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

Jan 1, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews (18) looks to catch a pass for a first down against Houston Texans defensive back Robert Nelson (32) during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)
Jan 1, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews (18) looks to catch a pass for a first down against Houston Texans defensive back Robert Nelson (32) during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)

The Jets are bringing in free agent WR Rishard Matthews for a workout Tuesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The 29-year-old veteran was cut by the Titans last month after he requested a release due to his unhappiness with his playing time. He registered just three catches and 11 receiving yards over the first three weeks of the season.

But with Quincy Enunwa out between three and four weeks with a high-ankle sprain, the Jets are looking for a stopgap at wide receiver.

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New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa fumbles the ball in the second quarter after a hit by Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa fumbles the ball in the second quarter after a hit by Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Quincy Enunwa had developed into Sam Darnold's most reliable receiver early in the season. He was the player Darnold threw to the most and turned to when he needed a third-down catch.

So what is Darnold going to do without Enunwa, who suffered a high-ankle sprain and will probably be out for about a month?

Tags: Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Sam Darnold wasn't just twiddling his thumbs while waiting to get drafted this past spring. Like all fans of his future NFL team, the Jets quarterback was keeping a close eye on the Kirk Cousins free agency saga before the Redskins QB signed with the Vikings.

"I was definitely following it," Darnold said Monday ahead of his Week 7 matchup with Minnesota Sunday at MetLife Stadium, per the New York Daily News. "During the draft process, there's nothing really else to pay attention to. Because I'm not on a team. We're not trying to dial up anything. I'm not at USC trying to figure out what we're going to do the next year. And I'm not on an NFL team trying to figure it out."

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) scrambles during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)
Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) scrambles during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Six weeks into the season, all four of the rookie quarterbacks taken in the Top 10 of the NFL draft have at least three starts on their resume. They've had a chance to get rid of their first-game jitters, or to catch the NFL by surprise, and they're starting to settle in to their rookie seasons.

It will take years, of course, to determine which of the four is the best. It might even take that long for one of them to lead a team to the playoffs. But now that they've all settled down, it's easy to determine which ones are off to the best start.

Here's a look -- and a ranking -- at how the Fab Four are faring so far...

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

On the heels of a strong performance in Week 5, Sam Darnold was tremendous in the Jets' Week 6 win over the Colts. And his Pro Football Focus grades bear that out.

According to PFF, Darnold has the second-best passing grade (89.8) in the NFL over the last two weeks. Over that same span, his 71.4 deep accuracy percentage is third and his accuracy percentage with a clean pocket (87.2) is fourth.

Things opened up for Darnold in Week 5 due in part to the record-breaking game running back Isaiah Crowell had. But in the win over the Colts, he picked apart the Indianapolis defense without the benefit of being able to fall back on a red-hot ground game. 

Tags: Sam Darnold
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 (Richard Mackson)
(Richard Mackson)

The Raiders are awful again, and are reportedly ready to trade some of their most valuable assets -- including WR Amari Cooper. Should the Jets have interest?

Cooper -- the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 Draft -- left the Raiders' Week 6 loss due to a concussion and has had a down 2018 so far after having just 48 receptions for 680 yards in 2017. But he was highly productive during his first two years in the league when the Raiders were actually competitive. 

He had 72 catches for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns during his rookie season in 2015 as the Raiders went 7-9. During Oakland's 12-4 season in 2016, Cooper reeled in 83 catches for 1,153 yards and five touchdowns.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor, Danny Abriano
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Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) makes a catch against the New York Giants during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) makes a catch against the New York Giants during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa will miss around three to four weeks with a high-ankle sprain in Sunday's win over the Colts, SNY.tv's Ralph Vacchiano has confirmed.

Head coach Todd Bowles said Monday that Enunwa, who did not play in the second half on Sunday, suffered a sprained ankle but did not reveal its severity.

The three-to-four-week timeframe is typical for high-ankle sprains, although it could vary.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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Dec 10, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (26) in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)
Dec 10, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (26) in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)

Jets S Marcus Maye suffered a broken thumb during Sunday's win over the Colts, reports SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

According to Vacchiano, the team is still evaluating the extent of the injury. Maye missing three-to-four weeks is a reasonable estimate, adds Vacchiano, but is far from a certainty. 

Vacchiano adds that there is some hope that if Maye heals quickly and can tolerate the pain, he may be able to play with a cast on (Maye was wearing a cast after Sunday's game)...

Tags: Marcus Maye
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Kacy Rodgers Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Kacy Rodgers Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers received some good news on Monday.

Rodgers, who has been battling a serious undisclosed medical condition the last two weeks, was cleared to slowly return to his coaching duties and will be the defensive play-caller again this Sunday.

Head coach Todd Bowles, who had taken over the defensive play-calling responsibilities in Rodgers' absence, revealed the good news in a conference call on Monday calling it a "big relief."

