AFC West: New York Jets

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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Wide receiver Eric Decker, the New York Jets' prized free agent, missed most of practice Friday with a hamstring injury. It's not serious, according to Rex Ryan.

"It's a little bit of a hamstring," Ryan said. "It's not like he pulled a hamstring. We took care of him."

Decker is expected to play Saturday night in the annual Green & White scrimmage. He apparently got hurt Thursday, as he was seen in the trainer's area at the start of Friday's practice. He didn't participate in any team drills.

The Jets are counting heavily on Decker, whom they signed to a five-year, $36.25 million contract. The former Denver Bronco is having an excellent camp, impressing teammates and coaches with his savvy route running.
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CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Mistakes, penalties and injuries. It wasn't a good practice Tuesday for the New York Jets. It mirrored the weather -- chilly and dark.

Afterward, coach Rex Ryan expressed his disappointment, saying he expected a sharper performance the day after a day off. In a team drill late in practice, there were three penalties and a sack in a span of six snaps -- all with the starting units.

"The focus doesn't seem to be there," Ryan said. "We started pretty good and then, at the end, it kind of waned a little. ...They've got to push through it and understand this is an opportunity to get better, and these days don't come around all the time. You have to focus."

A handful of players didn't finish practice because of injuries: Wide receiver David Nelson (groin), running back Bilal Powell (hamstring), cornerback Ras-I Dowling (foot), tight end Colin Anderson (thumb).

In addition, rookie safety Calvin Pryor, who suffered a concussion Saturday, didn't practice. The good news is he made an appearance on the field. Pryor wasn't in pads, but he participated in lights warmups. Curiously, Pryor sent an Instagram message Sunday night, conflicting the team's diagnosis.

Rookie tight end Jace Amaro (knee) was expected to return, but he didn't practice. He was in pads, but remained in the rehab area. ... Running back Alex Green (chest) tried to return to practice, but he wasn't feeling well and was taken to the locker room after a thorough examination by doctors. He returned to watch from the sideline. ... Rookie wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (hip), out since Day 1, did positional drills and that was it.

Quarterback update: Once again, Geno Smith took a vast majority of the first-team reps -- 12 to four over Michael Vick. Both Smith (5-for-6) and Vick (4-for-6) completed a high percentage of passes, but they were mostly short completions. There were pass-protection issues. Ryan didn't hold back on defense, showing an array of blitzes. Each quarterback was "sacked" once.

Ryan said the defense was "pretty sharp," but not wanting to play favorites with offense vs. offense, he quickly added, "You have to throw both of them under the bus."

The Forgotten Man: Remember Dawan Landry? He's the "old man" of the secondary; the players call him "The Mentor." He enjoyed his best practice, producing a sack and an interception in a 7-on-7 drill. Landry doesn't have the speed and athleticism of the other safeties, but he's a crafty veteran whose experience is invaluable.

New look at right guard: Willie Colon, coming off athroscopic knee surgery, participated in team drills for the first time. He rotated with Oday Aboushi, and with Brian Winters at left guard. Get used to it. The Jets are looking for ways to get Aboushi in the mix. The rotation serves two purposes because it also allows Colon to ease in gradually after missing the offseason and the first few days of camp.

All hands on Dex: Rookie cornerback Dexter McDougle was one of the stars of minicamp, earning effusive praise from Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman. So far, though, the third-round pick is off to a quiet start in camp. In a 7-on-7 drill, he got beat badly by Stephen Hill, who caught a long pass for a touchdown. It's called growing pains. The Jets remain high on McDougle, evidenced by the fact he got some first-team reps in the nickel package.

Boss in the house: Owner Woody Johnson made his training-camp debut, spending a good part of the practice chatting with general manager John Idzik.

Odds and ends: Safety Saalim Hakim made a diving catch on a long pass in a one-on-one drill. ... Jacoby Ford and rookie Shaq Evans had one drop apiece. After his drop, Ford rebounded on the next play. He made a nice a grab on a contested deep ball. ... Jeremy Reeves intercepted rookie quarterback Tajh Boyd in a team drill. It was an off-balance throw into coverage, and Boyd's rookie struggles continue.

