The TJB Hall of Fame Inductees roll on with today's entrant, Al Toon.

Not everything we remember fondly from our childhood was actually that good. TV shows, records, certain types of candy, all seem less than appealing when revisited at a more learned age. Jets wide receiver Al Toon retired when I was 16, but was unquestionably one of my favorite players of the first few years of my Jet fandom.

In essence, it doesn't really matter how good he was. The reason he goes into the TJB Hall of Fame is because he was a fan favorite, as evidenced by the number of people that were calling for him to be inducted on that basis when the notion of a new class of inductees was floated a few weeks ago. That's one of the central tenets of this hall of fame idea. We, the fans, can honor whoever we like for whatever reason we like. However, a look back on his career shows that, without question, Toon deserves to be there on merit.

Standing 6'4", the graceful, yet explosive Toon was described as "Majestic" by writer Ken Thomas in 1992 and I don't think there is a better adjective to describe him. Leaping above defensive backs, snaring catches, shrugging off tacklers and running away from cornerbacks in the open field, Toon stood out from the moment he first put on the Kelly Green and White. Simply put, to young children and adult fans alike, Toon was cool….bigger. faster, stronger.

Even before he came to the NFL, Toon was involved in one of the coolest trick plays in college football history. Although his Wisconsin Badgers would ultimately lose to Illinois in 1982, the game will forever be remembered for "the bounce pass". The quarterback (having tipped off the officials to the fact that this play would be coming so that they didn't blow the play dead), threw a sideways lateral to Toon in the flat, but so that it came up just short. Toon had to do his best acting job, as he was disappointed that the "forward pass" had fallen "incomplete", so he casually scooped the ball up as if he was going to just hand it back to the official, then suddenly turned and fired a forty yard touchdown pass to an open receiver deep downfield. Genius.

Toon was a world-class athlete, who excelled at the triple jump, where he had competed in the Olympic trials and almost went to LA in 1984. When he was selected 10th by the Jets in the 1985 draft, some critics said it was a mistake, as the Jets had been burned when they drafted an athlete to play wide receiver just a few years before.

However, unlike Johnny "Lam" Jones, who Toon would effectively replace on the Jets roster, Al was more than just an occasional deep threat. With his size, Toon was able to go over the middle and make yardage after the catch. His excellent hands made him a reliable possession option. Toon maintained that the strict nuances and intricacies of perfecting his technique for the triple jump had prepared him perfectly for the co-ordination required to twist or adjust in mid-air and still make and hold onto a tough catch.

In his rookie year (1985), Toon replaced Kurt Sohn in the starting line-up halfway through the season and ultimately caught 46 passes, more than Jones had managed in any of his five years in the league. He scored his first NFL touchdown in a week nine win over the Colts on a 17 yard pass from Ken O’Brien to open the scoring and then two weeks later, added a 78 yard score (for the longest catch of his career) in an incredible 62-28 demolition of the Bucs. He would finish the year with 3 TD catches.

He was a perfect compliment to Wesley Walker, a bona fide deep threat, and Mickey Shuler, one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the league. With Freeman McNeil spearheading the running game, the immobile but strong-armed QB Ken O'Brien had plenty of options at his disposal, as the Jets offense for the next few years would be a force to be reckoned with.

Predictably, given the promise he showed at the end of the previous season, 1986 was a breakout year for Toon. He caught 85 passes, surpassed the 1,000 yard barrier for the first time and landed in the Pro Bowl for the first of three consecutive appearances in Hawaii. He also caught a career high 8 TD passes and was a big part of the Jets nine game winning streak that took them to a league best 10-1 record. Injuries would hamper the Jets at the end of the year, as they limped into the wildcard game at 10-6. However, Toon’s sliding 22 yard TD catch keyed their win over the Chiefs and then the Jets would come within a Pat Leahy chip shot of an AFC Title Game against the Broncos (who they had already beaten that year), as they lost a double overtime heartbreaker in Cleveland.

Toon had several big games over the course of the season, breaking out with 119 yards and a TD on six catches in the opener against Buffalo and then adding seven catches for 111 yards in the memorable 51-45 overtime win over Miami two weeks later. He really exploded in weeks nine and ten, catching 15 passes for 296 yards and five TDs.

