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 (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.

Bent, Follow on Twitter

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)

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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)

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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

New York Jets running back Matt Forte during OTAs at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets running back Matt Forte during OTAs at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

Matt Forte has his sights set on the regular season.

The New York Jets running back just needs his hamstring to be ready, too.

Despite growing concerns over the health of one of the Jets' key players on offense, Forte is confident he'll be able to play in the season opener against Cincinnati on Sept. 11.

"I'll be available," Forte said Tuesday. "Definitely."

Forte tweaked a hamstring while running on his own before camp opened nearly three weeks ago and hasn't fully participated in a practice during training camp. He did individual drills Tuesday, though, as he did Sunday. The Jets were off Monday, but it marked consecutive practices that the 30-year-old running back was on the field.

Forte had not done positional drills since Aug. 2 before working in the past two practices.

"It's taken longer than I expected just because we're being super, super cautious about it," he said. "At this point, there's no reason to rush back out there. I got a lot of reps in the offseason. I know the offense. By watching in camp, I know it a lot more. It doesn't take that long to get back into it. So, I'm looking forward to being on the practice field soon." >> Read more

Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press

Tags: Matt Forte

GEICO SportsNite: Jets preseason 00:02:30
Jeane Coakley talks with Ray Lucas about what to expect for the Jets' second preseason game.

Jeane Coakley talks with Ray Lucas about what to expect for the Jets' second preseason game.


Atlanta Falcons running back Antone Smith (35) scores a touchdown past Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Dashon Goldson (38) in the third quarter of their game at the Georgia Dome. (Jason Getz)
Atlanta Falcons running back Antone Smith (35) scores a touchdown past Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Dashon Goldson (38) in the third quarter of their game at the Georgia Dome. (Jason Getz)

The New York Jets have signed veteran RB Antone Smith and have placed RB Bernard Pierce on injured reserve, the team announced Tuesday morning

Smith, entering his seventh NFL season, appeared in five games for the Chicago Bears in 2015. The 5'9", 192-pound Smith, who spent his first five NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, has 30 career carries for 297 yards, averaging 9.9 yards per carry, with four touchdowns. Smith has also added 15 receptions for 232 yards and three touchdowns throughout his career.

Pierce signed with the Jets in July, but a hamstring injury suffered during training camp slowed the running back down. Pierce played in seven games with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season after spending his first three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. On his career, Pierce has 359 carries for 1,345 yards and five touchdowns. 

New York Jets wide receiver Jalin Marshall runs back a kickoff against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets wide receiver Jalin Marshall runs back a kickoff against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)


Jalin Marshall anxiously waited three days to hear his name called at the NFL draft.

The first day came and went. So did the second. The former Ohio State wide receiver figured a team would grab him in one of the last four rounds.


A total of 253 players were selected in April - and Marshall couldn't believe he wasn't one of them.

"There were 32 teams who passed me up in the draft," Marshall said. "And now, I've got a great opportunity to show all these teams what they missed out on. That's at the top of my list right there."

Marshall was signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent shortly after the draft concluded, and he is doing all he can during training camp to prove everyone wrong.

He played just two years at Ohio State before declaring for the draft and thinks some scouts might have thought he just didn't have enough experience. Marshall ran a not-so-flashy 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his pro day, creating more doubts about whether he could play at the next level.

"People also said I was overweight at the pro day," the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Marshall said. "There was a lot of stuff, but it was my fault. It was nobody else's fault but mine, but every day I've got the opportunity to come out here and prove I should've been a No. 1 draft pick - and that's my goal." >> Read more

Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory (33) runs the ball against the New York Jets during the first quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory (33) runs the ball against the New York Jets during the first quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Bent, Follow on Twitter

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), 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 first preseason game.

DL Quinton Coples - Los Angeles
Coples didn't start but rotated in with the first and second units and had an active game. The most notable thing about his performance was that he played the entire game at defensive tackle, not - as you might have expected - on the edge. Coples was credited with two tackles and was in on a couple more. The highlight was a short yardage play where he tossed the center aside and stone-walled the ball carrier in the backfield for a loss. He also had a clean quarterback hit, overpowering La'el Collins to get upfield leverage and shed the block. Coples was driven off the line a couple of times, so perhaps it will be an adjustment for him to get used to playing inside full time for the first time since midway through his rookie season.

CB Jeremy Harris - Washington
Harris saw action off the bench and was credited with one tackle and one special teams tackle. He was burned by Eric Weems for a 48-yard gain over the top on a bizarre play where he we seemed to lose track of both his man and the ball and stopped running just before the ball arrived. He was beaten anyway though. He gave up one other first down on his other two targets, with the receiver leaping to make a back shoulder catch with Harris on his back.

NT Damon Harrison - New York Giants

Harrison, who has been dealing with knee issues at camp, started but played just five snaps. It didn't take long to show Giants fans what he brings to the table, though. On the first snap, Miami ran right at him and he plugged the gap to get in on the stuff. He was driven off the line by a lineman coming downhill on one of his other snaps though. There's a definite role adjustment for Harrison, who will be playing as a 4-3 tackle rather than a nose tackle. He was aligned directly opposite a guard rather than the center on the play where he made the stop.

RB Chris Ivory - Jacksonville

Most of you will have already seen Ivory's first game with the Jaguars, because it was against the Jets on Thursday night. He gained 30 yards on seven touches, breaking a few tackles in the process, and scored on a short yardage touchdown. TJ Yeldon got the starting nod over him, though.

RB/WR/KR Shane Wynn - Jacksonville
Wynn caught a nice 27 yard pass down the seam in the same game but many Jets fans perhaps didn't realize he was on their practice squad less than a year ago. Wynn, playing with the third unit, is apparently being converted into a wide receiver. He was also the target on the pass that Doug Middleton intercepted to clinch the Jets' win.

