I spent most of last offseason looking back at certain aspects of the Jets’ season by analyzing data compiled from all nineteen games, rather than watching film. For the next few weeks, I’m going to be revisiting some of the more interesting and relevant topics until free agency opens on March 13th. I will be revisiting as many different topics as possible, but welcome your suggestions or requests in the comments.

Back in July, I wrote about Dustin Keller’s 2010 production when he lined up as a wide receiver. This revealed some interesting trends and is of particular interest now, because people are speculating how the Jets will use Keller next season now that Tony Sparano is the offensive coordinator.

Let’s see if the trends identified in 2010 were repeated in 2011 and whether there was a move towards or away from using him in that role, before looking at his effectiveness to evaluate whether its something they should persevere with.

Once again, this article has used data exclusively provided to us from the guys at PFF. Our thanks, as ever, go out to them.

Introduction

Since the Jets hired Tony Sparano, there’s been plenty of speculation about how the Jets will use Dustin Keller in 2012. Sparano’s offenses have a reputation for using a tight end as a dual blocker/pass catcher and blocking is an area of Keller’s game that is still very much a work in progress. Is Sparano going to call on him to block more, change up his scheme to better suit Keller’s skill set or find a different way to use him? Alternatively, could he be a poor fit and therefore a candidate to be traded to another team?

With the Jets likely to see starting wide receiver Plaxico Burress leave in free agency, some have speculated that Keller could see more reps at the wide receiver position, so it’s definitely worth revisiting how he has performed from that position in that past.

2011, his fourth season in the league, saw Keller improve on his career bests for receptions and yardage, as well as yards per catch, and also saw him reduce his number of drops from 12 in 2010 to just four. His catch rate remained consistent: 60% for the third year in a row.

One major criticism levelled in equal parts at him and the coaching staff was the fact that he sometimes seemed to disappear from the gameplan, but they did a better job keeping him involved this year. He was quiet in weeks four and five (three catches for 19 yards) but otherwise was targeted at least four times in every game and had at least three catches or 35 yards.

For what it’s worth, PFF ranked Keller as the 7th worst run blocker in the league in 2011. However, he was 25th in terms of his rating as a pass catcher. He had a poor finish to the season though, with only one positively graded game in the second half of the year.

One other interesting point to note was that he stayed in to block 46 times (just under three times per game), surrendering just three pressures. Over the rest of his career, he had stayed in 52 times in 54 games (less than once a game), so that’s perhaps a sign their confidence in his blocking is growing.

I’ll again be looking at how much of his receiving production came when he was lined up as a receiver as opposed to an in-line tight end, using the same criteria as last year:

For the purposes of the article, I will separate the data from when he was split out wide from the data where he was lined up in the slot. Note: To be treated as being in the slot, it is irrelevant whether Keller was in a three-point stance. Instead, what I am looking for is that he lines up outside the defensive end’s outside shoulder and is therefore not in a position to block him.

Usage rates

First, let’s recap how often Keller was lined up as a wide receiver over the course of the 2010 season.

- Slot receiver: 241 snaps (25% of total)

- Split out wide: 48 snaps (4% of total)

If we just look at snaps where Keller ran a route on a pass play, these percentages increase.

- Slot receiver: 212 snaps (38% of all routes run)

- Split out wide: 37 snaps (7% of all routes run)

Now let’s see what 2011’s numbers looked like:

- Slot receiver: 271 snaps (30% of total)

- Split out wide: 38 snaps (4% of total)

Again looking at snaps where Keller ran a route on a pass play, these percentages increase.

- Slot receiver: 210 snaps (43% of all routes run)

- Split out wide: 29 snaps (6% of all routes run)

In 2011, when running a route, he was a wide receiver basically half the time, a slight increase on last year. It will be interesting to see if that accounts for half of his targets.

Unlike in 2010, his percentage of routes run as a receiver remained pretty uniform throughout the season, rarely falling below 25% or rising much beyond 50%. However, with Santonio Holmes' suspension and the injuries to Brad Smith and Jerricho Cotchery, it makes sense for his playing time at receiver to have fluctuated last year.

