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 talk about special teams. Clearly 2012 was a disappointing season for this unit in Mike Westhoff's farewell season.

For additional perspective on special teams, listen to Corey and Bassett on this week's TJB Podcast here.

After the jump, I'm going to be looking at the personnel usage on special teams to give some insight into who were the key special teams contributors. I'll also look at production on the coverage units and assess how well Robert Malone punted in his first season with the Jets.

Introduction

Coach Westhoff's swansong was anything but the fairytale ending he no doubt anticipated when he made the decision to stay on for one more year last January. It's impossible to know how much of a factor he was, but conspiracy theorists will wonder whether his heart was in it. Maybe the team tuned him out, knowing he wouldn't be back next year. Maybe he saw things going downhill and couldn't motivate himself to get things turned around. Given Westhoff's exemplary reputation, that seems unlikely. People will also wonder if his replacement (Ben Kotwica) was involved in the coaching more than in the past and if that had a detrimental effect.

While this is a valid discussion, my sense all year was that they had so many injuries (including many under-the-radar low-profile absences) that this would have meant the special teams unit was in a permanent state of flux, constantly cycling guys into unfamiliar roles. It's a scary thought, but maybe if it weren't for Westhoff's coaching acumen, things could have been even worse.

In recent years, it's been almost a reflex action to describe any special teams breakdowns as "uncharacteristic", but last year it was extraordinary for the Jets to get through a whole game without some kind of blunder. There were too many to list: Blocked kicks, long returns, fumbles in the return game ... it seemed like every week there was a costly setback and not many big special teams plays of their own to offset against these.

In looking at the personnel, which was clearly weakened by all the injuries, it's worth considering who were the main participators on special teams in 2012 and if any of the key contributors will need to be replaced.

Usage

Using my own game charts and data from NFL.com, I compiled special teams participation details for each Jets player in 2012. This lists, as accurately as possible, how many plays they were on the field for.

Seven guys were on the field for more than 200 special teams plays. Two, Eric Smith (266) and Lex Hilliard (203) will almost certainly not be back next season. Three linebackers led the way - Demario Davis with 348, Nick Bellore with 317 and Garrett McIntyre with 296. Ellis Lanskter and Josh Bush were also out there for more than 200. It's not just backups that contribute though - David Harris was out there for 134 plays. Even Mike DeVito saw action on over 100 special teams plays, including some as an offensive lineman on the kicking unit.

Not everyone contributes. Key contributors that never saw the field on special teams included Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes. Of course those last two only played a handful of games between them (and Holmes has occasionally returned kicks in the past). Most defensive regulars end up at least getting some reps with the field goal defense. On that unit, you would usually find most of the defensive starters will stay on the field. For most of the season the Jets rested LaRon Landry in these situations (although by the end of the year, he was covering kicks at times). On that unit, you might occasionally get someone making an effort to block the kick, but for some players these reps can constitute merely standing in position and watching the ball sail over your head. That's not quite as taxing as running full speed 50 yards or more downfield to cover a kick, so perhaps not all special teams contributions should be considered equal.

Within those units, there are some interesting points to note. The punting unit for example is an interesting one. The offensive line essentially consisted of long snapper Tanner Purdum and whichever backup linebackers were on the active roster (usually Bellore, McIntyre and Davis along with whoever was active out of Josh Mauga, Ricky Sapp or Marcus Dowtin). When Bellore caught that pass against the Colts, he was actually lined up at right tackle, but the Jets must have declared him eligible and ran with an unbalanced line.

Special teams participation can be valuable to lower paid players because it can make a big difference to their overall playing time percentage which factors into the calculation of their share of the Performance Based Pool. This is a $3.6m fund that each team distributes between all its players every March based on a complicated formula that rewards low-paid players who get plenty of playing time most of all. For a guy like Bush, who hardly played on defense, this could be worth over $60,000 to him, which for a guy only earning the minimum salary in each of his first four seasons is not an insignificant sum.

Production: Coverage Units

For the purposes of tracking special teams tackles, I have used data from PFF, which is notoriously more accurate than the official data from the NFL, where they've been known to credit players with the tackle who aren't even on the field.

The leading tackler on the coverage units this year was Davis, with 10 solo tackles (although if we're factoring in assists, Josh Bush had three of those to go along with eight solo tackles for a team-leading total of 11). Bellore was just behind Davis with nine solo tackles (and one assist). That actually represented a drop-off for Bellore, who had 15 solo tackles on special teams in 2011, which was good for third in the league.

