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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) talks with New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) following the game at TCF Bank Stadium. (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) talks with New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) following the game at TCF Bank Stadium. (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Ralph Vacchiano, NFL Insider | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It doesn't take much to get fans nervous, and the mysterious hip issue that kept Brandon Marshall out of the lineup. That doesn't appear serious, but it was a reminder that the Jets offense - while potent - is really reliant on Marshall and Eric Decker being available (and good).

There are other weapons, of course. Matt Forte looked terrific on Saturday night in his Jets debut, but he's a 30-year-old running back coming off a hamstring issue, which is reason to worry. Tight end Jace Amaro is still banged up and still hasn't developed into what he was expected to be. And Quincy Enunwa, the third receiver, has been out with a concussion.

The Jets offense will likely be fine, though. It certainly isn't experiencing the issues the Giants are dealing with on the other side of town. Maybe that's why Jets fans have bigger questions about other parts of the roster.

So with that, let's get right to the Jets Q&A.

What's the perceptions/expectations for the Jets through the first 6 games of the year? Seems to be toughest schedule -- @sammydipro

The Jets' schedule, through the first six games, is absolutely brutal. All six teams should be playoff contenders and three or four of them could be considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders. And of those six games - vs. the Bengals, at the Bills, at the Chiefs, vs. the Seahawks, at the Steelers, at the Cardinals - is probably the game in Buffalo in Week 2, but that one is a Thursday night road game so they get a dreaded short week to prepare.

I really like this Jets team and I think there's no reason they can't win 9 or 10 games and compete for a playoff spot. But really, it's all depending on how they survive the opening gauntlet, which by the way includes four games on the road. And really, the first four games might be the most important because if they're 1-3 heading into the last two, at Pittsburgh and at Arizona, they could be on the verge of digging themselves a really big hole.

But all of that is really more of the perception. What is the expectation? For me, I think they'll survive, but not thrive. I believe they'll come out of that stretch 3-3 which will leave them in good position to make a run at a 10-win season. I hate going game by game and predicting wins and losses in the preseason because so much changes from week to week, but the first two games (vs. the Bengals, at Buffalo) certainly seem winnable and then I'll assume they can steal one of the next four.

The good news is that even if they start 2-4 their season is far from over. But remember, they'll still have two games against the Patriots - and Tom Brady - left.

Geno to the Vikings for a conditional late-round pick? Petty bumped up to our #2 and Hack #3. Thoughts? -- @ganggreen82

Normally I just laugh at trade proposals on Twitter, and I'm not suggesting at all that this is likely, but it's far from the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Obviously the Vikings were just dealt a terrible blow with the devastating knee injury suffered by their quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, on Tuesday. Their back up is the 36-year-old Shaun Hill, and while he's not a great option he's certainly a better option than bringing in someone who doesn't know the offense 11 days before the season.

Still, they might want a better option for later in the year so if the Jets have at all soured on Geno Smith they should give the Vikings a call. Now, I don't think the Jets have soured on him. I think they believe he's their best No. 2 option. I also think that, while people around the league like Smith a lot more than Jets fans seem to like him, there are better options for the Vikings. Colin Kaepernick might be available, for one. Or maybe Josh McCown from the Browns or Mike Glennon from the Bucs could be better options.

So it's unlikely. But it's also clear to me that Smith, a free agent after the season, is not in the Jets' future plans. Petty probably isn't ready to play, and that puts the Jets in a tough spot since they think they can make the playoffs and need a viable backup in case Fitzpatrick goes down. But if they think Petty is more ready than everyone else does, it's worth a call to Minnesota to see how much the Vikings would be prepared to give up.

Do you think we bring in another vet WR to compete? Cotchery, Cooper, J Jones? -- @TMinardi_NYG

OK, for the purposes of this question, let's assume Brandon Marshall is going to be healthy and ready for the regular season opener. Because honestly, at the moment, I'm not sure we know that. When he mysteriously was out of the lineup for the Giants game on Saturday night the Jets first said he was just resting, and then came word of his "hip" issue. He hasn't practiced since and likely won't play on Thursday night in Philadelphia and the Jets really haven't said much about Marshall's injury. When asked if there was any concern about it, Bowles said "No there isn't." So I guess, for now, take him at his word.

So if you've got a healthy Marshall and Eric Decker and a presumably healthy Quincy Enunwa in his third receiver-like role, I don't know that the Jets want a veteran. They've got a lot of young receivers they seem to really like, including rookies Jalin Marshall, Robby Anderson and Charone Peake. I think they're OK with guys like that filling out the depth chart.

Also, Jerricho Cotchery (34) and James Jones (32) are getting a little old, and I don't know that Riley Cooper would be much of an upgrade. If Marshall or Enunwa are hurt then anything is possible, but if you assume they're all healthy I think the Jets are good with what they've got.

I am concerned about the offensive line, based on what you see, should I be? Do we need to look elsewhere?? -- @bigghugg1970

It's funny, I get similar questions - albeit with much more of a panicky tone - from Giants fans, and the answer to the second part is the same: There's really nowhere else to look. Teams are not likely to be cutting healthy, affordable, starting-caliber lineman at this stage of camp. Even quality backups are going to be very hard to find.

That said, I wouldn't worry about their line just yet. I actually like the line from center-left - center Nick Mangold, left guard James Carpenter, left tackle Ryan Clady. I think Brian Winters can be OK at right guard, too. I'm not sure yet what to make of the battle between Ben Ijalana and Brent Qvale for the right tackle spot, especially since it sure sounded last week like starter Breno Giacomini (back) was headed for the regular-season Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. That might be the weak spot and the Jets have said they'll keep their eyes open for an upgrade.

But again, look where? Guys that are cut now are either done or have injury issues. If they were ready to start they wouldn't find themselves on the waiver wire. There are always exceptions, of course, and maybe the Jets will get lucky. But most likely, as with the Giants' line, what you see is what you'll likely get.

Thoughts on the Jets secondary .. is this a better unit than 15? -- @realsportsporn

The answer to that is probably the answer to this: Is Darrelle Revis going to look more like the old Darrelle Revis this year?

Because really, the secondary is mostly the same, with the exception of Buster Skrine replacing Antonio Cromartie. The younger Skrine getting more playing time is a good thing for the secondary and it should automatically improve them. But there are a lot of scouts and observers who think Revis had a down year last year (down for him, of course … still pretty good for a lot of other corners).

If he's even close to his old self, at age 31, then yes, the secondary should be better. Also, the defensive front has looked impressive and a great pass rush does wonders for a secondary, too. But the key is Revis and despite what some think happened last year I have seen nothing that leads me to believe he's on a big decline at all.

Oh, and don't forget to bookmark for all the Jets coverage you'll need this season. Also, you should follow me on Twitter (@RVacchianoSNY) and Facebook (, too.

Tags: Geno Smith , Ralph Vacchiano

New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty throws the ball in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty throws the ball in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)

The two young guys will be under center for the New York Jets' preseason finale.

Coach Todd Bowles announced that "probably" both second-year quarterback Bryce Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg will play against Philadelphia on Thursday night, with backup Geno Smith sitting out.

Bowles had said on Monday that he wasn't sure if Smith would also play, but ultimately decided he wanted to give the inexperienced quarterbacks game action. Smith, a former starter for the Jets, is expected to back up Ryan Fitzpatrick for the second consecutive season.

"I'd like to see more of the other two guys," Bowles said during a conference call Tuesday. "Playing Geno would hinder that chance, so I wanted to see the other two guys play a full amount of time. This should be a perfect opportunity to do it."

The coach had not yet determined if both Petty, a fourth-rounder last year, and Hackenberg, a second-rounder this year, will each play a half.

"I'll try to even it out," Bowles said. "I want to see who is kind of running the ball more. I'd like to get them a couple of passes in, but I'll try to even it out as best I can."

The Jets have entertained the idea of going into the regular season with four quarterbacks on their roster, something that is not very common because of the restrictions of having only 53 players in the regular season.

But both Fitzpatrick and Smith are likely to become free agents after this season, and Petty and Hackenberg are considered projects who need some time to develop.

"All four are good football players," Bowles said. "We can keep all four. It's just a matter of battling with the other positions, so that's still up for grabs and we'll have to wait until after this game to see how that plays out." >> Read more

Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press

Tags: Bryce Petty , Christian Hackenberg , Geno Smith , Ryan Fitzpatrick

Todd Bowles will have to have the Jets roster down to 75 by Tuesday and 53 by Saturday. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
Todd Bowles will have to have the Jets roster down to 75 by Tuesday and 53 by Saturday. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)

Latest Update (Aug. 30)

The Jets have reduced their roster to 75 players on Tuesday by waiving/injured S Dion Bailey, DL Jake Ceresna, and RB Romar Morris, the team announced.

Previous Reports and Reaction

Aug. 28: The Jets have cut 11 players ahead of the NFL's Tuesday deadline, when teams must be down to 75 players.

The Jets also placed WR Devin Smith on the PUP list, so he will be out for at least the first six weeks of the season. Smith is recovering from knee surgery after tearing the ACL in his right knee at the end of last season. Tackle Breno Giacomini remains on the active/PUP list, so he can still be activated or placed on the reserve/PUP like Smith before final cuts.

The Jets 11 cuts: K Ross Martin, OL Jesse Davis, C Kyle Friend, G Jarvis Harrison, LB Deion Barnes, DT Shelby Harris, DE Helva Matungul, RB Lache Seastrunk, RB Terry Williams, TE Jason Vander Laan, and WR Kyle Williams.

NFL teams must be down to 53 by next Saturday.

Brian Bassett, Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

There's no real surprises but it seems the Jets want to give Ross Martin the best shot to latch on with another team after his 55-yard field goal last night. Jarvis Harrison was a fifth-rounder for the Jets in GM Mike Maccagan's first season and he might have run out of opportunities with the Jets if they are cutting him now.

Seastrunk was a sixth-rounder by Washington in 2014 and he has bounced around since he was cut in camp that year. While he was a possibility as a returner or "home run threat" it seems Antone Smith has been healthy and contributed enough that he might get to state his case against Khiry Robinson for the third RB spot on this roster.

Of course, 2015 second-rounder Devin Smith is still recovering and will (again) miss the start of the season due to injury. While Devin Smth has a mouth-watering skillet, he is quickly falling behind the likes of Robby Anderson and Jalin Marshall.

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles spoke to the media on Monday in advance of the team's preseason finale on Thursday. He said:

  • He does not have a set timetable for when LB David Harris, who suffered a "bad bruise" on his right shoulder in Saturday's preseason game against the New York Giants, will be ready to return to the field.
  • He believes the competition at right tackle between Brent Qvale and Ben Ijalana is "even right now." Both are expected to play on Thursday.
  • The team has not yet named a starter at outside linebacker.
  • He does not think rookie LB Jordan Jenkins will play on Thursday due to a calf injury.
  • He has not decided whether or not the Jets will play two or three quarterbacks on Thursday.
  • Cornerback Dee Milliner did not practice due to a sore hamstring. Linebacker Bruce Carter did not practice due to a sore shoulder.
  • Wide receivers Quincy Enunwa and Kenbrell Thompkins, who did not play Saturday due to a concussion and groin injury, respectively, both practiced on Monday. 
  • Cornerback Dexter McDougle is battling a hamstring injury. 
  • He thought rookie QB Christian Hackenberg handled his preseason debut "pretty good" after throwing for 105 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 6-for-16 passing.
Tags: Ben Ijalana , Brent Qvale , Christian Hackenberg , David Harris , Dee Milliner , Dexter McDougle , Jordan Jenkins , Quincy Enunwa

Corey Griffin returns to Brian Bassett and the podcast, for a complete look at the Jets preseason so far - including the state of the four quarterbacks, the defensive line, the secondary, and how the roster is shaping up.

 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

The Jets have had discussions with other teams about trading Geno Smith or Bryce Petty, reports Manish Mehta of the Daily News.

Mehta notes that there is "soft interest" in Smith around the league and that the calls the Jets have taken are part of a routine process in advance of final cuts.

Smith served as the primary backup for starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick during Saturday night's preseason game against the Giants.

The Jets have suggested they could potentially carry four quarterbacks, including rookie Christian Hackenberg.

Bent, Follow on Twitter

I'm sure anything going on behind the scenes could be classed as "due diligence" at this stage. For now, the main immediate priority is complying with the roster rules while still ensuring you have enough bodies for Thursday night when starters will be resting.

In terms of whether or not Geno Smith (or any of the other quarterbacks) have any trade value, that's an interesting question. But the Jets' reluctance to give Bryce Petty any reps against starter-level opposition suggests that they'll ride with Smith for now.

There may be some other veterans the Jets could benefit from trading, albeit more in terms of financial savings than what they would receive in exchange for the player.

Players like Dee Milliner or Jarvis Jenkins could theoretically be seen as surplus to requirements, but not cuttable because of guaranteed money. The Jets might consider making a cap-saving on a player like that if it wasn't too damaging to their overall depth.

Brian Bassett, Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

There are teams with real quarterback needs that are more glaring than just a week ago. Dallas is the most obvious one, with Tony Romo likely to miss at least the first six weeks of the season. San Francisco is another with the way the whole Colin Kaepernick saga has unfolded.

Beyond that, Denver might have just named their starter but I don't expect Trevor Siemian to play 16 games. Cleveland is holding fast to Josh McCown, but do they want to? Indianapolis crumbled last season without Andrew Luck and they've done little to upgrade their line in front of Luck or the backups behind him.

So there are obviously teams that could benefit from adding another quarterback to their roster. But will a team be willing to trade for an uninspiring player like Geno Smith or a very raw Bryce Petty?

Nothing is impossible, but other teams might be more likely to take their chances to see who becomes available through the cutdown process. If I was an opposing GM, I'd be willing to wait out teams like the Jets, Dolphins, and Browns, who have all been making noise about holding four quarterbacks.

Tags: Bryce Petty , Geno Smith , Brian Bassett

 (Reinhold Matay)
(Reinhold Matay)

Every year, teams have to let some players go. Even though the Jets did bring back some of their free agents (Zach Sudfeld, Ben Ijalana, Bilal Powell, Kenbrell Thompkins, Kellen Davis, Erin Henderson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Muhammad Wilkerson), they chose not to bring everyone back.

We're keeping track of anyone from the Jets' 2015 regular season roster, injured reserve list or practice squad who have since signed with another NFL team, along with anyone that had been on the 2016 roster at any point.

Today, we look at how each player fared in their team's third preseason game.

DB Antonio Allen - Houston

Allen didn't play much off the bench in the third game and didn't register any statistics. It's possible he's on the bubble, as the Texans have some good secondary depth.

OL Oday Aboushi - Houston

Aboushi came off the bench at right guard again and did a solid job, surrendering no pressure. Over the course of the preseason, he's comfortably grading out as Houston's best offensive lineman, although he hasn't played with or against starters. He's on the bubble for a reserve role.

WR Quenton Bundrage - Houston

Bundrage didn't have any targets in the first two games, but finally got his first one on the only route he ran in Sunday night's game. It didn't go well, as he went low to try and make a diving catch and served only to tip the ball up for a defender to intercept. At least he made the tackle, though.

OL Sean Hickey - Minnesota

Hickey played in week one, but rode the bench for the second game in a row on Sunday night. He'll be fortunate to make it through the first wave of cuts so he can play in the last game.

RB Chris Ivory - Jacksonville

Ivory didn't have much success as he once again came off the bench to spell TJ Yeldon. His four carries generated just four yards, with three short gains and a loss. He also caught one pass for a gain of six out to the flat.

RB/WR/KR Shane Wynn - Jacksonville

Wynn played just three snaps on offense, but got a chance to field two punts. One was a fair catch, but the other saw him get to the outside with good speed for a 20-yard run-back.

P Ryan Quigley - Jacksonville

Quigley has been in a battle with the incumbent Brad Nortman for the Jags' punter role and this week got all the reps. While that sounds like good news for him, it's apparently just a sign that they've decided to retain their kicker and punter, but were good enough to give the reserves one last chance to showcase themselves before being cut.

Quigley had a couple of punts with 50-yard nets and an excellent punt downed at the two-yard line. However, he also had a 25-yard shank and allowed 18 and 39 yard returns, missing a tackle on the latter.

DT TJ Barnes - Jacksonville

In limited action, the preseason is a chance for a player like Barnes to flash on film. He did exactly that, exploding into the backfield to blow up a runner for a seven-yard loss. He was into the backfield so fast, he almost tackled the quarterback before the hand-off. While this was his only significant contribution, he has been consistent since arriving in Jacksonville, and a play like that should encourage them to give him a longer look on Thursday night.

DL Quinton Coples - Los Angeles

Coples did a reasonable job this week, but was quiet statistically in a low-scoring loss to Denver. He was credited with one pressure and was in on one tackle this week.

CB Jeremy Harris - Washington

After a rough game against Robby Anderson last week, Harris did not receive any playing time in the third preseason game and has since been released. Another former Jet, DaShaun Phillips is in the mix for the main slot cornerback role.

NT Damon Harrison - New York Giants

Harrison made his mark against his former teammates, stunting around the blind side to record a strip-sack. He was also credited with seven tackles, beating a James Carpenter block to stuff a run for no gain on one of his best plays. He's definitely had a positive effect on the Giants' run defense, which held the Jets to well under three yards per carry.

K Randy Bullock - New York Giants

Bullock joined the Giants last week, with a good chance of being on the opening day roster. Current placekicker Josh Brown will start the season on the suspended list. Bullock had two touchbacks and connected on an extra point against the Jets. It was Brown who kicked the extra point that provided the final margin

CB Antonio Cromartie - Indianapolis

Cromartie finally landed with a team when the Colts signed him last week. He did not receive any playing time in his first game with the team.

