I apologize in advance if you feel as though this post should be filed under "duh" but it is worth talking about. A midst the media-driven caricature of the Jets as a "circus" and granted they are not doing much dispel that perception, there is something that seems to have gotten lost in the mix when it comes to what this team needs to do in order to once again compete for a Super Bowl.

Let me start by saying that the Jets problems are 100% fixable and this team does not have to be a multi-year rebuilding project as many are speculating but the goal has to be a little smaller. In lieu of declaring winning the Super Bowl as his annual mission statement, Rex Ryan would better be served by establishing slightly smaller but equally important goals. The first of which MUST be to win the division, which the Jets have not only done a handful of times over the course of their history and only once in the past decade. As we know, the road to the Super Bowl is much easier if you have the ability to play one or more of those games at home. If the Jets two AFC Championship Game runs have taught us anything, it's that winning three consecutive games on the road is not the ideal or easiest way to reach the Super Bowl.

The only problem with the Jets winning the division is that team a few miles to the north, who despite their propensity for cheating and lack of talent at certain key positions continue to win 12 games a year like clockwork. Just think about it, even great teams have down years or losing seasons but even when they lose their UGG-wearing, all-world quarterback the Patriots still manage to win 11 games. At times it has looked like the only way that the Jets could win the AFC East and ultimately host a playoff game was realignment. Unfortunately barring some sort of massive league expansion, that's not a realistic possibility.

Now the question becomes: how do we build this team to best compete and ultimately dethrone the Patriots? There is no simple or easy answer to that question but what I will say is that it is not to try and beat them at their own game. The Jets already went through the "New England Copycat Phase" with the Mangini era and the colossal bust of a draft pick that was Vernon Gholston. If Rex Ryan has shown anything over his four-year tenure as Jets head coach, it's that he knows how to prepare for and play against the Patriots however, many times his teams will shoot themselves in the foot in these games. The key to beating New England has always been to put pressure on Brady and make him uncomfortable in the pocket but in order to do so, Rex and the Jets have had to scheme up some very creative defenses due to a lack of pure pass-rushers.

Despite his short-comings when it comes to stocking personnel on the offensive side of the football, Ryan has had a keen eye for defensive talent and has built a formidable core of defensive linemen with Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples. and Kenrick Ellis when he finally starts to come on. This defense is being built to beat the Patriots but it is not quite there yet as the linebacking corps is due for an off-season overhaul, where three out of the four starters from this past season will likely be replaced. What the Jets decide to do in terms of restocking, especially at the outside linebacker position will go a long way in determining whether this team will have what it takes to overthrow the Patriots.

The defense is obviously a huge part of the equation but in order to beat the Patriots twice a season the Jets need to be able to score points and avoid the mental mistakes that have characterized their last four match-ups against the Pats. If you look back to every game these two teams have played over the last two seasons, if you take away two big mental mistakes in each game, the Jets win one (if not more) of them perhaps even by a decided advantage. The mistakes have been in all three phases of the game but the ones on offense have been most egregious *see Butt Fumble* and have stemmed from an erosion of talent and the subsequent devolution of their franchise quarterback.

Mark Sanchez has three wins against the Patriots on his resume but at this point, he is too mistake and turnover prone to really entrust with the task of out-dueling Tom Brady on an annual basis. It is a sad indictment on what Sanchez has turned into as the Jets don't need or ask for a lot in a quarterback, all they need in their quarterback is someone who can convert first downs and not turn the ball over and Sanchez has proven that he has immense difficulty in doing both.  Whoever the quarterback of this team is has to fulfill those two parameters if the team is to be successful and the offensive line must be solidified as well if Rex remains steadfast in his desire to have a run-first team.

Granted, I might be putting the proverbial cart in front of the horse as there are a lot of variable and moving parts in the equation that need to be settled before any of these issues can be addressed. However, one thing remains true and that is the road to the AFC East and ultimately the Super Bowl runs and will probably continue to run through Foxboro and if Rex wants to know how to get this team to the big game, he might want to look up north both in terms of philosophy and the standings.