Keller’s 2011 Productivity

First, let’s revisit how the Jets fared in 2010 when they targeted Keller as a receiver, and compare this to when they threw to Keller when he was a tight end.

Tight End – 44-69-515yds, 4TD, 1 int

Wide Receiver – 25-46-294yds, 1TD, 2 ints

There wasn’t too much of a drop off here in terms of how he performed when he was lined up as a receiver. The yards per catch average was the same, although he caught 64% of the passes as a tight end and only 54% as a receiver.

Where it got really interesting was looking at the splits (just using data from when he was in the slot):

Before the Bye Week

- As a slot receiver: 1-6-9yds, 0TD, 1 int

- As a tight end: 22-33-310yds, 5TD, 0 int

At that point, his production had already slowed significantly, following a fast start over the first two and a half games. The Jets therefore adjusted to use him as a receiver more:

Week 8 to Week 13 (inclusive)

- As a slot receiver: 12-16-175yds, 0TD, 0 int

- As a tight end: 6-16-37yds, 0TD, 1 int

At the end of the season, teams adjusted to this and we end up seeing a more balanced split:

Week 14 onwards

- As a slot receiver: 9-21-79yds, 0 TD, 1 int

- As a tight end: 18-23-253yds, 0 TD, 0 int

Now let’s see how that compared with the results in 2011:

Tight End – 35-67-486yds, 3TD, 2 ints

Wide Receiver – 30-52-349yds, 2TD, 1 int

In 2011, the gap between how successful/productive he was as a tight end to how he did as a receiver narrowed significantly, perhaps continuing the trend that developed over the course of the previous season. He was actually more successful as a receiver than in 2011, but – perhaps somewhat alarmingly – less successful as a tight end.

It’s also interesting to note that the completion percentage as a WR (58%) was higher than when he was a tight end (52%). Not only is that surprising, it also reverses the trend from 2010. Average yards per catch was similar for both in 2010, but in 2011 it was – again, surprisingly – more when he was a tight end (13.9) than when he was a receiver (11.6). Even so, the QB rating when throwing to him as a receiver (82.9) was slightly higher than when he was a tight end (78.3).

Nearly all of those receiver numbers were achieved while he was in the slot. Three of the four passes thrown to him when he lined up out wide fell incomplete, but the one completion did go for a 34 yard gain. He also had an 18 yard catch from the half back position, which I have ignored in the above numbers.

It’s again interesting to look at the splits, but before we do, just to give these numbers some context, remember that Derrick Mason barely played in week five and then was gone, after which point Jeremy Kerley got most of the slot receiver reps. Also, Santonio Holmes played a lot more in the slot this season, but especially in the first three weeks where he was there almost 60% of the time (having been in the slot less than 10% of the time in 2010). Finally, we also need to factor in the fact that injuries caused Kerley to miss weeks 11 and 12 and the Jeff Cumberland injury in week three may also have had an impact on Keller’s role.

Let’s investigate how it broke down by breaking the season into four. Once again, I’m omitting the results from lining up out wide:

Week 1 to Week 4 (while Mason was still playing a key role)

- As a slot receiver: 9-12-132yds, 1TD, 0 int

- As a tight end: 9-18-129, 1TD, 1 int

As you can see, in the early part of the season, they had more success finding him from the slot. You’ll recall he did much of his damage in the Jags game over the middle. Let’s see what happened once they turned to Kerley and started reducing how often Holmes was in the slot:

Week 5 to Week 9 (inclusive)

- As a slot receiver: 4-5-32yds, 0TD, 0 int

- As a tight end: 6-13-109yds, 0TD, 1 int

Again Keller was efficient when they looked for him in the slot, but they still looked for him more when he was a tight end, where he did make some good yardage. As you can see they looked for him a lot more over the first four games than the next four:

Week 10 to Week 13 (inclusive)