P Ryan Quigley - Jacksonville

Quigley is battling Brad Nortman for the Jags' job and he actually out-kicked Jets rookie Lachlan Edwards on Thursday night. Quigley put three of his five kicks inside the 20, including one that bounced inside the five. His net average of 42.8 yards was pretty solid while the Jets had no returns of over five yards.

LB Demario Davis - Cleveland

Davis made the start and just played the first couple of series. As was the case last year, he seems more reliable when given a smaller workload, so this suited him well. He made consecutive stops in the hole on runs of three and four yards, deflected a pass down the middle and almost had a sack when he blitzed but was unable to bring the quarterback down by the ankles.

TE Jeff Cumberland - San Diego
Cumberland was in for just over 10 plays and only got a couple of blocking assignments. The rest of the time he was running routes, often from the slot, and he impressed with a nice one-handed catch for a first down. However, later on he dropped a third down pass that was right in his hands at the marker.

CB Darrin Walls - Detroit

Walls saw plenty of action on the outside off the bench, recording three tackles and a special teams tackle. He gave up one first down, on a play where he slipped as the receiver broke back to the football and couldn't prevent him from driving him to the marker. On one other play he was trailing a receiver on a post route that fell incomplete as the receiver was led towards safety support and the pass was almost picked off.

WR Jeremy Kerley - Detroit
Kerley's most memorable moment was a bad drop as he got separation on a deep post route and had the ball in two hands but took a peek upfield before securing the catch. He bounced back though, with five catches for 36 yards. Three of those were third down conversions, all coming on drag routes, one a nice snag on a high ball and another displaying speed and a stiff arm to beat the cornerback outside and get to the marker. His other two catches were stopped near the line. Kerley also had a 10-yard punt return and a 23-yard kick-off return.

RB Stevan Ridley - Detroit

Ridley didn't play in preseason last year because he was still rehabbing an injury, so he will be hoping to benefit from game reps to hit his stride sooner. He ran for 14 yards on his five carries, including a six-yard 3rd-and-short conversion. Ridley's longest run of the game - nine yards - was called back due to a penalty.

DL Quanterus Smith - Detroit
Smith, a former Jets practice squad member, saw action late and flashed some good pass rushing ability. He dipped past the left tackle on the outside and almost wrapped the quarterback up for a sack, only to allow him to escape and complete a pass. He then switched to the other side and forced the quarterback to step up with another speed rush, before impressively beating the right tackle again and drilling the quarterback for a strip-sack. Smith also got in on one run stuff.

OL Luke Marquardt - Detroit
Marquardt never even got a chance to attend off-season activities with the Jets, but saw plenty of action at right tackle in his first preseason game with the Lions. Apparently, he has been really struggling at camp, but he seemed to hold up well with the third team. He made a couple of mistakes in the running game, but didn't give up any pressure. 

DL Lawrence Okoye - Dallas

Okoye has converted back onto the defensive line, but didn't get any defensive reps in the Cowboys' first preseason game. He had been dealing with ankle injuries earlier on in camp and suffered an arm injury last week.

DL Leger Douzable - Buffalo

Douzable had a productive first game, as he saw action on 13 snaps in the second half. He recorded one run stuff as he penetrated into the backfield and tackled the ball carrier by the ankles. He also created some good pressure, coming up the middle and getting up after a cut block to hit the quarterback on one play and then beating a double team to get low pressure and almost bring down the quarterback for a sack.

LB Jamari Lattimore - Buffalo

Lattimore saw about the same amount of reps as Douzale but did not generate any stats or do anything of significance. 

WR/KR Walt Powell - Buffalo

Powell had a huge day, catching all four of his targets for 88 yards and racking up over 100 yards in returns. He made a 26-yard over-the-shoulder catch on a play where he created some good separation with a sharp post-corner route. Then, on the last drive, he added the 40-yard catch and run you can see below, setting up a last-gasp touchdown (although the Bills failed on a two-point conversion and lost the game by one). Powell returned four kicks and three punts to rack up those return yards. He had a 16-yarder on a punt, but didn't do much on kick-offs where 22 was his longest return and he was stopped inside the 20 once.

DT TJ Barnes - Buffalo
Barnes, who experimented as an offensive lineman in the spring, is back on defense now, but did not play in the Bills' first preseason game. 

RB/KR Dri Archer - Buffalo

Archer never reported to the Bills and therefore remains on their "did not report" list. I don't expect that to change, so this will be the last update on him unless and until something changes.

DB Antonio Allen - Houston

Allen played a mixture of in-the-box and deep safety and had an active game off the bench with four tackles and a pass defensed. He made a couple of mistakes though, taking a bad angle on a pass to the flat and allowing the back to drag him past the marker, allowing two more first downs in coverage - one over his head and one a deep out in front of him - and getting blocked out of the play on a first down scramble. He recorded an impressive pressure as he blitzed into the backfield and drove the running back into the quarterback.

OL Oday Aboushi - Houston

Aboushi, who was on the suspended list last year before being released after week one, is still in the mix for a roster spot with the Texans. Working with the second unit, he didn't give up any pressure and graded out as their best run blocker according to, while the starter, Jeff Allen, struggled.

WR Quenton Bundrage - Houston

Bundrage saw action on about 10 snaps late in the game but was not targeted and was unable to make any significant contributions.

DL Jordan Williams - Miami

Williams saw regular season action with the Dolphins last year, which says something when he was probably only about the 10th best defensive lineman in camp for the Jets. He's still on the third unit for the Dolphins though. He had one pressure in 20 snaps, showing some power on a bull rush off the edge.

