Kevin Mawae was the catalyst for change at a time when the Jets needed to bury the tortured past and develop a successful, hard-nosed identity for the future. He was nasty, reliable and, because the Seattle Seahawks declined to retain his services, he was available.

The Jets signed Mawae to a five-year, $16.8M contract in February 1998—the highest salary ever awarded to a center at the time. There was no denying then, as there's no denying now, that every dime was money well spent.

In a game enamored with skill positions, Mawae's grace, agility, and startling quickness was a challenge to anyone who ever doubted a lineman's athleticism. His versatility took him from left tackle to right guard before finally settling down at center during his final season with the Seahawks.

He then re-established the center position once he put on his No. 68 jersey for the Jets.

Mawae was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, six with the Jets for every season from 1999 to 2004. He's also an eight-time All-Pro and was selected to the NFL 2000's All-Decade Team.

In 1998, Rich Cimini wrote about then-coach Bill Parcells' recruitment strategy for the mauler who'd become the centerpiece of an effective Jets offense:

After last season, coach Bill Parcells made a shopping list of his biggest off-season needs. The No. 1 priority was to replace Roger Duffy at center. When Parcells recruited Mawae, he pulled the actual list out of a large binder and showed it to Mawae.

Parcells couldn't stomach the thought of another season without an impact center.

"You're held hostage if you don't have a center," Parcells said. "It's the worst feeling. It's like going to the dentist. Not good news."

All eyes are on the quarterback after the snap, but it's the center and his offensive line that set the tone. Parcells knew that better than anyone, and placed his faith in the 6'4", 305-pound military brat.

Ironically enough, all the moving around in Mawae's childhood translated to his style of play on the field. Talented linemen are often called anchors—an analogy that never truly fit with Mawae's active and aggressive approach to blocking.

Hindsight allows us to see Parcells' plan for the Jets more than 13 years ago with vivid clarity today.

CAREERS INTERTWINED

Parcells and the Jets masterfully orchestrated a plan to snatch Curtis Martin away from the rival Patriots. It was Mawae's job to make the coach look brilliant for the transaction.

Martin's legendary career and consistent output is well known and appreciated among fans, but a lot of what Martin did for Gang Green is a credit to the powerhouse center who made it possible in the trenches.

Without triggering a chicken-egg debate, the center and running back simply complemented one another perfectly. They were the ideal partners, tremendous athletes entering their respective primes, on a team that needed them.

Martin and Mawae powered the Jets offense from 1998 to 2005 as the most reliable players in green. Neither missed games until 2005, when injuries staggered their careers and ended streaks for consecutive starts. (Martin started in 119-straight games; Mawae's streak ended at 177.)

Nonetheless, while injuries claimed quarterbacks, free agency lured away receivers, and ineptitude removed coaches, Martin and Mawae were the Jets' cornerstones, working tirelessly to keep the team competitive.

Martin rushed for 1,287 yards and eight touchdowns in his first season with the Jets, behind the brawny and brainy offensive line Mawae led. That continued through 2004 when Martin won the NFL rushing title with 1,697 yards behind Mawae and friends.

CENTER-SLASH-FULLBACK

One of the most significant and impressive abilities in Mawae's repertoire was quickness when pulling from the center position down the line of scrimmage. From his snap to the quarterback's handoff, Mawae sealed off edges and smashed linebackers in the mouth before the running back gained yards.

When Mawae was drafted, the concept of a pulling center was considered more of a unique skill, exclusively attributed to Steelers great Dermontti Dawson.

After Mawae left Seattle for the Jets, former teammate and Seahawks standout linebacker Chad Brown doubted Mawae's potential to be in Dawson's class.

"I don't want to take anything away from Kevin, but Dermontti is in a class by himself," Brown said before showering Mawae with praise. "Most teams don't have the athletic ability of a Kevin Mawae, who gets downfield and makes blocks against defensive backs in the secondary. Those guys turns 8-yard runs into 18- or 28-yarders. He is one of the most athletic centers in the league."

No one ever accused Brown of being clairvoyant. Perhaps his assessment of Mawae's ability felt true in 1998; it definitely didn't hold as the end of the story on Mawae's career.

In 2003, Mike Martz told T.J. Quinn of the Daily News that Mawae "does things that no other center in this league can do."

"He can pull on a linebacker that's shaded further to the side than he is and block him, which he shouldn't be able to do," Martz continued.

"He's a freak."

