Feeding the Beast

The NFL Draft has become a beast. Since its inception way back in 1936, the Draft has never seen such an increase in scrutiny as it has since it was televised by ESPN (in 1980), moved to a weekend event (in 1988) and held during prime-time viewing hours (in 2010). Up until 2009, the NFL Draft had been a weekend daytime event. While it was steadily seeing small ratings increases, even a 2009 time shift to 4 p.m. ET in 2008 didn't seem make much of a dent.

The 2010 NFL Draft was a wake-up call to the sports viewing world. While it was considered a gamble at the time, it wasn't until the NFL moved the first round of the NFL Draft into a Friday night red carpet event that the television coverage became such a gold mine. Months from any meaningful games, the NFL's prime-time switch pushed ratings 30 percent in the first year while pummeling a Lakers-Thunder NBA playoff game in the process. Nine months ago, on the night that the Jets drafted Dee Milliner and Sheldon Richardson, the NFL Draft posted an impressive 7.7 million viewers, drubbing most everything on the first night of the May ratings sweeps.

While it isn't the single reason, part of that increased attention on the NFL Draft has undoubtedly led to another trend.

Year over year since 2010, the total of underclassmen forgoing their NCAA eligibility has escalated quickly. The rate of increase jumped this year with 2014 presenting an eye-popping 98 declarations (plus four early graduations) that has threatened the century mark for the first time ever.

Over the last five seasons, the NFL Draft has seen record numbers of NCAA underclassmen forgoing their eligibility for the supposed riches of the NFL. The problem, of course, is that fewer underclassmen are ever making it to NFL teams.

The "Godfather of the Draft" NFL.com’s Gil Brandt points out that of the 73 underclassmen who declared for the NFL Draft in 2013 21 players (or 28.8 percent) went undrafted

The growing number of underclassmen turning pro early is a trend that, unfortunately, is likely to continue. I say "unfortunately" because many of these players -- the majority of the time -- are coming into the league sooner than they probably should. Last year, for example, when 73 underclassmen chose to leave school early, only 52 were drafted. That means nearly 30 percent of the early entrants went undrafted.
Last year, Sheldon Richardson declared early for the NFL Draft and dropped to the thirteenth pick because of (airquotes) "concerns" about his maturity. In the end, it seems to have worked out for the best, but his story isn't going to be the same story for the 98 players leaving school early in 2014. Of course, it makes sense if players get a Draft Advisory Board letter telling them they are potential first rounders, but obviously 98 underclassmen (let alone competing against players who have played all their eligibility) aren't going to be drafted in the first round, let alone the first three.

So what is causing this massive change? The inexorable lure of NFL riches? Unscrupulous agents? The new CBA? The red carpet glamour of the NFL Draft?

Unfortunately, MMQB's Greg Bedard writes about how the number of talented seniors is decreasing and uses Jason Cole's theory about how the new CBA has ruined the most talented players in football's chance at a payday as a jumpoff point.

From Bedard's piece:

For a player like Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who played four years in college, he might not hit unrestricted free agency until he’s 29 and heading into his seventh season. That likely will be his only opportunity for a big-money contract.

That leads players—and the agents and buddies whispering into their ears—to the following thought: Get into the NFL as soon as possible to get that free agency clock started and get to that big money.

The result is that you’re getting more and more players leaving school early, many of whom aren’t ready.

“The college programs are having a big problem,” said one prominent NFC general manager who spends a lot of time on the road scouting. “That means the NFL has a big problem. I can only speak for me, but I want guys who have skins on the wall. A lot of these guys don’t have them, and you’re having to project even more.”

As Bent wrote, Cole's article which Bedard uses as a cornerstone is largely agent-infused rhetoric and only a partially accurate depiction.

Regardless, water always finds the lowest channel and so too do agents when it comes to worming their way into the counsel of potential NFLers. Which seems in line with what the godfather of the draft's take is on why this is happening.

