football game in Mobile, Ala., Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The Jets have signed DT Nathan Shepherd, who they drafted 72nd overall last month out of Fort Hays State.

Shepherd was an Division II All-America selection in his 2016 and 2017 seasons. Last season, he tallied 38 tackles (12.5 for loss) and four sacks. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: If you're a team like the Jets, still in the beginning stages of a total rebuild, you can take a chance on raw players like Nathan Shepherd, a Canadian who was a smallish linebacker in high school before growing into an NFL-caliber defensive tackle at Division II Fort Hays (Kan.) State.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets charity 00:01:47
The New York Jets hosted the "Taste of the Jets" event to help raise money for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

The New York Jets hosted the "Taste of the Jets" event to help raise money for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. 


New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)
New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)

When recently retired Cowboys TE Jason Witten watches Sam Darnold, he sees similarities between the no. 3 overall pick and former Cowboys QB Tony Romo. 

Romo and Darnold share the ability to thrive even when the scripted play goes awry. Romo made a career out of extending plays and Darnold earned a similar reputation while at USC.

"He's calm, he's got this poise. He reminds me a little bit of Tony Romo, the way he creates plays," Witten said...

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New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Former USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin explained on The Jet Stream podcast Wednesday why Sam Darnold will be a great fit for the Jets.

"Sam is a great fit," Martin said. "Just going back to how he was recruited, when we first got to know him -- he was a guy that was a linebacker and played some wide receiver. Point guard on the basketball team. When he dropped back and started throwing a few passes, we were like 'this kid can throw the ball.'"

And the way Darnold threw the ball changed how USC viewed him...

Tags: Sam Darnold
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New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)
New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)

Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon are back for a special edition of The Jet Stream podcast where they take a deep dive into the Jets' newest quarterback, Sam Darnold. The guys chat with Sam's former offensive coordinator from USC, Tee Martin, about the kid's emergence in college and how he compares to Peyton Manning. Later, Sam's best friend and former USC teammate, Jake Russell, joins the show to discuss what he's like off the field and his competitiveness on it.

Click below to listen...

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) during second half against Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) during second half against Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Robby Anderson's felony resisting arrest with violence charge stemming from an incident at an event in Miami in May, 2017 will be dropped, his attorney, Ed O'Donnell told the NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

During the incident, Anderson allegedly fought with arresting officers.

While Anderson's 2017 issue will be resolved, he is still dealing with his recent reckless driving arrest.

Tags: Robby Anderson
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Oct 29, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Henry Anderson (96) during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)
Oct 29, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Henry Anderson (96) during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)

On day three of the draft, the Jets opted to trade a seventh-round pick for former Colts defensive lineman Henry Anderson. However, this move has flown under the radar somewhat with the focus on the players brought in via the draft.  

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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

The Jets still have some money to spend, which is why they will be hosting free-agent S Kenny Vaccaro this week at their facility, per the Daily News' Manish Mehta.

Vaccaro was drafted 15th overall by the Saints back in 2013, where he has spent the last five season. His best year came in 2015 when he totaled 104 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and five passes defended. 

Last season, the 27-year-old tallied 79 tackles, one sack, one interception, and one forced fumble over 14 games. 

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye
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Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi participates in workout drills during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi participates in workout drills during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets had back-to-back picks in the sixth round of last month's draft, and they used the second of them to select defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi with the No. 180 pick. Let's provide some insight into what Fatukasi brings to the table and how he might fit in should he make the team.

Fatukasi is a player whose run-stuffing abilities have stood out over the past four seasons with UConn. He's strong at the point of attack, can get off blocks to make plays in the running game and can create penetration either with his strength or quickness.

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South squad offensive tackle Antonio Garcia of Troy battles defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon of Villanova in a blocking drill during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)
South squad offensive tackle Antonio Garcia of Troy battles defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon of Villanova in a blocking drill during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets claimed former Patriots offensive lineman Antonio Garcia off waivers and cut kicker Nick Rose, the team announced on Monday.

Garcia, 24, was a third-round pick last season but did not appear in a game after he had reportedly developed blood clots in his lungs, according to the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe.

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A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)
A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)

Former Jets coach Chuck Knox, who was paramount in the Jets drafting Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath, died Saturday at 86. 