One of the most exciting plays I can recall from my childhood, came as the Jets were eight ninths of the way through their nine game winning streak in 1986 and playing in Seattle. The gamebook may just show a 36 yard TD pass from O'Brien to Toon, but what actually happened was that O'Brien threw a high bomb down the right sideline, for Toon to leap up over the defensive back and snare. As the two fought for the ball, Toon was upended in midair and eventually landed on his back on top of the defensive player, as the ball had slid down between his legs. Smoothly and effortlessly, as if performing part of a choreographed breakdance routine, Toon rolled over the defender onto his feet and then, realizing the ball was still between his legs, coolly reached behind his legs, tapped it up into the air and grabbed it for the touchdown.

It happened so fast, that you couldn't appreciate exactly what happened until you saw it in slow motion. David Tyree might have made the helmet catch, but he has nothing on the unflappable Toon.

Toon returned to the Pro Bowl after the strike shortened 1987 season, but the season as a whole was a disappointment for the Jets. With all five teams in the AFC East (back then, the Colts were also in the division) tied at 5-5 in week 11, the Jets got a big win over the Bengals on Rich Miano’s last gasp blocked field goal return. Toon, who ended the year with 68 catches for 976 yards and 5 TDs, exploded with 23 catches for 378 yards and 3 TDs over the next three games, but the Jets lost all of them, and their last one, to miss the playoffs at 6-9.

In 1988, the Jets ended the season on a positive note, as Toon’s last minute TD catch eliminated the Giants from playoff contention and gave the Jets a winning record. However, they were already out of contention themselves, having blown several tight games. Toon enjoyed a career year, leading the NFL in receptions with 93 and finding his way onto several all-Pro teams. His accomplishments included three double-digit catch games, including 13 against the Colts and a career-best 14 against Miami and he became the first Jet since Joe Namath to win three straight team MVP awards.

In 1989, Toon only played in 6 full games and parts of five others as the Jets slumped to 4-12. He still managed to catch 63 passes though, including ten for 159 yards and a TD in a memorable 40-33 win in Miami.

Throughout his career, Toon would be inextricably linked with Jerry Rice. Drafted ahead of Rice, many thought he was the greater talent, but while Rice went on to become the consensus greatest wide receiver in NFL history, Toon's career, though spectacular while it lasted, would ultimately be limited to just 7 seasons due to injuries. Maybe if Toon had been on a team with more weapons, he would have lasted longer. Although the Jets attempted to surround him with other playmakers, injuries to those guys would leave Toon, whose toughness would lead him to play through pain, as the only threat for the Jets, so he was a marked man.

The Jets recognised this as his yards per catch average had fallen to a (then) career low 11 yards in 1988 and 1989, coinciding with injuries to the likes of Walker, McNeil and Shuler. The additions of high draft picks Rob Moore and Reggie Rembert did give him a little more freedom, although neither lived up to expectations in their own right, and Toon was a more dangerous threat again over the next two seasons. He would still miss several games, however, but continued to be a quiet leader.

Over in San Francisco, Rice stayed healthy and won several Superbowls and set many records for the 49ers. However, over the first five years of their respective careers, Toon actually had 9 more receptions than Rice. To be fair to Rice, his overall numbers were still far better than Toon’s (he had 70 TDs in that period, to Al’s 23 and more yards in every season) but this does give some indication as to Toon’s potential had he been in the right situation. Make no mistake, Al was an outstanding player and when he was healthy, the Jets usually won more than they lost.

In 1990, Bruce Coslet took over as head coach. Early in the season, it was revealed that Toon had played four games with a broken back and injuries continued to be a problem, causing him to miss four starts. As the Jets went 6-10, Toon caught 57 passes for 757 yards and six TDs. The season had started promisingly for Toon with an eight catch, 118 yard and 2 TD performance against the Bengals, but he would only post two further 100 yard games that year.

