Under Brian Schottenheimer's direction, the Jets' offense seemingly had a new plan every week. While that can work when you've got Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers at the helm -- or any quarterback with a true mastery of most basic NFL concepts -- with a young, growing Mark Sanchez, it clearly overloaded him and his teammates and was one of the reasons why Schotty is off in St. Louis destroying Sam Bradford's development.

Now, Tony Sparano has come under fire for doing Sunday exactly what he said the Jets' offense would do when they hired him last winter and all offseason: execute the playbook every week, regardless of opponent. Sparano's philosophy is about executing a small number of plays well, rather than executing a large number poorly.

It's one of the reasons why I won't kill Sparano for Sunday's calls during the post-fumble fourth quarter drive that ended in a field goal and not a touchdown. After re-watching the tape, the problems with that drive lean more toward the players' execution of the plays and less with Sparano's calls. More after the jump.

First and 10

The play: The Jets pulled out a new "wrinkle" this week, with Tim Tebow lining up deep in the backfield and Mark Sanchez under center. Sanchez eventually motioned out wide, leaving Tebow as the de facto quarterback with Lex Hilliard as his fullback. Jeremy Kerley was in the slot to the left, Stephen Hill in the slot to the right and Dustin Keller was an inline blocker on the right end of the line. They ran Tebow out of the same formation earlier in the game and picked up a big third-down conversion. Obviously, that didn't happen here, although the yardage amounts was pretty similar. On the snap, Hilliard went behind the right guard, while Tebow took the ball behind center as he's done so many times from the shotgun/wildcat formation. While it's a play that's unlikely to gain 15 yards, it's reasonable to expect the Jets to gain 4-5 yards and set them up, eventually, for third and short. Tebow ran into a wall and only gained two yards.

The problem: The Pats' defense knew what was coming. The linebackers all crashed the line of scrimmage and Jerod Mayo hit the designed running lane before Tebow even got out of the backfield, occupying Nick Mangold. While Matt Slauson did a decent job of keeping Vince Wilfork out of the play, right guard Brandon Moore also got zero push and was held up at the line by the Pats' other interior lineman (looked to to be No. 71 Brandon Deadrick). The official play gave Chandler Jones and Brandon Spikes credit for the tackle on the play, but it was Deadrick who was able to get a hand on Tebow at the line of scrimmage and hold him long enough for Jones and Spikes to combine on the tackle. For those that think maybe Tebow should have bounced the play outside, Keller got pushed back two yards right at the snap by Dont'a Hightower and would have been free if Tebow had gone in his direction.

The solution: This seems to be the play that has Jets fans up in arms. With the two-minute warning, why a run play when the clock will stop regardless? I can understand the frustration, but if Moore keeps Deadrick off of Tebow at the line, the play could have gone for 3-4 yards, setting up a much more manageable 2nd and 6 and putting the offense another 3 yards from a 3rd and short, as the play is designed to do. However, I can't help but wonder if this wasn't the perfect time for Tebow to fake the dive and pull back in time to hit Stephen Hill (who was left alone in the middle of the field) on a short 5-7 yard pass. But then again, can you imagine the outrage if Tebow throws the ball there and it's intercepted? Sparano would have been skewered for

2nd and 8

The play: Sanchez was back under center, except the Jets went with I've decided to tag their "Super-duper jumbo package." Stephen Hill was the only wideout, split wide right and the Jets made offensive tackle Jason Smith eligible and lined him up to the right with blocking TE Konrad Reuland covering him up. Joe McKnight was the lone back behind Sanchez. Matt Slauson pulled right at the snap as the Jets tried to create a seal and give McKnight the option to run between a Mangold/Ferguson block and Slauson's pull or bounce it around the right side where Reuland was matched up on a linebacker, this time Hightower. McKnight went right and was met thusly by Hightower and Wilfork after gaining one yard. The Patriots then used their first of three timeouts.

The problem: The problem here was again with the blocking. Brandon Spikes blitzed and with Slauson slow to get around, Spikes blew up the play and was in the backfield before McKnight had the ball. Still, Slauson got enough of a block him to allow McKnight to bounce right and try to take it between Brandon Moore and Reuland, but Reuland did a horrendous job and was literally tossed aside by Hightower, negating any chance McKnight had of bouncing the run outside, where Stephen Hill had given McKnight at lest 5-7 yards of running room.

