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

In this week's BGA, I'm going to do something I promised to do once the season was over. You may recall me writing this after the loss to the Seahawks:

[The Jets are] an easy team to beat right now. I’m just an amateur, but I could give any team a list of things to do against this Jets team that will be successful most of the time and will probably net you enough big plays to be the difference in the game. I’d also note that this was not the case over the past few years, where it was different things every week that would let the Jets down. While I’m not going to list those things here, because I don’t feel comfortable with putting up a blueprint of how to beat the Jets, it probably doesn’t matter because every team the Jets seem to face has done its preparation and identified these things for themselves. This enables them to exploit some very obvious weaknesses in the Jets line-up [...] Needless to say, when the Jets do the same things to their opponents, they never have quite the same level of success.

Now that the season is over and I would imagine the Jets would be addressing these weaknesses, I feel comfortable laying out my blueprint for how to beat the 2012 Jets. Obviously no gameplan is 100% certain to give you a win, but I'll be suggesting things that usually worked and outlining the reasons why. Any team that did these things had a good chance of making some game changing plays happen and, generally speaking, every team that beat the Jets did some damage by doing some of these things.

After the jump, I'll be looking at some specific areas where the Jets were consistently vulnerable and providing examples of situations where teams exploited this.

Introduction

This represents a bit of a departure from my usual M.O., since I like to base everything on a comprehensive review of every single snap. Here, I'm talking in more general terms about things I noticed that seemed to cause problems for the Jets on a consistent basis. However, I'm going to try to go beyond the obvious things like "Put Sanchez under pressure because he has bad numbers when pressured" or "Stack the box and try and make them beat you downfield because the receivers can't get deep separation" to look for specific frailties in the Jets schemes or any exploitable weaknesses in their personnel.

I'll break down a couple of different areas to discuss what teams did, why it worked and why the Jets weren't able to enjoy similar success by doing the same things. I'll also try to provide some examples of each.

General Philosophies

Although the Jets are regarded as a team with limited offensive firepower, there's no need to try and get in a shootout with them. While you'd think that racking up points would be a smart idea - because there's no way their offense will be able to keep up - you're actually better off in a low-scoring game. Remember this stat from the BGA after the Arizona game?

On this day three years ago, the Jets beat Buffalo 19-13 in another game Mark Sanchez was unable to finish (this time due to injury). Since that time, they were 0-18 in regular season games when they scored 21 points or less…until yesterday’s win.

Why is that? What it seemed to boil down to is that the Jets relied on teams turning the ball over to give themselves excellent field position and create defensive scores. If a team plays conservatively against the Jets, there's not much risk of the Jets offense being good enough to pull themselves into a sizable lead and - as we'll see when I get into some specifics lower down - the team is apt to costly breakdowns that can be the difference between winning and losing in a close game or can turn a tight game into a blowout. Getting into a higher-scoring game with the Jets can be risky because those seem to be the only times that the offense gets into a rhythm.

You can point to several blowout losses the Jets had this year as evidence to the contrary, but most of these were actually pretty close until pretty late in the game, only to turn into blowouts later on, usually thanks in part to some of the issues I'll be discussing. The Steelers game was a 17-point loss but the Jets led late in the first half and were obviously still in the game for most of the second half. The Niners beat them 34-0, but it was only 7-0 until a last second field goal just before the half. The 28-7 loss to the Seahawks and 28-9 loss to the Bills were 14-7 and 14-9 entering the fourth quarter. My advice to any teams wanting to beat last year's Jets would have been simple: Remain patient. Keep the game close and it's likely someone will make a big mistake at a key moment. Don't give them any traction and once they're chasing from behind, you have them where you want them.

Defending the Pass

Stopping the Jets' pass offense from being successful generally comes down to all the things you would expect. Pressuring Sanchez, taking away his primary options in key situations and either sitting on all short-intermediate routes or flooding intermediate zones with players to try and compel him to beat you downfield are all things you'd expect to slow down the Jets aerial attack. Sure enough, these were all things teams did and had success with. How do you achieve these things though?