Live blog: Raiders at Jets

December, 8, 2013
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Join our ESPN.com NFL experts as they break down the Oakland Raiders' visit to the New York Jets. Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at 1 p.m. ET. And, be sure to visit our NFL Nation Blitz page for commentary from every game, as well as fan photos and the latest buzz from Twitter. See you there.
 
McGloin-LandryGetty ImagesRaiders QB Matt McGloin will test his mettle against Dawan Landry and the Jets' defense.
The New York Jets and Oakland Raiders are a lot alike. They're rebuilding teams, slumping and struggling for answers at the quarterback position -- and yet they remain mathematically alive in the AFC wild-card race. Go figure.

The old AFL rivals meet Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Jets (5-7) have dropped three straight; the Raiders (4-8) have lost four of their past five, plus 12 straight in the Eastern time zone, dating to 2009. Jets team reporter Rich Cimini and Raiders team reporter Paul Gutierrez break down the matchup.

Cimini: Paul, let's start at quarterback. Terrelle Pryor got hurt, creating an opportunity for Matt McGloin. I bet casual NFL fans didn't know anything about him until recently, but he's actually put up decent numbers. He's Ken Stabler compared to Geno Smith. Tell me about McGloin and his game.

Gutierrez: Matt McGloin is your prototypical undersized, undrafted, chip-on-the-shoulder signal-caller who was invited to Napa, Calif., merely as a fourth arm, a "camp arm" who, through attrition, outlasted a fourth-round draft pick in Tyler Wilson, a purported big-money franchise quarterback in Matt Flynn and a new-jack, zone-read specialist in Terrelle Pryor for whom the term "moxie" was apparently invented. Whew ... hope that makes sense. Truly, though, McGloin is your standard pocket passer who is not afraid to step up in the pocket to make a throw and take a hit.

It's the skill set that Dennis Allen obviously prefers, and with a steady offensive line and sound running game, it's what works in this staff's offense under coordinator Greg Olson. Because what the offense loses with Pryor and his legs (remember that 93-yard TD run he had against the Steelers?), it gains in field vision. Many think it's actually a wash, though. Pryor, now that his sprained right knee, which he actually reaggravated on the MetLife Stadium turf against the Giants on Nov. 10, is healed, might give the Raiders a better shot against the Jets' defense. Allen has even said he wants to see Pryor on the field.

Let's stick with quarterbacks: Is Geno Smith the future in Gotham, or was his being named the starter -- again -- that vaunted kiss of death? And what about Mark Sanchez's prospects next year? Seems like the Jets have set themselves up for a QB controversy for the foreseeable future, with little to gain.

Cimini: It's "Groundhog Day," Paul. The Jets went through the same uncertainty a year ago. The names have changed, but it's the same story: The Jets don't have a definitive answer at quarterback. Smith was rushed into this job when Sanchez got hurt in the preseason, and after showing some early promise, he crashed back to reality. Smith has the physical tools, but he's overwhelmed. The game is too big for him, and he needs to spend some time on the bench to gather himself, but that hasn't happened because the Jets don't have a proven backup. Matt Simms is the Jets' version of McGloin, and David Garrard (remember him?) has been stuck in mothballs for three years.

So, basically, they're going to ride it out with Smith to see if he's the future. I think they already know the answer to that question; Smith is putting up some historically bad numbers. Sanchez, recovering from shoulder surgery, will be playing elsewhere next year. Hey, maybe he'll be in Oakland.

We're talking about two bad offenses here, but at least the Raiders saw some flashes from Andre Holmes. Is he for real and do they have playmakers to exploit the Jets' suspect secondary?

Gutierrez: I see what you did there with the Sanchize-to-Oaktown ploy. And, yeah, maybe a change of scenery back to his native West Coast would do him good. Well played, sir. Well played. As far as Andre Holmes goes, though, he might actually personify these Raiders -- that is, he's an undrafted player who washed out in two other spots and was thus undervalued (think of the Raiders' O.co Coliseum roomie, Billy Beane's Moneyball Athletics). Holmes looked legit against the Cowboys, his most recent team, in catching seven passes for 136 yards after coming into the game with five catches for 76 yards ... in his career. He's a big target at 6-foot-4 and not a burner from the days of Al Davis yore. But we're talking an extremely small sample size.

