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

GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:03:46
Ralph Vacchiano and Jeane Coakley discuss the Jets' preparations for this week's game against the Carolina Panthers.

Stanford, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) (Sergio Estrada)
Stanford, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) (Sergio Estrada)

Jets' general manager Mike Maccagnan is in attendance at UCLA's game on Friday night against Cal, presumably to scout UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, according to Kyle Bonagura of ESPN.

Maccagnan attended UCLA's game last week as well Rosen lost to Sam Darnold and USC, where the Jets general manager was likely to be scouting both Rosen and Darnold.

The Jets certainly will not have the top overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, where it is assumed Rosen or Darnold will be selected, though there is always the possibility for the team to trade up. 

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Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)
Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)

THE GAME: The Carolina Panthers (7-3) at the Jets (4-6) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday, Nov. 26 at 1 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER: Not a terrible day, with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the upper 40s, but the wind could potentially be around 20 m.p.h. That could impact the passing games of both teams. Normally that would be an advantage for the Jets, but not necessarily here.

WHAT IT MEANS: It's kind of remarkable that after losing four of five in agonizing fashion the Jets are right in the thick of the playoff race....

Tags: Jamal Adams, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - A week away from football did some good for the Jets, who will have a healthy cornerback Morris Claiborne on Sunday, and they might even get running back Matt Forte back, too.

Claiborne, who has been hampered by a foot injury, was a full participant in practice on Friday and wasn't even listed on the final injury report of the week. He had suffered the injury back on Oct. 29 against the Falcons and missed the next game against the Buffalo Bills on a short week. He did play in the Jets' 15-10 loss in Tampa two weeks ago, but he was clearly limited by his foot...

Tags: Brian Winters, Matt Forte, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - With six games to go in the regular season, the Jets are one game back in the AFC wild-card chase. But they are stuck in a pack of eight teams inside that margin, all scrambling for the sixth and final playoff seed.

That leaves them will little room to stumble. Realistically, to make the playoffs, they have to win all the rest of their games.

Tags: Jordan Jenkins, Ralph Vacchiano
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Vacc's 3 Keys to Jets win 00:01:52
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys for a Jets victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys for a Jets victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

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New York Jets wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets re-signed wide receiver Lucky Whitehead and assigned him to the practice squad, the team announced.

Whitehead was given an injury settlement in September after he underwent surgery for a broken foot in the preseason. 

The 25-year-old receiver had nine catches for 64 yards in 30 games with the Cowboys in 2015 and 2016. He also served as Dallas' punt and kick returner, recording 305 return yards on punts and 846 return yards on kickoffs.

In a corresponding move, the Jets released linebacker Jeremy Cash, a 24-year-old linebacker who had appeared in nine games with the Carolina Panthers since the start of last season.

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GEICO SportsNite: Turkey drive 00:02:11
SportsNite highlights Willie Colon's Turkey and Toy Drive where the former Jet hands out turkeys to hungry people on Thanksgiving.

New York Jets safety Jamal Adams celebrates after recovering a fumbled snap by Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets safety Jamal Adams celebrates after recovering a fumbled snap by Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (4-6) face the Panthers (7-3) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Here's what's going on Friday:

Need to know

The Jets will practice again today at Florham Park. SNY.tv's Ralph Vacchiano will be attending practice this week. Follow @RVacchianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors.

In case you missed it on TJB

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New York Jets outside linebacker Kony Ealy celebrates with his teammates after his interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Kony Ealy celebrates with his teammates after his interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports)

Kony Ealy is downplaying the obvious story line now.

Sure, the defensive lineman was a Super Bowl star with the Carolina Panthers two seasons ago - and then got traded last March. Ealy is with the New York Jets these days, and insists that his past won't affect his approach.

No matter what team he's facing.

"I'm going to go out here and play the same game I've been playing for about eight weeks now," Ealy said Wednesday, "and try to focus on getting that `W.'"

Tags: Carolina Panthers
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Nov 29, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks over the line of scrimmage against the New York Giants during the second half at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 20-14. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Nov 29, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks over the line of scrimmage against the New York Giants during the second half at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 20-14. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - There was a time this summer when it seemed that the only quarterback decision Jets GM Mike Maccagnan would have to make next spring was "Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen?" The Jets were going to stink. They were going to have one of the top two picks in the draft. One of those quarterback prospects would belong to them.