In some respects, slowing down the pass offense was a secondary goal for defenses. If you're looking for a game changing play to test the Jets' fragile psyche, one surefire way to give yourselves a good chance of beating them is to force turnovers. Entering 2012, the Jets were 29-11 when Sanchez threw one interception or less, but 2-11 when he threw two or more. Surprisingly, in 2012, he only threw two or more four times and the Jets actually won two of those games. However, he also had a slew of costly fumbles and when he does throw interceptions, they often prevent the Jets from converting a scoring opportunity or create one for the opposition, so it's definitely beneficial to try and tempt him into bad throws.

When looking at the kinds of mistakes Sanchez made that led to interceptions, there were some ill-advised short passes, a few tipped balls and some picks caused by poor accuracy. There were even a few that weren't really his fault. However, the one recurring mistake that he seemed to make was that he stared down his target and didn't see another defender coming across to jump the route having left their man. The most egregious of these was probably this play.

This is something Sanchez has struggled with for a while. Even at the start of the 2011 season, one of his most consistent stretches as a pro, he had two interceptions similar to this in a win over Jacksonville (in what was otherwise one of his more accomplished and confident performances) and it was a pattern that kept repeating itself over the next two years.

For teams to exploit this, it could be as simple as just having someone roaming deep - as Griffin was on the play linked above - ready to jump the route as soon as Sanchez starts staring down his primary read. However, teams have also been able to exploit this deficiency in the past by setting traps. Rolling coverage over so that a defender can come off his man, especially when Sanchez has a few obvious favorite routes (like the quick slant) that he likes to go to in certain situations, has been something that led to a lot of interceptions and near misses last year (and in 2011). Also, dropping a linebacker or even a lineman back into a passing lane has been something that can confuse him into a mistake (if he sees them) or lead to a tip or interception (if he doesn't).

My advice to teams facing the 2012 Jets would have been to set traps like this. Have your centerfielder roaming deep, drop front seven players into passing lanes and roll coverages every now and again. Based on last season, Sanchez would not be able to exploit any gaps this creates and the chances are that you'll force him into a mistake or two which could be the difference in a tight game.

The final question is why don't the Jets have success doing the same thing? They do from time to time and their defense certainly mixes up coverages as effectively as anyone in the league. Most quarterbacks see the field better than Sanchez does in such situations or are better at looking off defenders or freezing them with a pump-fake though. Also, if teams are playing conservatively based on the above advice then that makes it less likely that they'll throw one away. Even when they did, the Jets 2012 offense was not generally that good at capitalizing.

Creating Pressure

Another key element to the creation of turnovers, but one which also will invariably help to slow down the passing attack is the creation of pressure. On a day when Sanchez manages to limit the number of risky throws he makes, the chances are you could still benefit from a turnover if you manage to sack him. Alternatively, putting him under pressure increases the chance of a bad throw. You can't guarantee you're always going to create pressure though - and would want to avoid exposing yourself to unnecessary risk in terms of giving up big plays or allowing Sanchez to get into a rhythm - so what's the recommended approach?

Sending a bunch of guys is always a risky approach, even with a guy like Sanchez at quarterback who isn't great at hitting people in stride. However, if you just rely on four pass rushers and hoping one of them beats their man, the Jets' offensive line is usually good enough to handle that. That's what the Bills found in Week 1. They failed to sack Sanchez and only created six total pressures. In Week 17, they changed their approach - probably based on what they'd seen over the previous few weeks - and generated 14 total pressures with one key strip-sack.

Their approach was not necessarily to blitz more guys - they blitzed nine times in Week 17, only three more than in the opener - it was just to be smarter about how they sent the pressure. If you get creative with your pass rush - throw in a few stunts and so on - then even if the linemen handle that, it usually makes for less of a clean pocket which can cause a quarterback like Sanchez to rush his throw, run himself into trouble or lose his sightlines. The Bills had good success with this in the last game of the season and it made a big difference to Sanchez's performance against a team he had his best game of the year against four months earlier.

As an example of how a strategy like this can lead to a game changing play, we turn to the 49ers game in Week 4. The Jets trailed just 7-0 midway through the first quarter and had a third and one in 49ers territory. Had they converted, who knows how differently the game (34-0 final) would have turned out?