The most distressing drop-off came from Eric Smith, who - as noted above - is still a consistent participator on special teams but is a guy who I've been saying for a while hasn't been having the same kind of impact on special teams as he did a few years ago. In 2009, Smith had 16 special teams solo tackles. That dropped to 12 in 2010, six in 2011 and last year he had just two tackles, one of which wasn't until the last game of the season. However, going by some of the comments made when he was released last week, people still consider him to be a key contributor on special teams. I'd suggest this is nowhere near the kind of loss people are suggesting.

In terms of potential replacements for Smith, Bush and Antonio Allen combined for 14 total tackles on just 13 more special teams plays than it took Smith to compile two, so hopefully the Jets are in good shape in terms of the special teams contributions from their safety position - even if they bring in (or back) a veteran that will play almost exclusively on defense.

Punting

Regular BGA readers will be well aware of my ANPP punting metric which analyzes punter performance more accurately than any standard punting statistics (or combinations thereof) by expressing each punt as a percentage of an expected maximum, which should account for good directional punting and how often a punter outkicks his coverage. For details on the calculation go here but essentially what you need to know is that 70 is considered elite, 60 is considered not good enough to retain your job and every punter's expected ANPP should fall somewhere on that scale (with 65 being about average).

First we consider the raw punting statistics and can note that Malone set a Jets franchise record with a 45.8 yard net. (Staggeringly, despite being a franchise record, this was only good for 19th in the league). His net average, however, was just 39.4, which is below average. That suggests that his directional punting and return mitigation was below par, although a low net can also be a product of the fact that a lot of drives stall near midfield, so there may have been a lot of good punts which can still have a negative effect on net average.

He was 12th in the league for most return yards allowed, slightly below average, and didn't have a good ratio of kicks inside the 20 compared with touchbacks (just under 4:1). However, several other punters, including Shane Lechler and Mat McBriar had an even worse ratio and ex-Jet Steve Weatherford (considered one of the best directional punters in the league) was only just ahead of him at just over 4:1. He also posted the second best punt of the year in terms of hang time, but was one of only four punters in the league to have more than one punt blocked. We'll see how these numbers combine to give us his ANPP for the year in a few paragraphs.

First, for perspective, let's go back over some recent ANPP numbers:

Ben Graham 2008 - 58% (lost job)

Reggie Hodges 2008 - 61%

Steve Weatherford 2009 - 64%

Steve Weatherford 2010 - 68% (but only 55% in the postseason)

TJ Conley 2011 - 66%

Having worked out the numbers for Malone, his 2012 season ended up with him at 66.5%. This represents a slight upgrade over TJ Conley last season and is slightly better than Steve Weatherford's average in his two seasons here.

In fact, with a couple of games to go, his numbers were even better, but he allowed Michael Spurlock to return one for a touchdown and put his last two kicks of the year in the end zone. Entering Week 16, he was actually at 68.5% which would have represented the best punting performance by a Jets kicker since I've been tracking these numbers had he sustained it over the last two games.

Kicking

Nick Folk is an unrestricted free agent and rumor has it that the Jets could be set to pursue someone cheaper. He hasn't done a bad job with the Jets and never really cost them any games, but has always been streaky as a field goal kicker and isn't very good at kicking off.

His kicking off wasn't bad in 2011, as the Jets' opponents started at the 20.7 yard line, 6th in the league for anyone with more than 50 kickoffs. However, his numbers - of course partially due to the coverage units - regressed in 2012, as the average start line was 21.5 (which is below average) and he had five fewer touchbacks than in 2011, ending up with the fewest touchbacks of any kicker with more than 50 kickoffs.

As for his field goal kicking, his overall success rate has been acceptable, but there has been a trend since the end of the 2008 season. Since then, he has made a phenomenal 45 of 49 field goals in Weeks 1-7, but only 43 of 70 (just 61%) in Week 8 or after. That wasn't a trend in the early part of his career - he made 13 of 13 after week 7 in 2008 - but it has been ever since his hip surgery that offseason. Maybe the cold weather is a factor - over the last three years, he makes 97% of his field goals when the temperature is above 60 degrees, but only 65% when it is below that.

To be fair to Folk, two of those missed kicks in 2012 were blocked and some were long range kicks, but it's still not an encouraging pattern and one the team is no doubt aware of.