Knox started his vast coaching career with the Jets in 1963 as part of Weeb Ewbank's first Jets staff. Knox was big on the run game, which awarded the nickname of "Ground Chuck."

However, he saw something in Namath during his time at the University of Alabama, and knew the Jets needed him...

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Daily News Live: Sports gambling 00:03:44
Eric Chemi of CNBC joins Daily News Live to discuss the legalization of sports gambling and the ramifications of this newly amended bill.

The United States Supreme Court struck down a 25-year old law on Monday that had basically prevented all states except Nevada from having legalized sports gambling. "The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make," the Supreme Court announced. "Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own."

The ruling was an enormous immediate victory for the state of New Jersey, which could have a gambling venue open in Monmouth Park within a few weeks, according to the NY Post. There will be a press conference in Monmouth Park on Monday at 1 p.m. Aside from New Jersey, The Post notes that New York and Illinois are among roughly 15 other states who have "introduced bills to legalize and regulate sports betting tied to the Supreme Court outcome." 

The NBA and MLB have been preparing for Monday's potential outcome, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN, who said each league had hired lobbying firms, submitted written statements, and sent executives to testify in statehouses. Windhorst added that every professional sports league had been involved, but with the NBA and MLB at the forefront...

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Oct 15, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins center Spencer Long (61) lines up against the San Francisco 49ers at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)
Oct 15, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins center Spencer Long (61) lines up against the San Francisco 49ers at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)

Jets C Spencer Long is ready for an injury-free 2018 season with his new team.

Last season, Long was only able to make six starts for the Redskins due to a knee injury and was placed on IR in November. The ailment plaguing the 2014 third-round pick was rooted in a chronic quad issue which was corrected this offseason by surgery and an improved regiment.

"It was basically like a fraying rope," Long said...

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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Trenton Cannon (40) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Trenton Cannon (40) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

With their final pick of the 2018 draft, the Jets selected Virginia State running back Trenton Cannon.

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New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)

In the post-draft Honeymoon period, most fans, players and media alike are heaping praise on QB Sam Darnold. But Darnold's teammate T Kelvin Beachum wants to wait before he fully joins the fray. 

Beachum started all 16 games for the Jets last season, blocking for Josh McCown and Bryce Petty. At some point this season, he may be blocking for Darnold. 

"I've heard that he is a great person," Beachum said via Darryl Slater of NJ.com. "I'm excited to get him in that room." 

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New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets have four quarterbacks on their roster, which seems like one too many. They cut Bryce Petty last week to clear at least a little room on their depth chart, but they still have another move to make. Or maybe two.

Whatever they end up doing, the Jets' quarterback situation isn't as clear cut as some think, from the identity of the Opening Day starter all the way down to the likely odd-man out. As Todd Bowles said last weekend, the Jets are "open to anything right now" -- especially at quarterback.

"We're going to let it all play out before make those kinds of decisions," he said.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

For some draft picks, the process of becoming acclimated to a new environment is quicker given their circumstances.

Saquon Barkley of the Giants was born in Brooklyn, and didn't live far from his new home even when he was in Pennsylvania. Shaquem Griffin of the Seahawks may be making a shift from Florida to Seattle, but he has his twin brother Shaquill Griffin to guide him through the process.

Sam Darnold, on the other hand, is transitioning from sunny, laidback Los Angeles to the hustle and bustle of New York City without someone to lean on, or understanding of how this side of the states operates. In fact, he just visited the Big Apple for the first time only a few weeks ago.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Jets selected tight end Chris Herndon with the first of their day three picks in the 2018 draft last month. Herndon, who went to college at Miami, was injured towards the end of the 2017 season, which may have prevented him from going earlier. The Jets scooped him up with the 107th overall pick and will be hoping he proves to be a bargain. Let's weigh up his likely role in 2018 before reviewing his strengths and weaknesses.

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New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

The Jets have consistently said they don't want to throw their No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold into the fire this season. Former Giants QB Phil Simms doesn't understand why. 

Simms looks at Darnold's situation as being the potential Jets savior at quarteback. In turn, he needs to get on his feet and hit the ground running. 

"He'll fit in fine," Simms told NJ.com's Darryl Slater at BTIG Charity Day on Tuesday. "If I was the Jets, I would play him from Day 1. That's just me. Start him. Let's go. Got a long offseason, training camp, preseason games. They probably won't [start Darnold in Week 1].

