During the offseason, I’ll be looking back at certain aspects of the Jets’ season by analyzing data compiled from all nineteen games, rather than watching film. I will be tackling as many diverse topics as possible, but welcome your suggestions or requests in the comments.

This week, I am going to look at the pressure generated by the Jets defense. We all say things like "The Jets can't get any pressure without sending a blitz" or "Too many of the Jets blitzes are unsuccessful" or speculate over whether the Jets need to blitz more, or less and how they can improve their personnel to upgrade the pass rush. What can we learn from looking back at the data in more detail?

After the jump, I look at the data to try and determine how good the pass rush is and whether a change in approach or personnel will yield faster improvements.

Once again, I have used data provided by ProFootballFocus.com in researching this article and we thank them for providing us with exclusive access.

2010 - The Raw Data

49 sacks, 48 QB hits, 153 pressures

Let's stack that up against last year:

41 sacks, 56 QB hits, 179 pressures

That doesn't actually look to be all that worse, especially with the improved sack numbers. How does is compare with the last year of the Mangini era, when the defense rarely blitzed?

40 sacks, 29 QB hits, 129 pressures

Okay, no shock there, well below the other two years. Right? Well, actually, since the team didn't make the playoffs that year, that was in three less games, so had they played three more games and generated pressure at the same rate, the number would look more like this:

48 sacks, 34 QB hits, 153 pressures

Oh.

So, Rex Ryan's defense doesn't actually seem to generate all that much more pressure than Eric Mangini's did. Before we go anywhere, we should probably address that. While the inclusion of a healthy Kris Jenkins for an entire season was a huge factor, and one which should not be overlooked as the Jets weigh up whether or not to re-sign the recently released big man to a more cap-friendly deal, my own feeling is that these pressure statistics can sometimes be a little misleading, for reasons I will investigate further as we go along.

Raw pressure numbers don't always tell the full story. If Team A blitzes twice as often as Team B, then obviously you'd expect Team A to generate more pressure, perhaps even twice as much. However, sometimes less is more. If you hardly ever blitz, then a rare blitzer off the edge will be that much less expected and the element of surprise could lead to a big defensive play. Witness Abram Elam in the closing stages of the late season win over Buffalo. He was completely untouched and forced a fumble that Shaun Ellis returned for the winning score. That's the defensive equivalent of developing a tendency by "always" doing the same thing and then breaking the tendency to catch the other team out and come up with a big play. Unfortunately, that particular tendency made it pretty easy for the other team to pick apart their coverage most of the time (although in a chicken/egg sense, maybe the lack of blitzing was a product of the inefficiencies in coverage).

On the flipside, a team that blitzed ALL the time is going to become pretty predictable and easy to beat. This would be the offensive equivalent of running a play action pass on every single play, even if you haven't established a running game. Fortunately, Rex Ryan is creative enough with his blitz packages that when he does decide to go blitz-happy, this isn't as predictable as it might be. He also has the option to break tendency and drop guys into coverage with the offense expecting a blitz.

Anyway, let's investigate the number of guys sent after the quarterback on a per-dropback basis:

2008: 4.1

2009: 4.6

2010: 4.3

Okay, so that makes a lot of sense and shouldn't surprise anyone. When Rex Ryan arrived, he sent a lot more pressure and this created a statistical spike in the hit/pressure numbers, but not necessarily the sacks, for reasons we'll get to. Then last year, the Jets sent slightly less pressure, due either to the fact that the secondary was struggling and needed extra guys back or the fact that the pass rush was less effective so they didn't bother to use it as much, or perhaps a little of both. That may not have been the plan from the outset. In fact, the number of pressure sent reduced as the year went on. In Week One, they actually sent 4.8 pass rushers per dropback, which was ahead of 2009's pace.