The 49ers lined themselves up like this:

Ray McDonald (#91) drove hard upfield and Ahmad Brooks (#55) stunted underneath him to sack Sanchez and force another Jets punt. The Niners also created plenty of pressure doing the same thing throughout the day.

Again, a creative pass rushing approach wasn't necessarily something which only worked against the Jets in 2012. Teams like the Cowboys and Ravens really rattled Sanchez in 2011 by doing similar things. It's something which the Jets do have some success with, but many teams - including the Bills - tend to see it coming and get rid of the ball to prevent it from leading to any pressure. Since the pass rusher isn't taking a direct route to the quarterback, these blitzes take slightly longer to develop so if your quarterback is decisive, he should still be able to get rid of the ball even as his linemen are on their heels. The reason this was so much more effective against Sanchez at the tail end of last season was because his decisiveness really deserted him and he brought a lot of pressure on himself by being hesitant. Also, even when he did get rid of the ball quickly, his accuracy often let him down and he rarely hit receivers in stride so they could punish the defense and dissuade them from continuing with that approach.

It wasn't just Sanchez that struggled with these situations though. Greg McElroy also showed an alarming lack of poise and an inability to get rid of the ball in his start against the Chargers. He was sacked 11 times and four of these (including three of the first four) came as a direct result of somebody stunting. In McElroy's defense, he was concussed early on in the game which may have slowed down his thought process in the pocket. Also, he may have been specifically told that he should take a sack rather than make a risky throw under pressure. In addition, he hadn't really worked with the first unit. With that said, he did seem to be running for his life a lot in preseason over the past few years too, so I would suggest that he isn't fully developed in terms of having NFL-ready ability to stand comfortably in the pocket and make quick decisions.

In that 11-sack game, the Chargers didn't get their second sack until halfway through the second quarter. It came as a result of a stunt as shown below. The Chargers set up like this:

Jarret Johnson (#96) stunts from the outside to the middle. While Austin Howard and Brandon Moore get themselves in position to deal with this, they both lose inside leverage and Moore is on his heels. He ends up being driven backwards into McElroy by Kendall Reyes (#91). The situation isn't helped by the fact that a defensive back is coming off the edge unblocked, while the back who perhaps should have been directed to stay in, has gone the other way. (We'll revisit that scenario lower down).

On the very next play, the Chargers obviously realized they were onto something. They set up like this:

This time the stunt came from the opposite side and Melvin Ingram (#54) has a clean shot at McElroy because D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Matt Slauson are both blocking the same guy. To his credit, McElroy escaped the rush and got back to the line of scrimmage where he was tackled for no gain (which goes down as a zero-yard sack officially).

You don't need to be that creative all the time, just do it enough times and you're likely to reap the benefits. Sometimes, you can generate pressure simply by sending an extra rusher off the edge. As seen in the example above, this can often lead to a clean shot at the quarterback.

Here's another example. On this play, Richard Sherman comes unblocked off the edge. Maybe this is Sanchez's fault for not directing the back (Lex Hilliard) to get out there and block him or getting rid of it to a hot receiver. Maybe it's Hilliard's fault and he heard the call or read the play wrongly. Maybe one of the receivers should have gone "hot" and didn't, thereby leaving Sanchez exposed. I don't know for certain and it doesn't matter. What does matter is that this is another pattern which kept repeating itself and teams were comfortable to send a guy off the edge because Sanchez wasn't ever able to punish them effectively enough.

The good thing about doing this is that you can mix it up with one of our earlier strategies and drop a linemen or linebacker into coverage at the same time, so you're still only sending four and the rush is less risky.

Again, the Jets do this too, but other quarterbacks tend to be better than Sanchez was last year at getting rid of quick passes to mitigate pressure. It also doesn't help when you don't have great speed at linebacker, which can prevent the coverage underneath such a blitz from being air-tight.