Tags: NYJets, Opinion, Editorial Aside

 (Ron Chenoy)
(Ron Chenoy)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Any lingering hopes of the Jets remaining in playoff contention were put to rest by a struggling Broncos team that was met with scant resistance in their 23-0 win. This continues a season-long pattern of futility on the road for this Jets team, which drops to 5-8 on the year and now seems destined to end up 5-11 for the season season in a row.

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

Tags: ArDarius Stewart, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, Brian Winters, Elijah McGuire, James Carpenter, Josh McCown, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson
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GEICO SportsNite: FNNY on Jets 00:03:08
The Football Night in New York crew break down the Jets ugly 23-0 loss to the Broncos in Denver on Sunday.

After Jets quarterback Josh McCown suffered a broken left hand in Sunday's 23-0 loss to the Denver Broncos, second-string quarterback Bryce Petty said he feels "ready" to step up for New York's Week 15 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

"I am going to give my heart and soul and prepare for this week for New Orleans," Petty said, according to NJ.com's Connor Hughes. "Whatever happens in the future, happens, but all I can do is worry about things I can control. Whether Josh plays, or whether he doesn't, I am going to go in there prepared and ready to lead this team."

Given McCown's injury is on his non-throwing hand, it is unclear if he will play during the team's final three games of the season. Head coach Todd Bowles said McCown will undergo further tests this week to evaluate his status for the rest of the season.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Denver Broncos, Josh McCown, New Orleans Saints
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Bowles and McCown on 23-0 loss 00:02:13
Jets head coach Todd Bowles and quarterback Josh McCown talk about what went wrong for the Jets in their 23-0 loss to Denver.

Jets quarterback Josh McCown suffered a broken left hand in Sunday's 23-0 loss to the Denver Broncos, head coach Todd Bowles told reporters.

"It just sucks," an emotional McCown, who was brought to tears at the podium, said after the game.

McCown left the game late in the third quarter with the Jets trailing 20-0. He previously left the game in the first half after scrambling for a first down, but returned two plays later.

He walked off the field and underwent X-rays during the game. It is unclear if the injury will end McCown's season, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. McCown will undergo further tests, Bowles said.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Elijah McGuire, Josh McCown
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Jets Post Game Overtime: 12/10 00:12:08
The Jets Post Game crew hands out its report cards after the Jets' defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos, 23-0.

Bowles and McCown on 23-0 loss 00:02:13
Jets head coach Todd Bowles and quarterback Josh McCown talk about what went wrong for the Jets in their 23-0 loss to Denver.

The Jets recorded 100 yards of total offense and turned the ball over twice as they were shut out against Von Miller and the Denver Broncos, 23-0, Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Josh McCown threw an interception and lost a fumble before leaving the game late in the third quarter due to a left hand injury. Bryce Petty completed just two of nine passes for 14 yards in his absence.

Bilal Powell and Matt Forte combined for 48 rushing yards on 19 attempts, while Robby Anderson, who totaled 253 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the past two games, was limited to three catches for 27 yards.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Bryce Petty, Denver Broncos, Josh McCown, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson
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Adams on playing for Gang Green 00:02:14
Jets safety Jamal Adams sits with Jeane Coakley to discuss his relationship with Marcus Maye and what it's like to play for Todd Bowles.

New York Jets running back Matt Forte is tackled by Buffalo Bills free safety Jordan Poyer during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Matt Forte is tackled by Buffalo Bills free safety Jordan Poyer during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

RB Matt Forte, G Brian Winters, and WR Robby Anderson are all active for the Jets on Sunday in their road matchup against the Denver Broncos. 

Anderson was questionable after being limited in practice due to a hamstring injury, while Forte has been hampered by a knee injury. Winters has dealt with an abdomen issue.

QB Christian Hackenberg, CB Derrick Jones, CB Jeremy Clark, OLB Freddie Bishop, LB Bruce Carter, OLB Ben Ijalana, and OL Jonotthan Harrison are inactive for the Jets.

Tags: Ben Ijalana, Brian Winters, Christian Hackenberg, Derrick Jones, Jeremy Clark, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson
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Vacchiano's 3 keys to a Jets win 00:01:49
SNY NFL insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys to a New York Jets victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano gives his 3 keys to a Jets victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon are back in the studio for another edition of The Jet Stream podcast, as they look back at an impressive victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. First, the guys welcome Connor Hughes of NJ.com to the show to discuss Todd Bowles' job security and the benching of Muhammad Wilkerson. Later, Jets safety Rontez Miles calls in to talk about Bowles and his two rookie teammates, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye.