The Raiders' "playmakers" are guys who really have been either (A) phased out or (B) injured or (C) both. Paging Pryor, running back Darren McFadden and receivers Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore. McFadden, though, might actually get a lot of run in the Meadowlands (they still call it that, right?). At least they don't have to deal with Revis Island (I joke, I joke).

Still, the Jets' defense as a whole can be good and the Raiders are going to have to account for rookie defensive end Sheldon Richardson. Has he hit the "rookie wall" yet, or is that merely something for other rookies to worry about?

Cimini: Oakland's Holmes is doing better than the Jets' Holmes (Santonio), but that's a story for another day. As for Richardson, his pass-rushing production has dipped a bit, but he remains a good, every-down player. He plays the run very well, which has surprised many because that was supposedly the knock on him when he came out of college.

If I were Dennis Allen, I'd be more concerned about Muhammad Wilkerson, who has a team-high 10 sacks and deserves to be in the conversation for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. At 315 pounds, Wilkerson is mostly an interior player, but he moves around. He lines up over the center, the guard ... anywhere. He's by far the best player on defense, probably the best player on the team. He's the key to the best run defense in the league.

Speaking of defense, I'm curious to see how the Raiders attack Smith. Most teams just load the box, overplay the run and dare Smith to beat them with his arm. Clearly, the Jets' receivers don't scare anyone. How do you see the Raiders playing this game?

Gutierrez: I see the Raiders sticking to their M.O. of blitzing with aplomb, racking up sacks early, building a quick lead and then trying desperately to finish out a game strong. That's been their formula (the jumping-out-to-a-lead part, not the blowing-leads bit) and I would imagine they would continue that line of thinking, but keeping someone to spy Smith, someone like a wily old vet in Charles Woodson, while being mindful of slant passes. That absolutely killed them against Tennessee.

The key for the Raiders on defense is to not get so worn down by halftime. It bit them in the season opener at Indianapolis, at home against Washington and Tennessee, and on the road against the Giants and Dallas. At least the Raiders will be coming off a long break, having last played on Thanksgiving, so a short week won't be readily available as an excuse this time, as it was against the Cowboys.

Tebow-mania may be over in Denver, but by no means, is it dead.

In a lot of ways, it is just revving up.

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That’s what happening when the most polarizing athlete in the world is sent to the world’s biggest media market. Broadway Tim. Is anybody ready for it? As the drama unfolds, I can’t help but think it is a bad fit.

It seems the Jets wanted Tebow for the wrong reasons. The Wildcat? Really? Isn’t that a thing of the past?

I think the Jets’ leadership was swayed by the perfume of Tebow-mania. I don’t think they fully understand its power. The Jets just turned Mark Sanchez into Kyle Orton.

Sanchez should immediately call and ask Orton for any advance on how to handle being the starter on a team in which Tebow was the backup. Orton can tell him a short story because he was yanked in the fifth game last year amid major fan pressure.

Every time Sanchez throws an incomplete pass, there will be calls for Tebow to be put in. It happened in Denver and it will happen in New York. For a young quarterback who needs to take the next step, putting Sanchez in the Tebow pressure cooker may not be a great idea. Add an already tumultuous locker room and the intense media coverage of New York, and Tebow-mania has a chance to implode this team.

Also, I don’t think it is a good move for Tebow’s career. Being reduced to a gimmick player is not what he wants. Tebow would have been much better off going to a place like Green Bay or New England where he could learn from a great quarterback. Even Jacksonville would have been a better professional and personal situation than in New York.

Tebow-mania may be shifting from the AFC West, but it will still be a major NFL focus as it has ugly potential.

Video: Tim Tebow 'excited to be a Jet'

March, 22, 2012
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Tim Tebow talks about joining the Jets, his role on the team, and his relationship with Mark Sanchez.

AFC West notes

March, 21, 2012
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NFL.com reports Jacksonville will be strong players for Tim Tebow in the trade market. Jacksonville is his hometown and new Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan has said he would have drafted Tebow in the 2010 draft.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported Jacksonville, Green Bay, Miami and the Jets all have interest in Tebow. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said a deal could be done Wednesday or Thursday.