Something else we can look at is the number of guys that the offense left in to block. If the offense went to max-protect and had seven blockers in, then you wouldn't expect to get as much pressure - even with a five or six man rush - as you would against a team that just left five offensive linemen in to block. Getting no pressure five-on-five is a lot more disconcerting than getting no pressure six-on-seven. So, on average, how many guys did teams leave in to block against the Jets in each of the last three years?

Here we can see a definite trend. In 2010, opposing offenses left, on average, an additional 0.70 backs or tight ends in to block on every dropback. In 2009, it was even higher (0.75). However, in 2008, teams left significantly fewer guys in to block. 0.40 to be exact, which translates to almost half as often. In fact, for the five games from Week 12 to Week 16, the number dropped as low as 0.17. Clearly, teams have been responding to the threat of a pass rush by leaving more blockers in since Rex Ryan took over.

How do these numbers compare to other teams around the league? In 2009 and 2010, the Jets left in 0.51 and 0.53 extra blockers per dropback, respectively. This appears to be more or less the norm, although there are teams which respond differently. For example, the Colts (0.38) tend to rely on Peyton Manning to diagnose the blitz and adjust the protection accordingly rather than relying on max protect schemes and the Lions (0.33) tend to switch to a quick passing game. Notably, the Jets faced these teams a total of four times in 2009 and 2010 - over 10% of their schedule - but the blockers left in against them was still statistically much higher than the norm. In 2008, the Jets only left in 0.33 on average, but this was because they often went to an empty backfield and simply relied on Brett Favre to get rid of the ball.

In any case, 0.7 and above is a significantly high number.

When is a Pressure Not a Pressure?

As I said earlier, team pressure stats can be pretty misleading. You might expect Rex Ryan's blitz-happy scheme to generate a ton more pressure than the passive-aggressive scheme designed by Bob Sutton and Eric Mangini. In fact, the numbers were not too far apart, but there are reasons for this. Sometimes a statistical pressure does not have much effect on preventing the offense from doing what it wants to. Equally, sometimes a non-pressure has a positive effect in terms of stopping the passing game. Let's start with an example of that. Rather than "when is a pressure not a pressure?" here we are asking "when is a non-pressure actually (like) a pressure?"

We've already touched upon the fact that teams responded to the threat of pressure by leaving additional guys in to block. Already this has an effect upon the offense, by taking one (or maybe more) potential receivers out of the equation and limiting the options open to the offense. Maybe this transfers the onus onto the guys in coverage to perform, which is exactly what Rex Ryan wanted in 2009. In 2010 that wasn't so much the case and in 2008 it was probably the last thing the Jets needed.

As also noted above, some teams responded to the threat of pressure by calling plays where the quarterback got rid of the ball quickly. This is a good way to ensure the defense doesn't get to you, but again it limits your options, because it means that any slow developing or downfield routes are not available to you. The additional blocker numbers suggest that, under Mangini, the Jets definitely didn't force teams to think about leaving extra blockers in very often, but I'm sure you can recall teams picking apart the Jets with short passing, especially at the end of the season when those additional blocker numbers were at their absolute lowest. This was made much easier by individual weaknesses in coverage, where the Jets were eventually able to upgrade from Eric Barton and Abram Elam by getting Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard.

Essentially, if the Jets' pressure has caused the opposition to resort to either of these options, then it will have already started to take away some of the things the offense wants to do.

Let's instead look at when a team might end up with more statistical pressure than you'd expect because their pass defense was not very successful. In the case of the 2008 Jets, despite not blitzing as much, they weren't all that far behind in terms of the total pressure they were able to generate. However, you have to consider the difference in terms of the individual talent on each team.

In 2009 especially, teams were getting rid of the ball before the pressure could get to them, either by releasing it quickly or by flushing their quarterback out of the pocket and rolling protection over to that side. In essence, they would be looking to get rid of the ball before there was any pressure, because they didn't want their QB taking a sack or throwing into a playmaking secondary while under pressure. Sometimes this might have led to passes being rushed or bad decisions being made - not because of pressure, but because of the threat of pressure. That might sound a bit strange, but here are some examples from this season that might demonstrate my point:

Week Two: Tom Brady

Under Pressure - 5 of 13, 52 yards

When Blitzed - 14 of 24, 177 yards, two interceptions

From these numbers, we can clearly see that when Brady was blitzed, but the pressure didn't get to him, he fared much better. However, it was in these situations that he also made his two most costly mistakes.

