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

Aug 1, 2016; Mankato, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano instructs his team in drills at training camp at Minnesota State University. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports (Bruce Kluckhohn)
Aug 1, 2016; Mankato, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano instructs his team in drills at training camp at Minnesota State University. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports (Bruce Kluckhohn)

Former Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano passed away unexpectedly on Monday at age 56. 

Sparano, who has been with the Vikings as their offensive line coach for the past two seasons, joined the Jets in 2012 to be the head of their offense. Before that, he spent three seasons as the Dolphins' head coach from 2008-11. 

Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf made a statement that paid homage to Sparano's energetic nature and passionate personality for the game of football.

Tags: Damon Harrison
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New York Jets wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (18) gestures after making a first down during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (18) gestures after making a first down during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Jets WR ArDarius Stewart is facing a two-game suspension for a violation of the performance enhancing drugs policy, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com

The 24-year-old Stewart, who the Jets selected in the third round in the 2017 Draft, started two games last season. He reeled in six catches for 82 yards and rushed seven times for 27 yards.

Stewart projects as a depth piece for the Jets, behind Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, Quincy Enunwa, Terrelle Pryor, and Chad Hansen...

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Jan 28, 2018; Orlando, FL, USA; General overall view of Camping World Stadium during the playing of the national anthem with a United States flag on the field before the 2018 Pro Bowl between the AFC and the NFC. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 28, 2018; Orlando, FL, USA; General overall view of Camping World Stadium during the playing of the national anthem with a United States flag on the field before the 2018 Pro Bowl between the AFC and the NFC. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

The NFL and NFLPA have reached a 'standstill agreement' on the league's revised anthem policy, the two sides announced in a joint statement. 

The NFL announced earlier this offseason that required players to stand if they were to leave the locker room for the national anthem. The two sides will continue to talk, though no new rules will be issued in the imminent future.

"The NFL and NFLPA, through recent discussions, have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue," the statement read. "In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA's grievance and on the NFL's anthem policy. No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing."

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Bilal Powell (29) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Bilal Powell (29) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Last week, we broke down the quarterback battle, which is sure to headline training camp this year for the Jets. Let's break down the other battles for starting roles and consider the candidates at each spot.

Running back - Bilal Powell v Isaiah Crowell

Tags: Bilal Powell, Buster Skrine, Dylan Donahue, Jordan Leggett, Lorenzo Mauldin, Morris Claiborne, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Terrelle Pryor
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What is Revis' legacy? 00:01:09
Daily News Live panelist Sal Licata discusses why fans should question Darrelle Revis' legacy after a poor second stint with the Jets.

Revis Island is no more. Jets great Darrelle Revis is retiring after an 11-year career, including eight years spent with New York (2007-2012, 2015-2016).

The league's top corner during his prime, the 33-year-old Revis said "my passion to play the game at an elite level brought fun and excitement to the term 'shutdown corner' which was nearly on the verge of extinction."

Revis had 25 interceptions during his Jets career, and 29 overall. 

Tags: Darrelle Revis, Danny Abriano
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Jun 12, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) and Josh McCown (15) during New York Jets mini camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jun 12, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) and Josh McCown (15) during New York Jets mini camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The new NFL season is almost here, and the Jets are preparing for it at training camp next week.

The team released their training camp schedule on Wednesday with four dates that the public are allowed to spectate. Those dates are July 29 and Aug. 18-19 at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center as well as the Green & White scrimmage at Rutgers University on Aug. 4. 

Gang Green will also be shipping down to Richmond, VA for joint practice sessions with the Washington Redskins on Aug. 12-14. Camp will break after the MetLife Bowl against the Giants in Week 3 of preseason games. 

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General overall view of MetLife Stadium Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
General overall view of MetLife Stadium Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Gang Green is one of the top teams in the NFL making green.

According to Forbes, the Jets are valued at $2.75 billion, making them the eighth-most valuable NFL franchise in 2018. They also come in at 21st overall in the world. 

The Jets, though, saw the biggest fall on the top 50 list. They moved down eight spots from last year's rankings.

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Will Le'Veon Bell be a Jet? 00:00:54
Jon Hein breaks down why current Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell will not be a New York Jet come the 2019 NFL season.

