With free agency and the NFL draft in the rearview mirror and the 2014 New York Jets having begun their organized team activities (OTAs), it's time to being discussing what the final depth chart could look like.

First up, the Jets safeties:

Starters: Calvin Pryor (Rookie - 1st round), Antonio Allen (3rd season - 7th round 2012)

Depth: (3) Dawan Landry , (4) Jaiquawn Jarrett, (5) Josh Bush, (6) Rontez Miles, (7) Brandon Hardin

Historically, the Jets have kept as many as five players on their roster at the safety position, but also as few as three at the outset of seasons like they did in 2012 when Antonio Allen started the year on the practice squad because they had such a veteran group at safety and cornerback.  This year, I would expect a rather normal four players to make the roster at the safety spot with a player held in reserve on practice squad.

It's no secret that Rex Ryan has put an emphasis on the cornerback position during his tenure with the New York Jets.  Has that changed?  Maybe, but the trend seems to be modifying to all defensive backs.  The Jets might feel good about second year corner Dee Milliner, but there was a lot of emphasis on the Jets not bringing in a top free agent cornerback to play opposite Milliner like Alterraun Verner, Vontae Davis and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.  While many expected the Jets to draft a receiver in the first round, the team addressed the concerns in the secondary by drafting Calvin Pryor 18th overall.

Why Pryor?  With the defensive front under control for the foreseeable future, and the Jets feeling like they have tolerable depth at the cornerback spot, the idea of the Big Nickel -- and specifically flexible safeties -- has to be considered.

Last year, Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports spoke to a number of coaches about the proliferation of the Big Nickel package around the NFL was a way to fight two tight end sets.  Coaches spoke of needing flexible safeties who can play man if required to prevent tipping off the coverage scheme to the opposing quarterback.

I asked a number of defensive coaches about Big Nickel, when an extra safety is brought in to the game for a front seven player. The first thing I always hear is, "You gotta have the right kind of hybrid safety to do it right." The Big Nickel safety has to be able to play as a linebacker when the offense condenses the set, and of course, he has to match up on a flexed tight end when they spread out the formation.

As one coach said. "The Big Nickel is a hybrid defensive package that changes as the offense changes. The problem with not having a Big Nickel package is it can reduce the base defense to zone coverage calls, and the quarterback knows right away that there are a limited number of ways a team can play an offense like New England or San Francisco."

Calvin Pryor might be better suited near the line, but can play up and back if required and will fit the Jets need for flexible, physical safeties perfectly.  Idzik related after the fact, the draft room "erupted" when the Ravens let him slide to them at the 18th pick.  One can safely assume that Pryor is going to be the leader in the safety group for years to come and the team wants to get as much out of the talented player as they can as soon as possible.  To that end, Pryor will also likely be the teams signal caller of the secondary getting players positioned properly in the pre-snap alignments much as David Harris does with the defensive front.

Paired with Calvin Pryor will be third-year Jet Antonio Allen.  Allen played well in his first season as a starter, but saw his time marginalized with the addition of Ed Reed to the team.  Allen seems to be best deployed at or near the line of scrimmage and generally on the strong side of the formation.   In college, Alan saw time as an additional linebacker/safety hybrid in the "Spur" in the South Carolina Gamecock defense; a position comparable to Rex Ryan's "46" in his scheme.  Allen is still young and has athleticism and speed to run in coverage, so should the Jets deploy a big nickel package he might be the one who slides into more of a coverage role.

As far as the third part of a Big Nickel package?  Rex Ryan has spoken about how he fully expects that 2013 starter Dawan Landry, who will now work in more of a reserve role, will still be a major component of the Jets defense.  Landry saw more than 1,100 defensive snaps in 2013, more than any other Jet player at safety combined.  Landry could provide the team excellent depth, a coach's eyes from the sidelines (and field).

Behind Landry, the team has Jaiquawn Jarrett who saw more snaps than Josh Bush.  Jarrett seems best suited as a run-stopping safety, while Bush might be better employed in coverage.  The problem for Bush is that with good depth at cornerback already, it might be hard for him to see nickel / dime defense work with as many other competent coverage players on the team.

After Bush come Rontez Miles and Brandon Hardin.  Miles showed promise last summer during training camp and is a big hitting safety, but both he and Hardin will need to demonstrate their worth as special teamers first to make this team's September roster.

