As the tributes to fellow inductees Joe Klecko and Don Maynard show, one of the essential functions of the TJB Hall of Fame and the primary reason for creating this exercise is to go some small way towards righting history's wrongs. Though many feel he is deserving, Winston Hill has always been overlooked for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but there can be no argument that he doesn't deserve recognition as a TJB Hall of Famer.

Considering Hill retired from professional football while I was just a baby, the challenge now is to do his contribution to the New York Jets franchise justice to ensure that Hill is not once again overshadowed by the rest of the 2009 class. In order to do that, we must rely on the testimonies of others.

RB Matt Snell, who ran for 121 yards and a touchdown behind Hill's blocking in Superbowl III:

"So graceful, so beautiful to watch. Took them just where he wanted them to go. Never seemed like he was exerting himself that much. Tell me, did you ever seen [him] sweat?"


Former Packers GM Ron Wolf:
"That's my man, bingo!" You talk about a guy whose name you never hear now, that's him. I'd love to see the Seniors Committee propose him [for the Pro Football Hall of Fame]."


Former Jets Head Coach, Weeb Ewbank:

"I've been telling reporters for a long time that Winston Hill is a great offensive tackle and [in the Superbowl] he proved it. I mean when he blocks, he doesn't just get a stalemate with the guy he's on. He blows him out."
Hill's achievements speak for themselves: He played 14 seasons with the Jets and at one stage recorded the tenth longest streak of consecutive starts in NFL history (174). He went to 4 AFL all-star games and was a 4-time NFL Pro Bowler. Most importantly of all, he won a Superbowl ring and played a huge role in the big game...

This section is best enjoyed if imagined with an authoritative baritone voice over stirring orchestral music...

The Colts, labelled as the Greatest Team in Pro Football History and an overwhelming 18-point favorite were highly motivated and their defense, anchored by defensive end Bubba Smith planned to go into attack mode from the outset. The Jets, however, had other ideas.

Ewbank's gameplan was to run away from Smith and at the right side of the Colts line, where defensive end Ordell Braase was matched up with Hill, the Jets left tackle. Five years earlier, Hill had been an eleventh round draft pick of the Colts and had been cut after having been tormented by Braase in practice. However, Hill's performance was dominant enough to have exploded Bill Simmons' vengeance scale, had it existed at that time.

With Namath confusing the Colts by mixing run and pass perfectly with multiple audibles at the line, the Jets enjoyed their greatest success with a play called "19-Straight", where Snell would take the handoff and start up the middle, but then would bounce to the outside, as Hill rode his man off the line and sealed the edge. 19-Straight got Snell into the endzone for the go-ahead score in the first half, culminating a drive which began with that same play four straight times.

"Braase pretty much faded out," said Snell, although Hill would not take all of the credit for Snell's success. "Snell is a great runner. He doesn't ask for much room. The mediocre backs come back to the huddle and cry if they didn't get a hole big enough to back a truck through. I knew we could do it. We ran against the best teams in our league. What's so special about the Colts?"

That quote underlines the confidence with which the Jets approached the biggest game (still) in franchise history. Namath had famously guaranteed victory, the players did not watch any film in the last three days prior to the game because they were so confident and it was important for them to represent the AFL with pride. “That year the Raiders had a good team, Kansas City had a good team and San Diego had a good team. And the three of them probably could have beaten Baltimore,” Hill would later say. The message was clear and undeniable - the AFL was a league to be reckoned with.

Despite this, the fact that Hill played the first half of his career in the AFL and not the NFL, hurts him in terms of Hall of Fame recognition. An 8-time Pro Bowler with a Superbowl ring is not necessarily a lock for the Hall of Fame - Harry Carson - a 10-time Pro Bowler - only recently made it after years of campaigning, for example. However, Hill is regarded by many of those old enough to have seen him play as one of the best players of his generation.

It may have hurt Hill that the Jets did not have more postseason success. There were other AFL linemen to have made the Hall of Fame - Jim Otto, Ron Mix and Billy Shaw - but his achievements fall just short of these players, although they all enjoyed most of their success in the AFL, whereas Hill, who played the second half of his career in the NFL, spans two eras, making him difficult to compare with anyone else. However, it seems fair to say that Hill has been overlooked, not just as a potential hall of famer, but also in terms of even being mentioned as one, as the debate tends to center around more recent players.

When Hill first joined the Jets in 1963, he apparently earned the name "Holding Hill", but went to the AFL all-star game in his second season and then, after two years of being overlooked, was recognized in seven straight seasons (three as an AFL all-star and four as an NFL Pro Bowler). He was not honored in his final three seasons as a Jet, although the coaching staff apparently felt that 1974 was the best season of his career. He finished his career with a year at the Rams, but played in just three games.