Passing the Ball

So far, the blueprint seems to be to keep the game close and rely on the Jets to turn the ball over or at least struggle to move the chains on offense. However, in 2012 (and this wasn't the case in 2011) one area where you could usually outperform the Jets was in terms of converting scoring opportunities. Take the last game of the year as an example. The Jets had to settle for four field goals (missing one), whereas the Bills got in the endzone four times. Despite being outgained by just two yards, that translates to a 19-point loss in what otherwise would have been a close game.

My advice to teams down near the goal line would therefore be to throw the ball. We know from a previous BGA that the Jets' goal line defense is pretty good. However, down in the red zone, they can be prone to coverage breakdowns.

Coverage breakdowns are again not something that were unique to the 2012 season. Brodney Pool made some bad mistakes in 2011 and 2010. Even the 2009 defense wasn't immune as Kerry Rhodes and James Ihedigbo both had costly blown coverages. However, these types of play - where a receiver is all alone in the end zone - are like free points to an NFL-caliber player and there were enough of them that I think it would be worthwhile to set up a play looking for an easy option, while still having the option to throw into a tight window or scramble for the line if the defense doesn't flinch.

The issue seems to come from defensive players being unaware whether they have a man or zone assignment. Let's look at some examples:

On this play, the Rams send three guys to the outside and then have one break back to the back of the end zone. Three defenders all follow to the outside, so clearly someone should either have been in man coverage on the receiver who got loose or someone should have stayed underneath in zone coverage. Without knowing the defensive set, I can't know who was at fault, but it doesn't really matter from the offense's perspective. What matters is that it happened and they exploited it.

On this play, Ellis Lankster is covering in the slot and when Wes Welker goes to the outside, he clearly passes him off to the man behind him. The only problem is that the man who would be behind him - Kyle Wilson - has followed another receiver to the inside. Clearly Lankster thought this was a zone coverage and Wilson thought it was a man. Again, you can't know who was at fault without knowing the defensive set, but the fact is that the easy scoring opportunity presented itself, so this is the kind of thing worth looking at doing for an offensive opponent.

Finally, this play is a well executed playfake. Rob Gronkowski runs a drag route and ends up outrunning Bart Scott and Calvin Pace to the outside for an easy catch. It looks like Scott is responsible for the zone over the middle and Pace - who starts off lined up opposite another tight end is responsible for the outside, but ends up taking a step to the inside and is unable to get his momentum going in the other direction in time. This isn't so much a blown coverage as a coverage where there was an easily exploitable weakness - Pace's lack of mobility and acceleration. It's similar though, because he ends up being a step late - just due to a physical deficiency rather than a mental error.

What these plays have in common and what they tell us about how to attack the Jets' pass defense is that offenses should use misdirection to create gaps in the Jets zones. Instead of attacking single coverage, where the Jets excel, you're better off running a clear-out route, bunching receivers or criss-crossing routes to try and cause confusion. Down there, if you cause enough hesitation to get one step of separation, most NFL quarterbacks can make that throw.

This isn't just effective in the red zone - consider my breakdown of the Antonio Gates touchdown which showed how well-crafted the play was in terms of pulling Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson away from where Gates was able to get open. Also, consider the Shane Vereen touchdown on Thanksgiving (which nobody wants to see again so I'm not going to link to it) where they drew the defense to the inside and then were able to get a long touchdown down the sideline.

(If I'm going to be snarky, I'd also add to my blueprint the suggestion to set as many illegal picks as possible because the Jets never seem to get that call).

I'd like to hope that the new offensive coordinator would be able to do a better job of designing plays so that opportunities like those that presented themselves in the examples above occur regularly for whoever is quarterbacking the Jets next year, but we'll have to see. As far as 2012 was concerned, Sanchez just wasn't as good in the red zone as he was in 2011, blowing opportunities like this one, for example. His accuracy and hesitancy continued to blight him all year.

Without any coverage breakdowns, it's not easy to attack the Jets. While Scott has a reputation for being exploited repeatedly in coverage, the reality simply doesn't bear this out, as he's only given up catches down the field on a couple of occasions in the last few years. Tom Brady famously picked on rookies Antonio Allen and Demario Davis in the Pats' come-from-behind overtime win earlier in the year and Isaiah Trufant went through a phase of being routinely picked on whenever he lined up on the outside, but generally your best bet is to take what the defense gives you.