Al Toon was refreshingly different from the modern breed of trash-talking, give me the damn ball, me-first, endzone-extravaganza executing wide receivers. Quiet, humble and classy, he represented the Jets in a manner befitting one of the league's top role models. In an era when NWA and Public Enemy were the flavor of the month, Toon listed his favorite musical act as Luther Vandross. In 1990, when he signed a contract extension, he said that he didn't want to be the highest paid player on the team and therefore accepted a $1.25m a year contract, $50,000 less than the then highest-paid player, Ken O'Brien.

"I didn't want to create any animosity between myself and any player who typically gets paid more…it gets to the point where a few thousand here and a few thousand there isn't worth it to affect team unity." he said. Why can't today's stars (and guys not worthy of being called a star), deal with their situations with the same level of class and decorum?

1991 was a renaissance of sorts, as Toon only missed one game and fell just short of his third thousand-yard season, with big games in wins over Green Bay and New England helping to lead the Jets to a wild card berth that they clinched with a winner-takes-all overtime victory in Miami on the final day of the season. Although he didn’t score a TD all season, he delivered with a diving ten yard TD catch in the wild card game against the Oilers, but the Jets came away with just three points from four trips inside the ten (including two fourth downs stuffed at the one and an O’Brien interception) and ultimately lost 17-10.

Toon’s final season saw him start just eight games and make a career low 31 catches for 311 yards as the concussions that had plagued him throughout his career really started to take their toll. He eventually would announce his retirement after what was initially reported as his fifth career concussion, but then officially reported as his ninth. Toon would later estimate that the final concussion of his career was his thirteenth.

Here at TJB, we have discussed the dangers associated with concussion at length. Expert Chris Nowinski even described the Jets franchise as "ground zero" for the concussion problems that persist today, with Toon and Wayne Chrebet the two most high-profile victims. Sadly for Toon, his battle with post concussion syndrome has been particularly harsh. He said that he was unable to watch his kids on a merry-go-round without feeling dizzy and expected to have to deal with issues such as headaches, nausea and disorientation for the rest of his life. At one stage, there was even media reports of Toon suffering from amnesia and constant confusion.

Happily, recent reports on Toon's health have been more positive. He even completed a triathlon in 2004, which included a marathon run. He is now involved in mentoring his son, Nick, who - after red-shirting the 2007 season - is now 6'3", 220 pounds and looks set to push for playing time as a wide receiver and kick returner for the Badgers at his Father's alma mater. Just last month, Toon also was appointed to the board of directors for the Green Bay Packers. He can now add a place in the TJB hall of fame to his list of achievements.

Since Toon has retired, he has been seriously missed. It may feel like forever since you saw #88 making a spectacular catch or running away from defenders. That may, in part, be due to the "curse of the number 88 jersey". Since Toon retired, everyone who has worn the jersey has suffered from an unfortunate inability to hold onto the football. Anthony Becht, Doug Jolley, Stevie Anderson, Chas Gessner, Sean Ryan, Curtis Caeser, Kyle Brady, Quinn Early. Good luck, Bubba Franks. Perhaps this is a sign they should have retired his number. He deserves it.

Tooooooooon!!!

Tags: Main Page, Bent Double

Nov 26, 2016; East Hartford, CT, USA; Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)
Nov 26, 2016; East Hartford, CT, USA; Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

With the first of their three sixth-round picks in last month's draft, the Jets selected Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson. This regime has already brought in several young cornerbacks, but none of them have managed to separate themselves from the pack.

Does Nickerson's skill-set give him a chance to eventually become the home-grown starter they've been trying to develop?

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North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd, of Fort Hays State, runs drills during the North team's practice for Saturday's Senior Bowl NCAA college football game in Mobile, Ala., Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd, of Fort Hays State, runs drills during the North team's practice for Saturday's Senior Bowl NCAA college football game in Mobile, Ala., Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The Jets have signed DT Nathan Shepherd, who they drafted 72nd overall last month out of Fort Hays State.

Shepherd was an Division II All-America selection in his 2016 and 2017 seasons. Last season, he tallied 38 tackles (12.5 for loss) and four sacks. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: If you're a team like the Jets, still in the beginning stages of a total rebuild, you can take a chance on raw players like Nathan Shepherd, a Canadian who was a smallish linebacker in high school before growing into an NFL-caliber defensive tackle at Division II Fort Hays (Kan.) State.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets charity 00:01:47
The New York Jets hosted the "Taste of the Jets" event to help raise money for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

The New York Jets hosted the "Taste of the Jets" event to help raise money for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. 