Quinn masterfully explained the genius behind the Jets blocking assignments during Mawae's tenure, and how they managed to confuse defenses at will:

When Mawae pulls, it is generally because the former guard has designated himself as the lead blocker when calling out the blocking scheme to his offensive line. The result is a shift in the balance of the running game, former San Francisco All-Pro center Randy Cross says.

"Instead of having a fullback blocking a linebacker, now you've got a center on a linebacker and your fullback on a corner or safety," Cross says.

Teams react to it, and several defenses the Jets have seen this season - notably the Green Bay Packers - began reacting to Mawae's movement, rather than the guards. Once the linebackers started following Mawae, the Jets were able to counter the other way for big gains.

The center established the offensive rhythm.

BY ANY MEANS

As president of the NFL Player's Association, cameras often captured Mawae in the center of this offseason's nasty labor dispute. He wasn't caught very often when he was a player doing things that earned him an intense reputation.

That's a step below calling him dirty, but a distinction that must be made for a player who "knows how much he can get away with within the rules," according to an anonymous coach speaking with Cimini in 2004.

"Sometimes he goes a little too far," the coach continued.

Early into the 2004 season, Mawae fractured his right hand in a victory against the San Diego Chargers. Then-coach Herm Edwards was mum on the details, but left room for people to speculate on Mawae's status and wonder if his streak of 157-consecutive starts was in jeopardy.

It wasn't.

Mawae returned to the field with his right hand wrapped in a cast and switched to southpaw for his ball-snapping duties. What began as a testament to his ironman toughness evolved into a running joke as analysts and fans questioned the severity of the injury weeks later.

Truthfully, it looked like Mawae was enjoying the club and using it to his advantage at every opportunity.

"The ref came up to me three or four times and said, 'I'm getting complaints,' " Mawae said after a 2004 win against Miami. "I said, 'What do you want me to do?' Don't play against me. Or I'll hide one hand behind my back."

The layers of bandages eventually came off, but Mawae's style never softened. His brand of football has a philosophy; and while he's a friendly, devout Christian off the field, Mawae's pride in his work is what made his career special to football fans.

He's the throwback player to generations ago who'd buckle his chin pad, play through pain, and do everything within his power to walk away knowing he did what was necessary.

"You either play football or you don't," Mawae told the Daily News. "Guys say I cross the line, but I've never seen my name on a list of the dirtiest players. If people take exception to the way I play, I don't care. They don't have to like it, but they'd better be ready for the way I play."

OVER IN A SNAP

To put it gently, the Jets' overall success varied widely during Mawae's tenure.

The 1998 season produced the team's best results with a 12-4 regular-season finish and a heart-breaking end in Denver for the AFC Championship Game.

Injuries devastated the team at various positions for years until Martin and Mawae suffered season-ending injuries in 2005. Martin's knees disallowed him from returning to football; Mawae's torn triceps tendon spelled the end of his career with the Jets. The future Parcells envisioned in 1998 ended.

Even without a championship, the mission was accomplished. Through Mawae, the Jets elevated from the 3-13 and 1-14 disasters of the Rich Kotite era (or error). There were bumps in the road in Mawae's seven seasons with the Jets, but hope always existed behind him. He embodied the team's competitive spirit and helped establish an identity for the Jets that still exists today.

In 2009, Mawae's successor Nick Mangold told The Jets Blog, "He really set up the center position in New York. People really know about it because of Kevin and what he was able to do."

Mangold made a seamless transition into a role Mawae defined and placed his own stamp on it, but that doesn't negate what Mawae meant for the Jets, or how people evaluate an offensive lineman.

"It was difficult coming in and having that kind of a player here before you. You have that hanging over your head," Mangold said. "But I do appreciate Kevin."

We all do.

Tags: Main Page

New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa fumbles the ball in the second quarter after a hit by Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa fumbles the ball in the second quarter after a hit by Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Quincy Enunwa had developed into Sam Darnold's most reliable receiver early in the season. He was the player Darnold threw to the most and turned to when he needed a third-down catch.

So what is Darnold going to do without Enunwa, who suffered a high-ankle sprain and will probably be out for about a month?

Tags: Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) scrambles during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)
Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) scrambles during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports (Douglas DeFelice)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Six weeks into the season, all four of the rookie quarterbacks taken in the Top 10 of the NFL draft have at least three starts on their resume. They've had a chance to get rid of their first-game jitters, or to catch the NFL by surprise, and they're starting to settle in to their rookie seasons.

It will take years, of course, to determine which of the four is the best. It might even take that long for one of them to lead a team to the playoffs. But now that they've all settled down, it's easy to determine which ones are off to the best start.