Conclusions

As I said at the outset, there did seem to be a few distinct things which teams routinely saw success with during the 2012 season and I've discussed these above. You're not guaranteed to have success with these things all the time, but they generally weren't things the Jets were able to exploit, so it wasn't a big risk to try them - and often led to key plays that were the difference in any given contest.

Are these things a flawless way of achieving certain victory? Absolutely not - in fact, often when you spot a weakness in your opponent, you'll find that they've been working on it all week and when you try to exploit it, they've figured things out. (A good example of this is the Eagles game in 2011, where the Jets were facing a team that was notoriously bad against the screen pass, so they tried a bunch of screen passes and the Eagles had been well-drilled enough to blow them all up, en route to a huge win). However, these are things that the Jets never managed to figure out and by the end of the year it was apparent that if teams did these things, they were increasing their chances of winning.

A lot of the content in this article is opinion-based, moreso than in a usual BGA. You may have your own ideas about some of the things I suggested above or even other suggestions for things that always seemed to catch the Jets out. This is not the final word on this by any means, so feel free to pick holes in what I've written down in the comments.

With free agency right around the corner, we're taking a break now until after the draft. Ideas for future BGA articles are still welcomed though!

Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

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)

The Jets have officially picked up DL Leonard Williams' fifth-year option, keeping Williams with the team through 2019 at least. 

Williams, 23, the sixth overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, will make $14.2 million in 2019, assuming he's considered a defensive end. If they try to say he's a defensive tackle, the contract will be $11.4 million, according to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano. The contract becomes fully guaranteed next March.

"It's definitely time to step up and take it to the next level," Williams said last week via Vacchiano. "That comes with a lot. It's just not my play on the field. It comes with my leadership, how I approach work, how much time I'm putting in outside of the mandatory hours into my craft, into my game."

Tags: Leonard Williams
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Who will the Jets select #3? 00:05:13
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano and SNY NFL Draft Expert Rich Cirminiello discuss who the Jets will select third overall in the NFL Draft.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

In less than a week, Jets GM Mike Maccagnan will make the most important draft pick of his tenure with the team, the one that surely will define his legacy.

No pressure, right?

Tags: Eli Manning, Josh McCown, Ralph Vacchiano
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Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Over the last few weeks, we looked at some of the players who have been invited to attend an official pre-draft visit with the Jets. With the visits ending earlier this week, let's take a final look at a selection of the players New York brought in.

Parry Nickerson, CB, Tulane

Nickerson is a four-year starter who was a constant standout on the Tulane defense. During his career, he recorded 16 interceptions, broke up another 31 passes and scored two defensive touchdowns. He turned heads at the scouting combine when he ran a 4.32 40-yard dash.

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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon are ready to open their present that is the #3 pick in the NFL Draft. The guys discuss the possibility of the Jets trading up, yet again, and the crazy idea of selecting a non-QB (can someone say Bradley Chubb) with the 3rd overall selection. Plus, former NFL QB Dan Orlovsky calls in to give his insight into the top four quarterbacks.

Click below to listen

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 (Tim Fuller)
(Tim Fuller)

The Jets will open the 2018 season in Detroit against the Lions on Monday night football, and finish things in Week 17 on the road against the Patriots.

Their entire 2018 schedule has been confirmed by SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, and is below...

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Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Former QB Dan Orlovsky thinks the Jets are targeting Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield with the No. 3 pick in the Draft, and one of the reasons is very specific.

Orlovsky, who played under Kyle Shanahan, noted that Jets OC Jeremy Bates is from the Mike Shanahan coaching tree. And that one of the traits Shanahan loved about John Elway is that he would screw his back foot into the ground when he threw -- adding that Bates loves that trait in quarterbacks as well. 

"There's one guy in the Draft who has that trait," Orlovsky said earlier this week on SNY's Jet Stream podcast. "And it's Baker Mayfield. He does the same thing when he throws. And I just think that those coaches fall in love with traits of guys that remind them of players that they had success with in the past. I think that they're looking at Baker Mayfield and going 'that's our guy.'"