The solution: Have the blocking TE block better? Reuland's inability to hold Hightower at the point of attack single-handedly wrecked the play. While a hobbled McKnight clearly didn't have the burst Sunday we're used to seeing from him, I still believe he could have gained 4-5 yards on the outside if Reuland had kept Hightower at bay. If Greene was healthy, I would have expected them to try to push the ball inside but McKnight's best runs are when he gets in space and can use his speed and athleticism. While you can second guess the Tebow run, this was a good call and played to their running back's strengths and forced the Pats to use a timeout. The execution was lacking but the call was sound.

3rd and 7

The play: Sanchez stayed under center and the Jets kept Reuland in the game, this time lining both him and Keller up on the left side of the line with Keller  one step off the line of scrimmage. McKnight was the lone running back and Kerley was in the right slot with Stephen Hill out wide right. The Jets ran a designed playaction bootleg to the right, giving Sanchez a little less than a third of the field. Hill and Kerley ran crossing routed with Hill flattening out his route around the goal line and Kerely pulling a double move and eventually turning right at right around the first-down marker. Keller, who had begun to motion right before the snap, continued to the right flat in front of Sanchez. McKnight rolled left  behind much of the blocking, giving Sanchez the option to toss the ball to the side of the field most of the defense had vacated. Keller's motion held up the Pats' outside linebacker (Hightower) and Wilfork long enough for Sanchez to get the ball to his primary target (Kerley), but after a pump fake, Hightower closed on Sanchez. Sanchez ate the ball, took the sack and the Pats used their second timeout.

The problem: While you can have an issue here with the Jets not keeping Sanchez in the pocket and giving him more of the field to work with, Sparano ran a play that Sanchez has been running since his rookie year. Again, Sparano chose a play the Jets tend to execute over and over in a key situation and played to his quarterback's strength (playaction). Despite Alfonzo Dennard in coverage and breaking, Kerley WAS open, but slipped on the second part of his double move, leading to Sanchez hesitating and Hightower closing for the sack. The other problem is Kerley ran too long of a route. A play like that has a very short shelf life. If you're going to leave the outside LB and DE unchecked in order to clear out room, Kerley's route should have been cut short after the cross with Hill.  If you watch the tape, you see Dennard hesitate after Hill went over the middle and Kerley went right. Kerley, who had a fantastic game, should have turned to Sanchez right after the two WRs crossed paths. He would have been a yard from the first-down marker, but Dennard's hesitation gave him just enough room to get it after the catch.

The solution: None. It was a smart call and one that put their best WR (Kerley) a chance to be at or around the marker. It also put a rookie CB (Dennard) in a switch situation and gave Kerley enough room to make the marker and the catch. While Sanchez can struggle to throw the ball accurately down the field on the move, he's easily capable of hitting a wideout with 8-15 yards in that situation. If Kerley doesn't fall down, Sanchez hits him and it's either a first down or very close. With Hill and Keller blanketed, Sanchez did the smart thing and didn't force the ball to anyone. He ate it, took the sack and made the Pats use a timeout.

FINAL CONCLUSION

So what should we take from this? In that situation, the Jets had the job of scoring, killing the clock and forcing the Pats to burn timeouts and they did all three of those. Yes, the Jets ran plays of a conservative nature on the drive, but they're all plays that the Jets have run over and over again to a good success rate. On first and second down, Sparano put his players in position to execute a methodical approach that should have put the offense in a third and short situation. When that didn't happen, he went with a playcall that put Sanchez in a comfortable situation with room to throw to a reliable weapon against a rookie cornerback.

If the Jets were going to play for the field goal, they would have lined up McKnight or Hilliard behind Sanchez and run into the line three straight times. Sparano called three plays that attacked different parts of the Pats' defense. Also, while Sanchez did a good job of exposing a terrible secondary most of the day, keep in mind that from the 18 yard line, there are no deep passes. A weak secondary benefits from a limited amount of real estate because they don't have to cover as much ground or cover as long as they do on deep route. You cannot assume that if the Jets had passed the ball more than once that they would have succeeded.

Sparano coached the drive like he would coach any other drive in the situation -- he did not coach scared. He put his players in a position to succeed with plays they are comfortable running. It was a sound strategy. The players just didn't execute.

Tags: Main Page, NYJets, Opinion, Editorial Aside

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need to know

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

In case you missed it on TJB

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

Kony Ealy is downplaying the obvious story line now.

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

No matter what team he's facing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need to know

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

In case you missed it on TJB

Matt Forte remains sidelined with knee injury >> Read more

Darrelle Revis signs with the Chiefs >> Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need to know

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

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

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

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

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

Need to know

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

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

New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need to know

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

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

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

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


Offense Overall: (C)

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) rushes for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) rushes for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click below to listen

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