Back in 2013, I stood in Radio City Music Hall during the first round of the NFL Draft.  Music boomed in the background and lights flashed while the tumult of the crowd ebbed and flowed.  I was leaning over a row of journalists, shouting above the din to catch up with one of the NFL's most universally respected journalists.  We were talking about the Jets and what direction they would like to go in the NFL Draft.

I babbled on about how the Jets needed to upgrade their offense with a certain pint-sized first round receiver, but the journalist indicated that the Jets would try hard to pick up a tight end on day two of the 2013 NFL Draft to help upgrade their transitioning offense, even throwing out a few names that were of particular interest to the team.  It wasn't news to me that the Jets needed to fill up the position, but the earnestness of the journalist's statements made it clear that the Jets were serious about addressing the position in a tangible and long-term way.

Of course in the end it didn't work out that way for the Jets.  The Jets were trying to install a new offense with lots of West Coast elements from their new (and proven) offense coordinator Marty Morhinweg.  Looking back at the draft while there were talented players, the Jets draft board might have indicated the need reach in any of the middle rounds to take the player they would have wanted.  The Jets second round pick (which they used for Geno Smith) would have been their best chance, but after that they appeared to be chasing talent in successive rounds.  If we learned anything about John Idzik in 2013 it's that he doesn't reach for players all that frequently.

With an obvious hole on the roster, the Jets brought in stopgap Kellen Winslow during June minicamps on a tryout.  When healthy, Winslow was productive in the Jets offense, but was never a long-term solution for the team.

It might have been a year late, but this year Jets were able to get their man in on the second day of the draft in Jace Amaro.  Amaro, the tight end from Texas Tech who played in the simple no huddle offense in college, had some hiccups during the early OTAs.  The concepts, where he should be on the field, working against defenders seemed to catch up to him in this new much more complicated NFL offense.

But this week, it sounds as if the team had him moving around and lining up all over the field and according to his position coach Steve Hagen, he was doing a good job at it.

“He’s lined up everywhere,” tight end coach Steve Hagen said the conclusion of the OTA sessions. "He’s lined up flexed out, hand down, out by himself (on the) single-receiver side, on the three-receiver side, on the two-receiver side. We use him everywhere we can use him. So we have asked him to do a lot, and we expect him to do a lot. He’s asking that of himself, and he’s delivering, too. It’s been fun to watch him.”

It sounds as if Amaro has very high expectations of himself.  He uses future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez as his personal measuring stick of success, per ESPN NY in May.

"He's kind of old school, but he did some great things," the Jets' second-round pick said Friday of Gonzalez after his first rookie-camp practice. "I'd definitely like to (model) his game. ... That's someone who I'd ultimately love to be. He's supposedly the greatest tight end to ever play. That's somewhere where I want to be, too."
Amaro has also said that he wants to catch 100 balls in the NFL "on a consistent basis."  That might be something possible for the most talented player to do on a college team that runs a no-huddle offense, but in the NFL with other talent around him, let alone talented players lining up across the line of scrimmage might be tough for Amaro to do.

There's something very noble about measuring yourself against the player who might be considered the greatest of all time at his position, but it's also something that his position coach wants to make sure doesn't impact his productivity early on.

As for Amaro’s 100-catch goal, Hagen does not mind his players setting high standards, but he wants them to do so logically.

“First of all, I tell him to catch all the passes,” Hagen said. “I don’t know how many it’s going to be. So when you start to put benchmarks on that, you can create your own frustrations. It’s more important to do the right thing all the time. I’m never going to ask a guy to lower his standards. If he gets frustrated because he’s not doing the right thing, good. Because now he’ll continue to push himself to do the right thing, and I think that’s the mark of a true pro, that they don’t lower their standards.”

Competing for some of those 100 passes will be players like Eric Decker, Chris Johnson, Jeremy Kerley along his battery-mate Jeff Cumberland who might put up a good fight for offensive snaps this season.

Hagen also spoke about Cumby, who related that the fifth year Jet took Falcons' defensive coordinator by surprise with his speed on the Monday night game last year.

“Jeff is a fast guy,” Hagen said. “Jeff went from primarily playing a receiver role to being a really good tight end, as the NFL would look at, like: ‘Who is that guy? Wow.’ He blocks. He can run. And he can catch. He can run after the catch. You saw some big, dynamic plays from him last season. The defensive coordinator for the Falcons last year (Mike Nolan) said they didn’t realize how dynamic Jeff was until he was out there on the field, and they were like, ‘Whoa, that guy can run.’”