- As a slot receiver: 7-16-75yds, 1TD, 1 int

- As a tight end: 6-11-61yds, 1TD, 0 int

Over these four games, it flipped the other way. He was looked for more as a slot receiver but was more efficient when they looked for him from the tight end position. These numbers may have been affected by the two come from behind wins they had over Buffalo and Washington, so they would have been running a lot of four wide sets that would have seen Keller in the slot more than usual. In fact, the other two games saw them trailing and trying to get back into the game late. Also, Kerley missed two of these four games injured:

Week 14 onwards

- As a slot receiver: 9-14-76yds, 0 TD, 0 int

- As a tight end: 13-21-153yds, 1 TD, 0 int

Here we return to the same sort of split between TE and WR targets we saw earlier in the year. Again the numbers are slightly skewed by the fact he was thrown to 18 times in the Giants game alone.

Jeff Cumberland

It’s a very small sample, but we can also give some consideration to how Cumberland was used last year. This can give us some clues as to how they might use him next year.

In week one, he was in for 18 snaps – nine as a tight end, one in the slot and eight out wide. He ran just six routes – none as a tight end, one from the slot and five from out wide, including one where he caught a 33 yard pass.

However, in week two, he was in for 24 snaps – 16 as a tight end, three in the slot and five out wide. This time, he ran eight routes, with one from out wide and the rest all from the tight end position.

In week three, he was only used as an in-line TE before suffering a season ending injury on his sixth snap. This shows how versatile he can be and how they can vary up how they use him to create mismatches, which they did successfully in each of the first two games.

Conclusions

It’s clear that against certain teams, Dustin Keller can line up in the slot and make plays. He was used slightly more in that role this year and increased his production and efficiency. At times when other receivers are unavailable due to injuries, Keller seems to be used to fill the void to an extent, but not as a direct replacement because he still carried out his role as a tight end in the Schottenheimer offense.

What I said last year about him not being the finished article still applies and with him having now played four years in the league, that’s disappointing, especially with the Jets in a situation where they’ll need to think about whether to retain him with his contract up at the end of this season. It was encouraging to see him reduce the number of drops last year, but his progress as a blocker has been very slow and he does seem to have lapses of concentration or struggle to get separation in certain matchups.

However, he has still been a productive weapon in the passing game and, although he’s not a typical Tony Sparano tight end, Sparano does get his tight ends involved in the passing game, so perhaps he will be able to get the best out of Keller, who should be especially motivated because it’s a contract year.

I think to look upon him as a potential replacement for a slot receiver – notwithstanding the fact that the Jets appear to have a promising young one in Jeremy Kerley – is a little misguided. When Keller plays in the slot, it’s often from a one back formation where there are three other receivers, so the personnel is no different from a normal three WR set – Keller has just moved off the line and into the slot. It’s not like he is taking reps away from another receiver very often, although his comfort level in that role does enable him to do that on occasion.

Therefore, I don’t think a full time conversion to slot receiver is ever going to happen, but these breakdowns show that he can be used effectively in that way, which means you perhaps don’t need as much depth at that position as some other teams. To be successful in 2012, Keller is still going to have to produce from the tight end position as well.

Next week on BGA Weekly: Grading TJ Conley’s season based on ANPP. Otherwise, keep those ideas coming!

Tags: BGA, Bent Double

New York Jets wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (18) gestures after making a first down during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (18) gestures after making a first down during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Jets WR ArDarius Stewart is facing a two-game suspension for a violation of the performance enhancing drugs policy, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com

The 24-year-old Stewart, who the Jets selected in the third round in the 2017 Draft, started two games last season. He reeled in six catches for 82 yards and rushed seven times for 27 yards.

Stewart projects as a depth piece for the Jets, behind Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, Quincy Enunwa, Terrelle Pryor, and Chad Hansen...