RB Stevan Ridley - Indianapolis

After an underwhelming first two games, Ridley was released by the Lions last week. He signed with the Colts on Sunday and will presumably audition for them on Thursday night.

LB Demario Davis - Cleveland

Davis continued a solid preseason with the Browns, recording five tackles, including one for a loss. He wasn't perfect -- Mike Evans beat him for the 16-yard catch on a crossing route and he also missed a tackle, but he made a couple of nice plays against the run, including one on the backfield on third and short. He also made a nice open field tackle in coverage and had a quarterback hit as he came unblocked on a blitz.

TE Jeff Cumberland - San Diego

As expected, the Chargers confirmed that Cumberland's Achilles injury last week will end his season and placed him on injured reserve.

CB Darrin Walls - Detroit

Walls came off the bench but didn't have a great day. In the first half, he was beaten for a touchdown as you can see below. He also gave up a first down on a diving catch in front of him and an eight-yard catch on a comebacker, after which he missed the tackle.

He was credited with two tackles, including one where he came up fast to tackle the receiver for no gain in the flat. In all, he gave up four catches on five targets.

WR Jeremy Kerley - San Francisco

Kerley, who had made some good plays on third down so far in the preseason, did not play on offense or special teams in the Lions' third game. The reason became apparent on Sunday, as it was announced that he had been traded to the 49ers for offensive lineman Brandon Thomas -- a 2014 third round pick who hasn't seen any action on offense in the NFL yet.

DL Quanterus Smith - Detroit

Smith, who had an excellent first game, once again barely played this week. He has only been in on 10 snaps over the past two games. He might be a practice squad candidate, though.

OL Luke Marquardt - Detroit

Marquardt continues to make his own case for a practice squad spot, although he gave up a late sack in this game. Rookie Victor Ochi blew past him on the outside to get to the quarterback easily.

DL Lawrence Okoye - Dallas

Okoye finally got some playing time in the second half, after having been injured for the first two games. He made a good impression with some excellent penetration against the run to blow up two plays and a game-clinching sack as he pursued the quarterback out of bounds on fourth down.

His explosiveness and lateral athleticism are impressive both at end and tackle, but he allowed himself to be driven off the line on one play. Despite this, Okoye graded out as one of the best Cowboys players in the game.

DL Leger Douzable - Buffalo

Douzable got the call early in the first quarter, so he's obviously in the mix for a rotational role after a good preseason campaign so far. He made one good play, penetrating and shedding a block to stop the running back for no gain.

LB Jamari Lattimore - Buffalo

Lattimore didn't play much but at least he recorded his first tackles of the preseason. His best play saw him make a good read to get in on a run-stuff in the hole. Another tackle came downfield on a 10-yard run.

WR/KR Walt Powell - Buffalo

Powell had his third good performance of the preseason, but doesn't seem to be climbing the depth chart much because he only played in the second half. As a return man, the Bills seem to have their hearts set on Reggie Bush, who hasn't done much yet, whereas Powell had 36 and 16 -ard punt returns in this game.

Powell also caught five passes for 55 yards, although only two of those were first downs. After his catch down to the seven yard line with 30 seconds left, the Bills had a chance to win and looked for him twice, but the first one was broken up and the other one was intercepted.

DL Jordan Williams - Miami

Williams again did a solid job down the stretch with the Dolphins' third unit. He almost sealed the win when he fell on a fumble, but it squirted loose and went out of bounds. However, on the next play, he rocked the right tackle back and pressured the quarterback on an inside move, leading to a fourth-down completion shy of the marker. He had one other pressure, but did not record any tackles.

TE Jerome Cunningham - Tennessee

Cunningham didn't play much this week and the only thing he did of note was to get flagged for a false start. Even though they are weak at the position, I doubt the Jets regret not giving him a longer look.

ST Coordinator Bobby April - Tennessee

Tennessee's special teams unit has been a non-factor throughout the preseason. Obviously, that's better than last year, where they were a persistent negative factor. However, it's not better than this year, where the Jets' special teams unit seems set to be a strong asset.

Unrestricted Free Agents still unsigned: OL Willie Colon, OLB Calvin Pace, WR Chris Owusu

This list is supposed to be exhaustive, but if you spot any omissions or inaccuracies, please let us know in the comments.

New York Jets inside linebacker David Harris (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets inside linebacker David Harris (William Hauser/USA Today Sports Images)

New York Jets linebacker David Harris is expected to play in the team's season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 11 after leaving Saturday's preseason game with a shoulder injury, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Harris, who underwent X-rays on Saturday and an MRI on Sunday, suffered a bruised shoulder that will likely take two weeks to heal, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Harris sustained the injury on the final play from scrimmage in the first half, according to Cimini. He was buried under a pile on a run play and was immediately taken to the locker room.

"We definitely don't want to lose Dave," cornerback Buster Skrine said, according to Cimini. "That's our defensive leader."

Harris, 32, will not play in the team's preseason finale against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday. He has played in all 16 games in eight of his nine seasons with the Jets. He recorded 108 combined tackles and 4 1/2 sacks last season.

Tags: Buster Skrine , David Harris

Darrelle Revis returns an interception against the Giants Saturday. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Darrelle Revis returns an interception against the Giants Saturday. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, Follow on Twitter

BGA is back...and this time it's preseasonal (again)!

Coming up, part two of your two-part breakdown of Saturday's preseason game against the Giants, focusing on the defense and special teams, including our first look at the defense at full strength, some struggling backups at the cornerback position and what the special teams rotations tell us about the roster chances for certain players.

Defensive Line

Last week, I was concerned that Muhammad Wilkerson might be rusty once the season begins. However, he looked to be in midseason form, getting in on four stops in the backfield and adding a quarterback hit. The knock-on effect of having their best player back in the fold was felt immediately elsewhere too.

Steve McLendon seemed to generate constant penetration as he stuffed two runs and recorded a pressure. Other than jumping offside once, it was an excellent performance and a step up from last week.

Leonard Williams also penetrated well and getting in on a bunch of tackles near the line. He had one pressure, forcing a throw-away.

Sheldon Richardson also had his best game so far, even though he didn't generate any statistics. He redirected two runs with penetration on the edge and helped contain a runner in the opefield on a third down stop. He almost added a sack, but the quarterback was able to escape.

The starting defense played for the whole first half, holding the Giants to 47 yards. They ended up with 163, so they enjoyed more success later on.

Six backups saw time and, while they didn't generate much pressure, a few of them did a good job of collapsing the pocket, notably Jarvis Jenkins and Tarow Barney.

Barney had two penalties though, one as he jumped offside and another as he was flagged for roughing due to inadvertent contact with the quarterback's helmet.

Shelby Harris had a hit on the quarterback and got upfield well to force a run wide. He also continues to impress with his effort in pursuit. Claude Pelon got into the backfield a couple of times, too.

Deon Simon and Helva Matungulu did not play much or make much of an impact. Mantungulu was released Sunday and Simon will presumably get a lot more work on Thursday night. Undrafted rookie Lawrence Thomas and recent signing Jake Ceresna did not play. Thomas has been injured.

Outside Linebackers

With Wilkerson back, the Jets reverted to mostly four-man fronts for Saturday, which meant there were fewer outside linebacker reps to go around. Mike Catapano got the start as the strongside outside linebacker, but it was primarily Wilkerson and Richardson playing on the edge of the line with McLendon and Williams inside.

Catapano had a couple of pressures and did a good job of stretching out an outside run to the sideline, although he appeared to hurt his hand on one play. Lorenzo Mauldin made a couple of plays, with a tackle for loss and one pressure, but he was driven off the line once and got caught inside on an end-around that gained good yardage.

The main back-ups - Freddie Bishop and Josh Martin - didn't make a major impact but Bishop had a potential coverage sack negated by a penalty and Martin made a couple of good plays against the run on the edge. Jordan Jenkins sat out because of his sore calf while Deion Barnes and Trevor Reilly only got into the game right near the end. Reilly was in on a run stop, while Barnes (also released Sunday) had a pressure and a missed tackle in the backfield on two plays where he was unblocked.

Barnes was on the practice squad all season last year and called the most improved player on offense or defense this offseason by assistant head coach Mike Caldwell.

Inside Linebackers

The major concern following this game was for the health of David Harris, who went down clutching his collarbone having made a tackle on the last defensive snap of the first half. He's getting an MRI on his shoulder Sunday, having reportedly left the stadium with his arm in a sling. If Harris misses any time, the Jets don't have a lot of time to prepare for life without him.

Erin Henderson would presumably remain in the starting line-up, but it's worth noting that Henderson hasn't played with Darron Lee at all in preseason and has only played two snaps with Bruce Carter.

It would pose a dilemma as to whether they would risk losing a second starter by playing Henderson against the Eagles on Thursday in order to get him some reps with a new interior partner. Hopefully, the Harris injury is not too serious, because he looked good with the defensive line cleaning things up ahead of him.

Harris made two third-down stops to force punts and a couple of open field tackles for loss on the outside. Lee didn't play much and had a quiet game, other than giving up a third down conversion in coverage.

Henderson made a good tackle for loss in the hole, but gave up a first down on a swing pass. Carter did not receive any defensive reps. Taiwan Jones and Julian Stanford played the whole second half together, with differing fortunes. Stanford was making plays in the running game, as a pass rusher and in coverage, while Jones had a couple of missed tackles in the open field. He had a pressure and a run stuff though.


Darrelle Revis continues to look good. Not only did he intercept a pass that Odell Beckham made little effort to catch with Calvin Pryor lurking, but he also made a tremendous open field tackle in the flat to deny the Giants a first down.

Buster Skrine seems to have the other cornerback slot locked up. He wasn't really tested with one deep ball to Victor Cruz overthrown as he had safety support and good positioning on a screen pass that was botched by the Giants anyway.

Marcus Williams looks set to be the nickel back for the time being - albeit with Skrine reverting to the slot. He was targeted on one pass for a short gain.

The Giants won the game thanks to Tavarres King, who beat Dee Milliner and Doug Middleton for touchdowns. However, was Darryl Morris actually the player more at fault on both of these plays?

The Jets appeared to be playing quarters coverage on the first touchdown and Milliner bit on the corner route, presumably anticipating support from the inside. Morris didn't run with the receiver on the crossing route in front of him, so he may have been responsible for the throw down the seam, in which case he should have dropped deeper.

The other touchdown was similar, as King ran a whip-out in between him and Middleton and Morris reacted late, then over-pursued to allow him to take it to the house. It's impossible to determine who was at fault here, but either way, it seems evident that Morris - who had been impressive in man-to-man coverage so far - perhaps feels less comfortable with zone assignments and therefore plays tentatively in those situations as a result.

Giving up the touchdown ruined an otherwise encouraging performance by Milliner, who broke up two passes nicely on the outside, although he was perhaps too far off his man on one other incompletion.

It's obvious the Jets like Juston Burris and he saw some time against the Giants starters as they continue to look to develop and evaluate him. To look at his numbers - two catches for 27 yards on six targets - you'd think he fared pretty well, but actually he was fortunate because he was burned a few times on incompletions due to bad throws and once when the receiver slipped. He also gave up one 20-yard gain on a play where he was over-aggressive and missed the tackle. Burris had a good pass break-up in the end zone, but even on that play he was lucky not to get flagged and the receiver still almost came up with the ball.

Kevin Short was unsuccessfully targeted twice, once on a pass that was dropped and also on a deep ball to the end zone that the receiver caught well out of bounds. Dexter McDougle and Bryson Keeton did not play. Safeties At safety, Pryor led the Jets with six tackles, getting in on a couple of stops near the line, making a couple of plays in coverage and showing good discipline to make a clean hit for this sack.

Alongside Pryor, Marcus Gilchrist almost came up with an interception and was constantly in position. He's been quietly efficient all preseason.

Off the bench, Rontez Miles once again stood out, making a couple of stops near the line. Ronald Martin was similarly quiet to Gilchrist, but made no mistakes. Middleton, aside from being involved in the winning touchdown, made a couple of stops near the line, but also gambled and missed going for an interception, leading to a big gain. Dion Bailey has been injured and did not play.

Special Teams

As we've discussed before, Carter has a knack for blocking kicks and that alone almost justifies him having a roster spot. Since he received zero defensive snaps, I wonder if they're prepping him for a special teams-only role. He blocked his first punt last night, but hopefully more will follow. It has to be noted, though, that had he not blocked it, Miles probably would have instead.

Miles was everywhere, credited with three special teams tackles and nearly making a couple more. He's really emerging as a leader on this unit. I'd already pointed out the likes of Stanford, both Martins and Morris as players whose special teams contributions perhaps give them an edge over other players they are fighting for a spot with. These players continue to get work with the primary coverage units and it does seem like the team is planning to retain most, if not all of them.

Morris is behind Burris and Milliner in terms of his spot in the cornerback rotation. However, if he's contributing on special teams, then he would perhaps be active ahead of one or other of them on gameday. Morris had mixed results this week on special teams, in addition to an uncertain performance defensively, though.

The drop-off to Milliner and Burris on special teams is noticeable though. Milliner had one tackle, but overpursued once and got beaten in the vice role. Burris made one good block but had a missed tackle and a missed block.

There's a similar situation with Charone Peake. He's been in the mix for a roster spot based on his pass catching, but as he doesn't contribute to the return game, he needs to impress on special teams. However, while he kept getting down there well, he didn't do a good job of finishing and also had a missed block. He did draw a block-in-the-back penalty though.

Speaking of blocking, Middleton was one player who impressed with his effort in the return game. He made a couple of excellent blocks. Stanford and Josh Martin, also known for their blocking, instead both contributed with good special teams tackles in coverage.

In the return game, Chandler Worthy got an opportunity when Jeremy Ross was got dinged and made the most of it with the longest return of the day. Ross had a 28-yarder of his own earlier on though, albeit when taking a bit of a risk when fielding the ball.

It's interesting that Ross was out there first, even though Jalin Marshall started on offense. Perhaps more telling though, is the fact that Marshall was out of the game sooner, while Ross was sent back out there for more return work. Marshall got some work as a gunner too, but was flagged for running out of bounds. Brandon Bostick also had a penalty on special teams.

Ross Martin impressively made a 55-yard field goal, but it was for naught a the Jets released him Sunday. Nick Folk has been mistake-free though preseason.

Finally, punt coverage wasn't great this week, as Lachlan Edwards boomed the ball downfield pretty consistently, but did give the return man some room to run a couple of times, surrendering two returns of over 20 yards. He landed one nicely inside the five though.

That's it for this week's BGA. We'll have an Expendables update for you in a day or two. If you have any questions or suggestions for me, leave them in the comments and I'll get round to them when I can.


New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) looks to pass against the New York Giants during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) looks to pass against the New York Giants during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)

BGA is back...and this time it's preseasonal (again)!

Coming up, part one of your breakdown of last night's preseason game, focusing on the offense including a long awaited rookie debut, more interesting developments in the battle at the wide receiver positions and some struggles at tackle, but perhaps not on the side you'd expect.


While Ryan Fitzpatrick and the success of the first team offense was of the utmost importance, that took a bit of a back seat to the performance of the back-ups. On the basis of this performance, Fitzpatrick is still pretty rusty and not quite on the same page as all of his receivers, but - without Brandon Marshall, Jace Amaro and Quincy Enunwa in uniform - he still put together a competent performance and left with a 7-0 lead after a perfect back shoulder throw for a touchdown to Eric Decker.

Fitzpatrick completed 9-of-16 passes, but missed the open man a handful of times. One early throw under pressure was almost intercepted as he wasn't on the same page with Decker and he also lost of fumble on a play where he probably held the ball for longer than he should have.

Hopefully the Jets will look a bit sharper when they're at full strength as the season gets underway, but let's describe the performance as adequate and move on to over-analyze the back-ups - even though if all goes to plan they won't be a factor in the team's success this season.

Geno Smith and Bryce Petty only led one scoring drive between them - with that being an 11-yard drive authored by Petty that ended with a long field goal. Then rookie Christian Hackenberg came off the bench much earlier than expected, aired it out a lot more than expected and for the most part was more successful than expected. Hackenberg led the Jets on one scoring drive for a touchdown and then was the beneficiary of good field position as the Jets went three and out after a long punt return and tacked on a field goal. Unfortunately, the feel-good story was ruined when he threw a bad interception that led to the game-winning touchdown.

For Smith, the most disappointing factor in his performance will be was that it was so short. He saw action on just two series, with the team picking up one first down but then being forced to punt each time. Smith completed three of his five passes, with one of those initially being called incomplete before the booth upheld a Todd Bowles challenge. That was his only first down completion.

The Jets won't see a defensive unit comprised of starters until opening day now, so I'm left to conclude that the decision to retain Smith as the number two has been decided. With Petty still yet to face starters, it seems unlikely they would risk him as the number two unless it was just for a game or two as they were forced to when Smith was injured last September. And if there was any danger of Petty or Hackenberg being so impressive that they could elevate themselves over Smith, that's likely gone now, as both made the kind of mistakes you'd expect from a young player.

Petty looked sharp and confident early, but his accuracy wasn't very good early on. He seemed to settle down, making a good throw on the run and then calling an audible to make a good throw down the middle. However, he then cost the Jets the lead by throwing a pick-six. On that play, the defensive end made an amazing play and Petty was under duress. However, he still rushed and forced the throw into a dangerous area and those are the sorts of mistakes that can cost you games at the NFL level. That's not to say that Smith hasn't made the same mistakes at times in the past, but his larger body of work will give the coaching staff more confidence that it won't be a consistent issue with him. They don't know that with Petty yet.