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Projecting trades in a Mock Draft is a futile effort. There are too many variables and rumors. It's mostly speculation. And really, it's just an exercise in fantasy football.

But … well, who doesn't love fantasy football?

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Oct 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold. (Kirby Lee)
Oct 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold. (Kirby Lee)

In his latest mock draft, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer has the Jets taking Sam Darnold as their quarterback of the future at No. 3. 

Many experts believe Darnold could be the first overall pick by the Browns, and if he doesn't land with Cleveland, then the Giants would scoop him up at No. 2. However, with Josh Allen as Breer's No. 1 pick and the Giants electing to go with Saquon Barkley over a quarterback, Darnold drops in the Jets' lap. 

So, there is no need for the Jets to choose between Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield...

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Mangold's Hall of Fame chances 00:04:59
Dan Graca and Jon Hein debate over Nick Mangold's chances at making the Hall of Fame and the Devils' chances at beating the Lightning.

After a year out of football, No. 74 is officially hanging up the cleats. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: On the lists of favorite players and all-time greats, you'll rarely find a center. They're buried in the trenches, often noticed only when a bad snap happens or a defensive tackle breaks through.

The same was probably true for Nick Mangold during his 11 NFL seasons - rarely noticed from the outside and incredibly underappreciated game to game. Yet somehow he still emerged from his long career as a fan favorite. And he definitely emerged as one of the Jets' all-time greats.

Tags: Nick Mangold
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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)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan made it clear he had no worries about the state of the Jets' defensive line heading into the offseason. Sure, they've lost a lot of talent in recent years, trading Sheldon Richardson, cutting Muhammad Wilkerson and not re-signing Damon Harrison.

But they still have Leonard Williams, the sixth pick of the 2015 draft, and despite a down season last year, the Jets have huge expectations for him.

Tags: Damon Harrison, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Los Angeles Chargers kicker Nick Rose attempts a field goal during an NFL game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Nick Rose attempts a field goal during an NFL game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets were awarded kicker Nick Rose on Monday after the Los Angeles Chargers placed him on waivers, the team announced.

Rose made 11 of 14 field goals in 10 games with the Chargers and Washington Redskins last season and converted on 23 of 26 extra points. He went 1-for-3 as a member of the Chargers in Weeks 16 and 17, and 10-for-11 in eight games with Washington. His longest make last year was 55 yards.

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Brian Winters remembers everything about the moment his 2017 season went off the rails. He remembers the time, the place, the play, and without question, the pain.

"It was second quarter in Oakland (in Week 2) with five minutes to go before half when we were driving in to the north end zone. I still remember it like it was yesterday," said the 26-year-old guard. "It was an outside zone play and (running back) Bilal (Powell) was trying to stretch it outside of me, so I went to continue to push my guy through. And as soon as I pushed through I felt like a pop."

Tags: Brian Winters, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jeff Badet catches a touchdown pass against Texas Longhorns defensive back Kris Boyd in the second quarter at the Cotton Bowl. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jeff Badet catches a touchdown pass against Texas Longhorns defensive back Kris Boyd in the second quarter at the Cotton Bowl. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Last week, we looked at some of the players who have been invited to attend an official pre-draft visit with the Jets. More names have leaked out over the past seven days, so let's break down some of the more interesting ones in detail.

Jeff Badet, WR, Oklahoma

Badet spent most of his collegiate career at Kentucky, but saw some high profile action last year after transferring to Oklahoma. He wasn't invited to the scouting combine, but if he had been, his pro day numbers for the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump would all have ranked first or second at the receiver position.

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: It's not quite crunch time yet, but there are less than three weeks until the start of the first round of the NFL draft, which means draft boards are in their final stages all around the league. It also means that the truth about which players are being targeted by which teams is starting to leak out -- albeit slowly.

Still, there are a lot of variables, especially in the first two picks. But at the moment there aren't many changes to my latest Mini-Mock Draft. The Browns are still taking a quarterback at 1. The Jets are still definitely taking one at 3. And I still think the Giants will take one -- assuming the right one is available -- at 2.