Responsible for protecting Namath's blindside, he was regarded by some as the first great pass-protecting left tackle, using his size and strength well (he played most of his career at 285, very big for a tackle at that time, although he did play a few seasons at 270). This would give Namath and his notoriously quick release sufficient time to get rid of the ball. However, even his work in this area was sometimes overshadowed by his teammates. NFL Films called center John Schmitt "perhaps the key man - and most adept man - at protecting Namath," whereas ESPN awarded Guard Dave Herman, who played RT in the Superbowl as the real MVP of that game because he neutralized Bubba Smith, holding him to one sack.

As a run blocker, Hill was again influential, as shown by his display in the Superbowl. However, his reputation was as more of a pass protector until the latter stages of his career, moving to right tackle in 1971 and improving his run blocking to a high level of efficiency over the last three seasons. Ultimately, although he may not have been the best pass protector or the best run blocker on those talent-laden offensive lines, most experts agree that Hill was the most complete and most dominating offensive lineman in Jets history.

Off the field, Hill, who still gets involved in Jets fundraising events, was clearly an interesting and witty character, as the internet has many examples of amusing quotes from him.

After the Miami Dolphins voted him "most likely to hold" in 1975 - a sure badge of honor, somewhat reminiscent of Kobe or Lebron complaining about someone playing physical defense against them, because they couldn't cope with it - Hill said "I never held an honest man in my life." At the end of his career, when he went into the food business and started marketing "Winston's Low-Cal Yoghurt", he said ''I don't need this extra weight anymore. Starting Sept. 1, I'm going to go on a diet to lose 40 or 50 pounds. By November, I can use 'before and after' pictures of me for ads.'' When he hurt his foot in 1970, the notoriously tough Hill was quoted as saying "I'm looking for a name this long, Doc. (Moving his hands apart) It's not so impressive to have a sprained toe." Finally, perhaps his most famous quote was this:

"Of all the names I could have had that would have inspired fear. Rocky. Bruiser. My parents had to name me Winston ... Winnie to everyone. I mean could you see a defensive lineman terrified because he had to go up against a Winnie?"


Before writing this article, I made a point of checking out Winston Hill in action (in the 1972 game where Namath famously out-duelled Unitas, throwing for 496 yards and 6 TDs on FIFTEEN completions...you don't do that without good pass protection!)

Sure enough, Hill was as smooth and stylish as they say and stood out because of his size (big for an OT even then. He would usually stay comfortably in front of his man to help form a perfect pocket around Namath, despite the loss of Schmitt to an early injury. With the running game not working, the Jets practically abandoned it, which meant the Colts could send multiple pass rushers, but on the couple of occasions when Hill was beaten, he was able to recover and use his strength to knock the pass rusher off balance enough to enable Namath to get rid of the ball. Finally, on a crucial second half drive, the Jets did return to the running game and Riggins picked up 44 yards on six carries, with Hill consistently driving his man off the line. It may be a small sample size, but it was enough to make a believer out of me.

Other than this and the Superbowl itself, I never saw Hill play, but I was convinced. If there's any justice, hopefully the Canton's Hall of Fame selection committee will be too, one day. For now, a place in our humble Hall will have to do. Winston Hill, ladies and gentlemen...

If you're prepared to admit to being old enough, please share your memories of him in the comments.
Tags: Main Page, Bent Double

GEICO SportsNite: Jets Camp 00:01:57
Jeane Coakley talks to several Jets' players as they reported to camp Friday who are determined to have a competitive season in 2017

 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

The Kets have signed TE Chris Gragg and waived WR KD Cannon, the team announced Friday.

The 27-year-old Gragg, who missed last season due to a torn ACL, had 24 catches for 251 yards and two touchdowns with the Bills from 2013-2015.

Cannon, 21, had been claimed off waivers by the Jets in May.

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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Jets RB Matt Forte responded to former Jets WR Brandon Marshall's comments that he requested his release earlier this offseason because the team 'didn't have a chance' to compete this season.

"It doesn't matter," Forte said about Marshall's comments, according to the NY Daily News. "He's not here. He hasn't been here the whole offseason or whatever, so he doesn't know what chance we have or anyone has. So that's Brandon speaking on Brandon. That's about all I have to say on that."

Marshall, who signed a two-year deal with the Giants after being released by the Jets, was part of a toxic Jets clubhouse last season, and Forte said the clubhouse is improved heading into this season.

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte
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Winters on offseason workout 00:00:42
SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets guard Brian Winters about his unique offseason workout regimen.

SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets guard Brian Winters about his unique offseason workout regimen.

Tags: Brian Winters
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Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part II...