TE Jerome Cunningham - Tennessee

Cunningham, who had a cup of coffee with the Jets earlier this offseason, saw about the same amount of time as Cumberland in the Chargers-Titans game. However, in contrast to Cumberland, he was used mostly as a blocker rather than to run routes. He didn't make any significant contributions.

OL Sean Hickey - Minnesota

Hickey, another 2016 signing who didn't last very long, saw fourth quarter action at right tackle. He was effective at the point of attack and had a couple of plays where he mauled his man. However, his blocking in space was not very clean and he got plenty of help in pass protection.

ST Coordinator Bobby April - Tennessee

It's probably too early to read anything into the strength of the Titans' special teams unit, but we'll keep an eye on them for any significant developments. There wasn't much to report from this game.

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.

Dallas Cowboys running back Lache Seastrunk (30) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers in a preseason NFL football game at Qualcomm Stadium. (Jake Roth)
Dallas Cowboys running back Lache Seastrunk (30) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers in a preseason NFL football game at Qualcomm Stadium. (Jake Roth)

Bent, Follow on Twitter

Over the weekend, the Jets announced that they have signed running backs Lache Seastrunk and Terry Williams and defensive lineman Jake Ceresna. They were signed to replace injured running back Matthew Tucker and recent additions Anthony Kelly and Christo Bilukidi. Kelly, who did not play in the preseason opener, was released and Bilukidi left the team of his own accord. 

The 25-year old Seastrunk is listed as 5'10" and 210 pounds and has the highest profile of the three as a former sixth-round draft pick out of Baylor. Seastrunk failed to make it onto Washington's roster as a rookie and, despite spending time with three other teams since then, he's still yet to make it onto a 53-man roster.

The 24-year old Williams is listed as 5'10" and 200 pounds and was a small school draft prospect from Kutztown. He rushed for 1,542 yards and 22 touchdowns over the last two years, after previously having been a junior college transfer. Williams was already signed once by the Jets, earlier this month, but lasted just one day on the roster.

Ceresna is another local product. The 22-year old, who is listed at 6'5" and 295 pounds, attended college at SUNY Cortland, where he racked up 14 sacks over the past two seasons. 

I've been researching these new additions and watching film to assess what each of them brings to the table.

Who are Lache Seastrunk, Terry Williams and Jake Ceresna?

Seastrunk made a name for himself at Baylor, where he rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his two seasons and scored 19 touchdowns. Seastrunk had declared himself the best running back in the nation and said that he expected to win the Heisman Trophy but ultimately fell short of his own expectations.

Having decided to enter the 2014 draft and impressed with his offseason workout numbers, he ended up being selected later than expected when Washington took him in the sixth round. In preseason, he put up some pretty good numbers with over 200 yards from scrimmage, but was still beaten out for a roster spot by the undrafted Silas Redd. He also spent time on the practice squads for Carolina and Tennessee in 2014. Last season, Seastrunk was with Dallas in training camp and preseason but again didn't make their roster. He also spent some time in the CFL, but did not play.

Williams was a local product from New Jersey who attended junior college in Phoenix, Arizona before transferring to Division II Kutztown. In his junior year, he rushed for 725 yards and nine touchdowns, then bettered that as a senior with 817 yards and 13 touchdowns. His numbers were limited because he was splitting reps with two other backs, but he had three 100-yard games and three multiple-touchdown games in his senior year.

Williams impressed with his speed and burst at Temple's pro day and was invited to play at the National Bowl all-star game, where he did a good job despite not being 100%. However, he was not drafted and was unable to sign an undrafted free agent deal despite interest from the Jets and Colts and an invitation to the Giants' rookie camp.

Ceresna played for SUNY Cortland over the last two seasons after transferring from Southern Connecticut. He racked up 126 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks in total. He was at Kansas City's mini-camp on a try-out basis, but this is his first time on an NFL roster.


All three players are listed as about 10 pounds heavier than they were when weighed at their pro days. Williams was also measured at 5'8" - two inches shorter than his listed height. Both Williams and Seastrunk are built more like a smaller change-of-pace back, which the Jets need right now with Dominque Williams and Romar Morris injured. Ceresna's size would seem ideal for a 3-4 end role.

Seastrunk's broad jump and vertical jump at the combine were absolutely outstanding but he only managed 15 bench press reps. At his pro day, he impressed by improving his 40-yard dash time to 4.42 and with an outstanding 6.81 three cone drill. His short shuttle was poor though.

Williams has good speed, and impressed with a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day. He has run sub-4.4 in the past too. His short shuttle (4.25) was only average though. However, he displays good burst, agility and balance on film.

Ceresna's pro day workout numbers are all good-to-very good across the board highlighted by a sub-5.0 40-yard dash and 35 bench press reps. He also has long arms.


In the limited footage available for Williams, I only ever saw him used as a conventional running back although he did motion out towards the flat at times. Seastrunk was also just used conventionally in preseason action. At Baylor he would mainly be a single-back in four-wide sets.

Ceresna lined up all over the defensive line with Cortland. While he was mostly lined up across from a tackle, he occasionally lined up over the center and rushed on the interior quite a lot.


Seastrunk's only real injury concern is that he missed two games in 2013 due to a groin injury. Despite his lack of ideal size, Williams claims to be extremely durable and has never had a serious injury. Ceresna started all 22 games over his last two years of college, so he has no injury concerns either.


Seastrunk's draft stock was hurt by character concerns and these have continued into his NFL career. Aside from being somewhat over-confident in his own abilities, he also drew the ire of coaches in Dallas due to missing assignments and freelancing too much during plays.

He also had eligibility issues early on in his college career after having transferred from Oregon to Baylor.