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Jan 28, 2018; Orlando, FL, USA; General overall view of Camping World Stadium during the playing of the national anthem with a United States flag on the field before the 2018 Pro Bowl between the AFC and the NFC. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 28, 2018; Orlando, FL, USA; General overall view of Camping World Stadium during the playing of the national anthem with a United States flag on the field before the 2018 Pro Bowl between the AFC and the NFC. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

The NFL and NFLPA have reached a 'standstill agreement' on the league's revised anthem policy, the two sides announced in a joint statement. 

The NFL announced earlier this offseason that required players to stand if they were to leave the locker room for the national anthem. The two sides will continue to talk, though no new rules will be issued in the imminent future.

"The NFL and NFLPA, through recent discussions, have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue," the statement read. "In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA's grievance and on the NFL's anthem policy. No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing."

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Bilal Powell (29) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Bilal Powell (29) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Last week, we broke down the quarterback battle, which is sure to headline training camp this year for the Jets. Let's break down the other battles for starting roles and consider the candidates at each spot.

Running back - Bilal Powell v Isaiah Crowell

Tags: Bilal Powell, Buster Skrine, Dylan Donahue, Jordan Leggett, Lorenzo Mauldin, Morris Claiborne, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Terrelle Pryor
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What is Revis' legacy? 00:01:09
Daily News Live panelist Sal Licata discusses why fans should question Darrelle Revis' legacy after a poor second stint with the Jets.

Revis Island is no more. Jets great Darrelle Revis is retiring after an 11-year career, including eight years spent with New York (2007-2012, 2015-2016).

The league's top corner during his prime, the 33-year-old Revis said "my passion to play the game at an elite level brought fun and excitement to the term 'shutdown corner' which was nearly on the verge of extinction."

Revis had 25 interceptions during his Jets career, and 29 overall. 

Tags: Darrelle Revis, Danny Abriano
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Jun 12, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) and Josh McCown (15) during New York Jets mini camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jun 12, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) and Josh McCown (15) during New York Jets mini camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The new NFL season is almost here, and the Jets are preparing for it at training camp next week.

The team released their training camp schedule on Wednesday with four dates that the public are allowed to spectate. Those dates are July 29 and Aug. 18-19 at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center as well as the Green & White scrimmage at Rutgers University on Aug. 4. 

Gang Green will also be shipping down to Richmond, VA for joint practice sessions with the Washington Redskins on Aug. 12-14. Camp will break after the MetLife Bowl against the Giants in Week 3 of preseason games. 

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General overall view of MetLife Stadium Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
General overall view of MetLife Stadium Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Gang Green is one of the top teams in the NFL making green.

According to Forbes, the Jets are valued at $2.75 billion, making them the eighth-most valuable NFL franchise in 2018. They also come in at 21st overall in the world. 

The Jets, though, saw the biggest fall on the top 50 list. They moved down eight spots from last year's rankings.

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Will Le'Veon Bell be a Jet? 00:00:54
Jon Hein breaks down why current Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell will not be a New York Jet come the 2019 NFL season.

On Loud Mouths, Jon Hein breaks down why current Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell will not be a New York Jet come the 2019 NFL season.

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New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams on the sidelines during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams on the sidelines during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Over the last few weeks, we've been breaking down each position in terms of which players are fighting for those final roster spots. Who is in danger of being cut? Who has a chance to earn themselves a bigger role? We conclude with a look at the defensive line position.

Probable roster locks

The Jets are counting on Leonard Williams to bounce back from a disappointing and injury-plagued 2017 campaign and also to adopt more of a leadership role now Muhammad Wilkerson is gone. Williams will be looking to ramp up his statistical production as he was less dominant last season and has only recorded three sacks in his last 25 games.

Tags: Deon Simon, Leonard Williams, Steve McLendon
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Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Brandon Bryant reacts during the game against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Davis Wade Stadium. (Matt Bush/USA TODAY Sports)
Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Brandon Bryant reacts during the game against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Davis Wade Stadium. (Matt Bush/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets announced they signed safety Brandon Bryant on Monday.

Bryant, a 5-foot-11, 207-pound defensive back who played in 37 games at Mississippi State, was not selected in the NFL's supplemental draft last week.