Tags: Morris Claiborne
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Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

In Sunday's 42-34 win over the Colts, Jets QB Sam Darnold put together his most complete performance as a pro, completing 24 of 30 passes for 280 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

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

Tags: Brian Winters, Jordan Leggett, Neal Sterling, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) catches a pass over Indianapolis Colts cornerback Chris Milton (28) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) catches a pass over Indianapolis Colts cornerback Chris Milton (28) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The presence of all those Super Bowl III heroes on Sunday wasn't just a celebration of the Jets' greatest achievement, it was a painful reminder of why it's so hard to believe in this year's team. There have been too many years of heartache, too many seasons of disappointment, too many times the rug was pulled out from under everyone's feet.

So when these Jets beat the Indianapolis Colts 42-34 on Sunday, barely hanging on in the end, there were surely a few skeptics who saw the team's obvious flaws. And when Todd Bowles stepped to the podium and said "We're right back in the thick of these things," it's understandable if everyone rolled his or her eyes.

Tags: Darron Lee, Indianapolis Colts, Leonard Williams, Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets talk 42-34 victory 00:01:09
Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold, Jermaine Kearse, Chris Herndon and Todd Bowles talk about the positives after a huge win over the Colts, 42-34.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - As the Jets celebrated the 50th anniversary of their last Super Bowl championship team, Sam Darnold gave them even more reason to believe that the next one won't be too far off.

The 21-year-old Darnold, in his first real shootout against a top tier NFL quarterback, out-played Andrew Luck on Sunday afternoon. He completed 24 of 30 passes for 280 yards with two touchdowns and one interception to lead the Jets to a 42-27 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Luck was pretty good too (23 of 43, 301 yards and 4 touchdowns), except for the fact that he threw three interceptions. He also even nearly engineered a second-half comeback but fell an onside kickoff recovery short. But overall, Darnold was the more impressive quarterback for most of the game, after he shook off a shaky start. He did get help from a Jets defense that forced four turnovers, but the running game wasn't nearly as good as it has been...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Buster Skrine, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (10) rushes for yards after a catch as Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore (23) pursues 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 wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (10) rushes for yards after a catch as Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore (23) pursues during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: The Jets held off the banged-up Colts for a 42-34 win on Sunday to improve to 3-3 on the season. Let's highlight three of the best performances, along with three players who were disappointments.

Winners

QB Sam Darnold 

Tags: Marcus Maye, Sam Darnold, Terrence Brooks
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SNY's Week 6 Jets Report Cards 00:02:46
Ray Lucas, Willie Colon, and Bart Scott hand out their report cards after the Jets beat the Colts on Sunday, 42-34.

The Jets have moved to 3-3 on the season after defeating the Colts 42-34 on Sunday. The Jets Post Game Live crew handed out their grades for each unit, and what they ultimately thought of the Jets' latest performance. 

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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

Sam Darnold has seemed comfortable as the Jets put together back-to-back wins to move to 3-3 on the season.

During Sunday's victory over the Colts, the rookie quarterback was 24 of 30 for 280 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. 

So what's the area where Darnold has improved the most?

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets former quarterback Joe Namath during pre game warm up before game 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 former quarterback Joe Namath during pre game warm up before game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Legendary Jets QB Joe Namath is a fan of rookie Sam Darnold, but stressed that how high Darnold reaches will be about his surrounding cast.

"I do see a physical ability and I understand a mental ability," Namath said Sunday before the Jets honored the 50th anniversary of their Super Bowl III victory. "But I can't emphasize enough -- it's about the front line of both sides of the ball, it's about the kicking game, it's about the entire team, man."

Namath then started talking about Archie Manning, who he said would have been the first Manning Hall-of-Famer if the Saints (the team Namath referred to as the 'Aints') had put a quality team around him.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Danny Abriano
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New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets RB Isaiah Crowell (ankle) will play in Sunday's game against the Colts.

Crowell, who was a game-time decision, was limited in practice earlier in the week. 

The 25-year-old Crowell is coming off a record-breaking game in Week 5 when he had a Jets-record 219 rushing yards and added a 12-yard reception in the Jets' win over the Broncos. 

Tags: Buster Skrine, Charone Peake
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How Namath became Broadway Joe 00:01:25
Jets legend Joe Namath reveals the origin of the name "Broadway Joe," see the full interview on Jets Pre Game Live, Sunday at 12pm on SNY!

How exactly did Joe Namath become known as "Broadway Joe" during his career?

In an interview with SNY, Namath said the nickname was coined by offensive lineman Sherman Plunkett

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Todd Bowles Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Todd Bowles Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Bruce Arians has always been a big believer of Todd Bowles, which is why the former Cardinals head coach is also a big believer in the future of the Jets. 