Williams' vision and open-field running seem solid. He jumped off-sides on his own two-yard line on one play, but then responded about as well as you can, with a 99-yard touchdown run. He would end up that game with 143 yards on just seven carries.

As is the case with many JUCO transfers, there are some concerns over Williams' work ethic. He admits he barely made it through high school before ending up at a junior college. However, he obviously persevered and turned things around to get into this position. He reportedly trained extremely hard to get into excellent shape during the offseason too.

Ceresna's on-field instincts seem outstanding, as he appears to make good reads and explode to the football without hesitation.

He has a reputation as a hard-worker with a determined attitude and was regarded as a leader on his college team. He comes across as an extremely humble, team-oriented player.

Film Review: Seastrunk

Seastrunk is a playmaking back with a low center of gravity, but perhaps lacks the discipline to maximize his potential at the NFL level. He makes good changes of direction and probably profiles best as a cut-back runner for a zone-blocking scheme.

He isn't much of a power runner and some experts felt his college stats (7.6 yards per carry) were inflated due to being in an offense that spreads out the defense and prevents them from stacking the box.

One of the most exciting things about Seastrunk as a draft prospect was his big play potential. He had five touchdowns of 68 yards or longer in college and then caught an 80-yard touchdown pass in a preseason game as a rookie. While he doesn't have any kick-off return experience, perhaps he projects as an option there with his obvious knack for getting out into the open field. He had a couple of special teams tackles but also missed one tackle and had a penalty in preseason action.

Despite that long play, Seastrunk isn't much of a pass catcher. He caught nine passes in 2012 but none in 2013, which was when Bryce Petty took over as Baylor's full time starter. He dropped a pass with the Cowboys last year and reportedly struggled in pass protection in camp due to his lack of experience in that role.

Film Review: Williams

The first thing you notice when watching film of Williams is his speed. A lot of his longest gains saw him completely untouched simply because he was so quick that he was able to get outside or through a gap before a defender could lay a glove on him. Once he gets in the open field, Williams displays good vision and breakaway speed, albeit that he was playing at a lower level than most draft prospects.

His ability to cut, bounce off contact and change direction stands out and he gives a good effort to finish runs, but due to his lack of size doesn't have a lot of power and can sometimes go down on first contact in the open field.

This was perhaps the most impressive play on his highlight reel, showcasing his slipperiness and ability to change direction quickly:

I couldn't find any footage of Williams staying in to block, so I assume it's something he doesn't have a great deal of experience with. At his size, he would likely struggle to hold up against NFL-level blitzers.

With his skill-set, you might expect Williams to make a bigger contribution to the passing game, but over two seasons at Kutztown, he caught just five passes, all in his senior year. He averaged a solid 13.6 yards per catch on those plays though. He made a few nice plays in junior college, including a touchdown on a corner fade.

There's a chance that the Jets will look at Williams as a potential kick return option. With his skill-set, he might fare well at that. However, at Kutztown, he fielded just six kickoffs for 105 return yards and never returned punts.

Film Review: Ceresna

Ceresna developed well over the two seasons at Cortland. The team started off 0-4 in his first year but then won five of their last six, before opening up 5-0 the following year and making the playoffs at 8-2. He more than doubled his sack count to 9.5 in his senior year and added 17 quarterback hits.   Bearing in mind that he's playing against low-level competition, he displays all of the domination you'd like to see, especially as a pass rusher. He has power, can rush both inside and out and has some good pass rush moves.

He made a lot of plays against the run too though, with nine tackles for loss. He has power at the point of attack, uses his long arms well and closes well in pursuit.

Ceresna also gets his hands up well and has a knack for batting down passes at the line. He had six passes defensed last year. He even dropped into coverage and made an impressive play in the flat on his highlight reel. He also showed his playmaking ability with two forced fumbles.


With all the injuries at running back, the Jets have been trying to bring in players that can handle reps at the position. It's a good opportunity for Seastrunk and Williams to perhaps get a chance for some real game reps where, if they put something good on film, they might improve their chances of catching on somewhere.

None of these players will be under any illusions about their chances of making the roster though. All three are most likely camp bodies that would do well to last long enough to see action in the final preseason game.

A pattern is developing in terms of the bottom end of the roster, whereby the Jets are adding a lot of prospects that are either local to the Jets or from in or around Todd Bowles' alma mater of Temple. Perhaps this indirectly strengthens the ties between the Jets and these programs with a view to giving them insights into the kind of players being produced. They may view this as something of an unofficial minor league pipeline that might one day pay dividends by providing them with access to a useful contributor or two.

New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)

Darrelle Revis might be the hottest man in the NFL - literally.

The New York Jets star cornerback routinely practices in a dark sweatshirt - one of at least three layers - and sweatpants, no matter the weather. Even when the heat index has temperatures soaring over 100 degrees, as they were this weekend, and the air is so thick you can hardly breathe.

"I know, people think I'm crazy," Revis said after a steamy practice Sunday. "Everybody does."

While sweat-drenched fans gathered in the metal bleachers are hoping for the occasional warm breeze to provide a respite from the blazing heat, there's Revis on the practice field dressed as if it's mid-November.

"It's just putting myself in the worst-case scenario, in terms of the heat, making it the worst possible," he said. "If I'm able to overcome this, I think in a game, it would be fairly easy or at least a little bit easier for me."

The 5-foot-11, 198-pound Revis estimates he loses 6 or 7 pounds in water weight through a typical practice. He'll start the morning by chugging bottles of water and then again right before practice starts.

Coach Todd Bowles prefers to have his players work during the hottest part of the day, calling it "the dog days of training camp." Revis takes advantage of the extreme heat to quickly get himself in regular-season shape.