Return Game

Jeremy Kerley smashed the NFL's all-time fair catch record, which is a sign of his tentativeness when fielding punts. He constantly seemed to field punts that seemed destined to bounce into the end zone, left punts that needed to be fielded and waved for a fair catch when it appeared he had room to run. After a season that began in such promising fashion for him following a touchdown return in the opener against the Bills, he made too many handling errors and seemed to lose all confidence. That, coupled with his emergence as an offensive threat last year, should mean the Jets look to replace him next year.

Another guy who could get a bigger role on offense next year is Joe McKnight. However, if he does continue to return kicks, then he has put up some impressive numbers. The Jets' official site reported that McKnight's two-year kick return average of 29.4 yards per runback was the best in the NFL since Gale Sayers in 1965/66. Should he make the team, Royce Adams (who was the number five cornerback in camp until he tore up his knee) is one potential option to return kicks if the Jets do decide to increase McKnight's role on offense (or even defense!)

Conclusions

It's difficult to tell where last year's special teams unit fell apart. Even if my theory is correct that all the forced chopping and changing had an adverse effect, that still makes it difficult to assess how good this special teams unit could be when fully healthy and we have no idea how well the new coordinator will fare as Westhoff's replacement.

It's therefore difficult to draw too many overriding conclusions for this article, but hopefully you learned a few things you did not realize about those oft-overlooked units in this article. Feel free to expand the discussion in the comments to anything special teams related.

I'll be back next weekend with something else. I've got several articles in the works, but if there's anything you'd like me to investigate or revisit, let me know in the comments.

Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part II...

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Daily News Live: Mike Westhoff 00:03:54
Mike Westhoff joins Daily News Live to discuss the notion of the Jets tanking and Todd Bowles' job security prior to Jets camp on Thursday.

If you Googled 'New York Jets owner' early Thursday afternoon, it wasn't Woody Johnson who came up. Instead, it was New England Patriots QB Tom Brady.

Click below to see the image

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The Jets have claimed RB/KR Marcus Murphy off waivers, reports Brian Costello of the NY Post.

The Saints waived Murphy earlier this week.

Murphy, 25, played in 16 games for the Saints between 2015 and 2016 while being used mostly on special teams.

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Bill Cowher on set for the Thursday Night Football before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)
Bill Cowher on set for the Thursday Night Football before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)

Former NFL head coach and current CBS analyst Bill Cowher believes Jets coach Todd Bowles has a tough challenge ahead this season. 

After going 5-11 this year, the Jets have lost key pieces on both sides of the ball, and Cowher says this will only make things harder for New York's third-year head coach. 

"The biggest challenge for Todd is to create a culture of winning because I think until you win the close games, until you win back-to-back, there's constantly going to be that one point in the game where you say, 'Oh boy, here we go again,'" Cowher said, according to Newsday.

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part II...

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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Despite the uncertainty the Jets face this season at many positions, Matt Forte believes this year's team will have better environment in the locker room. 

This offseason, the Jets have seen Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Ryan Fitzpatrick, among others, leave for other teams. 

"It's a detriment to a team if you have guys that are selfish and only want to get their job done for a certain reason instead of the main reason, being for all of us to get our job done to win," Forte said, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

Tags: Matt Forte
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Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Giants safety Duke Ihenacho believes the rival Cowboys completely botched the situation with Lucky Whitehead, who was recently cut and claimed off waivers by the Jets. 

Whitehead, 25, had been involved last week in an apparent case of mistaken identity, where he was initially implicated for shoplifting. Ihenacho took to Twitter to lash out at the Cowboys for getting rid of the innocent player. 

Tags: Dallas Cowboys
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Loud Mouths: Ralph Vacchiano 00:05:05
SNY's NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano joins Loud Mouths to play a round of Boom or Bust on the upcoming NFL season.

 (Brad Rempel)
(Brad Rempel)

The Jets have claimed former Cowboys WR Lucky Whitehead off waivers and cut WR Devin Street, the team announced Wednesday.

Whitehead, 25, had been involved last week in an apparent case of mistaken identity, where he was initially implicated for shoplifting.


Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

On the surface this seems like an odd and unnecessary move for a rebuilding Jets team. Yes, Whitehead was apparently an innocent victim of mistaken identity in his recent "arrest." But the Cowboys decision to cut him anyway for an alleged pattern of bad behavior should raise plenty of red flags...