On Loud Mouths, Jon Hein breaks down why current Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell will not be a New York Jet come the 2019 NFL season.

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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)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Over the last few weeks, we've been breaking down each position in terms of which players are fighting for those final roster spots. Who is in danger of being cut? Who has a chance to earn themselves a bigger role? We conclude with a look at the defensive line position.

Probable roster locks

The Jets are counting on Leonard Williams to bounce back from a disappointing and injury-plagued 2017 campaign and also to adopt more of a leadership role now Muhammad Wilkerson is gone. Williams will be looking to ramp up his statistical production as he was less dominant last season and has only recorded three sacks in his last 25 games.

Tags: Deon Simon, Leonard Williams, Steve McLendon
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Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Brandon Bryant reacts during the game against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Davis Wade Stadium. (Matt Bush/USA TODAY Sports)
Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Brandon Bryant reacts during the game against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Davis Wade Stadium. (Matt Bush/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets announced they signed safety Brandon Bryant on Monday.

Bryant, a 5-foot-11, 207-pound defensive back who played in 37 games at Mississippi State, was not selected in the NFL's supplemental draft last week.

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New England Patriots cornerback Justin Coleman (22) defends a pass against New York Jets wide receiver Devin Smith (19) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. (Mark L. Baer)
New England Patriots cornerback Justin Coleman (22) defends a pass against New York Jets wide receiver Devin Smith (19) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. (Mark L. Baer)

The Jets are releasing oft-injured WR Devin Smith, who they selected in the second round of the NFL Draft in 2015.

During his Jets tenure, Smith played in just 14 of a possible 48 games, with 10 catches for 135 yards and one touchdown.

He said earlier this offseason that he hoped he was ready to make an impact after suffering ACL injuries. 

Tags: Devin Smith
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Jun 12, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) and Josh McCown (15) during New York Jets mini camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jun 12, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) Teddy Bridgewater (5) and Josh McCown (15) during New York Jets mini camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets quarterback position is always closely scrutinized, with controversies dreamed up even when the team is adamant none should exist. If the team says it's an open competition, everyone suspects they'll hand the job to their favorite. When they say their choice gives them the best chance to win, nobody agrees. Even if they name a starter and give him all the starter reps, the tendency is for everyone to assume they must be lying.

This year is different though. There's a real competition, drawing justified attention on a local and national level because it's completely wide open.

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater
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New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo leaves the field after a game against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo leaves the field after a game against the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo thinks Jets rookie Sam Darnold has potential to be a "special" quarterback, but said he didn't like his throwing mechanics.

"I think the kid the Jets drafted has a lot of magic in his game,'' McAdoo told the New York Post's Paul Schwartz. "I think he's special. He's obviously a talented guy, he can make plays with his feet. I'd just have a hard time drafting a guy in the first round where you don't necessarily like the way he throws."

Darnold, who played two seasons at USC, threw for 3,086 yards, 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions with five fumbles as a sophomore in 2016. Last season, he threw for more yards (3,787), but fewer touchdowns (26) and more interceptions (12) and fumbles (seven). The turnovers, McAdoo believes, had a negative impact on his perspective.

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Nov 26, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets corner back Morris Claiborne (21) flexes during the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 26, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets corner back Morris Claiborne (21) flexes during the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Over the last few weeks, we've been breaking down each position in terms of which players are fighting for those final roster spots. Who is in danger of being cut? Who has a chance to earn themselves a bigger role? We continue today with a look at the cornerback position.

Probable Roster Locks

Tags: Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater
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Sep 2, 2017; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Brandon Bryant (1) reacts during the game against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Bush)
Sep 2, 2017; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Brandon Bryant (1) reacts during the game against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Bush)

The Jets are expected to sign Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant, reports Tom Pelissero of NFL.com.

Bryant, 22, worked out for about half the teams in the league in June, but wasn't selected during Wednesday's Supplemental Draft.

Off the field, Bryant was charged with a DUI in January of 2017. But his potential was too much for the Jets to pass up...

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Sep 2, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Western Michigan Broncos defensive back Sam Beal (1) intercepts a pass intended for Southern California Trojans wide receiver Jalen Greene (10) during a NCAA football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated Western Michigan 49-31. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Sep 2, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Western Michigan Broncos defensive back Sam Beal (1) intercepts a pass intended for Southern California Trojans wide receiver Jalen Greene (10) during a NCAA football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated Western Michigan 49-31. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

The NFL's supplemental draft takes place on July 11th, with a realistic possibility of multiple players being selected for the first time in years.