"During practice, you feel it, but when you're done, that's when you really pay attention to your shirt just being drenched," he said. "I mean, it's completely soaked. It's like you jumped in the hot tub or a swimming pool or something and you're like, `Holy cow.'

"Obviously, the results I think are good because by the end of practice you're like, `OK, I did something today' because you're so drenched."

Who's to argue with a seven-time Pro Bowl pick and five-time first-team All-Pro selection who has been considered one of the greatest to play his position? >> Read more...

Tags: Darrelle Revis

New York Jets running back Matt Forte talks to Jets owner Woddy Johnson during OTA at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets running back Matt Forte talks to Jets owner Woddy Johnson during OTA at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles said running back Matt Forte is still "day to day" after making his training camp debut on Sunday.

Forte had been dealing with a pulled hamstring and did not play in Thursday's preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. On Sunday, he participated in positional drills for the first time.

"I don't see him doing more each day," Bowles said, according to Newsday's Kimberly A. Martin. "It's just part of his rehab process. He'll still be inside some days. ... He's still day to day, week to week."

The Jets signed Forte, 30, in the offseason after he had spent the previous eight seasons with the Chicago Bears. He recorded 1,287 rushing and receiving yards and scored seven touchdowns in 13 games last season.

"He needs to practice at some point,'' Bowles said. "You know you need to practice. Nobody's going to stay hurt forever and then come in Game 1. He's making progress. He's got time. We'll just play it day by day."

Tags: Matt Forte

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)

Who's No. 2? Well, there's no debate for Todd Bowles and the New York Jets.

The coach says Geno Smith remains the backup quarterback behind starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, with Bryce Petty in the third spot on the team's depth chart.

"Geno's No. 2 right now," Bowles said Saturday after a steamy practice. "You're not making a competition after one preseason game."

Smith 8 of 14 for 79 yards and a touchdown in the Jets' 17-13 win over Jacksonville on Thursday night. Petty, a fourth-round draft pick last year, was 7 of 14 for 93 yards. Rookie Christian Hackenberg, a second-rounder this year, did not play.

"He did OK," Bowles said of Smith's performance. "Bryce played OK and Fitz played OK. The biggest thing was they didn't turn it over, we didn't have any pre-snap penalties and we've had those all week since camp began. They gave us a chance. I thought they commanded the game well."

Smith was the Jets' starter until last August, when he had his jaw broken by a punch from a teammate. Fitzpatrick moved into the starting role and thrived, throwing a career-high 31 touchdown passes while leading New York to a 10-6 mark and within a win of the playoffs.

It appeared Smith might have a chance to reclaim his job this offseason as Fitzpatrick, a free agent, and the Jets went through a long contract stalemate. But Fitzpatrick re-signed just before the first training camp practice - moving Smith to the backup role again and Petty to No. 3.

There has been some speculation that Petty could perhaps push Smith for the No. 2 role this summer. That doesn't appear to be the immediate plan, nor does giving Petty some snaps with the second-team offense in the preseason.

"Going forward, we'll sit down and discuss it," Bowles said. "Obviously, we expect the 1's to go a little bit longer than they played in the last game. Depending on what we need to do, we'll adjust them going forward." >> Read more

Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press

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

New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) sits in front of defensive back Kendall James (36) during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Vincent Carchietta)
New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) sits in front of defensive back Kendall James (36) during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Vincent Carchietta)

A return date for injured Jets RB Matt Forte is still up in the air, head coach Todd Bowles told reporters Saturday. 

Forte, dealing with a pulled hamstring, has not practiced with the team at training camp yet and missed the Jets' preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

"I'm not sure," Bowles said of a possible Forte return. "He's day-by-day or week-by-week."

The first-year Jet rushed for 898 yards and added 389 receiving yards in 13 games with the Bears last season. He has totaled 8,602 career rushing yards. 

Tags: Matt Forte

Washington Redskins running back Lache Seastrunk (35) rushes the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills)
Washington Redskins running back Lache Seastrunk (35) rushes the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills)

The Jets have signed RB Lache Seastrunk and have waived RB Matthew Tucker, the team announced Saturday. 

Tucker, signed in early August, was originally signed by the Eagles out of TCU and was with the team from 2013-15. 

Seastrunk accumulated 2,189 yards in two seasons at Baylor before being drafted by the Redskins in 2014.

After being cut by Washington, he bounced around three different NFL teams before spending some time in the Canadian Football League, most recently with the practice squad of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

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The Jets are having no luck whatsoever at the running back position. While they're being understandably cautious with Matt Forte and his injured hamstring, it seems nobody else can stay healthy either. Khiry Robinson only recently got off the PUP list and recent addition Bernard Pierce was also bitten by the injury bug soon after his arrival. Compounding matters are the concussion suffered by Dominique Williams in Thursday night's game and reports coming out of practice today suggesting that rookie Romar Morris headed to the locker room after being shaken up by a Rontez Miles hit.

All of this leaves Bilal Powell as the only fully healthy running back on the team. The team was so short-handed at practice today that they had to resort to using full back Tommy Bohanon in a half back role.  

As for Seastrunk, he was a prospect many liked heading into the 2014 draft, but it was perhaps a mistake for him to enter the draft early, as he's been unable to make it onto a 53-man roster. He is a smaller back with good athleticism, who has flashed some ability in preseason action, including an 80-yard touchdown catch in his rookie year. Hopefully he can last a bit longer, otherwise we'll begin to wonder if being a Jets running back is as cursed as being the drummer for Spinal Tap.