Here's a full look at my new Top 10, with some updated inside information...

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Former Jets QB Mark Sanchez has been suspended four games after violating the performance-enhancing drug policy, the league announced Friday. 

Sanchez, who last played for the Jets in 2013, was the Bear's third-string quarterback last season. He claimed that "unknowing supplement contamination" was the reason for his drug test to turn up positive. 

The 31-year-old took to Instagram to explain the whole story...

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 (Kamil Krzaczynski)
(Kamil Krzaczynski)

The Jets have already begun condensing their roster for next season as the team announced several cuts on Friday. 

Among them was former Bears RB Jeremy Langford, who signed a reserve/future contract with the Jets worth $630,000 this offseason. The 26-year-old spent time jumping through practice squads last season, and though he was promoted to the Ravens' 53-man roster, an injury pushed him to the IR the same week he joined the team. 

Langford was released following his IR placement, and the former fourth-round pick wouldn't see time for the rest of the season.

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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) greets Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) during warmups before a game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) greets Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) during warmups before a game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

WR Dez Bryant was released by the Cowboys on Friday afternoon, with Bryant reportedly hinting afterwards that he might be staying in the NFC East.

Bryant, 29, had a down year in 2017, with 69 receptions for 838 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games.

"I let a lot of things get in the way that bother me mentally," Bryant said late last season. "I feel like, if anything, I need to deal with in the offseason - is that. Like I said, there's only certain things I can control."

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are taking a quarterback with the third overall pick in the draft. They know it. Everyone knows it. And they know everyone knows it. "I mean, you'd have to be out of your mind to think otherwise," was how one team official said it. The only lingering question is: Which one?

The Jets have had or will have had private meetings and workouts with all of the top four, and GM Mike Maccagnan has made the rounds at their Pro Days. When they traded up to No. 3 they were convinced that they'd be happy with choosing from whichever two (or three) fell to them. And obviously at least two of the Big Four -- USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Wyoming's Josh Allen -- will still be there...

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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon take their deepest dive yet into the NFL Draft. They discuss the latest with the four quarterbacks, as well as look back at Willie's draft process with the Steelers in 2006. Later, Brian Costello of the New York Post joins the show to give his take on the draft and the possibility of Mike Maccagnan signing defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

Click below to listen

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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) gestures after thrown a touchdown pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson, 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 quarterback Josh McCown (15) gestures after thrown a touchdown pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson, 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)

The Jets' preseason schedule has been officially released for the 2018 season. 

The Falcons will be Gang Green's first opponent of the new year on their home turf. Then, they will hit the road to face the Redskins on Aug. 16 at 8 p.m.

The annual Snoopy Bowl at MetLife Stadium between the Jets and Giants will be the Week 3 matchup, with the Jets getting home field advantage.

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Top QB prospect Josh Rosen 00:01:13
Former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is expected to be taken as one of the top QB's in the 2018 NFL Draft.

In his latest mock draft, ESPN's Mel Kiper sees the Jets grabbing UCLA QB Josh Rosen with their third overall pick -- as SNY's Ralph Vacchiano projects in his Mini Mock Draft 3.0. 

The Jets clearly traded up to the No. 3 slot to take one of the highly touted quarterbacks. With Wyoming's Josh Allen and USC's Sam Darnold going to the Browns and Giants respectively, Rosen appears the best option for the Jets in Kiper's mind. 

CLICK BELOW TO READ KIPER'S ANALYSIS

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Oct 22, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets tight end Eric Tomlinson (83) hurdles Miami Dolphins strong safety Nate Allen (29) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Oct 22, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets tight end Eric Tomlinson (83) hurdles Miami Dolphins strong safety Nate Allen (29) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Having opted to let Austin Seferain-Jenkins leave in free agency, the Jets are relying on a group of young tight ends to replace his production, recently adding two more options to the mix.

It's possible the Jets could look to add to the group via the draft but, for now, let's consider what each of the tight ends currently on the roster brings to the table, and consider how they might be used in 2018...