Hagen said Nolan made these comments to him right after the game. On that Monday night in Atlanta, as the Jets won, Cumberland had three catches for a career-best 79 yards and a touchdown (a 20-yarder).

“Some things you see on film and you’re like, ‘Whoa, that guy can play,’” Hagen said. “But sometimes, it doesn’t really sink in until you see the guy blowing by one of your guys that you’ve been training all week long, and you’re like, ‘Whoa, this dude can run.’ So, Jeff is good at that.”

Between Amaro and Cumberland, the Jets now have a solid duo of pass catching receivers with youth, speed and upside.  What they don't seem to have yet is a player who can be relied on to be an excellent run-blocker.  Even though the Jets of added a number of players on offensive side of the ball for this year, there are questions about what kind of offense they will run come the regular season.  If it is a run heavy attack, then Amaro and Cumby might not be suited to be on the field every play.

While new RT Breno Giacomini is known for his ferocity and grit, the Jets might still consider who can be the team's blocking tight end beyond Amaro and Cumby.  The Jets were said to be interested in Brandon Pettigrew, a player known as a solid blocker, during free agency.

Last year the Jets brought in Zach Sudfield from the Patriots who didn't make cutdowns and he played passably despite coming to the offense late.  Could Sudfield be that player?  Could it be Chris Pantale?

Pantale helped his former teammate Ryan Quigley out last year with a place to crash, but it sounds as if Quigley won't be boarding at the Pantale house again this season.

Regardless, the Jets have good pass-catching options at the top of the roster and have some promising depth players who can fill in as blockers when necessary.  The position is secure for a few years and will only get better with time together.

Considering all the other changes on the roster that will help this offense and isolate tight ends for their quarterbacks, it's time to get bullish about this group.

Tags: brianbassett, NYJets, Brian Bassett

 (Kyle Terada)
(Kyle Terada)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Todd Bowles and the Jets made their statement about President Donald Trump and what's happening in this country when they locked arms on the sidelines during the national anthem on Sunday afternoon. Now the Jets coach wants the world's focus to be on the issues and solutions, not on all the inflammatory Tweets and words.

That was his message on Monday when asked for his feelings about the president's remarks, when he said that players who kneel during the anthem should be fired and labeled them a "son of a bitch."

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September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) passes the football against the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) passes the football against the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

Jets QB Josh McCown led the offense in the team's first win of the season over the Dolphins, 20-6, on Sunday. 

It was his first home game as a Jet, and McCown didn't disappoint. He was accurate, moved the ball around his receiving corps, and most importantly, he impressed head coach Todd Bowles.

"I thought he was very effecient," Bowles told Jets.com's Eric Allen. "Josh has been playing good for about three weeks in a row now. He controls the offense and he sees things. He's playing smart football."

Tags: Josh McCown
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Schwartz, Vacchiano on Jets win 00:02:17
SNY's Jonas Schwartz and Ralph Vacchiano discuss the media and team's reaction to the Jets' win over Miami.

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets got in the win column with a surprisingly easy 20-6 victory over the Dolphins in their home opener, riding a disciplined and efficient defensive performance.

We'll therefore start this week by focusing on the defense...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Dylan Donahue, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Juston Burris, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson
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FNNY: Anthem protests in NFL 00:03:05
Taylor Rooks, Marc Malusis and Sal Licata react to NFL teams protesting the national anthem and discuss what players and owners had to say.

From players on the field to acting owner Christopher Johnson and GM Mike Maccagnan, the New York Jets all locked arms during the national anthem before Sunday's 20-6 win over the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium in protest of President Donald Trump's comments from a few days ago.

The Jets had a team meeting Saturday and decided they would lock arms and stand for the anthem as a team. Groups of players from each team around the league on Sunday either locked arms or knelt during the anthem after Trump referred to NFL players who protested the national anthem as a "son of a bitch" and said they should be fired.

Johnson, who is the team's acting owner while his brother, Jets owner Woody Johnson, serves as the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom in the Trump administration, released a statement saying it was an "honor and a privilege" to join the players on the field on Sunday.

Tags: Miami Dolphins, Kelvin Beachum, Leonard Williams
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Jets Post Game Overtime: 9/24 00:10:22
The Jets Post Game crew keeps the analysis going, handing out report cards from the Jets' 20-6 win over Miami in their home opener.

 

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Bowles, McCown discuss win 00:02:17
Todd Bowles and Josh McCown reflect on the Jets' first win of the season, a resounding 20-6 victory over Miami.

All that dismal 0-16 talk is over. And, the New York Jets ended it early with a stunningly dominant performance.

Josh McCown threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson, Bilal Powell ran for a score, and the Jets' defense frustrated Jay Cutler and the Miami Dolphins in a 20-6 victory Sunday in New York's home opener.