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part I...

Read More

GEICO SportsNite: Davis on camp 00:01:56
Jets linebacker Demario Davis speaks with Michelle Yu about training camp opening up this weekend.

Jets linebacker Demario Davis speaks with Michelle Yu about training camp opening up this weekend.

Tags: Demario Davis
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 (Orlando Jorge Ramirez)
(Orlando Jorge Ramirez)

Former Chargers G Orlando Franklin had a visit with the Jets today, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

Franklin, 29, was released from the Chargers after they drafted Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney in the second and third rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. 

He signed a five-year, $36.5 million contract with the Chargers in 2015. 

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The word that defined the Jets during the offseason was "rebuilding" - unless, of course, you were Jets GM Mike Maccagnan. To him, it was all about "competition". And with a roster in flux, he certainly has created a lot of that.

Whether that's a good thing remains to be seen, and depends on the talent he has assembled. He will have plenty of training camp position battles to watch, though.

Here's a quick look at the Top 5..

Tags: Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, Buster Skrine, Christian Hackenberg, Jalin Marshall, Juston Burris, Lorenzo Mauldin, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
(Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Even though they didn't pick a wide receiver in the first six rounds, a trio of rookie wideouts made significant contributions for the Jets in 2016. Charone Peake, who was selected in the seventh round, combined with undrafted rookies Robby Anderson and Jalin Marshall to register 75 catches for 935 yards and four touchdowns.

Preseason Stats: Jalin Marshall: 9-94, Charone Peake: 10-103-TD, Robby Anderson: 13-264-3TD.

Tags: Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

It's hard to pick out the most important players on a team that has such low expectations. In the case of the Jets, tomorrow matters more than today, and the most important players now might not be part of their long-term future.

Or to put it another way: Who is more important - Josh McCown or Christian Hackenberg? A resurgence by McCown could cause the Jets to surprise some people. But is that more important than Hackenberg proving whether he can be the Jets' quarterback of the future?

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The evidence is hard to refute. They jettisoned almost every recognizable veteran they had. They didn't add any significant free agents. The veteran quarterback they added is a 38-year-old journeyman. The Jets were 5-11 last season, and it's hard to argue this year won't be worse.

So yes, it sure does look like the Jets are "tanking" this season, with their eyes on the top of next year's quarterback-rich draft. They're not, of course. Tanking is almost impossible to do effectively, especially in the NFL. But they are doing a bit of scorched-Earth rebuilding and know they are in for a long, losing season.

There'll be a lot of short-term pain. And intentional or not, for the long run that's not so bad...

Tags: Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye run a drill during Jets rookie minicamp, (AP)
Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye run a drill during Jets rookie minicamp, (AP)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jamal Adams, the Jets' top draft pick and one of the cornerstones of their rebuilding project, agreed to terms on his rookie contract on Thursday night and is expected to be at training camp on time when it opens in eight days.

The agreement, announced by agents on Twitter and confirmed by the Jets on Friday, is projected to be worth about $22.2 million over four years with a signing bonus of approximately $14.3 million. The money is fully guaranteed for the No. 6 overall pick out of LSU. As with all first-round picks, Adams' deal also includes a team option for the fifth year.

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New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When safety Jamal Adams agreed to his rookie contract Thursday, the Jets finally locked up all nine of their draft picks. And that's good; given the state of their roster, they're probably going to need all of them.

There certainly will be plenty of opportunities for all the draftees on this young and rebuilding team, and maybe even a few undrafted free agents too. The Jets will enter camp next Friday with an open mind at almost every position, both for this year and in the future. Almost all jobs will be somewhat up for grabs.

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JRSportBrief: McCown & the Jets 00:01:36
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR explains why Josh McCown just needs to hold down the fort for the Jets.

Jets quarterback Josh McCown gave his new team a vote of confidence in an interview with ESPN's First Take on Thursday, highlighting the positives he has seen from both veterans and newcomers alike.

"There's still some guys there that are pros," McCown said. "When you watch how a guy like Matt Forte comes in and does his job every day, Mo Wilkerson had a great spring, came in and worked hard, and our rookies coming along, Jamal Adams so impressive coming in as a rookie out of LSU, a high draft pick."

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 (Mark J. Rebilas)
(Mark J. Rebilas)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Darron Lee had his ups and downs after being the Jets' first round pick last season, but the team seems compelled to proceed with the plan to build around him as one of the cornerstones of the defense. Entering his first season, everyone knew that Lee was a terrific athlete, but he still had to prove he had the instincts to play inside linebacker in a pro-style defense.