Click below to listen

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Rontez Miles
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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Kathy Willens/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The Jets (5-7) face the Denver Broncos (3-9) at Sports Authority field at Mile high in Denver, on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 4:05 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER:

December in Denver is always a little nicer than I think it's going to be. Temperatures on Sunday should be slightly over 60 with light winds and sunny skies.

WHAT IT MEANS

It means everything to the Jets. They are two games behind the Baltimore Ravens in the race for the last wild-card spot in the AFC with only four games to play, so they can't afford any slip-ups. They also have to hope for some help because just to get to the Ravens, they have to jump over the Chargers, Bills and Raiders, who are all one game ahead of the Jets. It's not going to be easy. It's probably impossible. But the Jets have no shot if they don't win all four of their remaining games.

Tags: Brandon Shell, Christian Hackenberg, Denver Broncos, Josh McCown, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Bowles elated 00:00:28
Todd Bowles gives the reaction of the season after a short press conference, and Ralph Vacchiano gives his three keys for a Jets win.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles was ecstatic about how short his post-practice press conference was on Friday. 

Bowles, who is usually reserved, couldn't hold in his happiness after the press didn't have any more questions for him.

CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE TWEET

Tags: Brian Winters, Matt Forte
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New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson catches a touchdown pass against Buffalo Bills corner back Tre'Davious White during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson catches a touchdown pass against Buffalo Bills corner back Tre'Davious White during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson will play in Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos despite being limited at practice on Thursday due to a hamstring injury, head coach Todd Bowles told reporters on Friday.

The Jets listed running back Matt Forte (knee) and offensive guard Brian Winters (abdomen, ankle) as questionable, while linebacker Bruce Carter was ruled out due to a groin injury.

 

Tags: Brian Winters, Demario Davis, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson
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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) talks to his line before the snap against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) talks to his line before the snap against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

The Jets (5-7) face the Denver Broncos (3-9) on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Here's what's going on today...

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GEICO SportsNite: McCown 00:03:38
The Football Night in New York crew discuss if Josh McCown will return to the Jets next season and debate Steve Spagnuolo's future.

The Football Night in New York crew discuss if Josh McCown will return to the Jets next season and debate Steve Spagnuolo's future.


New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) celebrates with wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) after Enunwa scored a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze)
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) celebrates with wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) after Enunwa scored a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze)

Jets WR Quincy Enunwa was named the Jets' nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, reports Sports Illustrated.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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 (Steve Nesius/AP)
(Steve Nesius/AP)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles is not undermining the reeling Broncos ahead of the team's trip to Denver this weekend for a Sunday afternoon matchup.

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Jamal Adams on his rookie season 00:03:43
Jets rookie safety Jamal Adams sits down with SNY's Jeane Coakley to discuss his rookie season and his style both on and off the field.

Jets rookie safety Jamal Adams sits down with SNY's Jeane Coakley to discuss his rookie season and his style both on and off the field.


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)

Jets RB Matt Forte (knee) was a limited participant at practice on Thursday after missing on Wednesday. 

 

Tags: Brian Winters, Juston Burris, Matt Forte, Robby Anderson
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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

Instead of sulking over his suspension last week, Jets LB Darron Lee used his time to view the game from a new perspective. 

Lee was suspended by head coach Todd Bowles after Lee arrived late to the team's walk-through last Saturday. The second-year pro hadn't missed a practice before the punishment, but either way, he has learned from his first suspension of his career.

"Yeah, we won, man," Lee told NJ.com's Darryl Slater. "There ain't nothing to be down about. I mean, who cares? This ain't about me. It's about the team."

Tags: Darron Lee
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Jets (5-7) face the Denver Broncos (3-9) on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Here's what's going on today:

Need to know

The Jets 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…

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:01:24
Jeane Coakley reports from Florham Park on the status of the Jets, who are treating every game left like it's a playoff game.