As for Hackenberg, most people figured he might get a series of two at best before seeing more time in next week's Bollinger Bowl. Instead, he actually got a chance for a more extended outing, recapturing the lead before making an elementary error and not seeing the defensive tackle dropping into coverage. This led to a forced throw being tipped up for an interception.

Prior to that, Hackenberg overcame a shaky start with two missed throws and a delay of game to hit his stride. He connected on two throws down the middle, a long out and a touchdown pass on a fade route. With expectations successfully tempered by Jets management, any success Hackenberg was going to enjoy would be well received, but it was encouraging to see him put together such an impressive string of throws.  

It's obvious he needs some fine-tuning, but he needed to show some of his raw talent for fans wondering why he was drafted so high and he did that. Strangely enough, he struggled on short passes, otherwise his numbers (6-for-16) would have been more acceptable. It will be fascinating to see how far he can progress over the next 12 months.

Running backs and full backs

The Jets finally have some healthy backs and they worked them hard last night, with not much success. On 30 carries, five backs combined for just 79 yards.

Our first look at Matt Forté saw his best moment coming on a first down catch out of the slot. He was able to get to the outside a couple of times and make some yardage up the middle, but you'd have to optimistically call it a tune-up for him, rather than the kind of outing that will have rival teams trembling at the possibilities.

Bilal Powell had another consistent performance, with 34 yards on seven touches. He picked up a first down on a short-yardage conversion, but was twice tackled in the open field short of the marker on third down.

New signing Antone Smith was the third back into the game and showed good burst on a first down run. They tried to involve him in the passing game, but he dropped two and had one play where he should have picked up a third down conversion but was tackled short of the marker. He made one nice catch, though.

Terry Williams made his NFL debut late in the game and almost fumbled on his first touch near his own goal line. Then on the next play, he looked set to bounce it outside for a nice gain, but tripped over in the open field. I could see him getting a lot of work next week, though, so he'll be glad to have got his feet wet at this level.

At full back, Tommy Bohanon had a couple of bad missed blocks in pass protection and wasn't ready for Petty's early pass on the pick-six. His back-up Julian Howsare saw some time, but it's clear the team still views Bohanon as ahead.

Lache Seastrunk and Khiry Robinson did not play.  

Receivers and tight ends

As with the quarterback position, the starters are obviously more important to the success of the team this year, but all the intrigue comes from the back-ups.

With Marshall and Enunwa out, Decker found himself in the rare situation of being the primary target and Fitzpatrick didn't have much success in finding him early, although he got open a few times. They eventually hooked up on the touchdown connection, though.

Robby Anderson and Jalin Marshall both were in the starting line-up with Anderson once again leading the team in receiving. However, Marshall had success in the first half, while Anderson did all his damage later on. In terms of producing against starter-level talent, it seems than Marshall is closer to NFL-ready, while Anderson might be more of a roster stash to develop into a future contributor in the early stages of his career.

Marshall took on Enunwa's role in the offense, motioning to the edge of the line and into the backfield at times and delivering a couple of first downs on a slant and an out route. However, he continues to make errors too, fumbling out of bounds as he tried to make something happen in the open field and dropping an underneath pass. He made one good block from the edge.

Anderson almost made a couple of plays in the first half, but perhaps doesn't have the same familiarity with Fitzpatrick as Marshall, who has been receiving first team reps all throughout camp. In the second half, he made four catches for 65 yards, including the touchdown from Hackenberg. He definitely looks like a keeper - especially since Jason La Canfora reports that other teams may be interested in him.

Rookie Charone Peake has also had a good camp and got into the game early here but seems to be slightly behind the other two rookies. He made a good catch downfield, but had another one broken up as he seemed to be out-physicalled at the point of the catch.  

Once again, Kenbrell Thompkins and Kyle Williams did not play and it's difficult to see how the team will be able to find room for them with the rookies continuing to make a strong case for being retained. The veteran with the best chance of taking one of those spots is probably Jeremy Ross. Most of his contributions will continue to be on special teams, but he made a tough catch over the middle, holding on despite a big hit. He did not return after that play though, so we need to wait for updates because an injury at this stage will hurt his chances.  

Chandler Worthy made the most of an opportunity to get in the game in place of Ross, making one first down catch and a good downfield block. He failed to come up with a low grab from Hackenberg, though.

At tight end, Kellen Davis got the start again, but remains a non-factor in the passing game. He had one missed block.  Zach Sudfeld was more of a factor, with three catches for 32 yards but he struggled as a blocker. Third-stringer Brandon Bostick made a first down catch-and-run, but he continues to struggle as a blocker too.  Wes Saxton got into the game late but the only time he was targeted was on Hackenberg's interception.

Jason Vander Laan didn't get any offensive snaps.  

Offensive Linemen

The Jets' offensive line was as close to full strength as it's been all preseason, with four of the projected starters out there and Ben Ijalana and Brent Qvale splitting time at right tackle. Qvale got the start again, but perhaps a time-share is the approach they'll take if Breno Giacomini can't go on opening day, as seems likely.

Ijalana left the field after appearing to hurt his arm, but Bowles wasn't concerned about an injury after the game. While he was out there, Ijalana held up pretty well. Qvale just about managed to protect the quarterback, although he seemed to struggle to do so cleanly on a number of occasions. He was also stood up on a running play, forcing the runner to redirect.

With all the concern at right tackle, it was the left tackle position where there was some cause for concern this week. This was a good test for Ryan Clady, who was tasked with blocking Olivier Vernon, and was beaten a few times. He was also responsible for a strip-sack, as Damon Harrison stunted underneath and he reacted late. However, the main blame on that play goes to Brian Winters, who was driven back and thrown on the floor by Jonathan Hankins and Fitzpatrick for pulling the ball back in instead of getting rid of it, as you can see:

The rest of the line was, perhaps understandably, not quite in sync, both in the running game and dealing with stunts in pass protection. Nick Mangold and James Carpenter each made a couple of nice run blocks but also had a couple of mistakes. Unfortunately, the much anticipated Mangold-Harrison match-up never really materialized, as the few plays Snacks did make came when he was blocked by someone else.

On the second unit, rookie Brandon Shell got one drive against Vernon because the Giants starters stayed in the game for longer than the Jets' did and managed to do a good job on him on two protections. Overall, Shell held up really well in protection until right at the end of the game where he was badly beaten on consecutive plays for a hit and a pressure that caused a Hackenberg fumble. Shell had mixed results in the running game, but has been quietly impressive on the whole.

In terms of the back-ups, there may still be roles available to be won next week. Pretty much everyone has had positives and negatives so far.  

Dakota Dozier, the second team left guard, did a good job of anchoring in pass protection, but made some mistakes in the running game, including one that led to a run being blown up for a loss.  

Wesley Johnson, the back-up center having started last week, did a good job at the point of attack in the running game. However, he had one bad snap and he and Craig Watts seemed to get their wires crossed on a stunt that led to a sack. Watts also allowed his man to get off his block to stuff a run.

Mike Liedtke had mixed results in the running game but held up pretty well in protection at right guard. Also off the bench, Jesse Davis and Kyle Friend saw action after not playing last week. Friend had one low snap, but made one aggressive block at the point of attack. Davis allowed his man to stuff a running play on a couple of plays.

Finally, Jarvis Harrison was perhaps more consistent than he's been so far this preseason and had one good edge-setting block, but still looked bad on a couple of plays, leading to pressure and a couple of runs being blown up.

Next up…Moving on to the defense where Muhammad Wilkerson's return has us wondering just how good the defense can be, but an injury to a key player could threaten to spoil everything.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg

GEICO SportsNite: Bowles on loss 00:02:07
GEICO SportsNite: Jets head coach Todd Bowles discusses his team's close preseason loss to the New York Giants.

Box score

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.-- Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a touchdown pass to Eric Decker and the Jets' defense stifled Eli Manning and the Giants' starters in a 21-20 preseason loss Saturday night.

Both teams' first-string offenses did very little in the last regular-season tuneup for most starters, but Fitzpatrick connected with Decker for a 22-yard score three plays after Darrelle Revis intercepted Manning in Giants territory in the second quarter.

Fitzpatrick finished 9 of 16 for 76 yards with the score and lost a fumble before being replaced by Geno Smith just before halftime.

Manning was 10 of 15 for 65 yards and an interception while playing one series into the third quarter. The Giants' starters managed just 61 total yards against Todd Bowles' defense.

The Giants ran back one interception for a touchdown and converted another pick into the winning touchdown

Kerry Wynn ran an interception of Bryce Petty 73 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, and Andrew Adams picked off Christian Hackenberg late in the fourth quarter. Two plays after Adams' intercepiton at the Jets' 11, Ryan Nassib hit Tavarres King for the winning score, his second TD pass of the game. >> Read more at . . .

Brian Bassett, Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

As always, my first concern is that everyone escapes unscathed and that might not have happened due to David Harris leaving the game with a shoulder injury. More as we know it.

While it is a shame that the Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl by a point, the biggest takeaway was the solid play of the first string defense. The Jets were able to bring most of their personnel on defense against the Giants and it showed. The Jets first team defense let up no points, held the Giants to no third down conversions and never left Eli & Co. cross midfield. The Jets were able to grind the Giants run game to a halt and most of their receivers were held to modest gains in the early going. Darrelle Revis even had his second interception in as many games, a possession change which sparked the Jets to their first score.

On offense, the Jets were a little less crisp. Brandon Marshall was held out due to a sore hip and right tackle Breno Giacomini is still on the physically unable to perform list. Even so, Matt Forte and Bilal Powell looked decent and Eric Decker scored the first points of the game with a touchdown.  

While the starting defense's solid play was by far my favorite storyline, I expect that all the talk this week will be about Christian Hackenberg. The rookie QB came into the game around the 12 minute mark of the fourth quarter and showed off some solid arm strength down the field and some nice touch on his passes. Even so, Hackenberg was only 6/16 for 105 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The interception came on a miscue with FB Tommy Bohanon; Bohanon broke outwards while Hackenberg went inside with the ball. Kerry Wynn picked off the pass and took it to the house. Hackenberg was a welcome surprise but he still has a long way to go, but at least we've now seen some stand-up play from the rookie.

Geno Smith was again the second quarterback and only saw limited action. Bryce Petty didn't have as impressive a game as he had a week ago but he didn't make any egregious mistakes either. Unless the Jets are going to try and trade Geno Smith to now starter-less Dallas, I'd expect the Jets to carry four quarterbacks this season.  
Beyond QB and the starting defense? I was impressed with Rontez Miles on both special teams and in the second string defense. Given a few years to stick with the squad, Miles play is beginning to see dividends. WR Robby Anderson had another solid night catching four passes and a touchdown. Anderson might have played his way onto the 53-man roster along with Jalin Marshall.  

At tight end, Zach Sudfeld is continuing to impress as a pass catcher. Should Sudfeld make the roster expect Chan Gailey to dial up some red zone plays for him. Julian Stanford played well on defense, notching seven total tackles. On special teams, kicker Ross Martin hit a 55 yarder and made both of his attempts.  

Overall, I was content with the way the Jets played and hope that David Harris can get back on the field soon, what with just two weeks until the Jets play their season opener.



New York Jets inside linebacker David Harris (52), New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) and New York Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin (55) stand during the national anthem at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser)
New York Jets inside linebacker David Harris (52), New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) and New York Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin (55) stand during the national anthem at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser)

The Jets (1-1) host the Giants (0-2) in the third week of the preseason schedule. 

The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

You can watch the game on CBS 2 or listen on the radio on 98.7 FM.

WR Brandon Marshall has been added to the inactive list and will not play in Saturday's game. 

The Jets have a full list of the game's inactives.

The teams met on Dec. 6 last season, with the Jets pulling off a 23-20 come-from-behind overtime win.

The two teams have met 13 times in the regular season, as the Giants hold an 8-5 record.

The Jets lead the all-time preseason series 25-21-1.

 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The Battle of the Backups remains the most intriguing thing about an otherwise quiet Jets camp this summer. With stability almost everywhere when it comes to the starting lineup, there's still nothing but uncertainty on the depth chart behind Ryan Fitzpatrick.

And it seems doubtful if there'll be much more clarity after the game against the Giants on Saturday.

Fitzpatrick will start, of course, and play most, if not all, of the first half. And that will leave Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and still-unused rookie Christian Hackenberg fighting for scraps.

"It's hard to get three quarterbacks in the second half," Jets head coach Todd Bowles said. "I'll try to if everything goes right. In a perfect world, you want it. We really do want to try and get all of them in the game."

Smith will go second, Bowles confirmed. But who will go third? Or will anyone go third? It had been Petty in the first two preseason games, but Bowles wouldn't commit to the second-year pro being the next man up.

"It's hard to get a gauge on the game," Bowles said. "He played a lot last week and the week before. We've got to get our guys ready to play."

Maybe he's already made his decision on the quarterbacks, then? That's one of three things to keep an eye on in the Jets' game against the Giants on Saturday night.

1.) Who's the man behind the man?

Bowles has been somewhat coy about whether the erratic Smith is being pushed by Petty for the backup quarterback job, but if only Fitzpatrick and Smith are guaranteed to play Saturday night then it sure seems as if that decision is made.

Of course, Smith could always screw it up and give Petty another shot at the job next Thursday night in Philadelphia. Then again, maybe Bowles will buy time on that decision by keeping four quarterbacks, including both Smith and Petty. It would be a bold and unusual decision, but that's never been ruled out.

And what of Hackenberg? What is it about him that the Jets don't think he's ready for even preseason mop-up duty? His inaction doesn't exactly inspire confidence. Then again, he's not getting cut and he's likely to spend the season on the inactive list, so he's got time, too.

2.) What is the Jets' Forte?

All summer long, running back Matt Forte has seemed like a secret weapon being kept under wraps so no one can see what he can do. Now that he's apparently over the hamstring pull that sidelined him most of training camp, Forte is expected to make his Jets debut on Saturday night.

There are big questions about Forte, starting with: Can he stay healthy? That obviously may not be known right away. But he can start to show some of the things he can do to help the Jets' offense, both as a runner and as a receiver out of the backfield.

Forte may not be a workhorse anymore, but there should be enough left in his tank for him to give a boost to the Jets' offense this season, assuming he can stay on the field.

3.) Is it Jace Amaro time?

With WR Quincy Enunwa (concussion) out, Bowles was asked who steps into the role occupied by the 6-2, 225-pound third receiver. He named a bunch of tight ends, and none of them were Amaro -- who has been nursing a sore groin.

Since Enunwa often plays a tight end-like role, Bowles' answer makes sense despite the fact that the Jets have a group of young receivers that Brandon Marshall calls the most talented he's ever played with. Those receivers likely will get their opportunities after Marshall and Eric Decker are out of the game.

But this could be a big chance for the disappointing, oft-injured Amaro to stake his claim to a role in the offense if he could only get on the field. Yes, his blocking is a "work in progress" as the Jets' tight ends coach said this week. But he was drafted for his receiving ability. This would be a good time to show it. Otherwise, he may end up as a non-factor when the regular season starts.

Tags: Brandon Marshall , Bryce Petty , Christian Hackenberg , Eric Decker , Geno Smith , Jace Amaro , Matt Forte , Quincy Enunwa , Ryan Fitzpatrick , Ralph Vacchiano

Ryan Clady (Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports Images)
Ryan Clady (Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports Images)

Ryan Clady knew he was nowhere close to being done with football.

Not when he tore the ligament in his left knee for his second major injury in three seasons. Not when he spent the Super Bowl as a spectator, rooting on his Broncos teammates.

And, not when Denver brought in a player to replace him, effectively ending his tenure with the team and casting his future in doubt.

"It was a little bit stressful," Clady acknowledged. "I can't deny that."

The veteran left tackle, acquired by the New York Jets in a trade from Denver in April, is healthy again.

He's also eager to show everyone that he's still the immensely talented player who has made four Pro Bowls and been considered one of the best at his position.

"Yeah, no question," Clady said. "A lot of this game is about pride and respect. That's what some guys play for, outside of money and whatnot. It's a great motivator, I feel like. I definitely feel that. It's one of the things that's driving me, to prove those guys in Colorado wrong.

"They got rid of me. All players, when they get shipped off, they want to show, `Yo, I've still got it.'" >> Read more

Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press

Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall celebrates a touchdown against the Titans with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick last season. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall celebrates a touchdown against the Titans with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick last season. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, NFL Insider | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - In the days before Geno Smith lost the Jets' starting quarterback job last August to a sucker punch and a broken jaw, Brandon Marshall had taken a good look at Ryan Fitzpatrick.

And he really, really hated what he saw.

"When he got here last year he was terrible," Marshall recalled. "He really was. He was coming off a broken leg. He'd have a five-yard hitch route and throw it in the dirt. And everybody felt that way. We were like 'What the heck? If Geno goes down, we're in trouble.' That's how everybody felt."

And when Geno went down?

 "I was scared," Marshall said. "It was over. The season's over. We were done."

He can smile and laugh as he retells that story now, of course, because Fitzpatrick proved everyone wrong with the finest season of his 11-year NFL career. Playing like few thought he was capable of playing, Fitzpatrick led the Jets to a record-setting offensive performance and a 10-6 record that had them on the brink of the playoffs.