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New England Patriots cornerback Justin Coleman (22) defends a pass against New York Jets wide receiver Devin Smith (19) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. (Mark L. Baer)
New England Patriots cornerback Justin Coleman (22) defends a pass against New York Jets wide receiver Devin Smith (19) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. (Mark L. Baer)

The Jets are releasing oft-injured WR Devin Smith, who they selected in the second round of the NFL Draft in 2015.

During his Jets tenure, Smith played in just 14 of a possible 48 games, with 10 catches for 135 yards and one touchdown.

He said earlier this offseason that he hoped he was ready to make an impact after suffering ACL injuries. 

Tags: Devin Smith
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Jun 12, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) and Josh McCown (15) during New York Jets mini camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jun 12, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) and Josh McCown (15) during New York Jets mini camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets quarterback position is always closely scrutinized, with controversies dreamed up even when the team is adamant none should exist. If the team says it's an open competition, everyone suspects they'll hand the job to their favorite. When they say their choice gives them the best chance to win, nobody agrees. Even if they name a starter and give him all the starter reps, the tendency is for everyone to assume they must be lying.

This year is different though. There's a real competition, drawing justified attention on a local and national level because it's completely wide open.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater
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New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo leaves the field after a game against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo leaves the field after a game against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo thinks Jets rookie Sam Darnold has potential to be a "special" quarterback, but said he didn't like his throwing mechanics.

"I think the kid the Jets drafted has a lot of magic in his game,'' McAdoo told the New York Post's Paul Schwartz. "I think he's special. He's obviously a talented guy, he can make plays with his feet. I'd just have a hard time drafting a guy in the first round where you don't necessarily like the way he throws."

Darnold, who played two seasons at USC, threw for 3,086 yards, 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions with five fumbles as a sophomore in 2016. Last season, he threw for more yards (3,787), but fewer touchdowns (26) and more interceptions (12) and fumbles (seven). The turnovers, McAdoo believes, had a negative impact on his perspective.

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Nov 26, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets corner back Morris Claiborne (21) flexes during the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 26, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets corner back Morris Claiborne (21) flexes during the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Over the last few weeks, we've been breaking down each position in terms of which players are fighting for those final roster spots. Who is in danger of being cut? Who has a chance to earn themselves a bigger role? We continue today with a look at the cornerback position.

Probable Roster Locks

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater
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Sep 2, 2017; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Brandon Bryant (1) reacts during the game against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Bush)
Sep 2, 2017; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Brandon Bryant (1) reacts during the game against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Bush)

The Jets are expected to sign Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant, reports Tom Pelissero of NFL.com.

Bryant, 22, worked out for about half the teams in the league in June, but wasn't selected during Wednesday's Supplemental Draft.

Off the field, Bryant was charged with a DUI in January of 2017. But his potential was too much for the Jets to pass up...

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Sep 2, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Western Michigan Broncos defensive back Sam Beal (1) intercepts a pass intended for Southern California Trojans wide receiver Jalen Greene (10) during a NCAA football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated Western Michigan 49-31. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Sep 2, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Western Michigan Broncos defensive back Sam Beal (1) intercepts a pass intended for Southern California Trojans wide receiver Jalen Greene (10) during a NCAA football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated Western Michigan 49-31. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

The NFL's supplemental draft takes place on July 11th, with a realistic possibility of multiple players being selected for the first time in years.

Could the Jets be considering making a selection? And could they target Western Michigan CB Sam Beal, who is potentially the best Supplemental Draft prospect ever?

The Supplemental Draft accommodates players who did not enter the draft. Such players have usually been rendered ineligible to play college football in the following season due to off-field or academic issues and, as such, teams are often reluctant to give up a pick. The last player selected was Clemson tackle Isaiah Battle, who the Rams picked in the fifth round three years. Battle has yet to play in an NFL game.

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Leonard Williams (92) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Leonard Williams (92) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

EA Sports released its highly-anticipated Madden NFL 19 ratings on Tuesday, and Jets fans won't be happy to see where their team landed on the list. 