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Top QB prospect Josh Rosen 00:01:13
Former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is expected to be taken as one of the top QB's in the 2018 NFL Draft.

With the NFL Draft a little over two weeks away, the Jets continue to get their last live look at the top prospects they could select with their third overall pick. 

After Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield wraps up his private workout with the Jets Tuesday, UCLA QB Josh Rosen will visit the team, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

After Rosen's visit, USC QB Sam Darnold is expected to be next on the list at some point later this week. Wyoming QB Josh Allen is also expected to visit at a later date.

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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

The Jets continue to bolster their defense with another addition at the second tier in vetearn LB Kevin Minter, the team announced Monday. 

Minter most recently played for the Bengals in 2017, where he tallied 32 tackles in nine games. 

He was a second round draft pick by the Cardinals back in 2013, and he would spend four seasons in Arizona before heading to Cincinnati. He totaled 175 tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble, and six passes defended over 61 games (37 starts). 

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Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson (12) runs after the catch in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)
Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson (12) runs after the catch in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)

The Jets continue to stack their wide receiving corps for next season as former Vikings WR Charles Johnson signed a deal with the team on Monday. 

Johnson, who was waived by the Panthers in July 2017, sat out all last season due to surgery on his right knee. He played for the Vikings from 2014-16, where he totaled 60 receptions for 834 yards and two touchdowns over 39 games. 

The Grand Valley State product was a Packers' seventh-rounder back in 2013, and after joinging the team's practice squad following camp that year, the Brown picked him up to join their 53-man squad. He dressed but never saw action with the Browns. 

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The Jets' free agency strategy 00:12:52
The Jets Nation panel analyzes the Jets' recent free-agent additions, including former Vikings franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Here is the most up-to-date information on whom the Jets have added and lost during free agency, including contract details and salary cap information. Be sure to bookmark this page and check back for frequent updates.

JETS SALARY CAP SPACE

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Dec 27, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley (25) rushes against Boston College Eagles defensive tackle Noa Merritt (94) during the second half of the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Dec 27, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley (25) rushes against Boston College Eagles defensive tackle Noa Merritt (94) during the second half of the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

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While the Jets are reportedly hosting Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen for official Draft visits this week, we've also been keeping an eye on who else is reportedly scheduled to attend. Last year, both Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye took official visits before being selected with the Jets' top two picks.

Aside from the quarterbacks, most of this year's names that have leaked so far would be players the Jets might be hoping will drop to day three of the draft or maybe even be available as a priority free agent if they go undrafted. Let's look at some of the more interesting prospects...

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Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

With the NFL Draft just 17 days away, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield is scheduled to meet with the Jets in Florham Park on Monday and Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

The Jets have already met with Mayfield on multiple occasons -- including at the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine -- and the team held a private workout with him. 

The 22-year-old Mayfield, who is expected to be selected early in the first round, threw 119 touchdowns in three seasons with Oklahoma and capped it off by throwing 43 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2017 when he started a career-high 14 games...

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell is pursued by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell on a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter during an NFL football game at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell is pursued by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell on a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter during an NFL football game at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Despite the retirement of Matt Forte, the Jets have bolstered their depth in the offensive backfield with a couple of veteran additions. Let's give consideration to what each back brings to the table and how they might find a niche in the Jets' offense this season.

Bilal Powell...

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Sep 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Indianapolis Colts nose tackle Al Woods (99) and Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) wait to take the field before the Colts game with the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)
Sep 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Indianapolis Colts nose tackle Al Woods (99) and Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) wait to take the field before the Colts game with the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)

Free agent DT Johnathan Hankins visited the Jets on Thursday, reports Dan Graziano of ESPN. Hankins, who was cut by the Colts earlier this offseason, has also visited the Redskins.

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Giants, Hankins agreed to a four-your deal with the Colts worth $30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets were obviously looking for an upgrade at defensive tackle when they made their brief -- and ill-advised -- pursuit of Ndamukong Suh. Thankfully, they pulled the plug on that before it happened. Johnathan Hankins could turn out to be a much better fit...

Tags: Johnathan Hankins
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