Three months and four wins later, the name of the future Jets quarterback is a little hazier. Darnold and Rosen remain in play, but it may take some maneuvering for the Jets to land them. They have options on the roster and can be players in free agency, too.

So it's a wide-open competition to see who'll be the Jets starting quarterback on Opening Day of the 2018 season. Here's a look at some of the choices they're likely to have...

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown, Ralph Vacchiano
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Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Despite early indications suggesting otherwise, Matt Forte (knee) was unable to practice again on Thursday. Forte has been out since first being injured on Nov. 2 against the Bills.

Rashard Robinson (illness) was out again, while Muhammad Wilkerson (foot) and Brian Winters (abdomen) were limited. 

Some good news on the injury front for Todd Bowles is that Morris Claiborne (foot) was a full participant. 

Coming off their bye week, the Jets return to action Sunday when they meet the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium at 1 p.m.

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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) (Noah K. Murray)

At Linden High School's annual Thanksgiving rivalry game against Union High School in New Jersey, former Linden star Muhammad Wilkerson had his jersey no. 91 retired, via NJ.com

Wilkerson is still a vital part of his hometown, with the Jets practice facility less than an hour away, he's a community leader. He founded T.E.A.M. 96, a nonprofit focused on mentoring college-bound high school student-athletes, as well as giving out scholarships. 

"Linden Public Schools and the Linden Athletics family is truly honored to retire Muhammad Wilkerson's No. 91 jersey," said Linden Athletic Director Steven Viana, via a Linden Public School System press release. "Muhammad's accomplishments on the field are well-documented, but his contributions to our community and our students are most gratifying. He is a mainstay at our events, an avid supporter of anything and everything Linden."

Union spoiled Wilkerson's day by beating Linden 21-18.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)
Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)

The Jets (4-6) face the Panthers (7-3) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Here's what's going on today…

Need to know

The Jets will practice again today at Florham Park. SNY's Ralph Vacchiano will be attending practice this week. Follow @RVacchianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors…

In case you missed it on TJB

Matt Forte remains sidelined with knee injury >> Read more

Darrelle Revis signs with the Chiefs >> Read more

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:01:48
The Jets prepare for a tough challenge as they get ready for the Carolina Panthers with their postseason hopes still alive.

LM: Dancing with the Jets 00:04:54
On Loud Mouths, Dancing with the Jets pays tribute to the Jets dance to anything.

Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets corner back Darrelle Revis (24) runs off the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium.  (Brad Penner (USA Today))
Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets corner back Darrelle Revis (24) runs off the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner (USA Today))

Former Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis has signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, the club announced Wednesday. 

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports the deal is for two years.

The 32-year-old started 15 games for the Jets last season in what was statistically the worst year of his 10-year career.

The Jets cut Revis last Feb. 28, which freed more than $9 million in cap space.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) is tackled by Buffalo Bills corner back Shareece Wright (20) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) is tackled by Buffalo Bills corner back Shareece Wright (20) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

RB Matt Forte (knee), LT Kelvin Beachum (personal) and CB Rashard Robinson (illness) were the only Jets to not participate in Wednesday's practice. 

Forte was injured during the Jets' 34-21 win against the Bills on Nov. 2 and has not practiced since. 

CB Morris Claiborne (foot), DL Mo Wilkerson (foot), and G Brian Winters (abdomen) were limited participants.

Coming off their bye, the Jets return to action Sunday when they meet the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium at 1 p.m.

Tags: Brian Winters, Kelvin Beachum, Matt Forte, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Sep 10, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

The Jets (4-6) face the Panthers (7-3) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Here's what's going on Tuesday:

Need to know

The Jets will practice again today at Florham Park. SNY's Ralph Vacciano will be attending practice this week.  Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors…

Tags: Leonard Williams, Lorenzo Mauldin, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McLendon
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 (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
(Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

The Manhattan District Attorney has opted not to bring charges against Jets LB Lorenzo Mauldin, who was was arrested in June for misdemeanor assault.

Tags: Lorenzo Mauldin
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New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams gestures while jogging on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams gestures while jogging on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (4-6) face the Panthers (7-3) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Here's what's going on Tuesday:

Need to know

The Jets practice for the second straight day. SNY's Ralph Vacciano will be attending practice this week. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors.