Gang Green came in dead last among all 32 NFL teams with a 72 overall rating. The ratings do change based off team performance throughout the year. 

The highest-rated player on the team is S Jamal Adams, who is coming off a stellar rookie season. He has an 86 overall rating, which is 11th among qualifying safeties. Wide receiver Robby Anderson and DE Leonard Williams both have 84 overall ratings while Jermaine Kearse (83) and Steve McClendon (83) round out the top five. 

Tags: Jamal Adams, Josh McCown, Leonard Williams, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Steve McLendon, Teddy Bridgewater
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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)

Over the last few weeks, we've been breaking down each position in terms of which players are fighting for those final roster spots. Who is in danger of being cut? Who has a chance to earn themselves a bigger role? We continue with a look at the tight ends.

Probable roster locks

It's tempting to suggest that there are no tight ends currently on the Jets roster whose spot is safe. However, Jets coaches give the impression that Eric Tomlinson's blocking is a major asset that the other tight ends on the roster would struggle to replicate. Tomlinson helped his chances of earning a starting role by flashing an ability to leak out and make an occasional big play in the passing game, but should remain on the roster as a blocking specialist in any case.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Ben Ijalana, Brent Qvale, Dakota Dozier, Jordan Leggett, Quincy Enunwa
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New York Jets quarterbacks Josh McCown and Sam Darnold during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterbacks Josh McCown and Sam Darnold during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets quarterback Josh McCown knows he's not New York's long-term solution under center, but he believes No. 3 pick Sam Darnold is rightfully the heir.

"With Sam, we have the right guy," McCown said on an interview with Sirius XM over the weekend. "He's wired the right way, he loves the game, he asks the right questions and he's willing to work … That's the foundation, you have to have that," McCown said.

The Jets traded three second-round picks to move up three spots from No. 6 to No. 3, where the USC quarterback ultimately fell to them. Darnold has impressed several people early on, including offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, who said Darnold has handled everything the team has thrown at him so far. 

Tags: Josh McCown
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Jan. 30, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address from the House chamber of the United States Capitol. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY (Jack Gruber)
Jan. 30, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address from the House chamber of the United States Capitol. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY (Jack Gruber)

President Donald Trump, who last season referred to NFL players who kneel in protest during the anthem as "sons of bitches," wondered aloud Thursday if the league's new policy is worse than the old one. Trump also bashed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and claimed ratings are down in part because of "the flag."

"If you don't respect the flag or you don't like the country or whatever it is just go into the locker room," Trump said, according to Yahoo! Sports. "Just go into the locker room. I think in many respects that's worse. Isn't that worse than having them not standing?"

Under the new anthem policy, all team and league personnel on the field must "stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem." Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room or a similar location off the field until its conclusion...

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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)

Over the last few weeks, we've been breaking down each position in terms of which players are fighting for those final roster spots. Who is in danger of being cut? Who has a chance to earn themselves a bigger role? We continue today with a look at the edge defenders.

Probable Roster Locks

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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)

Jets QB Sam Darnold was the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft but is the fourth best rookie quarterback according to EA Sports' Madden 19. 

Darnold's rating is a 75, good enough to make the top five of rookie quarterbacks. He's ahead of Bills QB Josh Allen (74), but is trailing Cardinals' QB Josh Rosen (78), Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (79) and Browns QB Baker Mayfield (81). 

Mayfield was the No. 1 overall pick of this year's draft while Allen was No. 7, Rosen was No. 10 and Jackson No. 32. 

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New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold works out during the team's NFL football organized training activities, Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold works out during the team's NFL football organized training activities, Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Jets QB Sam Darnold is still getting accustomed to the hustle and bustle of New York City. The West Coast kid does, however, have some favorites in the Big Apple. 

When it comes to baseball, Darnold will always show love to his LA Dodgers. But, if he had to choose between New York's teams -- the Mets and Yankees -- he would stay in the National League. 

