( 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.

The Jets' big goal, after all, is not to compete for the playoffs this season -- an admission they're not likely to be willing to make when they open camp in Florham Park, N.J., next Friday. The goal, as GM Mike Maccagnan put it in March, "has always been to build a team that can be competitive for the playoffs on a yearly basis."

They tried the one-year fix a year ago when they were coming off a 10-6 season. They stuck with older and, in some cases, declining veterans on their flawed roster to see if they could hold a near-contender together. Obviously that didn't work out so well.

So they blew it up, almost completely, and decided to start from scratch.



Now granted, there's a fine line between what the Jets are doing and "tanking." And in some ways the line won't crystalize until they take the field. It's hard to imagine, in a dangerous and competitive game, that the Jets wouldn't at least be trying to win. They also want the young players they're building around to experience success. It won't help any of them to experience an ugly, one-or-two-win year.

And there are risks to "tanking" too. For one, what would they be doing it for? At the moment the world is focused on USC quarterback Sam Darnold as the next great NFL quarterback prospect and next year's No. 1 pick. But he's a 20-year-old kid and a year is a long time. Long before next April he could suffer an injury, play his way out of the top spot, or even decide to return to USC for his junior year.

There's also the possibility that the Jets could tank their way to a 1-15 record and watch another team beat them to the No. 1 pick by going 0-16. And wouldn't that be just like the Jets?

Still, Maccagnan and the Jets know what's coming. They see the roster they have as promising, but untested and filled with holes they don't expect to fill until next year's free agency (where the Jets could have $80 million in salary cap space) and next spring's draft. They see this year as an experiment to see which players will prove they have a future, which ones will develop quickly, and which ones need more time.



And, of course, it will include their biggest -- and most long-running -- experiment as they continue their search for a franchise quarterback. Last year they used a second-round pick on Christian Hackenberg, who didn't take a single snap last season. Their 38-year-old journeyman, Josh McCown, is here only as a placeholder until Hackenberg is ready to make his debut. One way or another, the Jets will get a long enough look at him this season to decide whether he's the future, or whether they need to move on.

So it's much more complicated than a straight "tank". Ideally, Hackenberg becomes a star, the young receivers (Quincy Enunwa, Charone Peake, Robby Anderson, and rookies Chad Hansen and ArDarius Stewart) take off, the young linemen come together, and the new safeties (Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, their first- and second-round picks) quickly form the backbone of a much-improved secondary. Even if it all works perfectly the Jets probably won't be playoff-ready. But with all that cap room and likely a Top 10-15 pick in next year's draft, they suddenly might be closer than anyone ever imagined.

More likely, though, there will be growing pains -- lots and lots of growing pains. In that case, the Jets will be right back in the Top 5 of next year's draft. And considering many scouts believe there could be four or five franchise quarterbacks worthy of first-round picks next year, that won't be a terrible place to be.

So yes, the Jets fully understand that short-term pain is coming and their hope is that it will lead to gains in the long term. But starting next Saturday, when they take the field for their first practice of training camp, the Jets won't be in tank mode. They'll be playing to win.

They're just not likely to be good enough to do much of that. And for the long run, that's not so bad.

Tags: Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano

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

Jets RB Isaiah Crowell is expected to play in Sunday's game against the Vikings, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Crowell had 13 carries last week amid an ankle injury. He missed multiple practices during the week but returned in a limited capacity on Friday.

Crowell racked up 219 rushing yards in the Jets' win over the Broncos in Week 5 and has totaled 430 yards on the ground in six games this season.

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Morris Claiborne (21) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Morris Claiborne (21) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

CB Morris Claiborne is playing a key role on the Jets this season and tallied his first career pick six earlier this month, but it was not very long ago that he was not even sure whether he wanted to play another game in the NFL.

The former Cowboy said in an interview with Steve Serby of the New York Post that he was dealing a number of personal issues in the time leading up to the season, but he decided to stay after a conversation with his family.

"I sat down and thought about it with my kids," he said. "I talked about it with my wife. She was with me 100 percent, but I don't think she really felt like I was ready to let it go. 'Cause at that time, I feel like I was just reacting off emotions and what I was going through."

Tags: Morris Claiborne
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New York Jets wide receiver Terrelle Pryor is tackled after a catch by Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Terrelle Pryor is tackled after a catch by Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Terrelle Pryor's time with the Jets has come to an end. At least, for now.

The wide receiver was released on Saturday due to a groin injury, which will keep him out at least two weeks, according to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

The Jets are interested in bringing Pryor back when healthy if he does not sign elsewhere. 

Tags: Terrelle Pryor
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Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) celebrates a touchdown against the Denver Broncos with New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) celebrates a touchdown against the Denver Broncos with New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

For the second straight season, the Jets are 3-3 heading into Week 7, but this feels different. 

Just ask backup quarterback Josh McCown.  

McCown, who was the Jets starting quarterback last season, had the team off to a surprising 3-2 start heading into Week 6 before they sputtered and finished the season 2-9 to close with a 5-11 record. 