Week Five: Brett Favre

Under Pressure - Two TDs in eight passes, 38% completions, 118.2 rating

When Blitzed - 33% completions in 24 passes, 68.6 rating, one pick-six

In this example, Favre's completion percentage was even lower when there was a blitz but he got rid of the ball before the pressure got to him, in one instance leading to the clinching touchdown for Dwight Lowery. When he did wait for his receivers to get open, he was able to deliver a couple of TD passes, even when under pressure.

Week 15: Ben Roethlisberger

Under Pressure - 67% completions, 102.8 rating

When Blitzed - 47% completions, 73.1 rating

Again, it's obvious that when a blitz generated no pressure, this still had the effect of reducing Roethlisberger's accuracy.

You would normally expect that a defense would be at its most vunerable when they blitzed but didn't generate pressure. In many cases, that was true, but these examples suggest that sometimes the reason blitzes aren't generating pressure is not necessarily because it was well-picked up or the pass rushers did a bad job. Instead, teams deliberately try to avoid putting their quarterback into that situation and this can cause mistakes or give the defense a better chance to make a play.

Note: Of course, not all pressure comes from blitzing, but we'll be looking into how much does later on.

In 2008, teams knew that the Jets' pass rush didn't pose much of a threat and also that there were a few players who were struggling in coverage. Therefore, they could afford to give their receivers time to get open, even though this might lead to their quarterback being under more pressure. At some point - probably during those last couple of months - teams realized that a throw under pressure with your receiver having plenty of time to get open was a much higher percentage play than throwing the ball without pressure but earlier. With the coverage a lot better over the last two years, throwing without pressure became that much more important, with throws needing to be that much more accurate to get the ball to more tightly-covered receivers. Also, inviting pressure was that much more dangerous due to the personnel and unpredictable nature of the blitz packages, so teams would again make a conscious effort to avoid that.

I obviously don't have the resources to do so, but I would expect that if you recorded the average amount of time taken to get to the quarterback for each of the pressures generated, it would take longer on average in 2008 than it did in each of the last two years. That would be a far more accurate statistical representation of the defense's pass rushing abilities than the raw pressure/hit/sack numbers.

Where Does Pressure Come From?

As I mentioned above, it's commonly stated that the 2010 Jets couldn't get any pressure on the quarterback without blitzing. Is that fair?

Using PFF's numbers to look at how many sacks came on plays where the Jets blitzed throws up some interesting trends. First of all, we can determine that exactly two-thirds of their sacks came on plays where they blitzed. However, the season splits neatly into three sections:

First Five Games: 12 sacks, seven when blitzing (58%)

Next Seven Games: 15 sacks, 14 when blitzing (93%)

Last Seven Games: 21 sacks, 11 when blitzing (52%)

Note: I realize that only adds up to 48, but it's close enough for these purposes.

So, there was defintely a part of the season where it was certainly true that the Jet couldn't get sacks (not necessarily pressures) without blitzing. However, for much of the year, they were getting almost as many sacks when they didn't blitz.

Whilst this suggests that the Jets were more effective in terms of winning one-on-one matchups than you might have thought, based on what I'd saw, I'd suggest that this was a product of the improvements the Jets made in their zone coverages over the second half of the year. At least three times against the Pats, Tom Brady's first option wasn't there and the pressure was upon him. While I wouldn't call these coverage sacks, the coverage definitely played a role in enabling the pass rushers to get to the quarterback. There were also a couple of other memorable coverage sacks - one where Manning ate the ball and another where Jay Cutler was sacked after nine seconds by Marcus Dixon. The Jets also made a tactical adjustment late in the season, whereby they lined up their edge rushers wider and instructed them to go after the quarterback, instead of taking on blocks as they had been told to do earlier in the year.