As expected, Colts’ tight end Jaocb Tamme and center Jeff Saturday are set to visit the Broncos. Both played with new Denver quarterback Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.

UT San Diego reports Kansas City running back Jackie Battle has left his visit with the Chargers without a contract. The Chargers are considering four players to replace Mike Tolbert as the backup running back. Meanwhile, the paper is reporting defensive lineman Luis Castillo has been offered a contract to return. He has also visited the Chiefs and New England.

The Denver Post reports the Broncos are working to get a deal done with defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley. He is a priority in Denver and I think re-signing him is a must. New Orleans is in on Bunkley as well.

The market for Oakland running back Michael Bush -- the best available free agent in the AFC West in my mind -- continues to plod along.

Meet Dennis Allen

January, 24, 2012
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New gig: Allen was hired as the Raiders’ head coach Tuesday night.

Previous job: He was the defensive coordinator in Denver for the past season.

Age: 39. Allen will be the NFL's youngest active head coach — six months younger than Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin.

Coaching history: From 2002-10, he was an assistant in Atlanta and New Orleans.

Playing history: He was a standout safety at Texas A&M and earned an invitation to Buffalo’s training camp in 1996.

Known for: He is an aggressive, smart coach who has seen several players develop under his guidance.

Did you know? New England coach Bill Belichick is the only other active NFL coach who was hired directly from a division rival. He was with the Jets prior to joining the Patriots in 2000.

Von Miller's fine total rises

January, 20, 2012
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Von Miller is going to have to pay for losing his temper in a losing effort.

The NFL fined Miller, according to a league spokesman, $7,500 for unnecessary roughness in Denver’s 45-10 loss at New England in an AFC divisional playoff game Saturday night.

Miller -- the No. 2 overall draft pick and a leading candidate for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award -- lost his cool after New England quarterback Tom Brady punted on third down late in the game. Miller shoved New England’s Dan Connolly seemingly without being provoked. That started a melee that spilled over to the New England sideline.

Miller was fined at least $47,500 in his rookie season. He was fined $25,000 for a November hit on Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez just weeks after being fined $15,000 for a hit on Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer.
Don’t expect any timing problems for the AFC Pro Bowl team in the kicking game.

This group will have plenty of chemistry.

The Raiders announced that long snapper Jon Condo made the AFC Pro Bowl team. The game will be played in Hawaii on Jan. 29.

Condo was added as a “need” player. Condo will be joined by Oakland punter Shane Lechler and Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski. This is Janikowski's first Pro Bowl and Condo’s second. Condo is very reliable, and Lechler’s and Janikowski’s success is in part sparked by Condo. Condo is a fitting addition to the roster, and it shows what a special group of specialists Oakland has. Congratulations to all of them. They will be joined in Hawaii by Oakland defensive lineman Richard Seymour.

In other AFC West news:

The Arizona Republic is reporting that former Kansas City coach Todd Haley likely will not join the Cardinals’ staff. He has also talked to the Jets this offseason, but he is not expected to join the New York staff, either.

An Insider piece says AFC West receiver Jonathan Baldwin and Jacoby Ford could be in for good things in 2012.

Either Ryan Mathews or Vincent Jackson will be guaranteed a Pro Bowl spot based on the results of the AFC title game.

AFC West notes

January, 18, 2012
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ESPNChicago reports the Raiders won’t interview new Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice until Tuesday. That is an indication that the Raiders are not in a hurry to make a hire. There have been six reported conducted or planned interviews and more could be added to the search.

More than 34 million viewers watched the Patriots’ 45-10 win over Denver on Saturday night. It was the highest-rated late Saturday night divisional game of all time.

San Diego owner Dean Spanos had a chat with Chargers fans Tuesday. He expressed how important fans are to the team in the conference call.

The New York Daily News is reporting former Chiefs coach Todd Haley is not expected to join the Jets staff. He was talking to the Jets and also talked to the Cardinals.

Tomlinson back in San Diego?

January, 6, 2012
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While he is considering retirement, former San Diego star running back LaDainian Tomlinson said in a radio interview he’d consider going back to San Diego along with playing for every other team in the NFL.