Cornerback Marcus Williams stretches during OTA's earlier this summer. (Noah K. Murray (USA Today))
Cornerback Marcus Williams stretches during OTA's earlier this summer. (Noah K. Murray (USA Today))

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

Coming up, the final instalment of a four-part breakdown of last night's preseason opener, focusing on the secondary and special teams, including a look at some struggles for a former first round pick, playmaking from rookie defensive backs and ups and downs on the special teams unit.


With Darrelle Revis rested, the battle is on for the right to be the other starter at cornerback. To that end, Buster Skrine and Marcus Williams got the start, which was perhaps surprising because usually when Revis sits out at camp, they give his reps to Dee Milliner.

Skrine only stayed in for the first series, giving up a first-down catch on a back shoulder throw on his only target. He also failed to make a tackle as he was blocked to the ground on a short pass. Williams, who stayed in to work with the second unit as well, gave up a first down on a quick slant and another on a legal pick play.

Milliner got into the game with the second unit and, importantly, made it through the game unscathed, although he didn't have a very successful day in coverage. All six of his targets were completed for over 100 yards. On most of the completions he was in a good position and one actually saw him stuff the receiver for a short gain on third down. However, one went for a big gain after he missed the tackle and, the biggest play of the game saw him badly beaten down the middle.

Having re-watched that play a few times, Milliner gives his man a completely free release to the inside, which leads me to believe he must have been expecting inside safety support. At the snap, both Bruce Carter and safety Dion Bailey follow the back into the flat, so there was clearly some kind of a mix-up. However, Milliner should have easily been able to identity early that the support he expected was not there and made more of an effort to recover. As it turned out, he almost broke up the pass, but only because it was underthrown.

Darryl Morris was with the second unit's nickel package, but was not targeted or credited with a tackle.

Rookie Juston Burris turned heads with some late playmaking, but perhaps needs to ensure he turns his own head sooner on downfield routes. He had a couple of pass break-ups, including one where he broke superbly on the ball and almost took it to the house. He only gave up one first down and made a solid open field tackle on a shorter pass. On one of his incompletions he was in a good position deep, but again oblivious to where the ball was. He certainly showed some promise in terms of his positional play, though.

Youngsters Kevin Short and Bryson Keeton are extreme long shots to make the team and each was picked on as the Jaguars tried to get back into the game down the stretch. Keeton inadvertently made the play that clinched the game when a throw to the end zone hit him in the back of the head and bounced up off the receiver's foot for an easy interception. Like Burris, Keeton needs to show better awareness, but deserves some credit for being draped all over the receiver without getting flagged. As for Short, he had a bad missed tackle, but made a nice play in run support.

The inactive Dexter McDougle doesn't seem to have had a particularly good camp so far and, although he was listed as third string on the first official depth chart, his roster spot is far from safe.


Starters Calvin Pryor and Marcus Gilchrist left the game after the first series, so it was left to an intriguing group of reserves to jostle for roster supremacy. While they were out there, Pryor was lucky not to get beaten for a touchdown by Julius Thomas, who dropped the ball on the goal line on a slant route from out wide. Gilchrist was blocked out of the play on a short pass. Neither recorded a tackle.

Rontez Miles was the next man up and helped his case by getting in on a couple of good tackles near the line of scrimmage. He collided with Milliner following Milliner's missed tackle, leading to a big gain, but that was probably not really his fault. He also gave up a first down on a pick play.

Ronald Martin was listed ahead of Bailey on the first depth chart, but was unable to play, so Bailey had a good chance to make up some ground with the second unit. Bailey had a touchdown saving tackle and one other good open field tackle. He also added a pressure. However, as noted earlier, he may have been involved in a coverage mix-up with Milliner. Bailey lined up in the box quite a lot and got beaten up quite badly on one play in particular.

Finally, undrafted rookie Doug Middleton made some headlines with his game-clinching interception, but he had already made a few notable plays prior to that. He had a touchdown saving tackle, a couple of third down stops and a good tackle in the open field. He also drew an offensive pass interference flag on a play where he almost made a diving interception and was tied with Miles for the team lead with six tackles. He had one missed tackle at the second level though.

Special Teams

After the last few years, it's almost unnerving to see anything positive out of the special teams unit, so Jets fans have to be happy with the two long kick-off returns yesterday.

Jeremy Ross ran one back 51 yards and then Jalin Marshall one-upped him and went 84 yards. Crucially, both plays were extremely well-blocked. Perhaps this means anyone putting in less than 100% will have nowhere to hide under the new regime, so there ought to be more consistent contributions across the board. All other kicks went to the end zone, which is the depressing aspect of this because if the Jets have a dominant kick return unit, teams can mitigate that by keeping the ball away from them.

I have to give credit to Marshall for opting not to run one out of the end zone. He fielded the ball with no momentum and would probably have been tackled well short of the 25-yard line, so taking the touchback was smart. For someone who has shown questionable return game instincts and maturity in the past, that was a good sign.

Here's Marshall's big moment, with the hurdle in particular turning it from a nice gain into a huge one. However, this is here because we're going to pay specific attention to the blocking on this play.


The four men directly in front of Marshall when he fields the ball are Dakota Dozier, Tommy Bohanon, Brent Qvale and Jordan Jenkins. Dozier, the furthest to the right, perfectly locks onto his man and turns him to the outside to create the lane. Bohanon circles ahead of him and keeps the defensive back away from the middle of the field - although perhaps if he held that player up for a little longer, he wouldn't have been able to chase back into the play. Qvale just lowers his shoulder and stops a guy in his tracks.

The next wave of blockers features Miles, Darron Lee and Julian Stanford in the middle and Milliner, Quincy Enunwa and Marcus Williams outside. The outside players all latch onto and run alongside a Jaguars player, maintaining inside leverage so they can easily keep them sealed off from the middle. Stanford gets right in front of a guy and stonewalls him there, while Miles initially helps him out before peeling off to later make a loud crack-back block further down the field. As for Lee, he almost gets beaten but recovers in time to drive his man out of the running lane.