How else can we establish whether pressures were generated from blitzing? One thing we can look at is how much pressure came from Defensive Backs or Inside Linebackers, because we know that must all be generated from them blitzing.

In 2010, remember how they had 49 sacks, 48 QB hits, 153 pressures? Here's how that breaks down:

Defensive Backs - 11 / 7 / 26

Inside Linebackers - 4 / 17 / 20

DL/OLB - 34 / 24 / 107

Now, that doesn't mean that all of the DL/OLB pressure came when there was not a blitz. Far from it, in fact. However, let's see how this breakdown stacks up with the last few years.

In 2009, they had 41 sacks, 56 QB hits, 179 pressures. Here's how that breaks down:

Defensive Backs - 9 / 19 / 38

Inside Linebackers - 9 / 19 / 22

DL/OLB - 23 / 18 / 110

As a percentage, it's clear that less of the pressure came from the linemen and OLB's and more came from the DB's, which suggests that last year's defense was just as - if not more reliant - upon the blitz to generate pressure.

In 2008, they had 40 sacks, 29 QB hits, 129 pressures. Here's how that breaks down:

Defensive Backs - 7 / 3 / 16

Inside Linebackers - 3 / 1 / 14

DL/OLB - 30 / 25 / 99

This time, it's a much higher percentage of the pressure that comes from the defensive line and OLB's. This suggests that Bob Sutton's defense was less reliant on the blitz, but also that they may have got a lot of pressure from teams holding onto the ball, as documented earlier. It perhaps also underscores how much of a difference Kris Jenkins can make if he plays all season. He was responsible for 4 / 6 / 10 on his own, but his ability to take on double teams and collapse the pocket no doubt contributed to the numbers throughout the team.

Pace Study: Calvin's Role

While it would take forever to analyze the efficacy of every blitz, let's instead look at an individual whose pressure statistics were wildly different in 2010 than they had been in the previous season. Calvin Pace may have had eight sacks (and four QB hits) in 2010, which is almost exactly the same as his 2009 output (nine and three hits), but his pressure numbers dropped all the way from 35 to eight. Pace had six pressures in the AFC Title game alone in 2009 and seven in the Wild Card game! What caused this remarkable drop-off?

There's one obvious answer and it again invokes the fact that the Jets dropped more players into coverage in 2010. On passing downs, Pace was employed as a defensive end in a three man front, usually with Jason Taylor opposite him and Shaun Ellis or Trevor Pryce over the center. Rushing three-on-five was something he very rarely had to do, prior to this season, mainly only against the pass-happy teams when the Jets went with five or more DBs. In 2010 it took up a very high percentage (43%) of his pass rushing attempts.

Arguably, he wasn't expected to get much pressure on those downs and it was almost a thankless task. The coaching staff even alluded to the fact that the linemen's role on these plays was often to occupy a blocker so that a blitzer could come free.

Let's look in detail at the plays where Pace recorded his eight sacks, four hits and eight pressures, to get some insight into how much of the DL/OLB pressure came from blitzes:

Week 5 v Minnesota:

1st Quarter - Pressure. 5 man rush. Lined up as DE in 3-man front.

2nd Quarter - Sack. No blitz. DE in 4-3 formation.

3rd Quarter - Pressure. 4 man rush. Lined up as OLB in 3-4 formation.

4th Quarter - Hit. 4 man rush. Lined up as DE in 3-man front.

Week 6 at Denver:

3rd Quarter - Pressure. No blitz. Lined up as DE in 3-man front.

Week 8 v Green Bay:

1st Quarter - Pressure. Three man rush, with two DL dropping. Lined up as OLB in 3-4 formation.

2nd Quarter - Hit. No blitz. Lined up as DE in 3-man front.