Preseason Stats: Four games, no starts, seven tackles, one sack

Tags: Darron Lee
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New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, the NFL is still reviewing an incident invovling Jets' LB Darron Lee and DE Leonard Williams from early June, reports ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

The incident occured at Governors Ball Music Festival on Randalls Island in June where Lee had to be restrained by Williams after getting into an argument with a woman. An eye witness video showed Williams getting in between his teammate, and eventually, carrying him away from the argument.

Jets' head coach Todd Bowles later indentified the woman as Lee's girlfriend, and noted that the team will not be disciplining the linebacker. However, he thinks he needs to take caution in the future. 

"You don't want that stuff to happen, obviously," Bowles said earlier on the situation. "With social media going on these days, they've got to take better care of themselves. Darron understands that. I just know, from the past, any time you go to a concert, there's going to be trouble around, just as an ex-player and as a coach. When you go to a concert, a lot of things can happen. You have to be very mindful and very aware of where you are, and your surroundings -- and handle yourself better and keep yourself out of trouble."

Tags: Darron Lee, Leonard Williams
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (right) and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (right) and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Demario Davis, Darron Lee

Projected backups: Bruce Carter, Connor Harris

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin
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New York Jets punter Lachlan Edwards (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets punter Lachlan Edwards (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected specialists: Chandler Catanzaro (K), Lachlan Edwards (P), Tanner Purdum (LS), Jalin Marshall (KR/PR)

Key contributors: Rontez Miles, Josh Martin, Dylan Donahue, Juston Burris, Charone Peake

Tags: Antonio Allen, BGA, Calvin Pryor, Charone Peake, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Dexter McDougle, Jalin Marshall, Juston Burris, Loc Edwards, Nick Folk, Quincy Enunwa, Ronald Martin, Rontez Miles, Tanner Purdum
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New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs for a touchdown (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs for a touchdown (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Speaking with the New York Post, Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa said he would not be surprised if the Jets have another struggling, losing season in 2017. 

"It's hard to argue [with] that," Enunwa said, "when everybody else sees all the stuff that's going on."

This offseason, the Jets have cut ties with many players, including receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Despite the possibility of another tough year ahead, Enunwa believes the players will still play hard when the season begins. 

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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Former Jets QB Chad Pennington believes head coach Todd Bowles deserves the chance to turn the team around, per Brett Bonder of NY Daily News. 

If the Jets are to tank this sesaon, Pennington doesn't think it will be fair to put the blame on Bowles as he thinks he is the right guy for the job.

"My one hope for the Jets is that they give coach Bowles a chance to right the ship, don't pull everything away from him and then make him the reason why they're getting rid of him because of the lack of success," Pennington said. "He is the right guy, I think he showed that in his first year, last year wan an anomaly and this year you can see, wow, what a task he has."

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

Former Jets WR Brandon Marshall said he requested his release because he couldn't deal with the Jets not having a chance this season, per ESPN's Eric Cimini. 

Marshall was on WFAN's Boomer and Carton Show Thursday where he admitted his former team wasn't going to have a good 2017 season, and he didn't want to be a part of it.

"I wouldn't have made it through an entire season, knowing we didn't have a chance," Marshall said. 

Tags: Brandon Marshall
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 (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

USC QB Sam Darnold said last week's report that he might remain in school instead of entering the 2018 NFL Draft did not come from him, but remained vague about his future.

"I don't really have many thoughts about that," the potential No. 1 pick said during an appearance on ESPN's "The Fix". "I don't think any team should tank their season because of me. I'm just taking this every day, one day at a time. That's all I can do."

"I'm looking forward to whatever lies ahead of my future," he said. "But I'm really just taking it one day at a time."

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 (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

After a solid rookie season, Jordan Jenkins is hoping to thrive in a full-time role in 2017. The 23-year old has spent part of his offseason back in Georgia, working on his pass rush techniques with pass rush guru Chuck Smith.

Preseason Stats: Two games, two starts, four tackles, no sacks, two quarterback hits.

Tags: Jordan Jenkins
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Projected Starters: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye

Projected Back-ups: Rontez Miles

On the bubble: Shamarko Thomas, Ronald Martin, Doug Middleton, Corey White

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