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold
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Bowles welcomes back Robinson 00:00:36
Todd Bowles welcomes back Rashard Robinson to a banged up secondary and likes the development of his young tight ends.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles discussed the return of Rashard Robinson and shed light on the tight end situation as the team prepares for Sunday's game against the Vikings. "The energy [Robinson] brings out on the practice field has been great," Bowles said.

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Sep 20, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets defensive back Buster Skrine (41) warms up before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports (David Dermer)
Sep 20, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets defensive back Buster Skrine (41) warms up before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports (David Dermer)

As the Jets released their final injury report on Friday, CB Buster Skrine was added to the list of players that are deemed inactive for their Sunday afternoon game against the Vikings. 

Skrine, who is dealing with a concussion, joined WR Quincy Enunwa and S Marcus Maye among those sidelined for the Week 7 matchup. 

Even worse is the fact that CB Trumaine Johnson (quad) and WR Terrelle Pryor (groin) were listed as doubtful for Sunday. Linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis joins them on that list as well...

Tags: Leonard Williams, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson
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Kirk Cousins (8) Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Kirk Cousins (8) Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Sam Darnold was not the Jets' first choice to be their new franchise quarterback, even if he turns out to be the right choice. Kirk Cousins was always Plan A.

Of course, their pursuit of the 30-year-old Cousins turned out exactly how they feared it would. They offered him a fully guaranteed, three-year, $90 million contract, and he still took less to sign with the Minnesota Vikings.

But what if Cousins had said yes?

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets get set for Minnesota 00:01:11
Todd Bowles discusses the Minnesota Vikings offense, Jeremy Bates talks red zone efficiency and Kacy Rodgers returns from health scare.

Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers returned to the podium for his weekly press conference on Thursday after being away from the team to address a serious undisclosed medical issue.

The 49-year-old did not provide specifics of the health scare, but said he's "feeling a lot better" after undergoing a procedure, per ESPN's Rich Cimini. The results came back negative, and he has been cleared to return to the sidelines as early as Sunday against the Vikings.

This past Sunday, Rodgers surprised the players before the Jets' win over the Colts at MetLife Stadium. Head coach Todd Bowles said Rodgers' visit gave the team a "big lift," especially for the defense.

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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)

DL Leonard Williams (back) and WR Robby Anderson (hamstring) returned as full participants in Thursday's Jets practice after missing practice the previous day.

While that's good news for the Jets ahead of Sunday's Week 7 game against the Vikings, there were plenty of players who remained on the "did not participate" list.

RB Isaiah Crowell (foot), WR Terrelle Pryor (groin), DB Buster Skrine (concussion), DB Trumaine Johnson (quad), WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle) and DB Marcus Maye did not practice for the second straight day.

Tags: Leonard Williams, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88) is tackled by New York Jets linebacker Avery Williamson (54) and linebacker Darron Lee (58) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88) is tackled by New York Jets linebacker Avery Williamson (54) and linebacker Darron Lee (58) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Jets linebackers Darron Lee and Avery Williamson have cemented their status as "Best Football Friends."

In a video posted Thursday, the NFL buddies took on Bleacher Report's Chris Simms and Adam Lefkoe in a friendly game of "BFF Challenge."

Since the showdown was held on the network's turf, Lee and Williamson played as the away team, but they threw any home-field advantage out the window despite hilariously struggling through parts of the challenge.

Tags: Avery Williamson, Darron Lee
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Jets prep for Vikes 00:01:24
Sam Darnold and Todd Bowles talk about the Vikings defense, the team's progress so far and home crowd support.

Jets QB Sam Darnold has felt the energy at MetLife Stadium this season and he hopes the home-field advantage gives his team yet another boost when they face the Vikings on Sunday.

"It's safe to say we want to win every single game, but definitely on a homestand [we want to] win every single game," Darnold said. "Because our fans are amazing ... It's awesome to be able to play in front of them. Whenever we make a big play or score a touchdown, we feel the momentum in the whole arena really shift. It's awesome to be able to feel that and continue to grow off of that as a team."

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

QB Sam Darnold (elbow) appeared on Wednesday's Jets injury report, but said the issue is "nothing crazy," per ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Darnold said he banged his right elbow while making a tackle following his interception during Sunday's win over the Colts. He added that it didn't affect him at all in practice, which he participated in fully on Wednesday.

Head coach Todd Bowles also told reporters he isn't worried about the rookie.

However, DL Leonard Williams (back), WR Robby Anderson (hamstring) and RB Isaiah Crowell (foot) highlighted a long list of Jets who did not practice.

Tags: Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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Joe Namath talks Sam Darnold 00:02:45
Jets legend Joe Namath talks about Super Bowl III, advice from Bear Bryant, and his thoughts on Sam Darnold's chances with the current team

Ahead of the Jets honoring the 50th anniversary of their Super Bowl III victory, Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath sat down with SNY's Jeane Coakley to reflect on that upset win, how he prayed "run clock," and what he thinks of today's QB Sam Darnold...

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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darryl Roberts (27) celebrates with cornerback Morris Claiborne (21) in front of Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal (14) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darryl Roberts (27) celebrates with cornerback Morris Claiborne (21) in front of Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal (14) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

 

Click below to listen...

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winners

QB Sam Darnold 

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

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

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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

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

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

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

Tags: Sam Darnold
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