On the first long return the Jets had the same personnel and the same blocking scheme. On that play, Dozier and Qvale again did a solid job of keeping their men sealed outside. This time Enunwa was the guy that picked up a block late and drove his man out of the middle and Stanford again slowed up a Jaguar player coming up the middle before Bohanon came over and completely de-cleated him with a big hit. Miles again made a good block further down the field.

If this unit continues to have success, it would be a shame to have to replace any of the players that do such a good job on this unit with someone who got a roster spot based on their suitability for back-up reps they might never be called upon for.

The Jets didn't fare quite so well on punts, fielding three of seven for just four yards of returns. Marshall danced around too much on his only punt return and got swallowed up.

Also seeing brief time in the return game were Romar Morris and Chandler Worthy, but neither made an impact. If he gets healthy, Kyle Williams will be added to the mix.

There were also some good plays made in coverage. Morris was probably the standout at gunner, although Marcus Williams made a great tackle in punt coverage, where a missed tackle might have led to a big play. Miles was also in on a couple of plays and got close to blocking a punt.

It was not all positive on the special teams unit though. I said previously that the Jets would probably retain Nick Folk as their place kicker if he had a good preseason, even if undrafted rookie Ross Martin didn't make any mistakes. Unfortunately for Martin, he hooked a 39-yard field goal wide and then came up a good 10 yards short on a 54-yarder, so that battle is probably already over.

I have a slight concern over whether Lachlan Edwards was a contributing factor to those missed kicks though. I recall Mike Westhoff saying that Australian punters sometimes struggle with being a holder and while I didn't get a good enough look to say for sure that this is correct, it looked to me like Edwards didn't get the laces pointing forwards on either of those missed kicks. They seemed to be pointing to the right on the hook - which, interestingly, hooked in the opposite direction - and back towards the kicker on the one that came up short.

If this is the case, then it seems awfully unfair to Martin, but moreover is a big concern that needs to be resolved before the season starts.

Had Edwards' punting been up to scratch, it would perhaps be less concerning, but he wasn't exactly impressive, with two bad punts - albeit that one was under heavy pressure and the other got a lucky bounce and worked out quite well in the end - and no particularly impressive ones. At least there wasn't any return yardage surrendered so he wasn't outkicking his coverage, but getting outkicked by Ryan Quigley is never a good look.

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

Leonard Williams sacks Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles during the first half of the Jets preseason opener.  (Vincent Carchietta (USA Today))
Leonard Williams sacks Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles during the first half of the Jets preseason opener. (Vincent Carchietta (USA Today))

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

Coming up, part three of a four-part breakdown of last night's preseason opener, focusing on the defensive front seven, including a look at two draft picks making their first appearance, signs of potential depth from some unexpected veteran sources and a focus on which of the longer-term projects are showing the most immediate promise.

Defensive Line

I was especially looking forward to seeing how well Steve McLendon would hold down the nose tackle spot, but he did not dress so that will have to wait. Despite comments from Todd Bowles a few days ago that suggested he might get a few snaps, Muhammad Wilkerson also sat. That was not surprising as he hasn't taken part in team activities at camp yet. 

With McLendon out, I would have expected to see Deon Simon, the second team nose tackle, get the start. However, the Jets instead opted to put Jarvis Jenkins in with the first unit, basically employing Leonard Williams as a nose tackle, albeit not often lined up directly over the center or two-gapping. This perhaps suggests we'll see him in that role with Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson on either side of him in some 3-4 personnel packages. I have a sneaking suspicion the Jets will play a lot more 3-4 this year.

Williams stood out, creating some good interior pressure and notching a sack. He also drew a triple team on one running play and stood up the center on another, so he was disruptive there too. Richardson made less of an impact, although the Jaguars did seem to make a point of running away from him. Richardson was driven off the line on one play, but did get good traction on one bull rush. These two were both out of the game after the first drive, which ended up with a field goal.

Jenkins seemed to really struggle while with the starters, before bouncing back and making some good plays. It's worth noting that the Jaguars' starters on the offensive line remained in the game for much longer than the Jets defensive linemen and Jenkins stuffed one run and got good penetration on another play against them. He was absolutely buried by Luke Joeckel (#76) on Chris Ivory's touchdown run, though:


I was impressed by Simon, who lined up over the center in a two-gapping role more often than Williams as the second unit nose tackle. He consistently did a good job of holding his ground at the point of attack and got some good penetration. His one bad mistake was that he jumped offsides, giving Jacksonville a free play from which they gained big yardage. I can see where the comparisons to Damon Harrison come from, but he will need to be extraordinarily consistent to contribute at a similar level.

Undrafted rookie Lawrence Thomas got into the game earlier than you might have expected and impressed with his strength at the point of attack. He also made a good run stop where he moved well laterally to stay in front of the ball carrier. On the play where Simon jumped offside, he also bit on the cadence and would have been flagged if Simon wasn't.

Another undrafted rookie, Claude Pelon, also got into the game unexpectedly early, with the second team nickel package. Pelon struggled badly against the Jaguars' starters, getting driven back eight yards and to the ground on one play, but then flashed in the second half against back-ups. He got some good penetration, drawing one holding call, and recorded a quarterback hit on a quick move.

As we anticipated when they signed him, the Jets are converting Tarow Barney into a nose tackle and that seems to be going quite well. Although he was blocked to the ground on one play, he got good penetration on another and came up the middle to record a hit on the quarterback.