New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)
New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)

When recently retired Cowboys TE Jason Witten watches Sam Darnold, he sees similarities between the no. 3 overall pick and former Cowboys QB Tony Romo. 

Romo and Darnold share the ability to thrive even when the scripted play goes awry. Romo made a career out of extending plays and Darnold earned a similar reputation while at USC.

"He's calm, he's got this poise. He reminds me a little bit of Tony Romo, the way he creates plays," Witten said...

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New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Former USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin explained on The Jet Stream podcast Wednesday why Sam Darnold will be a great fit for the Jets.

"Sam is a great fit," Martin said. "Just going back to how he was recruited, when we first got to know him -- he was a guy that was a linebacker and played some wide receiver. Point guard on the basketball team. When he dropped back and started throwing a few passes, we were like 'this kid can throw the ball.'"

And the way Darnold threw the ball changed how USC viewed him...

Tags: Sam Darnold
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New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)
New York Jets first round pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP)

Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon are back for a special edition of The Jet Stream podcast where they take a deep dive into the Jets' newest quarterback, Sam Darnold. The guys chat with Sam's former offensive coordinator from USC, Tee Martin, about the kid's emergence in college and how he compares to Peyton Manning. Later, Sam's best friend and former USC teammate, Jake Russell, joins the show to discuss what he's like off the field and his competitiveness on it.

Click below to listen...

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) during second half against Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) during second half against Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Robby Anderson's felony resisting arrest with violence charge stemming from an incident at an event in Miami in May, 2017 will be dropped, his attorney, Ed O'Donnell told the NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

During the incident, Anderson allegedly fought with arresting officers.

While Anderson's 2017 issue will be resolved, he is still dealing with his recent reckless driving arrest.

Tags: Robby Anderson
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Oct 29, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Henry Anderson (96) during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)
Oct 29, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Henry Anderson (96) during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)

On day three of the draft, the Jets opted to trade a seventh-round pick for former Colts defensive lineman Henry Anderson. However, this move has flown under the radar somewhat with the focus on the players brought in via the draft.  

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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

The Jets still have some money to spend, which is why they will be hosting free-agent S Kenny Vaccaro this week at their facility, per the Daily News' Manish Mehta.

Vaccaro was drafted 15th overall by the Saints back in 2013, where he has spent the last five season. His best year came in 2015 when he totaled 104 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and five passes defended. 

Last season, the 27-year-old tallied 79 tackles, one sack, one interception, and one forced fumble over 14 games. 

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye
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Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi participates in workout drills during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi participates in workout drills during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets had back-to-back picks in the sixth round of last month's draft, and they used the second of them to select defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi with the No. 180 pick. Let's provide some insight into what Fatukasi brings to the table and how he might fit in should he make the team.

Fatukasi is a player whose run-stuffing abilities have stood out over the past four seasons with UConn. He's strong at the point of attack, can get off blocks to make plays in the running game and can create penetration either with his strength or quickness.

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South squad offensive tackle Antonio Garcia of Troy battles defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon of Villanova in a blocking drill during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)
South squad offensive tackle Antonio Garcia of Troy battles defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon of Villanova in a blocking drill during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets claimed former Patriots offensive lineman Antonio Garcia off waivers and cut kicker Nick Rose, the team announced on Monday.

Garcia, 24, was a third-round pick last season but did not appear in a game after he had reportedly developed blood clots in his lungs, according to the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe.

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A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)
A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)

Former Jets coach Chuck Knox, who was paramount in the Jets drafting Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath, died Saturday at 86. 

Knox started his vast coaching career with the Jets in 1963 as part of Weeb Ewbank's first Jets staff. Knox was big on the run game, which awarded the nickname of "Ground Chuck."

However, he saw something in Namath during his time at the University of Alabama, and knew the Jets needed him...

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Daily News Live: Sports gambling 00:03:44
Eric Chemi of CNBC joins Daily News Live to discuss the legalization of sports gambling and the ramifications of this newly amended bill.