Tags: avsny, brianbassett, NYJets, Brian Bassett

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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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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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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 (Steve Nesius/AP)
(Steve Nesius/AP)

The Jets (4-6) are on their bye week and next face the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 26. Here's what's going on Friday:

Need to know

The Jets are scheduled to return to practice on Monday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors from SNY's Ralph Vacciano.

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Jets mid-season awards 00:05:26
The Jets Nation crew take a look back at Gang Green's first half and hand out their mid-season awards.

The Jets Nation crew take a look back at Gang Green's first half and hand out their mid-season awards.


 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

The Jets (4-6) are on their bye week and next face the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 26. Here's what's going on Wednesday:

Need to know

The Jets are scheduled to return to practice next Monday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors from SNY's Ralph Vacciano.

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Current state of the Jets 00:02:37
Jon Hein and Willie Colon break down the current outlook for the Jets after their recent loss to Tampa Bay that dropped them to 4-6.

Jon Hein and Willie Colon break down the current outlook for the Jets after their recent loss to Tampa Bay that dropped them to 4-6.


NY Jets Special Teams coach Mike Westhoff as the Jets get in practice at the Jets Training Facility during training camp in Florham Park, NJ on Aug. 8, 2011 (William Perlman (USA Today))
NY Jets Special Teams coach Mike Westhoff as the Jets get in practice at the Jets Training Facility during training camp in Florham Park, NJ on Aug. 8, 2011 (William Perlman (USA Today))

Mike Westhoff, who had been working for SNY as Jets contributor, is coming out of retirement to join the Saints as a coach.

The 69-year old Westhoff, who was a special teams coach for the Jets from 2001 to 2012, is joining the Saints in the same capacity.

"I didn't want to regret something I didn't try," Westhoff said, according to the NY Post.

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Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons tackles New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons tackles New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (4-6) are on their bye week and next face the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 26. Here's what's going on Wednesday:

Need to know

The Jets are scheduled to return to practice next Monday. Follow @RVaccianoSNY on Twitter to keep up with all the latest Jets news and rumors from SNY's Ralph Vacciano.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams, Josh McCown, Leonard Williams, Morris Claiborne, Robby Anderson, Steve McLendon
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 (Jerry Lai)
(Jerry Lai)

Former Jet Bart Scott will join Chris Carlin and Maggie Gray as the team to replace Mike Francesa on WFAN, per the NY Daily News. 

The annoucement has yet to be made by WFAN itself, but it was first reported that Carlin and Scott were to take part of the team taking over for the legendary Francesa. 

Scott currently works with ESPN 98.7 while Carlin talks for WIP radio in Philadelphia. Gray works for SI Now and CBS Sports Radio. 

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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets put together their most complete performance of the season in an impressive 34-21 win over the Bills on Thursday night, rushing for almost 200 yards and racking up seven sacks and three fumble recoveries in the process.

Let's start this week by breaking down the performances on the offensive side of the ball:

Quarterbacks

With the running game working, Josh McCown didn't need to throw much this week, but he was efficient when he did. He threw just seven passes after halftime, completing five. In the first half, while the game was still in the balance, McCown gave the Jets the lead with a touchdown scramble, completing a drive he'd kept alive himself with another third-down run.

Tags: ArDarius Stewart, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Brent Qvale, Brian Winters, Chad Hansen, Elijah McGuire, James Carpenter, Jeremy Kerley, Josh McCown, Kelvin Beachum, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson, Wesley Johnson
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Cast your votes below for the Jets offense, defense, special teams and coaching during the first half of the season and see the results on Jets Nation: Mid Season Report on Thursday 11/16 at 6:30PM.

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Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) drops back against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Nov 12, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) drops back against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Jets (4-6) are now on their bye week. Their next game is against the Carolina Panthers on November 26th. Here's what's going on today...

Tags: Jeremy Kerley, Josh McCown
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Unlike the previous week, the Jets offense looked stale in their 15-10 loss to the Bucs on Sunday.

Consistency is what the players didn't see from the unit after the game. As the Jets tried to find a rhythm, something would halt them in their tracks. Josh McCown says it's on the veterans like him because they didn't pull the team together. 

"Myself and the other veterans have to pull these [young] guys along, help us find consistency and be better," McCown told Jets.com's Ethan Greenberg. "Because every unit, at some point this year, has played and shown that they can play with the best in the league. But we have to do that for four quarters week in and week out and we didn't do that today. We have to take these next two weeks to get healthy, look in the mirror and figure out ways to do that and be better, so we can make a run down the stretch."

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Josh McCown, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson
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