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Daily News Live: Mike Westhoff 00:03:54
Mike Westhoff joins Daily News Live to discuss the notion of the Jets tanking and Todd Bowles' job security prior to Jets camp on Thursday.

If you Googled 'New York Jets owner' early Thursday afternoon, it wasn't Woody Johnson who came up. Instead, it was New England Patriots QB Tom Brady.

Click below to see the image

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The Jets have claimed RB/KR Marcus Murphy off waivers, reports Brian Costello of the NY Post.

The Saints waived Murphy earlier this week.

Murphy, 25, played in 16 games for the Saints between 2015 and 2016 while being used mostly on special teams.

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Bill Cowher on set for the Thursday Night Football before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)
Bill Cowher on set for the Thursday Night Football before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)

Former NFL head coach and current CBS analyst Bill Cowher believes Jets coach Todd Bowles has a tough challenge ahead this season. 

After going 5-11 this year, the Jets have lost key pieces on both sides of the ball, and Cowher says this will only make things harder for New York's third-year head coach. 

"The biggest challenge for Todd is to create a culture of winning because I think until you win the close games, until you win back-to-back, there's constantly going to be that one point in the game where you say, 'Oh boy, here we go again,'" Cowher said, according to Newsday.

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part II...

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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Despite the uncertainty the Jets face this season at many positions, Matt Forte believes this year's team will have better environment in the locker room. 

This offseason, the Jets have seen Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Ryan Fitzpatrick, among others, leave for other teams. 

"It's a detriment to a team if you have guys that are selfish and only want to get their job done for a certain reason instead of the main reason, being for all of us to get our job done to win," Forte said, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

Tags: Matt Forte
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Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Giants safety Duke Ihenacho believes the rival Cowboys completely botched the situation with Lucky Whitehead, who was recently cut and claimed off waivers by the Jets. 

Whitehead, 25, had been involved last week in an apparent case of mistaken identity, where he was initially implicated for shoplifting. Ihenacho took to Twitter to lash out at the Cowboys for getting rid of the innocent player. 

Tags: Dallas Cowboys
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Loud Mouths: Ralph Vacchiano 00:05:05
SNY's NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano joins Loud Mouths to play a round of Boom or Bust on the upcoming NFL season.

 (Brad Rempel)
(Brad Rempel)

The Jets have claimed former Cowboys WR Lucky Whitehead off waivers and cut WR Devin Street, the team announced Wednesday.

Whitehead, 25, had been involved last week in an apparent case of mistaken identity, where he was initially implicated for shoplifting.


Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

On the surface this seems like an odd and unnecessary move for a rebuilding Jets team. Yes, Whitehead was apparently an innocent victim of mistaken identity in his recent "arrest." But the Cowboys decision to cut him anyway for an alleged pattern of bad behavior should raise plenty of red flags...

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part I...

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GEICO SportsNite: Davis on camp 00:01:56
Jets linebacker Demario Davis speaks with Michelle Yu about training camp opening up this weekend.

Jets linebacker Demario Davis speaks with Michelle Yu about training camp opening up this weekend.

Tags: Demario Davis
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 (Orlando Jorge Ramirez)
(Orlando Jorge Ramirez)

Former Chargers G Orlando Franklin had a visit with the Jets today, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

Franklin, 29, was released from the Chargers after they drafted Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney in the second and third rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. 

He signed a five-year, $36.5 million contract with the Chargers in 2015. 

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The word that defined the Jets during the offseason was "rebuilding" - unless, of course, you were Jets GM Mike Maccagnan. To him, it was all about "competition". And with a roster in flux, he certainly has created a lot of that.

Whether that's a good thing remains to be seen, and depends on the talent he has assembled. He will have plenty of training camp position battles to watch, though.

Here's a quick look at the Top 5..

Tags: Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, Buster Skrine, Christian Hackenberg, Jalin Marshall, Juston Burris, Lorenzo Mauldin, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
(Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Even though they didn't pick a wide receiver in the first six rounds, a trio of rookie wideouts made significant contributions for the Jets in 2016. Charone Peake, who was selected in the seventh round, combined with undrafted rookies Robby Anderson and Jalin Marshall to register 75 catches for 935 yards and four touchdowns.

Preseason Stats: Jalin Marshall: 9-94, Charone Peake: 10-103-TD, Robby Anderson: 13-264-3TD.

Tags: Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

It's hard to pick out the most important players on a team that has such low expectations. In the case of the Jets, tomorrow matters more than today, and the most important players now might not be part of their long-term future.

Or to put it another way: Who is more important - Josh McCown or Christian Hackenberg? A resurgence by McCown could cause the Jets to surprise some people. But is that more important than Hackenberg proving whether he can be the Jets' quarterback of the future?

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Demario Davis, Darron Lee

Projected backups: Bruce Carter, Connor Harris

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

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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