The United States Supreme Court struck down a 25-year old law on Monday that had basically prevented all states except Nevada from having legalized sports gambling. "The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make," the Supreme Court announced. "Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own."

The ruling was an enormous immediate victory for the state of New Jersey, which could have a gambling venue open in Monmouth Park within a few weeks, according to the NY Post. There will be a press conference in Monmouth Park on Monday at 1 p.m. Aside from New Jersey, The Post notes that New York and Illinois are among roughly 15 other states who have "introduced bills to legalize and regulate sports betting tied to the Supreme Court outcome." 

The NBA and MLB have been preparing for Monday's potential outcome, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN, who said each league had hired lobbying firms, submitted written statements, and sent executives to testify in statehouses. Windhorst added that every professional sports league had been involved, but with the NBA and MLB at the forefront...

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Oct 15, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins center Spencer Long (61) lines up against the San Francisco 49ers at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)
Oct 15, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins center Spencer Long (61) lines up against the San Francisco 49ers at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)

Jets C Spencer Long is ready for an injury-free 2018 season with his new team.

Last season, Long was only able to make six starts for the Redskins due to a knee injury and was placed on IR in November. The ailment plaguing the 2014 third-round pick was rooted in a chronic quad issue which was corrected this offseason by surgery and an improved regiment.

"It was basically like a fraying rope," Long said...

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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Trenton Cannon (40) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Trenton Cannon (40) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

With their final pick of the 2018 draft, the Jets selected Virginia State running back Trenton Cannon.

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New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)

In the post-draft Honeymoon period, most fans, players and media alike are heaping praise on QB Sam Darnold. But Darnold's teammate T Kelvin Beachum wants to wait before he fully joins the fray. 

Beachum started all 16 games for the Jets last season, blocking for Josh McCown and Bryce Petty. At some point this season, he may be blocking for Darnold. 

"I've heard that he is a great person," Beachum said via Darryl Slater of NJ.com. "I'm excited to get him in that room." 

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New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets have four quarterbacks on their roster, which seems like one too many. They cut Bryce Petty last week to clear at least a little room on their depth chart, but they still have another move to make. Or maybe two.

Whatever they end up doing, the Jets' quarterback situation isn't as clear cut as some think, from the identity of the Opening Day starter all the way down to the likely odd-man out. As Todd Bowles said last weekend, the Jets are "open to anything right now" -- especially at quarterback.

"We're going to let it all play out before make those kinds of decisions," he said.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

For some draft picks, the process of becoming acclimated to a new environment is quicker given their circumstances.

Saquon Barkley of the Giants was born in Brooklyn, and didn't live far from his new home even when he was in Pennsylvania. Shaquem Griffin of the Seahawks may be making a shift from Florida to Seattle, but he has his twin brother Shaquill Griffin to guide him through the process.

Sam Darnold, on the other hand, is transitioning from sunny, laidback Los Angeles to the hustle and bustle of New York City without someone to lean on, or understanding of how this side of the states operates. In fact, he just visited the Big Apple for the first time only a few weeks ago.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Jets selected tight end Chris Herndon with the first of their day three picks in the 2018 draft last month. Herndon, who went to college at Miami, was injured towards the end of the 2017 season, which may have prevented him from going earlier. The Jets scooped him up with the 107th overall pick and will be hoping he proves to be a bargain. Let's weigh up his likely role in 2018 before reviewing his strengths and weaknesses.

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New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets first round draft pick Sam Darnold works out during NFL rookie camp, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

The Jets have consistently said they don't want to throw their No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold into the fire this season. Former Giants QB Phil Simms doesn't understand why. 

Simms looks at Darnold's situation as being the potential Jets savior at quarteback. In turn, he needs to get on his feet and hit the ground running. 

"He'll fit in fine," Simms told NJ.com's Darryl Slater at BTIG Charity Day on Tuesday. "If I was the Jets, I would play him from Day 1. That's just me. Start him. Let's go. Got a long offseason, training camp, preseason games. They probably won't [start Darnold in Week 1].

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Namath talks Darnold 00:01:07
New York Jets legend Joe Namath shares his thoughts on the team's rookie QB Sam Darnold, and what lies ahead for the new signal caller.