The last of the four undrafted rookie linemen, Helva Matungulu didn't make much impact, although he did put some pressure on the quarterback on one play where he was forced to step up. He was driven off the line once, but otherwise held up well in limited action.

There is more experienced depth on the line in the shape of Shelby Harris and Christo Bilukidi. Harris had a real chance to make a name for himself because he should have had two sacks, but he missed the tackle in the pocket each time. One of them still ended up being a sack for someone else though. Harris was driven off the line a couple of times against the run, but showed impressive hustle on one play where he first had an effective bull rush, but then hustled back in pursuit to chase back 30-40 yards after a short pass went for a big gain. Bilukidi only joined the team earlier this week, so he didn't play much, but did bottle up one run and had one effective bull rush.

Outside Linebackers

There are two new starters to review on the outside with Lorenzo Mauldin and rookie Jordan Jenkins getting their first opportunity last night. They perhaps didn't make a huge impact, but I was mostly encouraged by what I saw from them.

It's easy to forget that Jenkins is just a rookie with how easily he seems to have swept in and earned himself a starting role. He looked comfortable dropping into coverage, making one good open field tackle in the flat, and seemed to handle all his assignments well. Jenkins did get kicked out on a couple of running plays, but he set the edge well on one play and drew a hold on another. He didn't generate much in the way of a pass rush, but maintained pocket integrity well and showed some good power on one bull rush.

Mauldin was blocked out of a couple of running plays and buried a couple of times rushing the passer, but he showed tremendous progress in his ability to set the edge, driving his man upfield on three occasions to bottle up a run or force it back inside. He's definitely worked on his strength since last season. Mauldin could have had a couple of big plays, beating his man on an inside move to get to the quarterback and exploding unblocked into the backfield to blow up a run, but he missed the tackle each time. If he can finish better, then those are the sort of plays that will make him into a star if he makes them regularly. Mauldin also had a good bull rush, forcing the quarterback to step up.

Mauldin and Jenkins stayed in longer than most of the other starters, but once they left the outside linebacker reps were shared between Freddie Bishop, Deion Barnes and Josh Martin. Barnes had an open field tackle in coverage and beat his man outside for a pressure and, although he was blocked out of a few running plays, Bishop made a tackle in the backfield and forced the quarterback to step up a couple of times with pressure off the edge. However, it was the unheralded Martin who made the biggest impact.

Martin was the Jets' most productive pass rusher, creating pressure with an inside move, an outside speed rush and a bull rush. He hit the quarterback's arm on one play, forcing a wobbly incompletion that could easily have been picked off. He also drew a hold and was in on a couple of stops near the line of scrimmage, including one where he nailed the quarterback with a big hit on a scramble.

While Martin has long been thought of as a core special teamer that won't contribute much on defense, if he shows that there isn't much of a drop-off between himself and the other candidates to back-up the outside linebacker spots, then perhaps his special teams abilities will be enough to keep him on the roster. 

With the fierce competition for spots on the outside, Trevor Reilly will be disappointed that he was unable to suit up and this means he will have to make an impact quickly once he returns to the line-up. Fortunately for Reilly, Mike Catapano, the player currently listed ahead of him on the depth chart, also didn't play.

Inside Linebackers

David Harris has a new counterpart at inside linebacker this year, with Erin Henderson taking the role over from Demario Davis and apparently impressing everyone at camp. Unfortunately, that didn't carry over into the first preseason game as Henderson got off to a really poor start. Henderson had two bad missed tackles, was blocked out of a play at the second level and overran one other play. He also got bailed out by a somewhat dubious illegal block in the back call, having been dominated at the line, turned around and shoved to the floor. That's not great when you're only on the field for one drive.

Henderson did have a couple of plays where he took out the lead blocker well and was certainly around the ball a lot, so hopefully these errors can be ironed out and he can still be a more reliable option than Davis was.

Harris, as you'd expect, was solid, leading the Jets with four solo tackles, including one for a short gain. He did get caught up in traffic on one run though.

Once Henderson and Harris departed, the "Bruce Lee" tandem of Darron Lee and Bruce Carter worked together with the second unit, but still saw plenty of time against Jacksonville's first string offensive line. Lee looked a little tentative at first as I got the sense the game was moving too fast for him. However, he adjusted very quickly and was flying around making decisive plays before too long.

Both Lee and Carter made a lot of plays, but there were also some mistakes. Both were guilty of overrunning plays and Lee got caught up in traffic a few times, while Carter was blocked out of a play at the second level. Lee got credit for a cheap sack after the quarterback broke out of a tackle in the pocket, and both he and Carter came unblocked up the middle on blitzes to generate pressure. Lee also made two tackles in the backfield and could have had a third, when he blew up a run but couldn't finish off the tackle. In coverage, it was Carter who shone, making a few good plays, including an athletic pass break-up that he almost came down with.

The third unit inside linebackers had their moments too. Taiwan Jones is a player who the Jets supposedly feel has great potential, whereas Julian Stanford - like Martin - is another special teamer that isn't expected to do much on defense. Jones was pretty quiet against the run, but blitzed effectively a few times and batted a pass straight up into the air which could have created a turnover. He also dropped 20 yards deep on a third-and-long play to make the tackle and set up a fourth down.

Stanford racked up a sack, showing good speed up the middle, and shed his blocker to stuff a run. He got lucky on one play in coverage though, when he was bailed out by an offensive pass interference call. I don't think it was a deliberate pick play by the Jaguars and Stanford showed poor awareness on the play to get caught up with the receiver and leave his man - the running back - wide open in the flat for a big gain. Nevertheless, he made the kind of impact overall which will give the team plenty to think about.

Next up…We review the defensive backs and secondary, as well as some really promising signs from the special teams…

Tags: Leonard Williams
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