The trick now, of course, is for Fitzpatrick to do it again - to prove that 2015 wasn't a fluke. It's hard to believe that it wasn't, since he never had a season like that before, and now he's 33 years old and missed the entire offseason while having a stare-down with the Jets over his contract. He has never been considered anything close to an elite quarterback. 

So why should anyone believe he can play at an elite level again?

The answer, according to Marshall, is simple. Almost the entire offense is back from last season when they gained a Jets-record 5,925 yards. And they did that last year with a ton of new pieces and a quarterback who didn't get the job until the preseason was already underway.

"It was hard to do what we did last year," Marshall said. "For us to have Ryan come in, get the ball late in training camp, me being new, having a new offensive coordinator, new head coach, new left guard, that definitely makes it hard for our offense to gel and bond. It seemed like it took us probably like seven or eight weeks to do that. 

"We just feel really good where we're at right now."

And where are they right now? Marshall insists they're "light years ahead of where we were" when they beat the Giants - their opponent on Saturday night - in the regular season last Dec. 6. Even with Fitzpatrick missing the entire offseason he believes they're more in sync and able to do more with their offense. If they can get running back Matt Forte healthy, they have a chance to be better and more explosive, too.

All that, of course, is assuming Fitzpatrick can do what he did last season.

"I actually think he's better now this year," Marshall said. "He's throwing the ball much better, more velocity, he's throwing it deeper. He seems comfortable back there. He's looking really good back there. It's impressive."

It really would be impressive if Fitzpatrick could be better this season. Last year was only the third time in his career he started all 16 games and he set career highs in yards (3,905) and touchdown passes (31), with only 15 interceptions (three of which came in the Jets' memorable, season-ending, season-killing loss in Buffalo on Jan. 3).

Until last year, Fitzpatrick was a journeyman, a backup, and someone generally thought to only be the quarterback a team brought in when it couldn't find anybody else.

It takes a lot of faith to believe the real Fitzpatrick finally emerged last season, and that he can duplicate that kind of success again. But he does have a team loaded with offensive weapons and relatively few changes.

If nothing else, Marshall doesn't think he's "terrible" anymore.



Tags: Brandon Marshall , Ryan Fitzpatrick , Ralph Vacchiano

New York Jets tackle Breno Giacomini (68) against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22 to 17. (Timothy T. Ludwig)
New York Jets tackle Breno Giacomini (68) against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22 to 17. (Timothy T. Ludwig)

Ralph Vacchiano, NFL Insider | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - When Breno Giacomini first strained his back on the first day of mini-camp in June, he expected he'd feel better in about a week. Now, more than two months later, both he and Jets coach Todd Bowles admit there's a chance he won't be ready for Opening Day.

That's bad for both the 30-year-old Giacomini and the Jets, who don't have a lot of depth along their offensive line. In fact Bowles even said the Jets would "consider" adding another tackle off the waiver wire as teams begin making their cuts.

As for Giacomini, his back is still stiff, though he insists it's improving. But it's looking more and more like he won't be ready by Sept. 11. And he admitted it's possible he could begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, which would mean he'd miss at least the first six games of the year.

"I don't know. Is it a possibility? Probably," Giacomini said, as he talked to the media for the first time this summer. "It's something I don't want to do, but that's something I can't control."

The whole injury has seemed out of control to Giacomini, a ninth-year veteran entering his third season with the Jets. He said his back simply tightened up during the first day of mini-camp (June 14). He didn't realize how bad it was, though, until July 4.

"Usually when you get hurt in the league you take about a week and everything heals," he said. "It took about two weeks and I didn't feel better, I felt worse.

"But ever since then it's been getting better. Still some tightness, but not as much as it was last week. Way better than two weeks ago."

Giacomini declined to say if he's gotten any injections to help the healing in his back, though he did insist it was a muscular issue and nothing structural or related to a disc. Bowles didn't go into detail either, but when asked if Giacomini would be ready for the opener, the previously optimistic Bowles said "I honestly have no idea."

In the mean time, Ben Ijalana and Brent Qvale have been battling for Giacomini's starting job, and Bowles said the game against the Giants on Saturday will be "big" for their competition. The better option, of course, would be to have Giacomini back in the lineup. But no one can say for sure when that will be.

"I'll be back," Giacomini said. "I just can't tell you guys when."

Tags: Breno Giacomini

New York Jets tight end Jace Amaro (88) against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. (Andrew Weber)
New York Jets tight end Jace Amaro (88) against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. (Andrew Weber)

While there is little doubt that Jets TE Jace Amaro can stretch the field, his blocking is a "work in progress," according to Jets TE coach Jimmie Johnson

"He has done a better job sustaining his blocks and trying to stay engaged," Johnson said. "All of that is promising." 

The Jets drafted Amaro in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, after he caught 106 receptions for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns for Texas Tech in 2013. The team was impressed with the tight end's measurables (4.74-second 40-yard dash, 33-inch vertical at the NFL combine), but knew it would take a lot of work to improve the 6-foot-6, 260-pound talented athlete's technique. He was rarely asked to block while playing in college, which has led to him struggling with it in the NFL.

"At this level, sometimes you've got some real big guys on the other side of the ball," Johnson said. "You've got to focus a lot on your technique, footwork, hat placement and hand placement. Those are the things that will help him be successful with his in-line blocking. 

"If he can continue to work on those things, Jace will be OK. Those things are your saving grace because sometimes you get guys that are bigger than you, stronger than you, and your technique will get you through."

In 14 games during his rookie season, Amaro caught 38 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns. The tight end sat out all of last season after tearing his labrum during a preseason game.

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This doesn't sound very promising. As you'd expect, Amaro was mostly featured in the passing game rather than as a blocker in the first two preseason games. He executed a couple of blocks well in the first game but was a little more tentative on Friday night.

Assuming he makes the team, Amaro will feature mostly at the H-back position, in the role Quincy Enunwa started to occupy with good effect towards the end of last season. His size relative to defensive backs covering the slot could enable him to contribute in the running game sometimes, but his inconsistency probably limits how much they'll run to his side or use him inline.

With Enunwa missing time due to a concussion, Amaro must make some good contributions in the next game or two, otherwise he might not even make the final roster.

Tags: Jace Amaro

 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Sheldon Richardson is a different guy from the one the New York Jets had in camp last summer.

Wiser. Smarter. Happier. More mature.

The defensive lineman had a rough year off the field and he knew things needed to change. So, Richardson did just that and he's leaning more on defensive line coach Pepper Johnson than he had before.

"I got my head right," he declared after practice Monday. When asked to what he attributed that, Richardson offered a simple yet complicated response.

"Life," he said.

He was then asked if he feels happier now.

"Yeah," Richardson said with a big grin. "Except when I'm talking to y'all."

Richardson will serve a one-game suspension this season, the result of an arrest after driving his car at high speeds in Missouri last summer. He was thankful it wasn't more because he has been there before. >> Read more

Tags: Sheldon Richardson

New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith passes in front of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith passes in front of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports Images)

Geno Smith is still No. 2 for the New York Jets.

After previously being vague about the situation a few days ago, coach Todd Bowles said Smith will play after starter Ryan Fitzpatrick in the preseason game against the Giants on Saturday night.

"You always prepare the same way," Smith said after practice Wednesday. "It's really no different. I'm just continuing to work hard."

There had been some uncertainty about the pecking order of the backups after Bryce Petty had a good performance and Smith struggled against Washington. On Sunday, Bowles wouldn't say for sure what the rotation of the quarterbacks would be this week.

He did say then that he was clear about the four quarterbacks on the roster, adding, "Until we make a change, there won't be (a change). That's any position. When we make a decision at the end of camp, if it changes, it changes. And if it doesn't, it doesn't."

Smith was asked Wednesday if Bowles had clarified his position on the depth chart.

"I don't see anything different," Smith said. "I think he's already answered that question." >> Read more

Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press

Tags: Bryce Petty , Christian Hackenberg , Geno Smith , Ryan Fitzpatrick

GEICO SportsNite: Jets latest 00:01:37
Jeane Coakley gets all the latest from the Jets Camp as they get ready for their third preseason game on Saturday, against the Giants.

Jeane Coakley gets all the latest from the Jets Camp as they get ready for their third preseason game on Saturday, against the Giants.

 (Brad Mills)
(Brad Mills)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles spoke with the media on Wednesday. Here's what we learned...

  • Geno Smith will back up Ryan Fitzpatrick during Saturday's game.
  • Bowles will try to get Bryce Petty into the game on Saturday but it's "hard to get a gauge" on whether he'll play.
  • Jace Amaro, Kyle Williams, Jordan Jenkins, and Kenbrell Thompkins were all held out of practice on Wednesday.
  • Quincy Enunwa is still going through the concussion protocol.
  • He's hopeful that both Matt Forte and Muhammad Wilkerson will be able to play on Saturday.
  • The starters will play at least the entire first half on Saturday.
  • Buster Skrine and Brian Winters have been the most improved players in camp.
Tags: Brian Winters , Bryce Petty , Buster Skrine , Geno Smith , Jace Amaro , Jordan Jenkins , Matt Forte , Muhammad Wilkerson , Quincy Enunwa , Ryan Fitzpatrick

New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith scrambles during the second half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith scrambles during the second half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports Images)

In this week's episode of The JetsBlog Podcast, former Jets linebacker and current SNY analyst Chad Cascadden said he's disappointed in how Geno Smith has progressed during his four-year career.

"He should be more polished than he is," Cascadden explained. "I don't see any difference between what I see in practice and what I see on the field, because it's the same thing. From what time to time he's accurate and then other times he's completely inaccurate and doesn't hit receivers when he's supposed to.

"It's been four years and you shouldn't be doing that any more. It's the same thing everytime," he continued. "I'm just not seeing that improvement that you would expect from a guy with 20-something starts under his belt."

On the other hand, Cascadden said QB Bryce Petty did a nice job leading the team to a touchdown, he threw the ball well and looked significantly more comfortable than he did last season.

Later in the show, Cascadden breaks down the team's blitz options and reveals more from his offseason conversation with Gailey (14:10), who said the Jets will take a patchwork approach to filling the tight end position (14:10)...

Tags: Bryce Petty , Geno Smith

Buffalo Bills running back Karlos Williams (29) celebrates his touchdown against the New York Giants during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)
Buffalo Bills running back Karlos Williams (29) celebrates his touchdown against the New York Giants during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)

Recently-released Buffalo Bills RB Karlos Williams visited with the Jets on Tuesday,'s Ralph Vacchiano confirmed.

However, there is nothing imminent between the two sides.

After arriving to training camp 20 pounds overweight, the second-year running back was released last week from the Bills, and became a free agent upon clearing waivers Monday.

Williams appeared in 11 games for Buffalo during his rookie season, carrying the ball 93 times for 517 yards, averaging 5.6 YPC, to go with seven touchdowns. The back also caught 11 receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns in 2015.

The running back is set to serve a four-game suspension to start the year for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. 

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Williams has had a rough offseason, reportedly showing up out of shape and then being hit with a four-game suspension for a substance abuse violation. The Bills released him a few days ago, but he cleared waivers and can therefore be signed to a low-level deal.  

The fifth round pick had a productive rookie year in 2015, leading the Bills with nine touchdowns and tying an NFL record by scoring a touchdown in each of his first six games. When the Jets played the Bills in November, Williams was averaging 6.6 yards per carry, although that dropped down to 5.6 yards per carry by the end of the year. They managed to hold him to 48 yards on 13 carries over the two games, but he had a crucial touchdown in each game.

With their injury issues at the running back position, the Jets will take just about anyone right now, just to eat up preseason reps. However, if Williams can put these recent issues behind him, he could be an option once his suspension has been served. If he can prove he's in shape and convince them to sign him, they might as well retain him until week five. They can then decide at that point whether or not to activate him or cut him loose, because they won't need to pay him while he's serving his suspension.

 (Derick E. Hingle)
(Derick E. Hingle)

The Jets are one of several teams to acquire about recently released cornerback Keenan Lewis, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.

Lewis went on to tell Anderson, "I wouldn't mind playing with (Darrelle) Revis."

The cornerback appeared in only six games for New Orleans last season, making six tackles and deflecting two passes. From 2011-2014, Lewis played in all 16 games and racked up seven interceptions while forcing two fumbles.

Lewis is flying to Pittsburgh tonight to visit with the Steelers, where he played his first four NFL seasons after being drafted by the team as a third-round pick in 2009.

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It remains to be seen if the Jets are legitimately interested in bringing in Lewis - or a player like him. It may be just a case of them leaving no stone unturned or perhaps the source is an agent who is throwing the Jets' name into the mix as a plausible suitor that could make the market for his client look more impressive.

If the Jets do have interest, then that might mean that they've been less than impressed with how well their cornerbacks are performing with Buster Skrine and Marcus Williams each being elevated into a more substantial role and Dee Milliner still apparently unable to remain on the field. Would Lewis represent any kind of upgrade though - and what might the cost be?

Lewis signed for approximately $5 million per year a few seasons ago and initially did well, but struggled in 2014 and didn't play much in 2015 before being placed on injured reserve. He had hip surgery at the start and again at the end of the 2015 season, so his inability to remain with the Saints might have as much to do with that as anything else. When the Saints released him last week, he claimed he had never been able to get along with defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, who had taken over in 2015. However, it's worth emphasizing that his 2014 struggles came before Allen's arrival.

New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

New York Jets rookie linebacker Jordan Jenkins left practice with a calf injury, the severity of which was not immediately known.

Jenkins, a third-round draft pick out of Georgia, is considered a front-runner to open the season as a starter at outside linebacker.

He came off the field midway through practice Monday and remained on the sideline the rest of the session. Coach Todd Bowles said he would know more later in the day after talking to the trainers.

One of the Jets' biggest competitions in camp is for the vacant outside linebacker spots with Calvin Pace not re-signed and Lorenzo Mauldin, a third-rounder last year, adjusting to a full-time role. Mike Catapano, Freddie BishopTrevor Reilly and Josh Martin are also in the mix. >> Read more

Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press

Tags: Calvin Pace , Jordan Jenkins , Lorenzo Mauldin , Mike Catapano , Trevor Reilly

Jets position battles 00:02:27
The Jets Nation panel debates which position on the Jets roster has been the biggest battle in Jets camp in the secondary and at QB.
 Brian Bassett, Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts


What could the first 53-man roster look like for the Jets when final cuts are made ahead of the Sept. 11 opener against Cincinnati? I tried to work through the exercise on who GM Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles might look to keep for the regular season.

QUARTERBACK (4): Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg

Rundown: Bryce Petty played well in the second preseason game, but does it mean he is going to pass Geno Smith on the depth chart? I'm doubtful but at least seeing the progress with Petty. If the Jets were able to only keep three I could foresee them trying to trade Geno or if not, risk Petty to the practice squad for a few weeks.

RUNNING BACK (3): Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, Khiry Robinson

Rundown: The Jets are going to have to get creative with four quarterbacks on the roster and the first place to cut back would be in the same backfield. Forte is a competent work horse and Powell thrived in 2015 in the Chan Gailey offense. While Forte and Powell are more similar, the Jets interest in Khiry Robinson when he had a broken leg demonstrates that they want someone for short yardage and inside zone runs in a lower volume version of what Chris Ivory did in 2015.

FULLBACK (0):  If the Jets keep a fullback, it's going to be Tommy Bohanon. The team seems to be trying him out more as a runner while Robinson recovers from his broken leg. It will be interesting to see if that continues once Robinson is all the way back. From what I saw in the second preseason game he might be playing himself off the roster especially if Robinson can get healthy.  

WIDE RECEIVER (7): Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall, Kenbrell Thompkins, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Charone Peake, Jeremy Ross, Devin Smith (PUP)

Rundown: I expect the Jets to start Smith on the PUP list which will give them some breathing room on their roster. Based on what I saw from Anderson Friday it's hard not to want to give Anderson the benefit of the doubt on making this roster as a fill-in for Smith until such a time as Smith can play.  Jeremy Ross is the team's first-string kick and punt returner, but I believe that the returner for the regular season is not yet on the roster so while his spot is safe for now, cutdowns could force changes to returner. While Jalin Marshall had a good game a week ago, he was only able to haul in four of 10 targets and consistency is going to be the name of the game. The Jets might also be looking to see if they can scrounge returners they have eyes for off someone else's roster once cutdowns start. Also watch to see what happens with Charone Peake in the next few weeks, if he can show steady improvement combined with Thompkins lack of standout plays in the preseason game could open him up to getting the squeeze.

TIGHT END (3): Kellen Davis, Brandon Bostick, Zach Sudfeld

Rundown: I know this is a hawt taek, but Bostick was in for the first snap of the game Friday. Jace Amaro had one nice grab early along the sideline but other than that was unable to collect a pass thrown behind him and bobbled another pass out of bounds. Amaro is what he is … limited.

OFFENSIVE LINE (10): Ryan Clady, James Carpenter, Nick Mangold, Brian Winters, Breno Giacomini, Brent Qvale, Ben Ijalana, Brandon Shell, Wesley Johnson, Dakota Dozier

Rundown: After what I saw last night from Johnson at center I think he could make a fine backup to Mangold, but I might not mind him giving Winters some competition either for the guard spot opposite Carpenter. While Qvale and Ijalana are seeing extended duties at tackle, specifically on the right side they might still be hard pressed to beat out Giacomini should he ever get healthy. Giacomini is a soft salary cap target who could save the team almost $4 million if he isn't on the opening day roster. My read is that the Jets are giving as long a look as possible to the two potential replacements because they know that Breno is going to be replacement level at best. With or without Breno, the Jets are probably going to war with their lowest ceiling but highest floor offense line in five seasons. Dozier might be the expendable player in this group if the Jets are forced to make cuts down to nine.