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Namath talks Darnold 00:01:07
New York Jets legend Joe Namath shares his thoughts on the team's rookie QB Sam Darnold, and what lies ahead for the new signal caller.

Legendary Jets QB Joe Namath spoke Tuesday about the recently-drafted Sam Darnold and whether starting him this season should be on the table.

"First of all, anybody that is starting on that field has to have convinced their teammates that he's worthy to start," Namath said. "And for a 20-year-old rookie quarterback, that's gonna be tough to do early on. Because the big leagues -- pro football -- is different than college football."

While Namath thinks Darnold and any rookie has a lot to prove, he believes he should be out there if he shows he's ready.

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

Jets CEO Christopher Johnson is confident Sam Darnold is the answer his team's decade-long quarterback question.

Johnson was present at BTIG Charity Day, where he appeared for the Lupus Research Alliance, on Tuesday. He had some strong words about his No. 3 overall pick, saying the moment Darnold's name was called, it was the start to the Jets' revival.

"I honestly think (people) are going to look back 20 years from now and say this is the moment the Jets shifted into a new gear -- that they became a new team," he told reporters.

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A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)
A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)

The Jets announced they have signed K Taylor Bertolet, while waiving CB Bryson Keeton

Bertolet was a tryout at the team's rookie minicamp this past weekend. The Texas A&M product spent time with the LA Rams in training camp last season. In his senior year back in 2015, Bertolet was a perfect 38-for-38 in extra-point attempts and 22-for-31 (71 percent) in field goals.

The Jets now have three kickers on their current roster with Cairo Santos and Nick Rose to compete with Bertolet at camp. 

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North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd of Fort Hays State stretches during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)
North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd of Fort Hays State stretches during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets selected defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd with their lone Day 2 pick in the 2018 draft. Shepherd, who attended Fort Hays State University, raised his stock throughout the offseason and was selected by the Jets 72nd overall. Let's consider his strengths and weaknesses and how the Jets might use him in 2018.

Shepherd is expected to be raw, having only played college football at Division II schools. That's a concern for a player who took a circuitous path to the NFL and will turn 25 during his rookie season.

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Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi reacts after a sack. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi reacts after a sack. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets signed two draft picks and two undrafted free agents on Sunday.

Defensive end Folorunso Fatukasi and defensive back Parry Nickerson, both sixth-round picks, and linebackers Frankie Luvu and Anthony Wint, agreed to terms with New York as the Jets begin minicamp.

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GEICO SportsNite: Sam Darnold 00:03:53
Ralph Vacchiano reports on the impressions of Sam Darnold at the Jets minicamp and Jeane Coakley speaks with Todd Bowles about the young QB.

Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass during the second half of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass during the second half of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Christian Hackenberg has apparently made major changes to his throwing motion in an attempt to revitalize his stalled NFL career.

He just never bothered telling his current team about his plans.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Sam Darnold fumbled the first snap of team drills on his first two days in a Jets uniform, and he fumbled five snaps overall. That was eye-opening because he had some fumbling issues at USC that were a cause for concern for some.

But get over it. It was the first two days of an NFL career that likely will last more than a decade and he was working with a tryout center who's NFL career will likely be over by Sunday afternoon. In the bigger picture, there was a lot to like about the Jets' 20-year-old franchise quarterback who looked poised, accurate and showed off a strong arm throughout the weekend...

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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Trenton Cannon (40) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Trenton Cannon (40) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

It's not Sam Darnold, but it's a start: Jets sixth-round draft pick RB Trenton Cannon signs his rookie deal, the first of the team's draft picks to do so. 

Cannon, who played his college ball at Virginia State, led the CIAA (Division II) in rushing after posting 1,638 yards on 212 attempts (148.9 per game). He also scored 17 touchdowns, which led his Trojan team. 

"I'm feeling good, just settling on in," said Cannon, via Jets official site. "Right now I'm getting into the playbook, learning the plays."

Cannon adds running back depth to Gang Green, who lost Matt Forte to retirement. He joins a running backs room that is led by Bilal Powell and sophomore Elijah McGuire

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 (Chuck Cook)
(Chuck Cook)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets today announced that they had signed seven undrafted free agents, so let's take a look into what each of them brings to the table...

FB Dimitri Flowers

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