Here's a look -- and a ranking -- at how the Fab Four are faring so far...

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

On the heels of a strong performance in Week 5, Sam Darnold was tremendous in the Jets' Week 6 win over the Colts. And his Pro Football Focus grades bear that out.

According to PFF, Darnold has the second-best passing grade (89.8) in the NFL over the last two weeks. Over that same span, his 71.4 deep accuracy percentage is third and his accuracy percentage with a clean pocket (87.2) is fourth.

Things opened up for Darnold in Week 5 due in part to the record-breaking game running back Isaiah Crowell had. But in the win over the Colts, he picked apart the Indianapolis defense without the benefit of being able to fall back on a red-hot ground game. 

Tags: Sam Darnold
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 (Richard Mackson)
(Richard Mackson)

The Raiders are awful again, and are reportedly ready to trade some of their most valuable assets -- including WR Amari Cooper. Should the Jets have interest?

Cooper -- the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 Draft -- left the Raiders' Week 6 loss due to a concussion and has had a down 2018 so far after having just 48 receptions for 680 yards in 2017. But he was highly productive during his first two years in the league when the Raiders were actually competitive. 

He had 72 catches for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns during his rookie season in 2015 as the Raiders went 7-9. During Oakland's 12-4 season in 2016, Cooper reeled in 83 catches for 1,153 yards and five touchdowns.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor, Danny Abriano
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Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) makes a catch against the New York Giants during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) makes a catch against the New York Giants during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa will miss around three to four weeks with a high-ankle sprain in Sunday's win over the Colts, SNY.tv's Ralph Vacchiano has confirmed.

Head coach Todd Bowles said Monday that Enunwa, who did not play in the second half on Sunday, suffered a sprained ankle but did not reveal its severity.

The three-to-four-week timeframe is typical for high-ankle sprains, although it could vary.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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Dec 10, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (26) in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)
Dec 10, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Jets free safety Marcus Maye (26) in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)

Jets S Marcus Maye suffered a broken thumb during Sunday's win over the Colts, reports SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

According to Vacchiano, the team is still evaluating the extent of the injury. Maye missing three-to-four weeks is a reasonable estimate, adds Vacchiano, but is far from a certainty. 

Vacchiano adds that there is some hope that if Maye heals quickly and can tolerate the pain, he may be able to play with a cast on (Maye was wearing a cast after Sunday's game)...

Tags: Marcus Maye
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Kacy Rodgers Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Kacy Rodgers Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers received some good news on Monday.

Rodgers, who has been battling a serious undisclosed medical condition the last two weeks, was cleared to slowly return to his coaching duties and will be the defensive play-caller again this Sunday.

Head coach Todd Bowles, who had taken over the defensive play-calling responsibilities in Rodgers' absence, revealed the good news in a conference call on Monday calling it a "big relief."

Tags: Morris Claiborne
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Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

In Sunday's 42-34 win over the Colts, Jets QB Sam Darnold put together his most complete performance as a pro, completing 24 of 30 passes for 280 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Let's look at some specific examples before we draw conclusions...

Tags: Brian Winters, Jordan Leggett, Neal Sterling, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) catches a pass over Indianapolis Colts cornerback Chris Milton (28) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon (89) catches a pass over Indianapolis Colts cornerback Chris Milton (28) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The presence of all those Super Bowl III heroes on Sunday wasn't just a celebration of the Jets' greatest achievement, it was a painful reminder of why it's so hard to believe in this year's team. There have been too many years of heartache, too many seasons of disappointment, too many times the rug was pulled out from under everyone's feet.

So when these Jets beat the Indianapolis Colts 42-34 on Sunday, barely hanging on in the end, there were surely a few skeptics who saw the team's obvious flaws. And when Todd Bowles stepped to the podium and said "We're right back in the thick of these things," it's understandable if everyone rolled his or her eyes.

Tags: Darron Lee, Indianapolis Colts, Leonard Williams, Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold, Terrelle Pryor, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets talk 42-34 victory 00:01:09
Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold, Jermaine Kearse, Chris Herndon and Todd Bowles talk about the positives after a huge win over the Colts, 42-34.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - As the Jets celebrated the 50th anniversary of their last Super Bowl championship team, Sam Darnold gave them even more reason to believe that the next one won't be too far off.