DEFENSIVE LINE (6): Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson (suspension), Leonard Williams, Steve McLendon, Jarvis Jenkins, Deon Simon, Lawrence Thomas

The Jets have one of the best trios in Wilkerson, Richardson and Williams and while McLendon won't replicate Damon "Snacks" Harrison's role perfectly, it might not matter the way Williams is now coming on as a second=year player. Simon had a decent second preseason game and might have saved himself a roster spot at least for now. The Jets will have to move some things around in Week 1 while Richardson serves his one-game suspension after his 2015 issues. This opens the door for someone else on this roster and while it doesn't have to be a lineman, I think the Jets would be willing to roster Thomas after a solid training camp and some solid work in games. Thomas was injured in the second preseason game and did jump offsides, but he was seeing time with the first unit if that is any indication about how Todd Bowles feels about the rookie.

LINEBACKER (7): Jordan Jenkins, David Harris, Erin Henderson, Lorenzo Mauldin, Darron Lee, Trevor Reilly, Josh Martin

There's a lot of changes here but the starting group looks good. The edge-setters and outside rushers will be drinking from the proverbial firehose but I think the Jets might be willing to tighten up this group with the idea of scanning who comes free from other teams during cutdowns. Of the youngsters, Martin might have stepped into the spotlight after the second preseason game.

SECONDARY (10): Darrelle Revis, Buster Skrine, Calvin Pryor, Marcus Gilchrist, Marcus Williams, Dee Milliner, Juston Burris, Darryl Morris, Rontez Miles, Dion Bailey.

We know who the top contributors here will be but the backups are an interesting battle. Morris helped himself with his play in the second game. Burris got a lot of attention after getting burned for two touchdowns, but I saw some sparks amongst his struggles which could indicate he has potential. You can't make the club from the tub and Dexter McDougle looks like injury casualty when it comes time for cutdowns. McDougle has struggled to stay healthy dating back to his days at Maryland and nothing has changed. The second day of the 2014 John Idzik draft class could have been a real difference maker but is shaping up to be a real stinker. 

SPECIALISTS (3): PK Nick Folk, P Lachlan Edwards, LS Tanner Purdum.

No surprises here. As noted above in the WR section I think that the Jets will be paying attention to punt and kick returners who hit the waivers.

PRACTICE SQUAD CANDIDATES: Julian Howsare, Wes Saxton, Dexter McDougle, Deion Barnes, Jalin Marshall, Jarvis Harrison

Tags: Brandon Marshall , Ryan Fitzpatrick , Brian Bassett

Brian Bassett is joined by former Jets linebacker and current SNY Analyst Chad Cascadden to talk everything Jets, including his disappointment in the lack of development from Geno Smith by his fourth year (11:35), his offseason conversation with Chan Gailey regarding the team's talent at the tight end position (14:10), and a breakdown of additional blitz options on defense this year, thanks to increased speed allowing the D to dictate things to the offensive line, creating opportunities for pressure (18:45).

GECIO Sportsnite: Bowles on QB's 00:00:57
Todd Bowles and Bryce Petty discuss the continued talk surrounding the backup quarterback competition.

The New York Jets might have a budding backup quarterback controversy.

Todd Bowles declined to say Sunday whether Geno Smith remained the team's No. 2 QB behind Ryan Fitzpatrick or if Bryce Petty has surpassed him on the depth chart.

The Jets coach said earlier in training camp that there was no change in the pecking order, but Petty had a strong showing in New York's 22-18 loss at Washington on Friday night. Meanwhile, Smith struggled in the game and appeared to perhaps lose his stranglehold on the backup job.

"I was clear about every position: 1, 2, 3, 4 going in," Bowles said Sunday. "Until we make a change, there won't be (a change). That's any position. When we make a decision at the end of camp, if it changes, it changes. And if it doesn't, it doesn't."

When asked specifically if the order of the depth chart remains Fitzpatrick, Smith, Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg, Bowles was evasive.

"Right now, they're all playing," he said, "and we're trying to see who sorts out what."

Against Redskins backups and playing with the second-team offense, Smith was 6 of 13 for 47 yards and an interception. With mostly third-stringers in, Petty was 16 of 26 for 242 yards and two touchdowns.

Bowles acknowledged that he has a plan for the quarterback rotation for the Jets' third preseason game against the Giants on Saturday night, but would not say what it is.

Fitzpatrick and the starters will play a bit more in the game, the normal routine for the third preseason game. But beyond that, it's uncertain.

"All of them have to be up to play," Bowles said. "We have a plan for the quarterbacks that we're not revealing. On Saturday, we'll play the guys that we have scheduled to play. But we do have a plan to play certain people."

Bowles was then asked if Geno Smith will be the second quarterback into the game.

"To be clear, we have a plan on who we're going to play that we're not going to reveal," Bowles said. >> Read more

Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press

Tags: Bryce Petty , Christian Hackenberg , Geno Smith , Ryan Fitzpatrick

Former Jet Chris Ivory ran six times for 25 yards against Tampa Bay this weekend. (Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports)
Former Jet Chris Ivory ran six times for 25 yards against Tampa Bay this weekend. (Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports)

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Every year, teams have to let some players go. Even though the Jets did bring back some of their free agents (Zach Sudfeld, Ben Ijalana, Bilal Powell, Kenbrell Thompkins, Kellen Davis, Erin Henderson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Muhammad Wilkerson), they chose not to bring everyone back. We're keeping track of anyone from the Jets 2015 regular season roster, injured reserve list or practice squad that have since signed with another NFL team, along with anyone that had been on the 2016 roster at any point. Today, we look at how each player fared in their team's second preseason game.

DL Quinton Coples - Los Angeles

Coples - still playing as a back-up defensive tackle - came up big in the fourth quarter against Kansas City with two tackles, a sack and two forced fumbles, one of which forced a turnover in the red zone to ice a one-point win as you can see below. Coples had one other pressure, but also jumped offside once.

CB Jeremy Harris - Washington

Harris faced off against the Jets' reserves and had a rough day, with Robby Anderson beating him for a 43-yard touchdown. He gave up four catches in all for 74 yards and also had a pass interference penalty. Harris was credited with three tackles and broke up a pass nicely on the final drive, though.

NT Damon Harrison - Giants

Harrison saw a bigger workload Saturday and, although the Bills won comfortably, they had no success whatsoever running the ball. The Bills got down to the Giants' 1-yard line early, but Jerome Felton fumbled into the end zone, with Harrison hustling over to fall on the loose ball. He also added a tackle for a loss, bottling up a run up the middle in the manner Jets fans are so accustomed to seeing. Harrison had one missed tackle, though.

RB Chris Ivory - Jacksonville

Ivory again came off the bench behind TJ Yeldon in the Jaguars' game against Tampa Bay and carried six times for 25 yards. He got stuffed twice going up the middle, but picked up decent yardage on the rest of his carries, breaking a couple of tackles in the process.

RB/WR/KR Shane Wynn - Jacksonville

Wynn was targeted twice late in the game with the Jags down six, but the first was incomplete and the second was intercepted. On each of these he may have run the wrong route because he didn't appear to be expecting the throw. Wynn also fielded a punt but was stopped after a one-yard return.

P Ryan Quigley - Jacksonville

Quigley kicked quite well this week, as three of his kicks were fair-caught, including two inside the 20. However, one was returned 18 yards. Brad Nortman still seems to have the edge over him in the battle for the full-time role, as he got all the first half reps.

DT TJ Barnes - Jacksonville

Barnes was released by the Bills having not seen action in their first preseason game, but Jacksonville claimed him and he saw plenty of action in his first game for them. Barnes held his ground well, but did not record any statistics.

LB Demario Davis - Cleveland

Davis started again and was credited with three tackles against the Falcons. He made a couple of nice plays in the running game, blowing up the lead block from the full back and bouncing off it to stuff the runner in the hole on one play and then making a nice open field tackle on another play. He made one bad mistake in coverage though, reacting late to Mohamed Sanu's in route right in front of him and giving up a 32-yard catch.

TE Jeff Cumberland - San Diego

There was horrible news for Cumberland, who had apparently been impressive in camp. Cumberland tore his Achilles again, as he did five years ago. On the play against the Cardinals, he had actually beaten his man to the end zone, but injured himself reaching for the long pass. He's obviously out for the season and perhaps done for his career.

CB Darrin Walls - Detroit

Walls saw action with the second unit and was in on a couple of tackles against Cincinnati. He made a great play on a wide receiver screen, anticipating, avoiding the blocker and then dragging the receiver down for a 5-yard gain. Two other targets to his man were misfired, one on a short pass and another as he slowed him up with an effective jam at the line on a downfield timing pattern. Walls was also in on a downfield stop near the goal line and botched the chance at a fumble recovery, although that was ultimately ruled down anyway.

WR Jeremy Kerley - Detroit

After catching five passes the previous week, Kerley was quieter against the Bengals, but still showed his value on third down, with a diving catch to convert on 3rd-and-6 over the middle. On his only other target, immediate pressure messed up the timing on a fade route and he was unable to locate the ball thrown behind him. Kerley also had a six-yard punt return and a 25-yard kickoff return.

RB Stevan Ridley - Detroit

Ridley didn't do much with his opportunities here, rushing for 13 yards on four carries. Ten came on his longest run of the day, where he benefited from a huge hole on 2nd-and-16 but did make a good cut at the second level. Tellingly, on one play he tried to bounce the run to the outside and didn't have the speed. He picked up the blitz nicely on one play, though.

DL Quanterus Smith - Detroit

After an impressive debut, Smith was only in for a handful of late snaps here. However, he recorded a pressure on his only pass rush attempt of the game, showing quickness to beat the tight end on the inside and get in the quarterback's face despite a quick pass. Smith didn't do anything wrong against the run, but the Bengals did score a short touchdown with him in the game.

OL Luke Marquardt - Detroit

Marquardt saw action again and had some positive moments, driving downhill to set the edge on a short yardage off-tackle cutback run and peeling to the second level on a short touchdown. There were mistakes too, though, as he was called for a hold at the point of attack on one play and leveraged into the path of a runner on another. He also had issues staying in front of speed rushers off the edge. 

DL Lawrence Okoye - Dallas

Okoye, who has been dealing with some injuries, hasn't played in the Cowboys' two games.

DL Leger Douzable - Buffalo

Douzable once again made a positive impact off the bench against the Giants. He was victimized by a harsh roughing call early on as he split a double team to record a hit, but was tripped at the last minute and came in low. Later on, he pursued to the outside and got in on a run stop near the line. He would have had a sack too, but Ryan Nassib fell forward to gain a yard as Douzable brought him down after he had stepped up into the pocket.

LB Jamari Lattimore - Buffalo

Lattimore saw some action against the Giants, but for the second straight week didn't record any stats or do anything significant.

WR/KR Walt Powell - Buffalo

Powell had another good game, albeit not as good as last week. The highlight was a 31-yard catch on a deep ball which he caught with one hand over the shoulder. He had three catches for 46 yards in all, with another first down coming on a crossing route. He also drew a holding penalty to earn another first down. On special teams, he fielded three punts, with an 11-yard return, a fair catch and a shorter return. Over the course of preseason so far, he's caught a pass on all seven of his targets.

DB Antonio Allen - Houston

Allen mostly played in the box against the Saints, matching up with tight ends and backs, but did not record any statistics. He gave up one first down on a well-placed throw down the seam on the last drive. He also had one blown coverage where he left his man all alone for an easy touchdown, which was dropped. He was in a good position on two other incompletions, including one on a fade route to the end zone.

OL Oday Aboushi - Houston

Aboushi came off the bench again but saw significant action at right guard. He held up pretty well, but gave up a couple of pressures including one where the quarterback got nailed as he was initially helping out the center but then vacated that to help out his right tackle. He'll perhaps have been disappointed not to have started with the first-string right guard not playing.

WR Quenton Bundrage - Houston

Bundrage got into the game for one offensive snap and has yet to be targeted so far this preseason.

DL Jordan Williams - Miami

Williams again saw late-game action in the Cowboys' 41-14 rout. He only had one tackle, but it came on an extremely impressive play, as he drove his man back into the backfield and blew up a run for a loss.

TE Jerome Cunningham - Tennessee

It was not a good day for Cunningham, who dropped his only target on a throw that hit him right between the numbers and also made a mistake blocking in the running game.

OL Sean Hickey - Minnesota

Hickey, having held his own with the third unit last week, didn't get any playing time against Seattle in the second preseason game. He's obviously a long-shot to make the team.

ST Coordinator Bobby April - Tennessee

So far, April's special teams unit hasn't had any impact, but hasn't made any big mistakes so far either. That's a big improvement on last year.

Unrestricted Free Agents still unsigned: OL Willie Colon, K Randy Bullock, OLB Calvin Pace, WR Chris Owusu

This list is supposed to be exhaustive, but if you spot any omissions or inaccuracies, please let us know in the comments.

New York Jets cornerback Juston Burris (38) breaks up a pass intended for Washington Redskins wide receiver Dez Stewart (12) during the second half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills)
New York Jets cornerback Juston Burris (38) breaks up a pass intended for Washington Redskins wide receiver Dez Stewart (12) during the second half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills)

BGA is back...and this time it's preseasonal (again)!

Coming up, part two of your two-part breakdown of last night's preseason game, focusing on the defense and special teams, including youngsters flashing on the defensive line, the ongoing search for someone to step up at cornerback and some encouraging signs on special teams.

Defensive Line

The Jets' starting defense was once again disappointing as they struggled to stop the run and couldn't get off the field on third down. They didn't create a great deal of pressure either. At least Jets fans can take some comfort from the fact that Muhammad Wilkerson still hasn't played yet, although if he doesn't get some reps soon, there's a risk he'll still have some rust to shake off when the season begins.

We finally got our first look at Steve McLendon and already you could see that he is going to hold up well at the line of scrimmage and create some penetration, albeit perhaps without the vision and lateral agility that made Damon Harrison so impressive in that role.

Leonard Williams stood out once again, mowing through the defense for an impressive sack. He did get blocked out of a couple of running plays though. On the other side, Sheldon Richardson continues to be pretty quiet, recording one pressure on a stunt but also getting kicked out on a running play. Hopefully Wilkerson's return will elevate this unit to the level of dominance they've shown in the past because it's not happening right now.

Off the bench, Deon Simon, the second team nose tackle, once again showed some promise. He held his ground well, contributed to the safety that gave the Jets the lead and made a great play to blow up a screen in the backfield. Jarvis Jenkins once again started slow, getting controlled at the point of attack a couple of times and then missing a tackle in a hole, but for the second straight week, he improved thereafter, blowing up a run, recording a pressure and drawing a hold with some penetration.

Undrafted rookie Lawrence Thomas immediately flashed with an open field tackle on the edge to stuff a run for no gain and later blew up a couple of plays with penetration. He was into the game after less than five minutes, so the team obviously likes him, although he was driven downhill on one running play and jumped offside once as well. 

It's a little frustrating that one of the most impressive finds on this year's team is in a position where the Jets have little-to-no space available. With the three stars, the two free agent additions, who each have guaranteed money this year, and the promising Simon, the only way they can even squeeze Thomas onto the roster is by carrying more than six linemen. It was anticipated that the Jets might play more 3-4 this year so would have less of a need for defensive linemen. Perhaps that won't materialize after all.

Beyond Thomas, there are some more youngsters who can only realistically aim for a practice squad berth, unless there are some injuries. Claude Pelon was again the first to get into the game and was manhandled a couple of times early on. He impressed on a bull rush up the middle to generate a low pressure though. Tarow Barney also had an effective bull rush and stuffed a run for no gain, although he was sealed on the backside on a running play. Helva Matungulu saw the least time of the three and on his first snap he hesitated on his get-off and was blocked to the ground.

Jake Ceresna was a pleasant surprise. Having only joined the team a few days ago, he showed off impressive strength on two bull rushes to generate good pressure. I guess the intricacies of the offensive playbook are too complex for recently added running backs to get on the field, but with a backup lineman you can just get them to throw their weight around, which he did well. He was blocked to the ground on one running play, though.

Shelby Harris saw some action too and had a bit hit on the quarterback, although he came unblocked up the middle.

Outside Linebackers

On the outside, Jordan Jenkins generated more pressure than anyone else, but most of it came as he was completely unblocked. He needs to finish better though, as this play shows.

Jenkins was also blocked out of a couple of running plays, although he got upfield field well twice to set the edge. On the other edge, Lorenzo Mauldin had a quiet game again, with one run stuff and one pressure. The pressure came as he made an inside move, which allowed the quarterback to escape to the outside and scramble for positive yardage.

The backups got some reinforcements this week with Trevor Reilly and Mike Catapano back in action. Each had one pressure and Catapano also set the edge well on one play, although he was kicked out on another attempt to set the edge.

Once again, out of the other backups - Freddie Bishop, Deion Barnes and Josh Martin - Martin was the most impressive, generating some pressure off the edge and getting in on a couple of stops near the line with good penetration. Barnes had one quarterback hit, but that came as he was initially blocked and the quarterback was flushed into him by interior pressure.

Inside Linebackers

David Harris had a productive game, leading the team in tackles and picking up a cheap sack as the quarterback tried to scramble, but he was blocked out of a couple of plays at the second level and gave up a first down in zone coverage. Erin Henderson, who left the game after suffering a stinger, made two nice plays to fill the hole and stuff the runner, but also got caught up in traffic once and over-pursued once.

