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

 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The evidence is hard to refute. They jettisoned almost every recognizable veteran they had. They didn't add any significant free agents. The veteran quarterback they added is a 38-year-old journeyman. The Jets were 5-11 last season, and it's hard to argue this year won't be worse.

So yes, it sure does look like the Jets are "tanking" this season, with their eyes on the top of next year's quarterback-rich draft. They're not, of course. Tanking is almost impossible to do effectively, especially in the NFL. But they are doing a bit of scorched-Earth rebuilding and know they are in for a long, losing season.

There'll be a lot of short-term pain. And intentional or not, for the long run that's not so bad...

Tags: Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye run a drill during Jets rookie minicamp, (AP)
Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye run a drill during Jets rookie minicamp, (AP)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jamal Adams, the Jets' top draft pick and one of the cornerstones of their rebuilding project, agreed to terms on his rookie contract on Thursday night and is expected to be at training camp on time when it opens in eight days.

The agreement, announced by agents on Twitter and confirmed by the Jets on Friday, is projected to be worth about $22.2 million over four years with a signing bonus of approximately $14.3 million. The money is fully guaranteed for the No. 6 overall pick out of LSU. As with all first-round picks, Adams' deal also includes a team option for the fifth year.

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New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When safety Jamal Adams agreed to his rookie contract Thursday, the Jets finally locked up all nine of their draft picks. And that's good; given the state of their roster, they're probably going to need all of them.

There certainly will be plenty of opportunities for all the draftees on this young and rebuilding team, and maybe even a few undrafted free agents too. The Jets will enter camp next Friday with an open mind at almost every position, both for this year and in the future. Almost all jobs will be somewhat up for grabs.

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JRSportBrief: McCown & the Jets 00:01:36
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR explains why Josh McCown just needs to hold down the fort for the Jets.

Jets quarterback Josh McCown gave his new team a vote of confidence in an interview with ESPN's First Take on Thursday, highlighting the positives he has seen from both veterans and newcomers alike.

"There's still some guys there that are pros," McCown said. "When you watch how a guy like Matt Forte comes in and does his job every day, Mo Wilkerson had a great spring, came in and worked hard, and our rookies coming along, Jamal Adams so impressive coming in as a rookie out of LSU, a high draft pick."

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 (Mark J. Rebilas)
(Mark J. Rebilas)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Darron Lee had his ups and downs after being the Jets' first round pick last season, but the team seems compelled to proceed with the plan to build around him as one of the cornerstones of the defense. Entering his first season, everyone knew that Lee was a terrific athlete, but he still had to prove he had the instincts to play inside linebacker in a pro-style defense.

Preseason Stats: Four games, no starts, seven tackles, one sack

Tags: Darron Lee
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New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, the NFL is still reviewing an incident invovling Jets' LB Darron Lee and DE Leonard Williams from early June, reports ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

The incident occured at Governors Ball Music Festival on Randalls Island in June where Lee had to be restrained by Williams after getting into an argument with a woman. An eye witness video showed Williams getting in between his teammate, and eventually, carrying him away from the argument.

Jets' head coach Todd Bowles later indentified the woman as Lee's girlfriend, and noted that the team will not be disciplining the linebacker. However, he thinks he needs to take caution in the future. 

"You don't want that stuff to happen, obviously," Bowles said earlier on the situation. "With social media going on these days, they've got to take better care of themselves. Darron understands that. I just know, from the past, any time you go to a concert, there's going to be trouble around, just as an ex-player and as a coach. When you go to a concert, a lot of things can happen. You have to be very mindful and very aware of where you are, and your surroundings -- and handle yourself better and keep yourself out of trouble."