The 21-year-old Darnold, in his first real shootout against a top tier NFL quarterback, out-played Andrew Luck on Sunday afternoon. He completed 24 of 30 passes for 280 yards with two touchdowns and one interception to lead the Jets to a 42-27 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Luck was pretty good too (23 of 43, 301 yards and 4 touchdowns), except for the fact that he threw three interceptions. He also even nearly engineered a second-half comeback but fell an onside kickoff recovery short. But overall, Darnold was the more impressive quarterback for most of the game, after he shook off a shaky start. He did get help from a Jets defense that forced four turnovers, but the running game wasn't nearly as good as it has been...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Buster Skrine, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (10) rushes for yards after a catch as Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore (23) pursues during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Oct 14, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (10) rushes for yards after a catch as Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore (23) pursues during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: The Jets held off the banged-up Colts for a 42-34 win on Sunday to improve to 3-3 on the season. Let's highlight three of the best performances, along with three players who were disappointments.

Winners

QB Sam Darnold 

Tags: Marcus Maye, Sam Darnold, Terrence Brooks
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SNY's Week 6 Jets Report Cards 00:02:46
Ray Lucas, Willie Colon, and Bart Scott hand out their report cards after the Jets beat the Colts on Sunday, 42-34.

The Jets have moved to 3-3 on the season after defeating the Colts 42-34 on Sunday. The Jets Post Game Live crew handed out their grades for each unit, and what they ultimately thought of the Jets' latest performance. 

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 (Robert Deutsch)
(Robert Deutsch)

Sam Darnold has seemed comfortable as the Jets put together back-to-back wins to move to 3-3 on the season.

During Sunday's victory over the Colts, the rookie quarterback was 24 of 30 for 280 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. 

So what's the area where Darnold has improved the most?

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets former quarterback Joe Namath during pre game warm up before game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets former quarterback Joe Namath during pre game warm up before game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Legendary Jets QB Joe Namath is a fan of rookie Sam Darnold, but stressed that how high Darnold reaches will be about his surrounding cast.

"I do see a physical ability and I understand a mental ability," Namath said Sunday before the Jets honored the 50th anniversary of their Super Bowl III victory. "But I can't emphasize enough -- it's about the front line of both sides of the ball, it's about the kicking game, it's about the entire team, man."

Namath then started talking about Archie Manning, who he said would have been the first Manning Hall-of-Famer if the Saints (the team Namath referred to as the 'Aints') had put a quality team around him.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Danny Abriano
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New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets RB Isaiah Crowell (ankle) will play in Sunday's game against the Colts.

Crowell, who was a game-time decision, was limited in practice earlier in the week. 

The 25-year-old Crowell is coming off a record-breaking game in Week 5 when he had a Jets-record 219 rushing yards and added a 12-yard reception in the Jets' win over the Broncos. 

Tags: Buster Skrine, Charone Peake
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How Namath became Broadway Joe 00:01:25
Jets legend Joe Namath reveals the origin of the name "Broadway Joe," see the full interview on Jets Pre Game Live, Sunday at 12pm on SNY!

How exactly did Joe Namath become known as "Broadway Joe" during his career?

In an interview with SNY, Namath said the nickname was coined by offensive lineman Sherman Plunkett

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Todd Bowles Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Todd Bowles Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Bruce Arians has always been a big believer of Todd Bowles, which is why the former Cardinals head coach is also a big believer in the future of the Jets. 

Arians, who will call the Jets' game against the Colts for CBS on Sunday, told the New York Post on Friday that Gang Green is headed in the right direction and that they have the right man to get them there. 

"I think (Bowles) is doing a great job there, especially now that he's got a quarterback," Arians said.

Tags: Sam Darnold
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New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams on the sidelines during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams on the sidelines during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

DL Leonard Williams missed Thursday's Jets practice due to a "sore back," according to Todd Bowles. (NY Daily News)

"He just woke up like that," the head coach said, per the Daily News. Bowles did not say how the sudden issue impacts Williams' availability on Sunday against the Colts.

Williams, a vital piece to the Jets' defense, enjoyed his best game of the year in Week 5 against the Broncos with two sacks. 

Tags: Leonard Williams
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Bowles, Bates prep for Indy 00:00:55
Jets head coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates discuss the Jets' mindset heading into Sunday's match-up with the Colts.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates discuss the team's mindset heading into Sunday's matchup with the Colts.

The Jets (2-3) kick off against Indianapolis (1-4) Sunday at 1 p.m. at MetLife Stadium.

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Sam Darnold (14) Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Sam Darnold (14) Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

Jets WR Jermaine Kearse and rookie QB Sam Darnold are locker room buddies. They sit right next to each other in the room, and Kearse takes advantage of that by preaching his veteran wisdom whenever he can on the 21-year-old signal caller. 