Dec 3, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs the ball against Kansas City Chiefs corner back Darrelle Revis (24) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 3, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs the ball against Kansas City Chiefs corner back Darrelle Revis (24) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Only three Jets were kept out of Wednesday's practice: RB Matt Forte (knee), LB Bruce Carter (groin) and S Terrence Brooks (excused absence).

Forte has not practice since injuring his knee on Nov. 2 against the Bills, although he's played in each of the Jets' last two games.

CB Juston Burris (concussion) and RG Brian Winters (abdomen, ankle) were limited participants.

Tags: Brian Winters, Juston Burris, Matt Forte
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Oct 18, 2017; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to media after the NFL owners meeting at Conrad Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports (Catalina Fragoso)
Oct 18, 2017; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks to media after the NFL owners meeting at Conrad Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports (Catalina Fragoso)

Roger Goodell has signed a contract extension that will extend his role as NFL commissioner through 2024.

According to the Washington Post, Goodell could earn up to $40 million per year, with roughly 90 percent of that total incentive based.

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Dec 3, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) celebrates his touchdown during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports  (Ed Mulholland)
Dec 3, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) celebrates his touchdown during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Just days after leading the Jets to an impressive win which netted him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, Jets quarterback Josh McCown was officially named the starter for the rest of the season by coach Todd Bowles.

The 38-year-old completed 26-of-36 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns against the Chiefs on Sunday. He scored the go-ahead touchdown on a one-yard sneak with 2:15 left to help the Jets keep their playoff hopes alive with a 38-31 win at MetLife Stadium.

Tags: Josh McCown
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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

After a three-touchdown performance in a comeback victory, Jets QB Josh McCown was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. 

The Jets were down 14-0 early in the first quarter, but that didn't stop McCown from leading a comeback. Relying on his favorite targets through the air -- Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse -- McCown racked up 331 yards on 26 of 36 for a 72.2 completion percentage. 

Despite throwing for a touchdown, it was McCown using his legs to pick up his other two, including the game-winner. It was his second straight week with a QBR over 100 (109.8), but McCown was only focused on how the team bounced back from the deficit after the game. 

Tags: Josh McCown, Robby Anderson
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Dec 3, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches warmups before game against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports  (Ed Mulholland)
Dec 3, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches warmups before game against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

The Jets (5-7) face the Denver Broncos (3-9) on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Here's what's going on today:

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets overcame a shaky start to break out of their slump with their finest offensive performance of the season so far against the Chiefs. A late touchdown by Josh McCown gave the Jets the lead and the defense held on to preserve a 38-31 shootout win.

Let's review the defensive performance from Sunday's win:

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Rontez Miles, Steve McLendon
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 34-21. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 34-21. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (AP)

The Jets are still mathematically alive for the two Wild Card spots in the AFC, though it would take a lot for them to get there.

With their win over the Chiefs on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, the Jets improved to 5-7 -- two games behind the 7-5 Ravens for the final Wild Card spot and three games behind the 8-4 Jaguars for the first Wild Card spot.

However, between the Jets and the Ravens are the Chargers, Bills, and Raiders, who are all 6-6.

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New York Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse catches a pass during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse catches a pass during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets (5-7) face the Denver Broncos (3-9) on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Here's what's going on Tuesday:

Need to know

The Jets return to practice on Tuesday after head coach Todd Bowles gave the team the day off following "Victory Monday" in celebration of Sunday's 38-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. 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.

 

Tags: Calvin Pryor, Demario Davis, Denver Broncos, Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Sheldon Richardson
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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)

A day after he benched Muhammad Wilkerson for most of the first quarter because he showed up late to a team meeting, Jets head coach Todd Bowles said he still considers the 28-year-old defensive end a team leader.

Wilkerson sat for most of the first quarter for arriving to a team meeting late on Saturday, the third straight year he has been benched for being late to a team meeting in his career.

But Bowles said Wilkerson and linebacker Darron Lee, who was a healthy scratch from Sunday's 38-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs for showing up late to practice, have "earned a lot of trust.

"You make a mistake, and you lose a little trust, and you just have to earn it back," Bowles said at a press conference on Monday. "So going forward, we'll go from there."

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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