"Oh, man, it was awesome," McCown said. "It was special."

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September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players lock arms during the national anthem before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players lock arms during the national anthem before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

Jets players locked arms during the national anthem on Sunday ahead of their game against the Dolphins.

Acting owner Christopher Johnson and general manager Mike Maccagnan joined the players by locking arms with them on the field.

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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) celebrates with teammates during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) celebrates with teammates during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus) (Adrian Kraus/AP)

DE Muhammad Wilkerson and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins will suit up for the Jets' Week 3 game against the Dolphins

Wilkerson missed practices during the week with a shoulder injury after suffering a shoulder injury during the team's Week 2 loss to the Raiders. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins will return following his two-game suspension at the beginning of the season.

QB Christian Hackenberg, WR Chad Hansen, CB Derrick Jones, S Rontez Miles, OL Brian Winters, TE Eric Tomlinson, and TE Jordan Leggett are inactive.

 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Muhammad Wilkerson
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Bowles stresses execution, tempo 00:01:10
Todd Bowles tells Jeane Coakley what he's expecting to see from his team in its home opener at MetLife Stadium.

 

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NFL's response to Trump 00:03:00
Mike Westhoff, Ray Lucas and Willie Colon weigh in on the national conversation regarding athletes' right to protest.

Jets RB Matt Forte and T Kelvin Beachum were among NFL players who retweeted posts criticizing President Trump's comments on Friday about NFL players who kneel for the national anthem.

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Can Jets rally home crowd? 00:03:12
Jets Pre Game Live breaks down what role emotions will play in the Jets' home opener against Miami.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The Miami Dolphins (1-0) at the Jets (0-2) at the Meadowlands on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 1 p.m. ET.


Coverage on SNY:

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Christian Hackenberg, Miami Dolphins, Elijah McGuire, Josh McCown, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Vacchiano's 3 Keys to a Jets win 00:01:11
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano discusses his three keys to a Jets' victory vs. the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.

SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano discusses his three keys to a Jets victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.

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In the latest episode of The Jet Stream, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon look back at the Week 2 loss in Oakland, and discuss what the Jets need to do to secure their first win of the season. Later, Jonas and Willie debut two of the show's newest segments, "Willie's Story Time" and "How being an NFL player is better than being you."

Click below to listen!

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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

Jets CB Buster Skrine was fined $24,309 after being penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Raiders. 

In the third quarter, Skrine picked up on a short pass to RB DeAndre Washington, but he caught Washington with his helmet first resulting in a penalty that set up a 43-yard touchdown for the Raiders. 

The Raiders had four personal fouls in the game, but none were fined. 

Tags: Buster Skrine
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Seferian-Jenkins returns to Jets 00:01:16
Jeane Coakley and Jets' tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins discuss playing for the first time since December and how he can help the team.

 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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 (Rick Scuteri/AP)
(Rick Scuteri/AP)

G Brian Winters and TE Eric Tomlinson (knee) are out for Sunday's game against the Dolphins, the Jets announced Friday.

Either Dakota Dozier or Brent Qvale will start at RG for Winters, Jets head coach Todd Bowles told reporters.

TE Jordan Leggett (knee) and S Rontez Miles (eye) are doubtful.

Tags: Brent Qvale, Brian Winters, Dakota Dozier, Jordan Leggett, Muhammad Wilkerson, Rontez Miles, Will Tye
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Jets re-signed KR/WR Kalif Raymond to their practice squad after cutting him earlier in the week.

Raymond muffing a punt during the Jets' loss to the raiders in Oakland.

"He's got some tools to develop," coach Todd Bowles said on Thursday. "There are some things we like about him with his speed and catch radius as a receiver, so he's worth bringing back."

Bowles indicated Raymond would likely remain on the practice squad but added that there's still a chance he could make the active roster.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets' RBs 00:00:47
According to offensive coordinator John Morton and Matt Forte, the Jets are looking to utilize all three running backs in their home opener.

 

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Jets Game Plan: Moving forward 00:03:58
The panel breaks down the positives and negatives from Sunday's game and how the Jets can learn from that loss and work towards a win.

 

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

The Jets have signed DE David Bass and cut LB Freddie Bishop to make room on the roster.

Bass, who was selected 233rd by the Raiders in the 2013 NFL Draft, had been released by the Seahawks on Tuesday.

Bishop had been signed from the practice squad to the active roster last week.

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:02:02
Jeane Coakley talks with quarterback Josh McCown about the Jets' home opener and with CEO Christopher Johnson about Todd Bowles' future.