Despite a quieter second game, the speed of Darron Lee going sideline-to-sideline was on display here, as he stretched two outside runs out for no gain. Lee missed the tackle twice on runs where he had a chance to make the play himself, but showed veteran instincts when he demonstrably celebrated the Jets' fourth down stop to get the cameras focused on him despite the fact he had nothing to do with the success of the play. Bruce Carter was blocked out of a couple of plays at the second level and showed poor instincts in reacting late to a crossing pattern to give up what would have been a big gain on the play where the Jets were awarded a safety. He was in on a stop in the backfield and had one pressure later on.

On the third unit, Taiwan Jones had a better game than last week, getting in on a few stops near the line, breaking up a pass, making a good open field tackle in the flat and recording one pressure. He had a bad missed tackle in space on the last drive, though. Julian Stanford was in on a couple of stops, but gave up a couple of plays in coverage, over pursuing badly on one. He also missed a tackle in the hole.


Darrelle Revis marked his first appearance of preseason with an interception on the only play where he was targeted. He also had a nice open field tackle.

The battle continues between Buster Skrine, Marcus Williams and perhaps Dee Milliner for the second starter role, but Skrine - despite not playing that well - seems to be winning by default. Skrine missed a tackle and gave up a couple of first downs, but made a couple of good open field tackles and flushed the quarterback from the pocket on a blitz that led to a sack.

Williams had a rough day, giving up a first down and a touchdown in coverage. He also over pursued on one play. There was also a bad missed tackle that led to a touchdown that was negated by a penalty. He was perhaps specifically targeted on that play because teams are aware of his struggles with tackling in space. Milliner, however, lasted just four snaps before being taken out of the game with a sore bicep. He was in on one play in run support.

Darryl Morris was perhaps the cornerback who helped himself the most. While he gave up one first down, he was in a good position on three incompletions, breaking up one and almost intercepting another. He also made a couple of plays in run support. Rookie Juston Burris is someone Morris will be striving to beat out and he was burned for two touchdowns in addition to being flagged for pass interference. Burris did break up two passes, although the receiver seemed to have a step on him each time, so he did well to recover, perhaps aided by at least one underthrow.

Youngsters Kevin Short and Bryson Keeton saw some playing time late. Keeton gave up a first down covering the slot on the last drive, after two earlier targets had fallen incomplete. He almost intercepted a tipped pass at one point too. Short was beaten on the two-point conversion that iced the win for Washington.

Dexter McDougle still hasn't played yet in preseason.


The most interesting thing about Calvin Pryor's performance was that he didn't start. For some reason, the Jets opened with a 3-4 base defense that featured three cornerbacks (Revis, Williams and Skrine) and just one safety. This is something Todd Bowles' Cardinals defense used to do all the time with Tyrann Mathieu effectively playing corner while being listed as a safety. The Jets also did it once last season. As they did then, this was basically just for the first play with Pryor effectively playing the rest of the starter reps. He made one good stop in run support.

Marcus Gilchrist had a quiet game. Both he and Pryor gave up a first down in zone coverage by being too deep as the receiver was passed off to them.

Off the bench, Rontez Miles was his usual active self. His six tackles included a fourth down stop and two other plays close to the line. He also made a couple of good plays in coverage. Ronald Martin ranged over to break up a downfield pass and was in on two stops near the line. He missed a tackle in the open field though.

Dion Bailey saw action late and made a third down stop but was otherwise quiet. Last week's hero, Doug Middleton, did not recover in time from the leg soreness that kept him out of practice.

Special Teams

There wasn't much to report on special teams early in the game, as teams were booting all kick-offs through the end zone and turning the ball over or scoring rather than punting. By the end, though, there were some interesting things worth noting.

Punter Lachlan Edwards had an encouraging performance, getting excellent hang time and consistent length, while benefiting from some excellent coverage. His first punt was completely blown up by an amazing play by Quincy Enunwa, although this was where he unfortunately suffered his head injury.

Effort levels seem higher than last year, as the new coach seems to have done a better job of underlining how important this area will be. Aside from Enunwa, plenty of players put in some good work as they sought to impress on special teams. These included Marcus Williams who had one good play from the gunner position, Miles, who was flying around as usual and Carter and Charone Peake, who each got close to blocking a punt. Jalin Marshall also did some good work on one play from the gunner position, although he over pursued on another.

There wasn't much to report from the return game this week though. Jeremy Ross ran a free kick back 15 yards but Marshall had no real success. After a rough game offensively, Kyle Williams had no success in the return game either, misjudging one punt that went over his head.

In terms of negatives, Stanford had a penalty, Jones over-pursued in the open field and Short twice got burned by his man who was able to blow up a punt return.

Some personnel changes this week, which could be clues in terms of which players are currently expected to be on the final roster, saw the likes of Morris, Martin, Burris and Kenbrell Thompkins getting some work with the starting special teams units. Morris did some great work as a gunner, drawing a block in the back penalty and blowing up a punt with a tackle, and Martin also made a couple of nice plays in punt coverage. Burris, on the other hand, who is perhaps competing directly with Morris for a spot, got downfield well, but had a missed tackle and he also whiffed on a block in punt protection that almost led to a blocked kick.

Finally, it looks like Nick Folk is safe as the kicker, after Ross Martin - who was probably lucky to get another chance after two misses last week - hit the post with an extra point attempt.

We look forward to preseason every year, but more often than not, it seems like the Jets underwhelm. They were completely outplayed in the first half yesterday and the few positive signs that came out of the second half were of little significance following such a dispiriting performance. There were some interesting developments yesterday, but not much that I would describe as encouraging. You may hope that this team will look a lot different when they're at full strength, but it's not like Washington had everyone available either. Let's hope for better next week.

That's it for this week's BGA. We'll have an Expendables update for you at the end of week two. If you have any questions or suggestions for me, leave them in the comments and I'll get around to them when I can.

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (83) celebrates with New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Ross (11) after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills)
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (83) celebrates with New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Ross (11) after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills)

BGA is back...and this time it's preseasonal (again)!

Coming up, part one of your breakdown of Friday night's preseason game, focusing on the offense, including a breakout performance from an undrafted rookie receiver, a key positional battle tightening up and some role-juggling at the threadbare running back spot.


Ryan Fitzpatrick and the first team offense were victims of circumstance to some extent, only getting to run three plays in the first quarter due to the defense giving up long drives and mostly forced to deal with bad field position. The Jets went three-and-out on that first quarter possession, fumbled the ball away in their own territory on the second drive and then picked up a couple of first downs on the third series with the drive stalling before midfield. Todd Bowles cut his losses at that point and went to the second unit.

Fitzpatrick threw nine passes, completing just four, one of which was fumbled away by Kellen Davis. His best completion saw him find Eric Decker downfield for a first down. He had one other nice throw out to the sideline but that one was dropped. On the whole, there's not too much to judge him on, but the reason the Jets shelled out $12 million to keep him in the fold was more apparent from what happened after he left the game.

Geno Smith took over from Fitzpatrick in the second quarter and gave a thoroughly uninspiring performance, both in terms of his performance and his body language. He ended up completing 6-of-13 passes for 47 yards, but five of those completions came on an ultimately fruitless two-minute drill at the end of the half. Prior to that he'd thrown the ball six times and only completed one pass, as he had issues with making reads, timing, accuracy and footwork.

Smith had one pass broken up and another intercepted because he stared down his target and didn't see - or account for - another defender dropping off their man into the passing lane. He had one pass dropped by Jace Amaro, but that should have been an easy throw as he threw it behind him on the roll-out. His hesitation also led to him getting flagged for intentional grounding as he eventually threw the ball away, but didn't get it back to the line of scrimmage.

The most positive thing I can say to defend him is that perhaps some of the timing and accuracy issues are not his fault. As an example, he had one throw (to Robby Anderson) broken up because the throw was too late and then another was thrown on time but behind the receiver (Charone Peake) on fourth down. Or did the receiver break too early on the first one and too late on the second one? 

These are issues Smith has had in the past, seemingly waiting for a receiver to make his break before making the throw and giving a defender time to recover and break it up. Is this because he doesn't trust the receiver to make the break at the right moment so is reluctant to let the throw go? Perhaps, but that's the wrong approach. On fourth down, he made the right decision to release the throw when he did and trust the receiver to break to the right spot. We'll never know if that throw was off-line or the receiver just made his break a little late, but he seemed to put it in a spot where an easy completion could have been made.

As we'll see, third-stringer Bryce Petty was able to generate production from the same set of receivers though. While that's perhaps partly due to the fact he has better chemistry with those reserves after Smith spent much of the offseason working with starters, it still doesn't reflect well on Smith.

Petty was noticeably progressing through his reads on some plays and his footwork remains superior to Smith's. Smith wasn't stepping into his throws, even when he apparently had room to do so. This forces him to rely more on his arm to get the ball there, which is always risky.

However, while Petty's final numbers were very good (16-of-26, 242 yards, two touchdowns), there were still warning signs that he could be a liability at times if he was to be called into real action at this stage of his career.

One throw sailed over the middle and should have been intercepted. On another, he didn't see the linebacker dropping into the passing lane and had his pass broken up. He also struggled with pressure on a couple of occasions.

On the whole, though, it was a positive performance from Petty against Washington's back-ups. He mostly threw the ball well and, even though his consistency was lacking at times, some of the successful throws he had were highlight reel material. That's sure to get some people in his corner to earn the number two job outright. We still need to see more though.

Christian Hackenberg remains glued to the bench. We likely won't see him until the Bollinger Bowl.

Running backs and full backs

The Jets' running back situation is wafer thin at the moment, as they rested players who have been dealing with injuries and obviously felt that none of their recent additions would be ready to handle any snaps on offense.

Bilal Powell made the start, carried three times for 23 yards and was done for the day. One of his runs saw him break a tackle in the backfield to take it outside and another gained 10 on a burst up the middle. He also dropped a dump-off pass that was rushed by a pressured Fitzpatrick.

Behind Powell, the Jets simply employed full back Tommy Bohanon in single back sets, as they had been doing in practice. Bohanon's backup Julian Howsare also saw time at half back and the Jets basically abandoned the running game altogether.

I don't know if Bohanon was employed at tailback because they don't trust the other backups yet or because he was impressive in that role in practice, but he dropped a pass, fumbled a hand-off and had serious issues in picking up blitzes, so it didn't go well.

When I spoke to Bohanon in London last year, he said all the right things about being happy to carry out his role, but did admit he'd like to see more of the ball. However, could he ironically be playing himself off the team by getting reps as a running back? With Bohanon getting reps there, the Jets obviously had no requirement for a full back, so it might get them thinking that maybe they can save a roster spot by not having one. On a Howsare short yardage conversion, they employed tight end Zach Sudfeld there and he executed the lead block.

Howsare also caught a short pass and was open on the outside for another throw which was behind him. Again, though, by getting involved at this position, he didn't get any chances to lead block, which is really the role he's auditioning for.

Presumably the running game will look a lot different once the likes of Matt Forte and Khiry Robinson can suit up.

Receivers and tight ends

Once again, the starters didn't feature much, with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker catching just one pass each and Quincy Enunwa playing just two snaps before leaving with a head injury. However, this game was all about the rookie, Anderson.

With six catches for 131 yards and a touchdown, Anderson impressed with his ability to make contested catches and create downfield separation. Anderson also created another first down by drawing a hold. He was easily the biggest bright spot in an otherwise largely dismal Jets performance. However, it creates a dilemma because his performance thrusts him into the mix at a position where the Jets were already trying to find space for some talented youngsters. 

The Jets have a history of unknown wide receivers making a name for themselves in preseason but then going on to enjoy limited success on the main roster. Aundrae Allison and David Clowney are the two names that immediately spring to mind. Anderson will be hoping to prove he can go one step further.

Peake and Jalin Marshall are the two main guys that Anderson will be trying to jump ahead of. Both had four catches, but neither was mistake-free, which Anderson seemingly was. Peake had a drop on a slant pattern, was tackled in the open field twice and should have been flagged for a push-off. He bounced back to pick up consecutive first downs on slant routes though. Sanders also dropped a quick slant and perhaps needs to be more physical, as three of his targets were broken up. He had three first downs and drew another on a pass interference call, though, breaking a tackle to get to the marker on his best play.

Having not played last week, Kenbrell Thompkins saw brief action early and was thrown to twice, but neither was particularly close. Kyle Williams also made his first appearance but had a miserable day, getting called for a penalty, whiffing on a screen block and failing to locate the ball on a fade pattern. He had one other target, getting some downfield separation but the pass was overthrown. Jeremy Ross continues to make the most of his few chances though, making a tough leaping catch for a first down on a ball thrown slightly behind him.

At tight end, Kellen Davis set the edge well on an early run, but badly lost a fumble deep in Jets territory as he tried to reach for the first down marker. Sudfeld looked to be putting together a good case to challenge him, but then he also lost a fumble down near the goal line, as the Jets looked set to take a late lead. Prior to that, Sudfeld had a nice touchdown, doing well to haul in a contested catch in the end zone.

Somewhat surprisingly Brandon Bostick was actually in the starting lineup, along with Davis, but he got burned on the inside for a pressure on the very first snap. He gave up another pressure later on, but did show his pass catching abilities with a couple of catches downfield, although one was negated by a penalty.

Jace Amaro didn't help himself at all. He caught two short passes, one of which came up short of the marker on third down. On two other targets, he failed to come up with catchable balls. He also was tentative as a blocker on a couple of plays. 

Chandler Worthy, Jason Vander Laan and Wes Saxton did not see any time, with Devin Smith still on the PUP list. 

Offensive Linemen

The Jets continue to mix-and-match on the offensive line, as they've used eight different starters through two games. Those eight could well all be on the 53-man roster and, whether they did it by design or not, it could prove beneficial to see some different combinations.

So far, Ryan Clady and Brian Winters are the only players to start both games. James Carpenter made his return at left guard, replacing Dakota Dozier, who worked at center with the second unit. Wesley Johnson got the start at center, with Nick Mangold resting.

Right tackle is where it remains most interesting, though, as it was the turn of Brent Qvale to get the start this week with Breno Giacomini still on the PUP list. Ben Ijalana played left tackle with the second unit, while Qvale stayed in to get some extra work on the right.

Qvale responded well, generally staying in front of his man in pass protection. Although he was driven back and allowed upfield leverage a few times, he was only really beaten once on the inside and that was on a quick pass. He also had one excellent reach block in the running game.

Ijalana spoke recently about the adjustment in moving to the right side from his more natural left tackle position. He should therefore have been more at home yesterday, but he got beaten on the outside a few times in pass protection. He also allowed his man to bottle up a run. He had one good driving block in the running game though. Is Ijalana now more at home on the right side or will Qvale's superior performance in this game move him ahead of the more experienced player?

Winters had one good cut block at the second level, but otherwise had his struggles at right guard. He was called for a blatant hold and badly beaten in pass protection, forcing Fitzpatrick to throw the ball away. He also messed up a double-team combination block with Johnson on the first series. Johnson otherwise fared quiet well, making a good reach block on one running play and not surrendering any pressure.

The two established starters on the left side held up well, although both were driven back in the pocket once or twice. Clady set the edge well on one run, but also whiffed on a second level block. Carpenter had one good interior block to open up a big running lane.

With the second unit, Dozier made some impressive run blocks at center. He had one bad snap and his recognition could perhaps have been better on one stunt, but he gives the organization comfort that he could handle that role in an emergency, as he did last season.

Craig Watts and Mike Liedtke worked at guard with the second unit. After a good game last week, Watts was less impressive at the point of attack this week, but had a couple of positive run blocks. Liedtke started well, with a driving run block, but was less consistent as the game went on. He had a penalty to negate a first down and allowed penetration to blow up a run.

Rookie Brandon Shell got some late reps at left tackle and held up well, only getting beaten outside once.  arvis Harrison came in at right tackle and continues to be a disappointment. Harrison is a player whose strength is thought to be run blocking, so entering the game late and being forced to pass protect on 14 of 15 plays was unfortunate for his chances to impress, especially when playing tackle. He was beaten a handful of times, including a late sack that iced the game and on the play where Anderson scored which you can see below.

Finally, Jesse Davis and Kyle Friend did not get into the game.

Next up…Moving on to the defense where a somewhat rocky performance leaves us scrambling for bright spots…

GEICO SportsNite: Jets struggle 00:02:01
Bryce Petty, Geno Smith, and Todd Bowles discuss the Jets' performance in their 22-18 preseason loss to the Redskins.

Top running back Matt Jones left with a sprained shoulder and receiver Rashad Ross made his best case for a roster spot and the Washington Redskins came back to beat the New York Jets 22-18 Friday night in the second preseason game for each team.

While the Redskins rested several key starters, including quarterback Kirk Cousins, receiver DeSean Jackson and cornerback Josh Norman, Jones suffered an AC sprain in his left shoulder when he was pushed out of bounds and landed awkwardly in the first quarter.

Jones looked good at the time he left, running for 31 yards on seven carries after rushing for only a yard last week in the opener at Atlanta.

Jones' injury could spell trouble for the Redskins (1-1), who have very little experience behind him at running back after letting Alfred Morris leave for Dallas in free agency. Third-down back Chris Thompson, rookies Robert Kelley and Keith Marshall and second-year player Mack Brown split the bulk of the carries after Jones left.

With Jackson and Pierre Garcon getting the night off, Ross made the most of his opportunity, catching two touchdown passes from backup quarterback Colt McCoy, who was 13 of 16 for 159 yards. Ross had three catches for 58 yards.