That’s great and all. But I don’t see San Diego offering him a contract to further his playing career. The Chargers cut Tomlinson, who spent the past two seasons with the Jets. There has been some acrimony since his departure from San Diego.

In other AFC West news:

Former Kansas City coach Todd Haley reportedly may return to the Arizona Cardinals staff. He was the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator before he was hired as Chiefs coach in 2009. He was fired by the Chiefs last month.

The NFL has fined San Diego linebacker Antwan Barnes $25,000 for bumping a referee Sunday in the Chargers’ 38-26 win at Oakland.

Barnes was ejected from the game after he made contact with the official. A league spokesman said Friday that the specific reason for the fine was unnecessary physical contact with an official.

Evening AFC West notes

December, 29, 2011
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As was the case Wednesday, Oakland receiver Jacoby Ford and safety Michael Huff practiced Thursday and running back Darren McFadden did not. Ford and Huff are expected to play against San Diego on Sunday and McFadden is not expected to play.
  • Denver safety Brian Dawkins is not practicing for the second straight day because of a neck injury. His chances of playing Sunday against Kansas City may be dwindling. Kansas City running back Jackie Battle did not practice for the second straight day because of a foot injury. He is doubtful to play against Denver.
  • San Diego running back Ryan Mathews returned to practice Thursday after he sat out Wednesday with a calf injury. However, receiver Vincent Jackson (groin) and running back Mike Tolbert (hamstring) are out for the second straight day. With the Chargers out of the playoff picture, it will be interesting to see if Jackson and Tolbert play Sunday in a huge game for Oakland.
  • Meanwhile, the Raiders’ game Sunday is sold out. The Raiders sold out every game this season for the first time they moved back from Los Angeles in 1995. Kudos, Raiders Nation.
  • Former San Diego star running back LaDainian Tomlinson said he may be preparing for his final NFL game. He was spent the past two seasons with the Jets after playing for the Chargers from 2001-09.
  • An ESPN Insider piece Insider believes the Broncos’ have been pushed by luck this season.

Kansas City: Moving On

December, 12, 2011
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Here are some areas the Kansas City Chiefs need to focus on after a 37-10 loss at the New York Jets on Sunday:

Recap: The Chiefs were completely manhandled yet again and it was the final straw before they fired coach Todd Haley on Monday. It was the fifth time this season Kansas City has lost by at least 27 points. The Chiefs are 5-8 and virtually out of the playoff picture, a season after it won the AFC West.

Biggest area to fix: The lack of competition is a problem and it led to Haley’s firing. Yes, the Chiefs have been decimated by injuries all season and I think Haley deserved another chance, but when teams get drubbed so often, ownership and fan bases get uneasy.

Biggest area to build on: Linebacker Derrick Johnson is continuing to have a special season. He had 12 tackles, including two tackles for a loss Sunday. Johnson is one of the better linebackers in the NFL, although he may not get the recognition he deserves.

What to watch for: Life doesn’t get easier for Kansas City in the post-Haley era. It hosts 13-0 Green Bay on Sunday, so another lopsided loss could be in the offing. The Chiefs have the toughest remaining schedule in the NFL.

Wrap-up: Jets 37, Chiefs 10

December, 11, 2011
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Some quick thoughts following the Kansas City Chiefs' 37-10 loss to the New York Jets.

What it means: The Chiefs are virtually out of the playoff discussion. They are now 5-8. After going 10-6 and winning the AFC West last year, Kansas City is now looking forward to 2012.

Another blowout: This was Kansas City’s fifth loss by at least 27 points this season. For those looking for Todd Haley to lose his job, that is ammunition. However, the undermanned Chiefs had been playing fairly tough in recent games.

Palko is just OK: In his fourth NFL start, Kansas City quarterback Tyler Palko completed 16 of 32 passes for 195 yards. He threw a late touchdown and he was intercepted once.

Defense slides: Kansas City's defense had been playing very well, but it had a tough time Sunday. The Jets ran the ball down the Chiefs’ throats with 159 yards on the ground.

What’s next: It does not get any easier. The Chiefs host Green Bay in Week 15. Kansas City has the toughest remaining schedule in the NFL.

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