 

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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

It's been a tough two weeks of the season for Jets linebacker Darron Lee, and head coach Todd Bowles wants to see more out of the second-year player. 

Standing at 6-foot-1 and 231 pounds, Lee has looked overmatched at times during the Jets' first two games this year. So far Lee has 12 tackles and one sack. 

Tags: Darron Lee
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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) looks to the fans prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) looks to the fans prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (bruised shoulder) did not participate in Wednesday's practice, but he believes he'll be ready to play against the Dolphins on Sunday. 

Wilkerson suffered the injury during last week's matchup in Oakland, but does not think the bruise is too serious. Head coach Todd Bowles also said he doesn't believe the injury will keep Wilkerson out of action. 

Below is the rest of the Jets' injury report from Wednesday's practice: 

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Christopher Johnson, the Jets' acting owner as his brother Woody Johnson serves as Ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Donald Trump, says the team isn't tanking.

"It couldn't be further from the truth," Johnson told reporters on Wednesday. "I want to win every game. Every player in that locker room wants to win. What you're seeing, I think, are growing pains. These are young guys. There are some older guys on the team. Some of them, they're doing an extraordinary job. But I think you're going to see this team get better and better and better. That's what I'm looking for. And we are definitely not tanking."

The Jets, who have started the season 0-2 and are expected to have one ot the worst records in the NFL this season, trimmed the roster of the majority of their veterans during the offseason.

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Dec 11, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95) during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)
Dec 11, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95) during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

The Jets held workouts with six players on Tuesday, reports NFL Insider Adam Caplan.

The team worked out wide receivers Corey "Philly" Brown, Josh Huff, and Paul Turner; defensive ends Datone Jones and Alex McCalister; and defensive tackle Stefan Charles.

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Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington (33) picks up a first down before being tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee (58) in the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (Cary Edmondson)
Sep 17, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington (33) picks up a first down before being tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee (58) in the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports (Cary Edmondson)

The Jets defense may have allowed 45 points to the Raiders this past Sunday, but they are not embarrassed as they believe the unit as taken positive steps forward. 

The Raiders racked up 410 total yards as they had both the run and pass game working in their home opener. Though it was a bad performance, LB Darron Lee spoke about why there were no heads hung in the locker room following the game. 

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: The Jets surprisingly hung around for the better part of three quarters, but eventually the game slipped away from them and the Raiders came away with the anticipated blowout win. Aside from a couple of ill-timed turnovers, the run defense was the biggest issue in yesterday's game...

Tags: Darron Lee, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Cary Edmondson)
(Cary Edmondson)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets surprisingly hung around for the better part of three quarters, but eventually the game slipped away from them and the Raiders came away with the anticipated blowout win. Aside from a couple of ill-timed turnovers, the run defense was the biggest issue in yesterday's game.

Let's break down the performances on the defensive side of the ball from the Jets' 45-20 loss to the Raiders in Week 2...

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Dylan Donahue, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McLendon
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Latest look at the next Jets QB 00:00:44
SNY.tv takes a look at how the top collegiate quarterbacks did on the field last weekend.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Another loss for the Jets, another step closer to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft.

Of course, even if they don't land the top spot they seem sure to land something in the Top 10, where they'll have a shot at one of the many top college quarterbacks available. Here's a look at some of them, and how their stock has risen or fallen from last week...

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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

Jets WR Jermaine Kearse notched his first touchdowns with the team in the loss to the Raiders on Sunday. 

Kearse and another Jets newcomer, QB Josh McCown, have found chemistry early this season. McCown found the 27-year-old seven times for 59 yards in the season opener against the Bills. 

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on TwitterKearse continued his strong start as a Jet by leading them with 64 yards on four catches, including two touchdowns. He showed some veteran smarts with a subtle push-off on the first touchdown and made a tough catch with a defender draped over him for his other score. However, his other three catches -- one of which was negated by a penalty -- were short of the first down marker. >> Read more about the receivers and the Jets' offensive performance in Bent's Game Analysis.

Tags: Jermaine Kearse, Charone Peake, Robby Anderson
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 (Stan Szeto)
(Stan Szeto)

After putting up 38 total yards in their season opener, the Jets' run game saw an increase in production in loss to the Raiders Sunday. 

Veteran RB Matt Forte was the leader of the running back committee after posting a dismal 16 yards on six carries against the Bills last week. He posted 53 yards on nine carries with his longest being a 16-yard gain.

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: After a disappointing first game, the Jets had more success with their running game this week, as three backs combined for 95 yards on 21 carries.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Matt Forte
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