Could the Jets be considering making a selection? And could they target Western Michigan CB Sam Beal, who is potentially the best Supplemental Draft prospect ever?

The Supplemental Draft accommodates players who did not enter the draft. Such players have usually been rendered ineligible to play college football in the following season due to off-field or academic issues and, as such, teams are often reluctant to give up a pick. The last player selected was Clemson tackle Isaiah Battle, who the Rams picked in the fifth round three years. Battle has yet to play in an NFL game.

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Leonard Williams (92) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Leonard Williams (92) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

EA Sports released its highly-anticipated Madden NFL 19 ratings on Tuesday, and Jets fans won't be happy to see where their team landed on the list. 

Gang Green came in dead last among all 32 NFL teams with a 72 overall rating. The ratings do change based off team performance throughout the year. 

The highest-rated player on the team is S Jamal Adams, who is coming off a stellar rookie season. He has an 86 overall rating, which is 11th among qualifying safeties. Wide receiver Robby Anderson and DE Leonard Williams both have 84 overall ratings while Jermaine Kearse (83) and Steve McClendon (83) round out the top five. 

Tags: Jamal Adams, Josh McCown, Leonard Williams, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Steve McLendon, Teddy Bridgewater
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New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) celebrates with teammates Marcus Maye (26) after recovering a fumble during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)
New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) celebrates with teammates Marcus Maye (26) after recovering a fumble during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)

Over the last few weeks, we've been breaking down each position in terms of which players are fighting for those final roster spots. Who is in danger of being cut? Who has a chance to earn themselves a bigger role? We continue with a look at the tight ends.

Probable roster locks

It's tempting to suggest that there are no tight ends currently on the Jets roster whose spot is safe. However, Jets coaches give the impression that Eric Tomlinson's blocking is a major asset that the other tight ends on the roster would struggle to replicate. Tomlinson helped his chances of earning a starting role by flashing an ability to leak out and make an occasional big play in the passing game, but should remain on the roster as a blocking specialist in any case.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Ben Ijalana, Brent Qvale, Dakota Dozier, Jordan Leggett, Quincy Enunwa
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New York Jets quarterbacks Josh McCown and Sam Darnold during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterbacks Josh McCown and Sam Darnold during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets quarterback Josh McCown knows he's not New York's long-term solution under center, but he believes No. 3 pick Sam Darnold is rightfully the heir.

"With Sam, we have the right guy," McCown said on an interview with Sirius XM over the weekend. "He's wired the right way, he loves the game, he asks the right questions and he's willing to work … That's the foundation, you have to have that," McCown said.

The Jets traded three second-round picks to move up three spots from No. 6 to No. 3, where the USC quarterback ultimately fell to them. Darnold has impressed several people early on, including offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, who said Darnold has handled everything the team has thrown at him so far. 

Tags: Josh McCown
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Jan. 30, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address from the House chamber of the United States Capitol. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY (Jack Gruber)
Jan. 30, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address from the House chamber of the United States Capitol. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY (Jack Gruber)

President Donald Trump, who last season referred to NFL players who kneel in protest during the anthem as "sons of bitches," wondered aloud Thursday if the league's new policy is worse than the old one. Trump also bashed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and claimed ratings are down in part because of "the flag."

"If you don't respect the flag or you don't like the country or whatever it is just go into the locker room," Trump said, according to Yahoo! Sports. "Just go into the locker room. I think in many respects that's worse. Isn't that worse than having them not standing?"

Under the new anthem policy, all team and league personnel on the field must "stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem." Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room or a similar location off the field until its conclusion...

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New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) celebrates with teammates Marcus Maye (26) after recovering a fumble during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)
New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) celebrates with teammates Marcus Maye (26) after recovering a fumble during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)

Over the last few weeks, we've been breaking down each position in terms of which players are fighting for those final roster spots. Who is in danger of being cut? Who has a chance to earn themselves a bigger role? We continue today with a look at the edge defenders.

Probable Roster Locks

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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)

Jets QB Sam Darnold was the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft but is the fourth best rookie quarterback according to EA Sports' Madden 19. 