Tags: Carolina Panthers
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GEICO SportsNite: Robby Anderson 00:01:16
Jets WR Robby Anderson catches up with Jeane Coakley to discuss how he's become one of Gang Green's premier offensive weapons this season.

New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) throws a pass 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 quarterback Josh McCown (15) throws a pass 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)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles recently said he won't be switching quarterbacks anytime soon, and current starter Josh McCown agrees with him. 

Despite losing four of their last five games, the Jets are still in the thick of the AFC playoff race as they sit just one game back of the final Wild Card spot. McCown has been leading the Jets' offense all season, and with playoff implications still relevant, he doesn't see a reason to change now. 

"I guess we're both kind of on the same page with that," McCown told NJ.com's Darryl Slater. "There wasn't a scenario where I saw it either. I think it's good to hear it, but we were already on the same page. So I don't know if that was necessarily a new thing." 

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The bye week couldn't have gone much better for the Jets, who sat at home getting rest as the AFC playoff picture collapsed around them.

The Jets may have lost four of their last five games, but thanks to a group of increasingly mediocre, imploding, and very flawed teams in their conference, they just can't seem to slip out of the playoff picture. And in part because the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins lost on Sunday, the Jets will return to action this week just one game back in the race for the final wild-card spot in the AFC.

"I think it energizes us more than anything," Jets quarterback Josh McCown said. "We can't look back, obviously. Every team that has lost any game this year across the league would look and wish they had it back, especially if you are in the AFC. But more than anything it energizes us to know that we're still in the thick of things here with the last six weeks to play."

Yes, their schedule is difficult. But at this point, it's possible 8-8 might be good enough to snag the last playoff spot in this top-heavy conference. So the Jets are alive. And here - in current order of the conference standings - is a look at the rag-tag collection of "contenders" that might stand in their way:

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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles throws a football during warmups prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles throws a football during warmups prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (4-6) face the Panthers (7-3) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Here's what's going on Monday:

Need to know

The Jets return to practice today after five days off. SNY's Ralph Vacciano will be attending practice this week. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors.

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Jets mid-season report cards 00:09:19
The Jets Nation crew take a look back at the Jets' first half of the campaign and hand out their mid-season report cards.

Former Jets LB and current SNY Jets contributor Chad Cascadden gives his midseason grades.

Tune in to the Jets Nation Midseason report tonight at 6:30 on SNY!


Offense Overall: (C)

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) rushes for a touchdown during the second 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 running back Bilal Powell (29) rushes for a touchdown during the second 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)

When Bilal Powell was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 draft by the Jets, he was joining a backfield that included the legendary LaDainian Tomlinson. 

Powell only appeared in two games that season but the knowledge he picked up from Tomlinson in the Hall of Famer's final season was invaluable to his career...

Tags: Bilal Powell
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Oct 28, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) looks to pass against the Washington Huskies during the first quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Nicholson)
Oct 28, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) looks to pass against the Washington Huskies during the first quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Nicholson)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | ArchiveThe most important football game for New York will not take place at the Meadowlands on Sunday. It will take place 2,800 miles away at the Los Angeles Coliseum, where the future of one or both of the New York teams may be on display Saturday night.

And yes, both the Giants and Jets will both have scouts in the press box watching UCLA take on USC - along with 18 other NFL teams. Their eyes will be fixed on Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen and Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold - the odds-on favorites to be the first and second picks of the 2018 draft.

The Jets, of course, are desperate to find their franchise quarterback. And the Giants are searching for the heir to their 36-year-old quarterback Eli Manning. Right now, the Giants seem to be in the best position to grab the quarterback they desire. But a few more losses over the final six games, and perhaps a trade up, and the Jets could be in position, too.

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New York Jets corner back Buster Skrine (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets corner back Buster Skrine (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Jets CB Buster Skrine was fined $48,620 for his hit on Bucs WR DeSean Jackson last Sunday, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

The third quarter hit on Jackson yielded an unnecessary roughness penalty. It was the 11th time this season Skrine has been penalized, which is the most by any defensive player in the NFL. 

It is also the second time Skrine has been fined this season. He was docked for a hit on Raiders RB DeAndre Washington in Week 2. 

Tags: Buster Skrine
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The Jets have finally reached their bye week, and it's probably at the right time after a dreadful loss to the Tampa Buccaneers. The guys discuss the defeat, as well as a recap of the season so far.

Click below to listen

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