Arians, who will call the Jets' game against the Colts for CBS on Sunday, told the New York Post on Friday that Gang Green is headed in the right direction and that they have the right man to get them there. 

"I think (Bowles) is doing a great job there, especially now that he's got a quarterback," Arians said.

Tags: Sam Darnold
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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)

DL Leonard Williams missed Thursday's Jets practice due to a "sore back," according to Todd Bowles. (NY Daily News)

"He just woke up like that," the head coach said, per the Daily News. Bowles did not say how the sudden issue impacts Williams' availability on Sunday against the Colts.

Williams, a vital piece to the Jets' defense, enjoyed his best game of the year in Week 5 against the Broncos with two sacks. 

Tags: Leonard Williams
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Bowles, Bates prep for Indy 00:00:55
Jets head coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates discuss the Jets' mindset heading into Sunday's match-up with the Colts.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates discuss the team's mindset heading into Sunday's matchup with the Colts.

The Jets (2-3) kick off against Indianapolis (1-4) Sunday at 1 p.m. at MetLife Stadium.

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Sam Darnold (14) Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Sam Darnold (14) Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

Jets WR Jermaine Kearse and rookie QB Sam Darnold are locker room buddies. They sit right next to each other in the room, and Kearse takes advantage of that by preaching his veteran wisdom whenever he can on the 21-year-old signal caller. 

One way he does that is recalling the time he was a rookie in Seattle back in 2012, and a fellow rookie in QB Russell Wilson was in the same boat as Darnold this season. He was a young gun coming off a solid Wisconsin career, and was looking to make an immediate impact in the NFL. 

During a break in game action in the Seahawks' second preseason game, Wilson returned to the huddle and heard Kearse talking as he began to speak. What he did next immediately caught the attention of Kearse. 

Tags: Sam Darnold, Scott Thompson
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Pennington talks Darnold 00:02:36
Former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington looks back on his time in New York, and shares his thoughts on the development of rookie Sam Darnold

Former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington looks back on his time in New York and shares his thoughts on the development of rookie Sam Darnold.

Pennington also spoke about his ongoing work with the Mayo Clinic.

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Darnold and Bowles on Indy 00:00:37
Sam Darnold and Todd Bowles talk about building on last week's big win, and finding a way to beat the Colts on Sunday.

Jets QB Sam Darnold and coach Todd Bowles look ahead to the team's matchup against the Colts on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Jets are hoping to build from their week 5 win over the Broncos, which ended a three-game skid.

 

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Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

As Colts head coach Frank Reich started preparing to face Jets QB Sam Darnold, he couldn't help but notice some similarities between the Jets' QB and Carson Wentz, who he coached during his time as offensive coordinator of the Eagles.

"It feels like a little bit of the same personality; it's not too big from the standpoint of intellectually, but also emotionally, the game's not too big," Reich said, per the NY Post. "Physically, just being able to make the throws, and some of the athleticism."

 Wentz, who suffered a torn ACL in the final weeks of the regular season last year, finally returned under center for the Eagles in Week 3 and has totaled five touchdowns and one interception.

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New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets running back and reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week Isiah Crowell did not participate in Wednesday's practice due to an ankle injury.

CB Trumaine Johnson (quad), CB Buster Skrine (concussion), WR Charone Peake (hamstring), WR Andre Roberts (elbow/foot), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (foot) and C Spencer Long (knee/finger) also missed practice.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said Crowell hurt himself during Sunday's win over the Broncos. Crowell set a franchise record with a career-high 219 rushing yards in the victory.

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Kacy Rodgers Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Kacy Rodgers Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said Wednesday there's a "small chance" that defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers will return to the sideline against the Colts Sunday at MetLife Stadium. (Connor Hughes)

The 49-year-old Rodgers missed the Week 5 victory over the Broncos with what Bowles called a "serious illness." The head coach previously said Rodgers could be absent for several weeks.

But Bowles said Rodgers was at Jets practice on Wednesday after ungoing medical tests, the results of which Rodgers expects to have next week.

 

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Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell (20) carries the ball in the second half against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)
Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell (20) carries the ball in the second half against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

RB Isaiah Crowell was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his record-setting performance in the Jets' 34-16 win over the Broncos on Sunday.

Crowell broke the Jets' single-game rushing record with a career-high 219 rushing yards on 15 carries. The running back also set a new NFL record for yards per carry in a game with 14.6, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini

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Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The first five weeks of Sam Darnold's NFL career have not been easy, but the way the Jets rookie quarterback is handling it all has not gone unnoticed. 

The 21-year-old rookie, fresh off a three touchdown game in a 34-16 win over the Broncos, is receiving praise from his coaches and teammates for how he's handled the ups and downs of his season thus far. 

"He's been very positive," coach Todd Bowles said, per Newsday. "He understands that he's close and we're close as a team and they keep grinding at it. That's what you like about him, he keeps working."

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