One way he does that is recalling the time he was a rookie in Seattle back in 2012, and a fellow rookie in QB Russell Wilson was in the same boat as Darnold this season. He was a young gun coming off a solid Wisconsin career, and was looking to make an immediate impact in the NFL. 

During a break in game action in the Seahawks' second preseason game, Wilson returned to the huddle and heard Kearse talking as he began to speak. What he did next immediately caught the attention of Kearse. 

Tags: Sam Darnold, Scott Thompson
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Pennington talks Darnold 00:02:36
Former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington looks back on his time in New York, and shares his thoughts on the development of rookie Sam Darnold

Former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington looks back on his time in New York and shares his thoughts on the development of rookie Sam Darnold.

Pennington also spoke about his ongoing work with the Mayo Clinic.

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Darnold and Bowles on Indy 00:00:37
Sam Darnold and Todd Bowles talk about building on last week's big win, and finding a way to beat the Colts on Sunday.

Jets QB Sam Darnold and coach Todd Bowles look ahead to the team's matchup against the Colts on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Jets are hoping to build from their week 5 win over the Broncos, which ended a three-game skid.

 

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Sep 30, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

As Colts head coach Frank Reich started preparing to face Jets QB Sam Darnold, he couldn't help but notice some similarities between the Jets' QB and Carson Wentz, who he coached during his time as offensive coordinator of the Eagles.

"It feels like a little bit of the same personality; it's not too big from the standpoint of intellectually, but also emotionally, the game's not too big," Reich said, per the NY Post. "Physically, just being able to make the throws, and some of the athleticism."

 Wentz, who suffered a torn ACL in the final weeks of the regular season last year, finally returned under center for the Eagles in Week 3 and has totaled five touchdowns and one interception.

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New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell carries the ball against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets running back and reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week Isiah Crowell did not participate in Wednesday's practice due to an ankle injury.

CB Trumaine Johnson (quad), CB Buster Skrine (concussion), WR Charone Peake (hamstring), WR Andre Roberts (elbow/foot), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (foot) and C Spencer Long (knee/finger) also missed practice.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said Crowell hurt himself during Sunday's win over the Broncos. Crowell set a franchise record with a career-high 219 rushing yards in the victory.

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Kacy Rodgers Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Kacy Rodgers Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said Wednesday there's a "small chance" that defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers will return to the sideline against the Colts Sunday at MetLife Stadium. (Connor Hughes)

The 49-year-old Rodgers missed the Week 5 victory over the Broncos with what Bowles called a "serious illness." The head coach previously said Rodgers could be absent for several weeks.

But Bowles said Rodgers was at Jets practice on Wednesday after ungoing medical tests, the results of which Rodgers expects to have next week.

 

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Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell (20) carries the ball in the second half against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)
Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Isaiah Crowell (20) carries the ball in the second half against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

RB Isaiah Crowell was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his record-setting performance in the Jets' 34-16 win over the Broncos on Sunday.

Crowell broke the Jets' single-game rushing record with a career-high 219 rushing yards on 15 carries. The running back also set a new NFL record for yards per carry in a game with 14.6, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini

Tags: Isaiah Crowell
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Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The first five weeks of Sam Darnold's NFL career have not been easy, but the way the Jets rookie quarterback is handling it all has not gone unnoticed. 

The 21-year-old rookie, fresh off a three touchdown game in a 34-16 win over the Broncos, is receiving praise from his coaches and teammates for how he's handled the ups and downs of his season thus far. 

"He's been very positive," coach Todd Bowles said, per Newsday. "He understands that he's close and we're close as a team and they keep grinding at it. That's what you like about him, he keeps working."

Tags: Sam Darnold
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Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

On the latest episode of The Jet Stream podcast, Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon rate the head coach in a new segment called Bowled Over/Under, sing Sam's praises on the big plays, talk all things Jets with Darryl Slater of NJ Advance Media, and look ahead to Week 6 wondering if the Jonas Jinx is real -- or if the Jets can mount a winning streak.

Click below to listen...

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Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) celebrates a touchdown against the Denver Broncos with New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 7, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) celebrates a touchdown against the Denver Broncos with New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

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In Sunday's win over the Broncos, the Jets controlled the game on the ground. As the running game racked up well over 300 yards, it opened up more things for Sam Darnold, and he was able to take advantage with a career-high three touchdown passes. Most importantly, the Jets won the game, putting a stop to a potential downward spiral that could have doomed their season.

Let's break down how Darnold performed...

Tags: Brian Winters, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold
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