I think the reasons for the early entry trend boils down to two factors, the first of which is competition among agents. Player representation is a very competitive business, and a lot of times if you're an agent who is largely unknown and looking for a breakthrough, you'll try to single out an underclassman that a more established agent hasn't gone after yet. You have a better chance of getting that player now than you would a year from now, when you'd have to compete for these players with the higher-profile agents of the world like Tom Condon. Consequently, a lot of underclassmen are represented by less-established agents.

The second reason is more obvious: There's a lot of money out there, and tremendous pressure on players and their families who are contacted by agents and told that their child is going to be a second-round pick if they come out early.

So, with the increased focus on the televised NFL Draft, agents skirt NCAA rules and spin Radio City dreams (and fear of the NFL CBA) into the minds of sophomores and juniors. This was bound to happen.

And along the way, some kids on the brink might be more willing to listen to the agents if they feel it could help their family, be it parents, siblings or children.

Some players might even leave in hopes of throwing off seemingly burdensome team rules or NCAA elibility requirements. Look no further than Johnny Football's famous June 2013 tweet.

Every Action Has an Equal and Opposite Reaction

Like most good beasts, the problem eventually becomes feeding the critter once it reaches a certain size.

Sooner or later, there's just not enough sustenance and the beast eventually turns on the hand that feeds them. Which is where the the collegiate all star games enter the picture. The lede of Greg Bedard's article actually began with the canary in the coal mine for this whole thing; the Senior Bowl is facing major concerns about its influence and relevance due to the lack of NFL quality talent.

The cries came from every corner in the NFL world: coaches, personnel executives and agents.

There’s nothing here. … Worst group I’ve ever seen.

They were talking about the players on display at the Senior Bowl, the premier pre-draft showcase on the field. They weren’t just whistling in Dixie. In the previous five drafts, there were an average of 10.2 Senior Bowl players draft in the first round—and no less than eight (2012). There was an average of 2.2 players taken in the top 15.

After spending most of the week in Mobile, the consensus is there were maybe three first-round talents here, with a maximum of six.

Only six potential first rounders in all of Mobile last week? Yikes. With almost twice as many underclassmen declaring as just two years ago, think about what that means for the collegiate all-star games in 2015 and beyond. The Senior Bowl is the premier event, so imagine what that means for the pools of talent at the East-West Shrine and NFLPA Collegiate bowl games.  

Worse yet, what does this mean for future NFL Draft classes? Will there be a loaded concentration of talent at the very top of the draft while the rest of the draft becomes increasingly irrelevant?  

One long-time NFL scout told Bedard that “college football is turning into the NBA [draft process]. [NCAA coaching staffs are] telling the players they can get them in and out. And half of them aren’t ready.”

If there is one good bit of news, it is that the players who are generally the smartest (and who need be the strongest) aren't bowing to the trend. Of the 98 players who declared only seven were offensive linemen.

Meanwhile at positions where staying through four of five years means less, like at running back and wide receiver, the 2014 class is overloaded. Thirty six declarations of the 98 are centered on receivers and running backs.

The NFL's Version of Fracking?

For decades, Peak Oil theorists have held that with increased extraction and consumption of oil, a peak would ensue followed by a terminal decline. With the rise of fracking technology, this theory has largely been shelved in the last five years and has lead to the antiquation, or at least serious delay, on the theory of Peak Oil. The principle here is that with greater determination and technological advances in the face of scarcer resources, the petroleum industry has adjusted.

While NFL scouting certainly doesn't have as much money behind it, could the same principle be true in this brave new underclassmen driven world? NFL teams are preparing for the NFL Draft in new ways because of rules that restrict NFL scouts from delving too deep into underclassmen before they declare for the NFL Draft.

While the level of talent at the Senior Bowl is a concern for Buffalo Bills GM Doug Whaley and his Director of College Scouting Kelvin Fisher, they are adjusting to the talent shift per the Buffalo Bills website:

“It’s tougher on us as scouts because you cannot look at those guys or talk about those guys until they officially declare and the list came out on Sunday so we can only start our process now and it condenses all that information into a shorter time period,” said Whaley. “So it makes us work a lot harder and it’s tough because those are usually the best players so you want to be as thorough as possible.”