Darnold's rating is a 75, good enough to make the top five of rookie quarterbacks. He's ahead of Bills QB Josh Allen (74), but is trailing Cardinals' QB Josh Rosen (78), Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (79) and Browns QB Baker Mayfield (81). 

Mayfield was the No. 1 overall pick of this year's draft while Allen was No. 7, Rosen was No. 10 and Jackson No. 32. 

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New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold works out during the team's NFL football organized training activities, Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold works out during the team's NFL football organized training activities, Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Jets QB Sam Darnold is still getting accustomed to the hustle and bustle of New York City. The West Coast kid does, however, have some favorites in the Big Apple. 

When it comes to baseball, Darnold will always show love to his LA Dodgers. But, if he had to choose between New York's teams -- the Mets and Yankees -- he would stay in the National League. 

"I'm a Dodgers fan, so it's kinda tough," Darnold said in an NFL video. "But Mets, definitely Mets."

Tags: Sam Darnold
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New York Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

It is a feat many try, but fail to succeed. And no, it isn't climbing Mount Everest. 

However, the stakes seem to be as high as the infamous mountain for the Jets' latest offensive coordinator in Jeremy Bates. The job security for his newest title in the Jets' organization is one of high volatility. 

Going back to Brian Schottenheimer last season before he was fired in 2011, the Jets have had six offensive coordinators in eight years. But Bates is ready to change the narrative. 

Tags: Sam Darnold
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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during 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 head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Over the next few weeks, we're going to break down each position in terms of which players are fighting for those final roster spots. Who is in danger of being cut? Who has a chance to earn themselves a bigger role? We continue today with a look at the offensive linemen.

Probable Roster Locks: 

Tags: Wesley Johnson
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 (Jim Brown)
(Jim Brown)

How many single-season leaders across all major categories can you name for the Jets? Click below to test your knowledge in the quiz.

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New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) runs into the end zone while scoring on a pass from quarterback Josh McCown, not pictured, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) runs into the end zone while scoring on a pass from quarterback Josh McCown, not pictured, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Over the next few weeks, we're going to break down each position in terms of which players are fighting for those final Jets roster spots. Who is in danger of being cut? Who has a chance to earn themselves a bigger role? We continue today with a look at the wide receiver position.

Probable Roster Locks

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New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold works out during the team's NFL football organized training activities, Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold works out during the team's NFL football organized training activities, Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Over the course of the offseason, the Jets made six draft picks and have brought in 10 undrafted free agents. Let's attempt to rank each of those additions in terms of their importance for the upcoming season.

Only official rookies qualify for this list. While you would need a certain level of playing time to lose your rookie status in baseball, the NFL determines rookie status solely by when you were drafted. Therefore, cornerbacks Derrick Jones, Jeremy Clark and Xavier Coleman, who all saw brief action even though they only played three defensive snaps between them, are no longer rookies.

Even a Ben Simmons-style rookie who didn't see any action in his rookie season doesn't count as a rookie under NFL rules, so that rules out offensive lineman Ben Braden - who spent the year on the Jets' practice squad - and kicker Taylor Bertolet, who the Jets' site erroneously lists as a rookie even though he played for the Rams in preseason last year.

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New York Jets fans celebrate an overtime victory over the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Jim O'Connor/USATSI)
New York Jets fans celebrate an overtime victory over the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Jim O'Connor/USATSI)

To all NFL Fans, they would say their team's faithful are the best in the league. However, Dr. Michael Lewis of Emory's Goizueta Business School created a statistical model to calculate exactly which fan base is the best in the NFL.

Lewis' model has three different factors that go into the calculation. First, there is "Fan Equity" that calculates how much fans spend on their team, both in tickets and apparel. Next, there is "Social Equity" which totals fans following their team on social media, and that is followed by "Road Equity" which calculates fans traveling with their team on the road. 

Based off Lewis' model, the Jets come in a No. 15 on the list of the 32 NFL teams. 

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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during 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 head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles made a cameo on the Netflix series Luke Cage, about a man with super strength and unbreakable skin that was caused by a sabotaged experiment.

In the episode, Cage works out for Bowles, with the often-reserved coach saying "Let's see what you're made of Cage. Let's go" 

Click below to watch...

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