Legendary Jets QB Joe Namath spoke Tuesday about the recently-drafted Sam Darnold and whether starting him this season should be on the table.

"First of all, anybody that is starting on that field has to have convinced their teammates that he's worthy to start," Namath said. "And for a 20-year-old rookie quarterback, that's gonna be tough to do early on. Because the big leagues -- pro football -- is different than college football."

While Namath thinks Darnold and any rookie has a lot to prove, he believes he should be out there if he shows he's ready.

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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets CEO Christopher Johnson is confident Sam Darnold is the answer his team's decade-long quarterback question.

Johnson was present at BTIG Charity Day, where he appeared for the Lupus Research Alliance, on Tuesday. He had some strong words about his No. 3 overall pick, saying the moment Darnold's name was called, it was the start to the Jets' revival.

"I honestly think (people) are going to look back 20 years from now and say this is the moment the Jets shifted into a new gear -- that they became a new team," he told reporters.

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A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)
A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)

The Jets announced they have signed K Taylor Bertolet, while waiving CB Bryson Keeton

Bertolet was a tryout at the team's rookie minicamp this past weekend. The Texas A&M product spent time with the LA Rams in training camp last season. In his senior year back in 2015, Bertolet was a perfect 38-for-38 in extra-point attempts and 22-for-31 (71 percent) in field goals.

The Jets now have three kickers on their current roster with Cairo Santos and Nick Rose to compete with Bertolet at camp. 

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North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd of Fort Hays State stretches during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)
North Squad defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd of Fort Hays State stretches during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets selected defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd with their lone Day 2 pick in the 2018 draft. Shepherd, who attended Fort Hays State University, raised his stock throughout the offseason and was selected by the Jets 72nd overall. Let's consider his strengths and weaknesses and how the Jets might use him in 2018.

Shepherd is expected to be raw, having only played college football at Division II schools. That's a concern for a player who took a circuitous path to the NFL and will turn 25 during his rookie season.

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Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi reacts after a sack. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Connecticut Huskies defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi reacts after a sack. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets signed two draft picks and two undrafted free agents on Sunday.

Defensive end Folorunso Fatukasi and defensive back Parry Nickerson, both sixth-round picks, and linebackers Frankie Luvu and Anthony Wint, agreed to terms with New York as the Jets begin minicamp.

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GEICO SportsNite: Sam Darnold 00:03:53
Ralph Vacchiano reports on the impressions of Sam Darnold at the Jets minicamp and Jeane Coakley speaks with Todd Bowles about the young QB.

Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass during the second half of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Aug 31, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass during the second half of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Christian Hackenberg has apparently made major changes to his throwing motion in an attempt to revitalize his stalled NFL career.

He just never bothered telling his current team about his plans.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Sam Darnold fumbled the first snap of team drills on his first two days in a Jets uniform, and he fumbled five snaps overall. That was eye-opening because he had some fumbling issues at USC that were a cause for concern for some.

But get over it. It was the first two days of an NFL career that likely will last more than a decade and he was working with a tryout center who's NFL career will likely be over by Sunday afternoon. In the bigger picture, there was a lot to like about the Jets' 20-year-old franchise quarterback who looked poised, accurate and showed off a strong arm throughout the weekend...

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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Trenton Cannon (40) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Trenton Cannon (40) during New York Jets rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

It's not Sam Darnold, but it's a start: Jets sixth-round draft pick RB Trenton Cannon signs his rookie deal, the first of the team's draft picks to do so. 

Cannon, who played his college ball at Virginia State, led the CIAA (Division II) in rushing after posting 1,638 yards on 212 attempts (148.9 per game). He also scored 17 touchdowns, which led his Trojan team. 

"I'm feeling good, just settling on in," said Cannon, via Jets official site. "Right now I'm getting into the playbook, learning the plays."

Cannon adds running back depth to Gang Green, who lost Matt Forte to retirement. He joins a running backs room that is led by Bilal Powell and sophomore Elijah McGuire

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 (Chuck Cook)
(Chuck Cook)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets today announced that they had signed seven undrafted free agents, so let's take a look into what each of them brings to the table...

FB Dimitri Flowers

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