Tags: Darron Lee, Leonard Williams
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (right) and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (right) and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Demario Davis, Darron Lee

Projected backups: Bruce Carter, Connor Harris

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin
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New York Jets punter Lachlan Edwards (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets punter Lachlan Edwards (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected specialists: Chandler Catanzaro (K), Lachlan Edwards (P), Tanner Purdum (LS), Jalin Marshall (KR/PR)

Key contributors: Rontez Miles, Josh Martin, Dylan Donahue, Juston Burris, Charone Peake

Tags: Antonio Allen, BGA, Calvin Pryor, Charone Peake, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Dexter McDougle, Jalin Marshall, Juston Burris, Loc Edwards, Nick Folk, Quincy Enunwa, Ronald Martin, Rontez Miles, Tanner Purdum
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New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs for a touchdown (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs for a touchdown (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Speaking with the New York Post, Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa said he would not be surprised if the Jets have another struggling, losing season in 2017. 

"It's hard to argue [with] that," Enunwa said, "when everybody else sees all the stuff that's going on."

This offseason, the Jets have cut ties with many players, including receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Despite the possibility of another tough year ahead, Enunwa believes the players will still play hard when the season begins. 

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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Former Jets QB Chad Pennington believes head coach Todd Bowles deserves the chance to turn the team around, per Brett Bonder of NY Daily News. 

If the Jets are to tank this sesaon, Pennington doesn't think it will be fair to put the blame on Bowles as he thinks he is the right guy for the job.

"My one hope for the Jets is that they give coach Bowles a chance to right the ship, don't pull everything away from him and then make him the reason why they're getting rid of him because of the lack of success," Pennington said. "He is the right guy, I think he showed that in his first year, last year wan an anomaly and this year you can see, wow, what a task he has."

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

Former Jets WR Brandon Marshall said he requested his release because he couldn't deal with the Jets not having a chance this season, per ESPN's Eric Cimini. 

Marshall was on WFAN's Boomer and Carton Show Thursday where he admitted his former team wasn't going to have a good 2017 season, and he didn't want to be a part of it.

"I wouldn't have made it through an entire season, knowing we didn't have a chance," Marshall said. 

Tags: Brandon Marshall
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 (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

USC QB Sam Darnold said last week's report that he might remain in school instead of entering the 2018 NFL Draft did not come from him, but remained vague about his future.

"I don't really have many thoughts about that," the potential No. 1 pick said during an appearance on ESPN's "The Fix". "I don't think any team should tank their season because of me. I'm just taking this every day, one day at a time. That's all I can do."

"I'm looking forward to whatever lies ahead of my future," he said. "But I'm really just taking it one day at a time."

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 (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

After a solid rookie season, Jordan Jenkins is hoping to thrive in a full-time role in 2017. The 23-year old has spent part of his offseason back in Georgia, working on his pass rush techniques with pass rush guru Chuck Smith.

Preseason Stats: Two games, two starts, four tackles, no sacks, two quarterback hits.

Tags: Jordan Jenkins
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Projected Starters: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye

Projected Back-ups: Rontez Miles

On the bubble: Shamarko Thomas, Ronald Martin, Doug Middleton, Corey White

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Giants offensive lineman Justin Pugh took to Twitter to take some playful jabs at the Jets and their fans, but not before Jets defensive Muhammad Wilkerson chimed in.

Tags: Justin Pugh, Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
(Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Jets' plan to build a helicopter landing pad at their New Jersey training facility has drawn objections from some who question the need since an airport is just a couple of miles away.

The borough of Madison has lodged objections to the Jets' application, NJ.com reported. The borough says that there's "no demand" for a helipad so close to the Morristown Airport.

"Any purported public benefit from the availability of a helistop for emergency uses is illusive," officials wrote. The borough also argued that the pad could introduce a safety risk.

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 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Projected Starters: Wesley Johnson, Brian Winters, James Carpenter, Ben Ijalana, Kelvin Beachum

Projected Back-ups: Brandon Shell, Dakota Dozier, Brent Qvale

On the bubble: Jeff Adams, Ben Braden, Chris Bordelon, Javarius Leamon, Craig Watts, Alex Balducci, Jonotthan Harrison

Departures: Nick Mangold, Breno Giacomini, Ryan Clady

Tags: BGA
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 (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)
(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Coming out of South Carolina, Brandon Shell's size and athleticism stood out, but he also impressed with his technique in pass-protection and his discipline. He posted outstanding pass-protection numbers against some good teams and when matched up with pro prospects. That bodes well for his ability to be successful at the NFL level, although he's not the type of tackle you'd typically leave out on an island.