The Jets (1-1) got an impressive receiving performance from undrafted rookie Robby Anderson, who made six catches for 131 yards. The Temple product hauled in a 50-yard pass from third-stringer Bryce Petty and made a 42-yard touchdown catch.

Cornerback Darrelle Revis, who didn't play last week against Jacksonville, made an impact in his preseason debut, picking off McCoy in the end zone during Washington's opening drive. Starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was 4 of 9 for 35 yards, and Bilal Powell ran for 23 yards on three carries.

Rookie Nate Sudfeld led Washington on the game-winning drive, completing it with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Kendal Thompson with 29 seconds left. >> Read more at

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This game was a mixed bag for the Jets at best. Early on the defense stopped some Washington drives with a Revis interception in the end zone on a brain freeze play by McCoy, and then Darron Lee and the defensive line made a fourth down defensive stop in the red zone on a Robert Kelley run.

Even so, we saw some shaky play from Buster Skrine and Marcus Williams in coverage. Also, while the run defense wasn't great, without Mo Wilkerson and the young linebackers still learning, this defense and all the schemes not going to be shown until the regular season, I won't be overreacting.

Also, while rookie CB Juston Burris was in coverage on two of the touchdowns, I am still liking what I am seeing for a fourth round rookie. Burris will need some technique refinement but on the whole he looks like a good project player for the Jets defense.

The starting offense only saw a few series, and players like Nick Mangold were given the night off, which might have been the best thing with injuries to players like WR Quincy Enunwa, LB Erin Henderson and LB Lorenzo Mauldin. The big problem with the offense was that the Jets were unable to make a first down until about five minutes left in the third quarter and the tight ends were dreadful. Jace Amaro had a nice catch early but looked clunky much of the game and Kellen Davis and Zach Sudfeld were responsible for a fumble each.

Listening to the radio postgame coverage the story of the night seems to be fans infatuation with Bryce Petty. I am happy to see some improvement from Petty from a year ago; that much is evident. But Petty had some sloppy moments, and was ringing up stats against third and fourth stringers in vanilla schemes. Did he throw open Robby Anderson on that touchdown? Absolutely. Were some of his throws pretty? Yes, but some of them were also off the mark or almost killed his receivers or were scrambles that wound up in his favor like the Brandon Bostick catch was on the near sideline.

The problem is that the Jets are going to be hard pressed to keep four quarterbacks. Geno is their most experienced backup and yet he's still throwing short passes into double (triple?) coverage on his back side. The awkwardness of not allowing Christian Hackenberg to see any snaps is starting to garner attention.

Tags: Bilal Powell , Darrelle Revis , Ryan Fitzpatrick

General view of FedEx Field with a United States flag on the field during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
General view of FedEx Field with a United States flag on the field during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Jets are in Washington on Friday night for their second preseason game.

The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

You can watch the game on CBS 2 or listen on 98.7 FM.

Nick Mangold and Muhammad Wilkerson will both sit out the game and rest. 

New York is 3-5 all time against the Redskins in the regular season. In preseason play, the Jets are 4-5 against Washington.

The two teams met last season, where the Jets won 34-20 at FedEx Field. New York also won their previous meeting, 34-19 in 2011.

 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano, NFL Insider | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets travel to Washington on Friday night to face the Redskins in their second preseason game, with the starters expected to see a little extended action, probably into the second quarter.

What remains unknown is if a couple of recovering starters -- DE Muhammad Wilkerson (leg) and RB Matt Forte (hamstring) in particular -- will make their summer debuts.

The best guess is that Wilkerson will see a few snaps, but Forte -- who had his first mostly-full practice on Wednesday -- will not. Regardless, there are still plenty of intriguing things to watch in this game. Here are my Top 3:

1.) The quarterbacks not named Ryan Fitzpatrick

I know this is getting redundant, but the quarterbacks account for most of the intrigue at Jets camp this summer. Geno Smith, who still seems to have a strong hold on the backup job, struggled early and then rebounded late in his preseason debut. Bryce Petty, fighting for his roster spot, was solid in limited action. And Christian Hackenberg, a second-round rookie and possible quarterback of the future, didn't play at all.

Hackenberg is expected to make his debut in this game, but it didn't look or sound like he was going to get much time. It appeared that after Fitzpatrick, Todd Bowles was going to keep the rotation the same, with Smith and Petty getting the majority of the remaining reps. Hackenberg might just get a series or two to get his NFL feet wet.

So keep an eye on Smith vs. Petty. It still looks like Petty is the odd man out unless the Jets decide to keep four quarterbacks. But it's hard to argue that he shouldn't earn a look in the backup competition if he out-performs Smith the rest of the way.

2.) Tight end Jace Amaro 

He didn't do much and wasn't effective when plays were run his direction in the preseason opener, where he caught none of the three passes thrown his way.

Yet there remains so much hope that this former second-rounder can emerge as not only a dangerous receiving option for the Jets, but also a two-way tight end. He didn't do that as a rookie, so at some point he needs to show what he's capable of to earn the trust of both Fitzpatrick and Bowles and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

That means at some point this preseason, the Jets are going to give him a big opportunity in a game, and at this point he really needs to take advantage of it. No matter who's throwing him the ball, he really can't afford another 0-for-3-like performance on Friday night.

3.) Receivers Jalin Marshall and Charone Peake

These two rookies -- the first an undrafted free agent and the second a seventh-round pick -- have been the darlings of training camp the last couple of weeks and they didn't disappoint in their preseason debuts. Marshall wowed everyone with an 84-yard kickoff return and Peake was the Jets' leading receiver (four catches, 45 yards) and he made a tough catch on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Smith.

Of course, as rookies -- and not high draft picks -- they need to do more than that. It's starting to look like both can make the 53-man roster, but they can't afford a dropoff.

You can bet that head coach Todd Bowles will want to see a lot more of them in the next couple of weeks and they have to perform. Marshall, in particular, needs to do more on offense where he had just one catch for 10 yards last week despite having four balls thrown his way.

Tags: Bryce Petty , Christian Hackenberg , Geno Smith , Jace Amaro , Matt Forte , Muhammad Wilkerson , Ralph Vacchiano

 (Kevin Jairaj)
(Kevin Jairaj)

With the New York Jets opening the season in just a few weeks, we will break down the depth charts of each position in order to look at how the Jets stack up as they prepare for the 2016 NFL season. See the prior reports on safeties and wide receivers, Next up, the tight ends. 

Starter: Kellen Davis

Backups/Special Teamers*: Jace Amaro, Zach Sudfeld, Brandon Bostick, Wes Saxton, Jason Vander Laan

Overall Analysis

Thanks to the injuries to Amaro and Sudfeld last year, the Jets only brought two tight ends into the season and barely used them as pass options in their offense. In fact, only 25 targets of the Jets' offense went to tight ends the entire year.

This year, Amaro looks healthy but could he be an integral part of this passing attack? It seems unlikely if he can't pass Kellen Davis, who has a picture in the dictionary of him next to "blocking tight end," on the depth chart.

Chan Gailey is not averse to using tight ends in his offense, but he's more interested in getting the ball into the hands of his best playmakers, as witnessed by the 173 targets that went to Brandon Marshall last year.

Does Amaro make a compelling enough case to become a focal point? From what I've seen so far I'm doubtful of that, but with some improved focus on his pass-catching and more refinement to his blocking game, I don't see him as a detriment in this offense, either. The Jets might have more long-term hope for some of their backups, though.

Backup Plan 

With the extensive use of Quincy Enunwa, the Jets will likely downplay the role of the tight end as a pass-catcher again in their offense.

Of course, keeping players who can block and catch is optimal, but the Jets might focus on the value their tight ends can bring on special teams. Because of this, if players can make a mark on special teams, this might be their best way to get one of the two or three spots available on the final 53-man roser.

Name to Watch 

Brandon Bostick is most known for the muffed onside kick from the playoffs a few years ago, but up until that point he was stringing together some success with the Packers. Could some experience, getting settled, and a change of scenery be helpful to him? The next three preseason games could decide.

Tags: Jace Amaro , Kellen Davis , Wes Saxton , Zach Sudfeld

Calvin Pryor leads the group of Jets safeties. (Vincent Carchietta)
Calvin Pryor leads the group of Jets safeties. (Vincent Carchietta)

Brian Bassett, Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

With the Jets opening the season in just a few weeks, we will break down the depth charts of each position in order to look at how the Jets stack up as they prepare for the 2016 NFL season. See the previous report on wide receivers.

Next up: Safeties

Starters: Calvin Pryor, Marcus Gilchrist
Backups / Special Teamers*: Rontez Miles*, Ronald Martin, Doug Middleton, Dion Bailey

Overall Analysis: Pryor is in his third year and is coming into his own. After Rex Ryan miscast Pryor in 2014, new coach Todd Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan brought in the veteran Gilchrist to stabilize the coverage safety role in the secondary and allow Pryor to be used in his more comfortable (and harder hitting role) as a box safety. With a better overall unit and the puzzle pieces in the right places, Pryor responded with an impressive 69 tackles, six passes defensed, two interceptions and a forced fumble despite three missed games with a high ankle sprain. This year, Pryor is setting his sights higher and has lofty expectations. Good to hear giving the company he keeps in the secondary.

While Gilchrist might have flown under the radar before his arrival in Florham Park, his 82 combined tackles and three interceptions were a key element in stabilizing a secondary which had struggled the two preceding years. Another year together for Gilchrist and Pryor will be good, but the team will be relied on more now that Antonio Cromartie is no longer part of the equation at cornerback. Look for Gilchrist to take on more work in coverage, even fading back to Revis's side with more regularity.

Backup Plan: While the Jets have some solid starters and have some fair depth and special teams options, the worry is that the backups still are young and don't have a high number of NFL games played between them. This group could really go any number of ways and predicting how the final roster plays out will be difficult, but there are some clues.

Miles, who has bounced on and off the Jets roster since joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2013, seems the most likely player out of this group to shine on special teams. Bailey played commendably in the games which Pryor missed but this summer has needed to work to stay healthy and on the practice field. Could Bailey be the fourth man of this group?

Name to Watch: Middleton seems to have gotten some positive reviews so far in training camp, especially after his late interception in the first preseason game. While Middleton cracking the roster over Miles, Bailey or Martin seems unlikely, Middleton seems like a great candidate for this year's practice squad unless he has some killer games in the next three weeks.

Tags: Calvin Pryor , Marcus Gilchrist , Ronald Martin , Rontez Miles

New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) and New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) celebrate Marshall's touchdown during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland)
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) and New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) celebrate Marshall's touchdown during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland)

Brian Bassett, Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

With the New York Jets opening the season in just a few weeks, we will break down the depth charts of each position in order to look at how the Jets stack up as they prepare for the 2016 NFL season. First up, wide receiver.

Starters: Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker
Situational: Kenbrell Thompkins, Quincy Enunwa,
Backups / Special Teamers*: Kyle Williams, Chandler Worthy, Jalin Marshall*, Jeremy Ross*, Robby Anderson, Devin Smith (PUP candidate), Charone Peake

Overall Analysis: There's no question that Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker were the engines that drove this offense in 2015. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey knows what he has in Decker and Marshall, but as the emergence of Bilal Powell showed at the end of last season, adding a viable third target to the offense unlocked so much more for this team. So, Gailey must know he can confidently distribute the ball a little more evenly this year thanks to the addition of Matt Forte along with the younger situational and backup players on this roster. Expect Marshall and Decker to still see the lion's share of targets this year, but expect them to be used with a little more versatility this season. And should one of the players need to take a game or series off, the team won't be bogged down into a one-man-band situation like Decker had to deal with in 2014. 

Mushy Middle: When Chan Gailey started rolling out his depth chart last summer we were surprised to see how little room he had for smaller receiver Jeremy Kerley. This year, prospective special teamer Jalin Marshall might be the only receiver under six feet left on the roster after cutdowns. 

Thanks to the emergence of Quincy Enunwa and Kenbrell Thompkins since last summer, the roster looks in a much better spot at receiver in terms of depth. There's still room for improvement, but a lot of that will come down to how Enunwa and Thompkins play. Last year Enunwa was used extensively as an extra blocker due to Jace Amaro's season-ending injury. This year he might build on that role as a receiver if Amaro can effectively take over some of those snaps while Enunwa's physical style begins to translate from his workhorse days as a Cornhusker.

While Thompkins has been quiet in camp he, not Enunwa, is the one listed on the depth chart behind Brandon Marshall. While Thompkins might be best remembered from last season for some unfortunately timed mental mistakes, he had some clutch catches at the end of last season and might be the one called to take on more targets if one of the starters has to miss a game. 

Name to Watch: How about I give you two names? Jalin Marshall has been lighting up practices and seems poised to take a special teams return role this fall. Seventh round draft pick Charone Peake was a surprise addition to the roster and is a raw talent. Given the health concerns of Devin Smith, Peake could be an interesting early season substitute version of Smith until the 2015 second rounder gets back to full health and football form.

GEICO SportsNite: Geno and Forte 00:02:22
Jeane Coakley speaks with Ray Lucas on what we should expect to see from Geno Smith, and if we will see Matt Forte in a preseason game.

Jeane Coakley speaks with Ray Lucas on what we should expect to see from Geno Smith, and if we will see Matt Forte in a preseason game.

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Matt Forte started out of the backfield and, quick as ever, cut over the middle where he was right there to catch a bullet pass from his quarterback. Then, just as the defenders converged, he gave a quick turn, burst up the seam, and was gone before anyone could touch him.

And right there, just for a moment, everyone could see why the Jets took a chance on the 30-year-old running back this offseason, and why he could be one of the most important weapons the Jets have this year.

There is no guarantee, of course, that at age 30 and with a ton of NFL mileage on his legs, Forte is still capable of consistently making plays like that this season. Before Wednesday, he had spent the summer nursing a nagging hamstring injury and had only participated in three Jets practices -- all in only individual drills.

For a back of his age that was a major red flag, even though he insisted he'd "definitely" be ready for Opening Day. But the Jets don't need him to just be ready.

They need him to be explosive and dangerous and healthy enough to be the dual threat he's been throughout his eight-year career. They need him to be the guy who takes the pressure off receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, and the guy who complements running back Bilal Powell.

They're moving slowly in that direction. They've still got 3 ½ weeks to get there. However, Forte's appearance on Wednesday definitely made for a good day.

"It was great seeing Matt," Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "It was really the first extensive work I had with him. I figured with as much ball as he's played and how great of a player he's been that he'd be able to fit right in and we'd mesh pretty well. He did a really nice job today."

In one of his early plays at practice he got a big welcome back from defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, who wrapped him up and tossed the 6-2, 218-pound running back aside and to the ground like a rag doll. It wasn't mean-spirited at all, but it was an important test. And Forte bounced right back up.

Afterward, Jets head coach Todd Bowles didn't get overly excited about Forte's day. "I think he's still got some ways to go," he said, "but it was encouraging to see." Bowles said Forte will warm up with the team in Washington on Friday night, and there's a chance he'll play in the Jets-Redskins game. But given the Jets' cautious approach with him so far, it seems like a longshot it will happen.

And that would be the smart play because this is about getting Forte to Opening Day so he can show why the Jets gave him a three-year, $12 million contract. The Jets are hoping Powell and Forte, both dual-threats who can catch the ball out of the backfield too, can be a dangerous 1-2 punch. And considering Powell has topped 110 carries only once in his five NFL seasons, the Jets need Forte to be a big part of their rushing game plan since they let Chris Ivory go.

Can he be the guy who just two years ago had 1,846 combined rushing and passing yards, or who had 898 rushing yards and 389 passing yards in just 13 games last season? The Jets don't see why not, even with the nagging hamstring injury this summer. Forte, after all, has only missed eight games in eight NFL years. This doesn't have to be the beginning of the end.

He still has to get into "football shape," Bowles said, and he wasn't even running full speed on Wednesday. That will come in time. But if he gets there, Forte will add a new dimension to an offense that ranked 10th in the NFL last season.

Maybe his contract was a gamble, but if he can stay healthy, the addition of Forte will end up looking like a steal.

Tags: Brandon Marshall , Eric Decker , Matt Forte , Ryan Fitzpatrick , Ralph Vacchiano

New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during the second half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)
New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during the second half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano, NFL Insider | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, NJ -- The Jets got a huge surprise on Wednesday when running back Matt Forte jumped into team drills for the first time since the start of camp. He looked completely unaffected by the hamstring injury that has kept him on the sideline and even flashed some unexpected speed.

That was a boost to the first team offense as the Jets held their final practice before they travel to Washington where they'll play the Redskins in their second preseason game on Friday. It seems to be a longshot that Forte will play, but at least he was finally back on the field.

Meanwhile, here are the other things I was watching at camp on Wednesday and what I saw:

1. Is LB Darron Lee about to crack the starting lineup?

Well, maybe not yet. The other day, when Lee was working with the first team, Jets coach Todd Bowles said "We like to mix and match people." Lo and behold, Lee didn't spend a lot of time with the first team on Wednesday as Bowles continued to mix and match his defense. Lee did take some first-team reps, but he was always subbed in after the regulars had taken some snaps. He made one incredibly athletic play when he slipped out to cover the flat, but read where QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was going, reversed course, backed up and made a leaping deflection of a pass intended for rookie Jalin Marshall. On the next play, he burst up the middle and stuffed a running play. A few more plays like that and Bowles will have to stop matching and leave his first-rounder in with the first team for good.