Week 9 at Cleveland:

4th Quarter - Sack. Four man rush, with one DL dropping. Lined up as DE in 4-3 formation.

Week 10 at Detroit:

4th Quarter - Pressure. Five man rush, with one DL dropping. Lined up as DE in 3-man front.

Week 12 v Cincinnati:

2nd Quarter - Pressure. No blitz. Lined up as DE in 3-man front.

4th Quarter - Sack. Four man rush. Lined up as OLB in 3-3-5 formation.

Week 13 at NE:

2nd Quarter - Pressure. No blitz. DE in 4-3 formation.

3rd Quarter - Sack. Five man rush. Lined up as OLB in a 3-4 formation.

Week 14 v Miami:

2nd Quarter - Sack. Five man rush. Lined up as OLB in a 4-3 formation.

Week 15 at Pittsburgh:

2nd Quarter - Pressure. No blitz. Lined up as DE in 3-man front.

Week 17 v Buffalo:

2nd Quarter - Hit. Five man rush. Lined up as DE in 3-man front.

2nd Quarter - Sack. No blitz. DE in 4-3 formation.

3rd Quarter - Hit. Six man rush. Lined up as DE in 3-man front.

Wild Card at Indianapois:

2nd Quarter - Sack. No blitz. DE in 4-3 formation.

Divisional Playoff at NE:

3rd Quarter - Sack. Five man rush. Lined up as OLB in a 3-4 formation.

AFC Title Game at Pittsburgh:

3rd Quarter - Sack. Five man rush. Lined up as ILB in a 3-4 formation.

Analyzing the data, we can see that a surprising 40% of Pace's total pressure came without the Jets blitzing. Three of his eight sacks came while lined up as a 4-3 DE with a conventional four man rush and the other five were all when the Jets blitzed. That may be a telling statistic in terms of where his strength lies.

Although I said that rushing the passer as a DE in a three man front is a thankless task, Pace did record four hits and four pressures from that position, including three pressures and a hit where it was just a three man rush. However, that is still less than 43% of his total pressure and didn't include any sacks, even when the Jets blitzed, so him being forced to play that role did seem to have at least a minor effect.

On the whole, that does not fully explain the precipitous drop in statistical production though, so we must assume that it was a down year for Pace and hope that this was affected by his foot injury and that he will produce more if healthy.

Conclusions

Having outlined how misleading the pressure statistic can be and demonstrated how not generating pressure can sometimes be more impactful than a statistical pressure, I hope I've still managed to produce a revealing study without rendering everything I've written to be meaningless. The Scheme/Personnel, Blitz/Cover, Pass Rush/Secondary debates will continue throughout the offseason as the Jets make every personnel decision on the defensive side of the ball. Like the Chicken and the Egg, I'm not sure where the answer lies, but the Jets cannot afford to neglect any area as they look to bolster their pass rush, one way or another.

There's no overriding conclusion to be drawn, but hopefully this can be the on-ramp for continued discussion amongst yourselves.

At a later date, I do intend to investigate the actual outcome of specific plays where the Jets blitzed, regardless of whether pressure was generated. This will further test the theory that the threat of pressure can often affect the outcome of a play just as much as "real" pressure.

However, next week, I shall return to the offensive side of the ball...

Tags: BGA, Main Page, Bent Double

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)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

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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A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)
A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)

Former Jets WR/DB and Super Bowl champion, Bill Rademacher, has passed at the age of 75, the team confirmed on Tuesday. 

Rademacher came out of Northern Michigan undrafted, and ending up joining the Jets as a receiver in 1964. He would play in New York for five seasons that included a Super Bowl title in 1968. 

After getting released in 1969, he joined the Boston Patriots where he played just two seasons before retiring. Radebacher, then, became the head coach of Norther Michigan, where he owned a 37-16-1 career record. 

Overall, he played in 58 games totaling 24 receptions for 282 yards and three touchdowns.

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