What Whaley and Fisher have done to lessen the burden on their area scouts is shrink their respective regions to allow their talent evaluators to spend more time at each of their campus stops.

“What we like to do is we condense their areas so they can have a better feel for everybody at their school,” he said. “You could watch a guy as an underclassman and not scout him, but be aware of him. So if he does decide to come out early at least you have a basis to start on and that helps you out a lot.”

To assist in the process of getting up to speed on the underclassmen this time of year the Bills and a handful of other NFL clubs rely on the BLESTO scouting service to provide a jumping off point for the 100-plus prospects that were thrust into the draft pool earlier this month. Simply put the BLESTO meetings are invaluable.

BLESTO might not be a acronym that many Jets fans are familiar with, but it stands for Bears Lions Eagles Steelers Talent Organization, and over many years has become a co-op of 12 NFL teams that share scouts and pay subscriptions into pooled scouting services. All but a handful of NFL teams participate in some shared scouting network and the Jets participate in the other big scouting co-op named "The National" which comprises 15 teams. Learn more about BLESTO and The National in this Draft Daddy article.

More from Whaley:

“This is our first chance to talk to our scouting service BLESTO on any guy they upgraded from the fall,” said Whaley. “So they’ll give us an update on those guys that they upgraded or gave a better draft grade. They’ll go over those guys and then they will also give us a breakdown of all the juniors that came out and give us a draft grade of A, B, C or D. That will allow me and (Director of Player Personnel) Jim Monos to funnel our attention to the higher rated guys.”
Essentially since BLESTO (and we assume the same for The National) are vendors and not the NFL teams themselves, different rules apply. BLESTO and The National are allowed to hold those draft grades while the NFL teams by rule are not allowed to do the same. Once the January 15 declaration window passes, it seems that the shared scouting services are free to share those underclassmen grades again with their subscribing teams.

While it sounds like a mad dash, the NFL teams can then use those grades as a starting point to begin watching film, start necessary inquiries, write reports and ultimately assign draft grades. Due to the short window of time, players with "D" and "C" grades are likely deprioritized by teams to focus their grading on the smaller subset of players over the next three months. It might be messy, but from Whaley's statements it sounds like NFL teams are learning to adjust thanks to the help of their scouting subscription services.

One thing is certain though is that with younger players entering the league and the pressure on talented underclassmen to fill the vacuum that was created by their predecessors, teams are going to have to draft and subsequently develop more of their own talent moving forward which might pressure NFL teams to go push the competition committee to make changes to the numbers or types of roster spots in coming years.

Even so, for the allure of entering the NFL Draft early, Brandt will always give underclassmen the same advice:

Sometimes, though, what appears to be the best deal today isn't necessarily the best deal. I know of very few players whose draft status went down because they stayed an extra year. That's what I always try to tell these kids. If you're an underclassman who is going to be drafted in the second round this year, you have a much better chance of advancing than going down the following year.
Tags: NYJets, Brian Bassett

Dec 3, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) celebrates a two point conversion run by running back Elijah McGuire (25) (not shown) during the second half 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 a two point conversion run by running back Elijah McGuire (25) (not shown) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Jets QB Josh McCown was named a finalist for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. 

The award recognizes players who demonstrate the best on-field sportsmanship qualities that include fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition, according to USA Today. 

The other finalists include Browns T Joe Thomas, Chargers TE Antonio Gates, Redskins TE Vernon Davis, Panthers LB Luke Kuechly, Lions DT Haloti Ngata, 49ers T Joe Staley, and Chiefs QB Alex Smith. Staley, Smith and Kuechly have all been finalists in previous years.

Tags: Josh McCown
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 (Ron Chenoy)
(Ron Chenoy)

Jets QB Josh McCown is out for the rest of the season as he needs surgery on his broken left hand, according to head coach Todd Bowles. 

McCown suffered the injury in the third quarter of Sunday's 23-0 loss to the Broncos. He walked off the field in obvious pain, and underwent X-rays during the game. He received a second opinion on the hand, and it was suggested he should get surgery to repair it. 

"It just sucks," McCown said emotionally after the game. 

Tags: Jamal Adams, Josh McCown
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 (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.

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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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