"I'm a Dodgers fan, so it's kinda tough," Darnold said in an NFL video. "But Mets, definitely Mets."

Tags: Sam Darnold
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New York Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

It is a feat many try, but fail to succeed. And no, it isn't climbing Mount Everest. 

However, the stakes seem to be as high as the infamous mountain for the Jets' latest offensive coordinator in Jeremy Bates. The job security for his newest title in the Jets' organization is one of high volatility. 

Going back to Brian Schottenheimer last season before he was fired in 2011, the Jets have had six offensive coordinators in eight years. But Bates is ready to change the narrative. 

Tags: Sam Darnold
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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during 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 head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Over the next few weeks, we're going to break down each position in terms of which players are fighting for those final roster spots. Who is in danger of being cut? Who has a chance to earn themselves a bigger role? We continue today with a look at the offensive linemen.

Probable Roster Locks: 

Tags: Wesley Johnson
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 (Jim Brown)
(Jim Brown)

How many single-season leaders across all major categories can you name for the Jets? Click below to test your knowledge in the quiz.

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New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) runs into the end zone while scoring on a pass from quarterback Josh McCown, not pictured, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) runs into the end zone while scoring on a pass from quarterback Josh McCown, not pictured, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Over the next few weeks, we're going to break down each position in terms of which players are fighting for those final Jets roster spots. Who is in danger of being cut? Who has a chance to earn themselves a bigger role? We continue today with a look at the wide receiver position.

Probable Roster Locks

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New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold works out during the team's NFL football organized training activities, Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold works out during the team's NFL football organized training activities, Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Over the course of the offseason, the Jets made six draft picks and have brought in 10 undrafted free agents. Let's attempt to rank each of those additions in terms of their importance for the upcoming season.

Only official rookies qualify for this list. While you would need a certain level of playing time to lose your rookie status in baseball, the NFL determines rookie status solely by when you were drafted. Therefore, cornerbacks Derrick Jones, Jeremy Clark and Xavier Coleman, who all saw brief action even though they only played three defensive snaps between them, are no longer rookies.

Even a Ben Simmons-style rookie who didn't see any action in his rookie season doesn't count as a rookie under NFL rules, so that rules out offensive lineman Ben Braden - who spent the year on the Jets' practice squad - and kicker Taylor Bertolet, who the Jets' site erroneously lists as a rookie even though he played for the Rams in preseason last year.

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New York Jets fans celebrate an overtime victory over the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Jim O'Connor/USATSI)
New York Jets fans celebrate an overtime victory over the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Jim O'Connor/USATSI)

To all NFL Fans, they would say their team's faithful are the best in the league. However, Dr. Michael Lewis of Emory's Goizueta Business School created a statistical model to calculate exactly which fan base is the best in the NFL.

Lewis' model has three different factors that go into the calculation. First, there is "Fan Equity" that calculates how much fans spend on their team, both in tickets and apparel. Next, there is "Social Equity" which totals fans following their team on social media, and that is followed by "Road Equity" which calculates fans traveling with their team on the road. 

Based off Lewis' model, the Jets come in a No. 15 on the list of the 32 NFL teams. 

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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during 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 head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles made a cameo on the Netflix series Luke Cage, about a man with super strength and unbreakable skin that was caused by a sabotaged experiment.

In the episode, Cage works out for Bowles, with the often-reserved coach saying "Let's see what you're made of Cage. Let's go" 

Click below to watch...

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New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Atlanta Falcons' Sharrod Neasman (20) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Atlanta Falcons' Sharrod Neasman (20) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)

Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson was ranked among the best deep threats in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner.

Anderson was one of four players who were graded as honorable mentions to the Chiefs' Tyreek Hill, who was ranked the biggest deep threat in the league. The other honorable mentions were the Falcons' Julio Jones, Colts' T.Y. Hilton and Rams' Brandin Cooks.

The 25-year-old Anderson recorded 63 catches for 941 receiving yards and seven touchdowns last season, his second in the pros since going undrafted out of Temple.

Tags: Robby Anderson
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