Preseason Stats: Four games, one start, one sack surrendered.

Tags: Brandon Shell
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New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Morris Claiborne, Buster Skrine

Projected backups: Juston Burris, Marcus Williams, Darryl Roberts, Jeremy Clark,

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darrelle Revis, Marcus Williams
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New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Projected backups: Eric Tomlinson, Jordan Leggett

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Julian Howsare, Sheldon Richardson
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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Jets' first round pick, S Jamal Adams, has already impressed his new teammates, according to NJ.com's Connor Hughes. 

The Jets were exuberant when Adams fell to their No. 6 slot in the 2017 NFL Draft as he was the player the wanted most. Participating at OTAs and mandatory minicamp, Adams has shown his teammates, like CB Morris Claiborne, why the front office was so high on him.

"The things he has done so far?" Claiborne said. "He's unbelievable...He's been out here playing lights out. Picking up the defense, checking to different things, knowing what he wants to check to. He's having fun doing it, too. His spirit is awesome. He's having fun doing what he knows how to do, and that's football." 

Tags: Jamal Adams
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Dec 25, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James (81) is tackled by Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Zach Orr (54) after making a catch during the fourth quarter of a game at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports (Mark Konezny)
Dec 25, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James (81) is tackled by Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Zach Orr (54) after making a catch during the fourth quarter of a game at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports (Mark Konezny)

The Jets are interested in signing former Ravens linebacker Zach Orr, according to the New York Post.

The 25-year-old retired during the off-season due to neck and spine problems, but he is now trying to revive his career to after receiving positive news from his doctor.

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 (Brad Mills)
(Brad Mills)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Fourth round pick Juston Burris has received plenty of buzz this offseason. He's been receiving lots of first-team reps and is reportedly in the mix to start alongside Morris Claiborne. However, what does his rookie season tell us about his chances and where he needs to develop to increase his role?

Preseason Stats: Four games, one start, five tackles, seven passes defensed, one interception

Tags: Juston Burris
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New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Demario Davis, Darron Lee

Projected backups: Bruce Carter, Connor Harris

Tags: Darron Lee, David Harris, Demario Davis
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 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

The Jets' new linebackers coach, Hall of Famer Kevin Greene, is looking to instill more aggression and power in his players, especially LB Lorenzo Mauldin.

The 25-year-old has shown spurts of potential in two seasons with the Jets, but his 2.5 sacks last season isn't the production they had expected. Greene intends to change that, and he told NJ.com's Darryl Slater why he uses this specific approach to his coaching. 

"Everybody at this level has skill, correct?" Greene said. "They'rea ll athletic, and agility and dexterity and all that stuff. Well, what separates people initially is their physical level of play. That's always our first step, is we have to play more physical than whoever is in front of us, because we're all athletic." 

Tags: Lorenzo Mauldin
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A pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is broken up by Buffalo Bills cornerbacks Corey White and Kevon Seymour during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
A pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is broken up by Buffalo Bills cornerbacks Corey White and Kevon Seymour during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson

Projected backups: Jalin Marshall, Charone Peake, ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Charone Peake, Eric Decker, Jalin Marshall, Quincy Enunwa
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Preseason Stats: 17-for-47, 159 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, 1-15 rushing, one fumble

Regular Season Stats: Did Not Play

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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Part 2 of Jets mini-camp 00:02:01
SNY delivers part 2 of an all-access behind-the-scenes recap of New York Jets minicamp, including the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

Click here to watch Part 1

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Behind the scenes at Jets camp 00:01:48
SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

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New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)

President Donald Trump plans to nominate Jets' owner Woody Johnson as the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, the team confirmed on Thursday.

In the case that Johnson is nominated and confirmed by the US Senate, he would hand over his duties as Chairman and CEO to his brother, Christopher Johnson, who will directly oversee the team's day-to-day operations.

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