2. How are the non-starting QBs looking?

They all looked fine at practice on Wednesday, but more importantly there was no obvious change in the pecking order. Fitzpatrick, of course, was first and Geno Smith ran the second team with Bryce Petty taking the third team reps and Christian Hackenberg taking whatever was left. That's likely the rotation that will be used in Washington. Bowles said that at the moment all four are scheduled to play, but "We'll see how it works out." The Jets don't seem to be in any rush to get Hackenberg any reps in a game, which makes sense since he's ticketed to be the third quarterback. They really need to see Smith and Petty in the preseason more than anyone else.

3. Is it time to go to Mo?

Muhammad Wilkerson (leg) is back practicing, looks great, says he feels fine, and doesn't appear limited much at all. There seems to be a pretty good chance that he'll play on Friday, even though Bowles was noncommittal (and Wilkerson wouldn't say either). This time it makes sense to give him a few snaps since he's got to work himself into game shape and make sure his leg won't be an issue. It's already not an issue to Wilkerson, though, whether he plays on Friday or not.

Tags: Bryce Petty , Christian Hackenberg , Darron Lee , Geno Smith , Muhammad Wilkerson , Ralph Vacchiano

Atlanta Falcons running back Antone Smith (35) runs for a touchdown after a catch in the second half of their game against the New Orleans Saints at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons won 37-34 in overtime. (Jason Getz)
Atlanta Falcons running back Antone Smith (35) runs for a touchdown after a catch in the second half of their game against the New Orleans Saints at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons won 37-34 in overtime. (Jason Getz)

Bent, Follow on Twitter

Earlier today, it was reported that the Jets will sign veteran running back Antone Smith to join up with them at training camp. After a litany of injuries at the running back position, the Jets are in dire need of healthy bodies to take reps in the backfield. Smith replaces Bernard Pierce, another recent addition who subsequently got hurt and has been placed on injured reserve.

The 30-year old Smith is listed at 5'9" and 192 pounds and was an undrafted free agent out of Florida State in 2009. He was already with his fourth NFL team, Atlanta, when he finally made his NFL debut in 2010, but over the next several years established himself as a good special teamer and occasional third down back. He has rushed for 297 yards and caught 15 passes for 232 yards in his NFL career, with the bulk of his workload in 2014. He's also scored seven touchdowns and has shown a knack for making big plays with an average of 11.8 yards per touch.

Let's recap Smith's career so far and assess some of his strengths and weaknesses.

Note: Some stats from this article are exclusively provided by Pro Football Focus.

Who is Antone Smith?

Smith went to college at Florida State where he backed up former Jet Leon Washington. Over the course of four seasons, he rushed for over 2,200 yards at over 4.6 per carry, with about 800 in each of his last two seasons. Apparently, the FSU run blocking had gone downhill at the time, otherwise his numbers might have been better. Smith had a career high 15 rushing touchdowns as a senior and caught 58 passes in his college career.

Despite a stellar pro day workout, Smith went undrafted, but was signed after the draft by the Lions. However, they cut him before camp and Smith ended up playing for Minnesota in preseason. They released him in final cuts and he spent time on the Texans practice squad before finally ending up in Atlanta, where he would spend the next six seasons.

Smith flashed a few times in preseason action, but didn't play much on offense, making his name more as a special teams contributor. However, he had a couple of long touchdowns in 2013 and then had a spell early in the 2014 season where he had four long touchdowns in consecutive games. However, his workload dropped off and then he suffered a season-ending injury.

In 2015, he was released with an injury settlement at the end of preseason. He spent time on the Bears roster, but carried the ball just once for 11 yards and was released in December. 

The Numbers

64 games
No starts
30 carries, 297 yards, four touchdowns
15 catches, 232 yards, three touchdowns
Eight 20+ yard plays, Five 40+ yard plays
26 special teams tackles
One fumble lost

Based on all the footage watched, here is what Smith brings to the table, divided into categories:


Smith is quite small, but not lacking in strength, as he showed with his 31 bench press reps at his pro day. As his film shows, Smith's speed is his best asset and he ran an outstanding 4.33 40-yard dash and 6.9 three-cone drill at his pro day. He also displayed a very good broad jump (122") but his vertical and short shuttle were sub-par.

When the Jets brought Pierce in, they needed a power back because they still had Dominique Williams and Romar Morris healthy as back-ups. However, with those two now hurt and Khiry Robinson gradually working his way back, Smith - along with the other recent additions, Terry Williams and Lache Seastrunk - can battle for reps in this role.


Smith has been employed as a conventional back, usually as a change of pace. He doesn't stay in to block very often but will motion out wide or into the slot at times.

Running Ability

The immediate thing that strikes you about Smith's career is the sheer volume of long touchdowns he has had. All seven of Smith's NFL touchdowns have gone for over 35 yards. Even in preseason action, two of his three were from longer than that, so that makes nine out of 10 overall. Those seven plays account for 65% of his total output, but even if you exclude those, he still averages just under five yards per touch.

Aside from his knack for breaking out into the open field, Antone doesn't create a lot of offense by breaking tackles or moving the pile. However, he makes decisive cuts and can obviously take it to the house any time you get it to him in space.

When given a more substantial workload in preseason, he hasn't done much as a runner in recent years, averaging just 2.5 yards per carry.

Pass Protection

Smith hasn't been used much as a blocker and it isn't regarded as his strong suit. He's been beaten a few times for pressure in regular season action and his lack of size is not exactly ideal.

Receiving Threat

As noted, Smith is a big play threat in the passing game too, with four long receiving touchdowns in regular and preseason action. Here's one of the longest, on a play where he caught the ball in the flat.

While he's done most of his damage on dump-offs like this one, there was one play where they lined him up out wide and he ran a go-route for a potential touchdown, only for the pass to go through his hands as he tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch.


Other than the play mentioned above, Smith hasn't had a dropped pass in regular season action and has a solid 75% catch rate in regular season action.

In terms of fumbles, he has lost just one in his career, as the ball was punched out from behind just short of the goal line as he tried to stretch for the line while going down. 

Short Yardage

Smith hasn't been used much in short yardage situations, although he had a one-yard touchdown in a preseason game. As you might expect, on that play, he didn't power up the middle, instead running to the outside and diving for the pylon.

Special Teams

As noted, Smith has been a good special teams contributor, but not in the return game as you might expect. Instead, he's been productive in coverage, with 26 career tackles covering punts and kick-offs. He has also had four penalties and missed a lot of tackles, although on special teams, missed tackles are at least a sign you're getting downfield and in the position to make a play.

While he doesn't have any significant kick return experience, Smith has operated as a blocker on the return units. The Falcons lateralled the ball to him on a couple of occasions to good effect, including one play where he returned the ball out past midfield. With his big play potential and open field running instincts, could a kick return role be somewhere he might compete for reps?


While Smith has a knack for breaking into the open field and taking it to the house, his vision and instincts as a runner have been questioned. On most of the big runs he had there was one cut into the clear with good burst and acceleration, but I didn't see much of him cutting back or creating extra yardage. With that said, he didn't leave that many obvious yards on the field, although Falcons fans have griped about that at times.


Smith suffered a season ending injury in 2014 when in the middle of the best year of his career. He broke his leg covering a punt and was placed on injured reserve. Last year, he barely played and perhaps therefore wasn't fully recovered from this. Perhaps this means he deserves another shot and could produce like he did with Atlanta before the injury.

Prior to the leg break, he had missed games here and there with hamstring and knee injuries.

Scheme Fit

Smith seems like a one-cut runner and possible zone fit, which seem to be the type of players the Jets have been targeting to fill in at camp. Ironically, the Falcons converted to a zone blocking system last season when he ended up leaving the team.


Smith is a confident player who is regarded as tough and a hard worker. He has done well to carve a niche for himself as a reserve over the years.

One of Smith's special teams penalties was a bit of a boneheaded play because he shoved an opposing player into his coaches at the sideline, well away from the play.


It was interesting to read Falcons fans discussing whether or not Smith would finally get a bigger role after having made so many big plays for them in the past during preseason last year. A few days later, Smith was off the team, having suffered a hamstring injury. He perhaps still wasn't back to 100% coming off his season-ending injury in 2014 but was obviously a player with an intriguing future prior to that.

In many ways, Smith strikes me as an ideal back-up. He's used to having a sporadic role, can contribute on special teams and has the potential to come in and make a big play. You might even create some special packages for a player like him.

Smith has probably been brought in just to be a camp body, but given his history, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him flash with some big plays if he gets any preseason touches. With the injury issues at the position, perhaps that upside which was never fully tapped into with the Falcons could be tempting enough for the Jets to keep him around if they have room.

New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) stretches during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) stretches during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano, NFL Insider | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are a 10-win team coming off a near-miss of the playoffs and returning most of their key players. Maybe that's why there are so few questions - or question marks - about their starters or the core of their team.

That never stops the worrying, though, especially after watching the backup quarterbacks perform (or not) in the first preseason game. That seems to be a big concern of Jets fans - which makes sense, considering neither Ryan Fitzpatrick nor Geno Smith are under contract for next season, making the "quarterback of the future" situation unclear.

So we'll start there in my first Jets mailbag for Here are some of the questions you had for me via Twitter and Facebook:

Do you think the Jets will carry 4 QB's into the season - @bigguns111

That's a really intriguing question because it's rare for teams to do that. Some teams are even comfortable with only two. But the Jets are in a situation where they may have to consider it. And if they don't, it may come down to this question: Bryce Petty or Geno Smith?

More on that in a moment, but obviously Fitzpatrick is safe and the Jets didn't draft Christian Hackenberg in the second round just to cut him. Heading into camp it would seem to me that Smith is pretty safe as the backup quarterback, given his talent and his experience, and that Petty would be the odd-man out.

But from everything I've seen and been told, Petty is much-improved and the Jets are impressed with how far he's come. Impressed enough to let him compete with Smith for the backup job? Doubtful, unless Smith really falls apart in the final preseason games. Impressed enough to let him stick around and eat a roster spot so he and Hackenberg can battle it out for a starter or backup job next year if Fitzpatrick and Smith are gone?

That's to be determined. But maybe. In the end, I don't think the Jets will carry four quarterbacks because coaches are usually paranoid about not having enough players and I'm guessing Todd Bowles wouldn't want to "waste" a roster spot on a fourth quarterback that won't play. But at this point, I just can't rule it out.

Does Jalin Marshall 'Wally Pip' Devin Smith? -- @realsportsporn

Smith is still a second-round pick and teams aren't usually quick to give up on those, so I don't know if Marshall is about to "Wally Pipp" him. But he may at least get the chance because Smith is still rehabbing from his torn ACL and last week he told that he's "just not ready to play football" yet. He remains on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and he's starting to look like a good candidate to start the season there.

As for Marshall, he's been impressive in camp and it's impossible to overlook his eye-opening, 84-yard kickoff return in the preseason opener. That return ability, plus with his receiving skills, could be enough to get him on the final roster. But then keep in mind this: Even if he does, his opportunities in the offense figure to be limited behind Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Quincy Enunwa. So I don't know that I'd predict that he's about to push Smith out of the Jets' future plans just yet.

Do both Jalin Marshall and Peake make the Jets 53 man roster -- @jonjy36

I think there's a possibility of that, but it will be tough and we'll need to see a few more games to really know for sure. Charone Peake is a seventh-round pick and teams usually don't like to give up on draft picks so early, so he may actually have the easier path. And he got plenty of opportunities in the Jets' preseason opener and took advantage with four catches for 45 yards, including a nifty touchdown catch in tight quarters right at the pylon from Geno Smith.

Marshall's road to the roster might be more as a returner than a receiver, so his big kickoff return certainly helped. But this decision likely comes down to how many receivers the Jets decide to take, and it could be one or the other when the final cuts are made.

You can bet whichever one gets cut will end up on the practice squad, though - unless some other team scoops him up first.

How is Amaro, the Jets TE, doing so far? Can he or will he contribute? -- @chrislocurcio

This is a tough one to answer at the moment, because when I've seen tight end Jace Amaro at camp he's looked pretty good. He obviously didn't do much in the Jets' preseason opener, though. And really, the most important thing for him is to stay healthy so the second-rounder can bounce back from his disappointing rookie season (38-345-2 in 14 games).

The Jets do have big plans for him, so they certainly hope he can contribute. And he has the skills to be a big part of the passing game if he ever gets going. He was a terrific receiver in college and there seems to be no reason why he can't do the same in the pros. The key for him, though, is to work on his blocking. The Jets want him to be an every-down tight end, which means he has to block to stay in for obvious running plays. At the moment, he needs more work in that area.

But a guy with his receiving skills usually can find a place in the offense somewhere. So yes, I think he will contribute this year, especially if he stays health. And I expect that we'll see that more and more as the preseason goes on.

Who's better the Giants or the Jets? -- @PH1Losophical

I put this question in the Jets mailbag, instead of my Giants mailbag (coming tomorrow over at, by the way) because my answer is going to be "Jets." But it's not by much and it's not a simple answer either. That's why you're going to get this explanation:

I actually love the team the Giants have put together and the fact that they've got what I consider to be an elite quarterback at the helm makes them dangerous. Their drafting in recent years has been better and their $200 million offseason spending spree has made them a much better team than they were a year ago.

Two things worry me about the Giants, though: 1.History suggests that free agency is a terrible way to build a winner in the NFL, so while I think the Giants' spending spree will work wonders on their defense I have to be skeptical based on the track record. And 2.They are not deep. Really, look at almost every position on their roster and while the starters may be good (and in some cases could be Pro Bowlers) the backups are untested at best, and in some cases very questionable in talent. A couple of injuries to starters and I could see the whole thing falling apart.

That said, if you assume they're healthy, I think the Giants have got the talent to win double-digit games. I haven't made my prediction yet, but given how far they have to climb from last year - 6-10, the NFL's worst defense - I'm likely to predict they'll be 9-7.

As for the Jets, they're coming off a 10-win season and bring back almost everybody and there's no reason to think that with their defense they can't win 10 again. My biggest worry about them? Fitzpatrick is coming off what was by far the best season of his 11-year career. Considering he's never had a season like that before, can he really do it again at age 33? That takes a leap of faith that's hard to make, especially after a contract stalemate kept him out all offseason.

I actually think Fitzpatrick can take a little bit of a step back and the rest of the Jets team is still good enough to get him to 10 wins. Whether that's good enough for the playoffs in the tough AFC is anybody's guess. But I'll at least give them the edge in New York by the slightest of margins -- though if you promise me the Giants will be intact in the second half of the season, the race for New York supremacy could be really, really close.

Tags: Bryce Petty , Christian Hackenberg , Devin Smith , Geno Smith , Jace Amaro , Ryan Fitzpatrick , Ralph Vacchiano

New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) takes a snap during drills at training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Vincent Carchietta)
New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) takes a snap during drills at training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano, NFL Insider | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, NJ -- The Jets' first-teamers got off to a good start last week, but the real work begins Friday in Washington when you can expect their starters to see extended action in their second preseason game against the Redskins. It'll give Ryan Fitzpatrick a little more time to get into rhythm with his receivers as they likely play close - or at least closer - to full half.

They're still missing a big piece of that offense, though. Running back Matt Forte, one of their bigger offseason acquisitions, remains sidelined with a hamstring injury and there is no indication when he'll be able to return to a full practice. Barring a surprise at practice on Wednesday, it's a lock he'll miss the game on Friday, too.

Forte says he'll be ready for the season opener. But he's a running back at age 30 and nursing a muscle injury in his legs, so it's hard for anyone to guarantee that. So the Jets' offense keeps rolling along without him, with the running game in the hands of Bilal Powell.

How Powell plays, and how much Forte does - if anything - at practice, is always worth watching. Here are three other things to watch at the Jets' final practice before their second preseason game in Florham Park, N.J., on Wednesday afternoon:

1. Is LB Darron Lee about to crack the starting lineup?

The Jets' first-round pick had a terrific performance in the Jets' opening preseason game and since then he's been working more and more with the first-team at practice. Todd Bowles, as always, was coy when asked about that, saying "We like to mix and match people" in the lineup. Maybe that's true, but Lee sure looked like he earned a longer look with the first-string. The Jets already have a rookie linebacker who looks like he's earned a starting job in third-rounder Jordan Jenkins. It seems like it's only a matter of time before Lee earns one, too.

2. How are the non-starting QBs looking?

Geno Smith has been up-and-down in camp since his down-and-up performance in the preseason opener. Still, he's likely to be the first quarterback in after Ryan Fitzpatrick on Friday night when the Jets play their second preseason game in Washington. The real intrigue is behind him where Bryce Petty seems to be getting a long look as he fights for his future, and the Jets continue to move very slowly with Christian Hackenberg, their second-round pick. It'll be real interesting to see if Hackenberg makes his debut Friday night and how Bowles rotates all of them, and if he gives any hints to that on Wednesday afternoon.

3. Is it time to go to Mo?

Muhammad Wilkerson (leg) was activated off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list right before the first preseason game, but the Jets were never going to let him play so quickly no matter how much Bowles teased about it. This time, though, his preseason debut seems more of a possibility. He participated in team drills for the first time this summer on Tuesday, an indication that he's ready for increased activity. Bowles said Wilkerson "ran around fine, but he's still got some ways to go before he gets in shape." If it's a matter of getting in shape, then getting a few snaps in on Friday night isn't out of the question. How he bounces back from his first full day of work may tell that tale.

Tags: Bilal Powell , Bryce Petty , Christian Hackenberg , Darron Lee , Geno Smith , Jordan Jenkins , Matt Forte , Muhammad Wilkerson , Ryan Fitzpatrick , Ralph Vacchiano
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