FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Add Joe Namath to the growing list of fans wondering why New York Jets general manager John Idzik is sitting on so much salary-cap space.

The legendary quarterback, speaking to reporters Tuesday at an event in Manhattan, questioned whether Idzik is spending enough and spending wisely.

“I heard about this extra money that they have,” Namath said, according to published reports. “I don’t know what they’re saving it for, myself, looking at the talent they have out there right now.”

In fact, the Jets are $21.5 million under the cap, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Cap dollars aside, their actual cash payroll for 2014 is $91.6 million, the lowest in the league. The New York Giants, in the same market and stuck with the same stadium debt, have a cash payroll of $121 million.

So, yeah, people are curious, including Namath, who gave Idzik a less-than-enthusiastic endorsement.

"School’s out,” he said of the second-year GM. “We’d like to have seen a better team out there, better personnel out there in some spots. Wide receiver, defensive backs. Injuries get in the way, ya know, (and) guys haven’t developed that they have picked.

“You got to find the right men to play the game,” Namath added, “and why (is it) some teams stay in the hunt more than others year in and year out? It’s the people that are making decisions. It starts at the top.”

Namath held a news conference in Manhattan to announce the creation of the Joe Namath Neurological Research at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida. The research center is focused on combating the effects of traumatic brain injuries sustained by concussion. Namath said they will launch a clinical trial to study the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat brain injury.

Getting to know the Chargers

October, 1, 2014
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It doesn't get easier for the New York Jets, only harder. The San Diego Chargers, coming off a playoff season, are one of the top teams in the NFL. They have an MVP candidate at quarterback, very good receivers and a defense with playmakers on all three levels. They're also tough at home, having won five straight at the dump known as Qualcomm Stadium.

Let's take a closer look at the Chargers:

Record: 3-1

Head coach: Mike McCoy (12-8)

Offensive coordinator: Frank Reich

Defensive coordinator: John Pagano

THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW, OFFENSE

Philip Rivers, quarterback: He's the hottest quarterback in the league, hands down. Rivers has completed 74.5 percent of his passes with no interceptions during the Chargers' current three-game winning streak. Some people thought he'd take a step back after losing offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, but Rivers has continued to roll under Reich. Think about what he's had to overcome: He has no running game (Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead are injured) and he's on his third center. No matter. He leads the NFL in passer rating (114.5). Geno Smith has reached that mark in only one of 20 starts, so chew on that. Rivers doesn't throw deep a lot -- only EJ Manuel has thrown short passes at a higher rate than him -- but he makes good decisions and he's deadly accurate.

Eddie Royal, wide receiver: Royal plays the slot and, as the Detroit Lions' Golden Tate showed last Sunday, the slot receiver is an issue for the Jets. Royal is similar to Tate in that he gains a lot of yards after the catch -- a 9.0 YAC average, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He's coming off a monster game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, becoming the first Chargers' receiver since Jeff Graham in 2000 to have two touchdown receptions of at least 43 yards in the same game -- 43- and 47-yard scoring plays. Royal moves around the formation, but most of his production comes out of the slot.

Keenan Allen, wide receiver: Jets fans may not want to be reminded of this, but the team passed on Allen in the third round of the 2013 draft. The Jets took guard Brian Winters (No. 72 overall), with Allen going four slots later to the Chargers. They got a steal, as Allen won several rookie honors with a 71-catch, 1,046-yard receiving season. He has good size (6-foot-2) and runs excellent routes. Surprisingly, he got off to a slow start (sophomore jinx, anyone?), but he rebounded last week with a huge game against the Jaguars -- 10 catches for 135 yards on 11 targets. Fantasy owners are upset, though, because he has yet to score a touchdown.

THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW, DEFENSE

Brandon Flowers, cornerback: Remember back in June, when the Kansas City Chiefs released Flowers and there was some buzz about the Jets being interested? They weren't, but it was a talking point for a few days. He ended up signing a one-year, $3 million with the Chargers, pretty much the same deal Dimitri Patterson got from the Jets. Oops, sore subject. Flowers has been terrific for the Chargers, solidying a weakness. He plays inside and outside, he tackles well and he recorded his first interception last week, which is one more than the Jets have as a team.

Dwight Freeney, pass-rusher: He's 34, not as explosive as he once was, but Freeney has to be respected because of his accomplishments. The man has 110 career sacks and 44 forced fumbles, still capable of frightening a left tackle with his legendary spin move. He's not an every-down player anymore. Freeney, who missed most of last season with a torn quadriceps, is supposed to be a situational pass-rusher, but he's still logging about 40 snaps per game because of an injury to Melvin Ingram at outside linebacker. He was a factor last week, recording two quarterback hits and four hurries. He has a total of two sacks.

Corey Liuget, defensive end: He's the Chargers' best all-around defensive lineman. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound is a lot like Muhammad Wilkerson in terms of versatility, because he can play anywhere on the line. Per ESPN Stats, he plays right end (92 snaps), right tackle (46) and left end (22). The former first-round pick has 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

Film review: Foul ups, bleeps and blunders

September, 30, 2014
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One last look back at the New York Jets' 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions:

Picking on Harris: When a team has a rough day defending the pass, the blame usually falls on the cornerbacks. The Lions beat cornerback Antonio Allen for the biggest play of the game, a 59-yard touchdown, but they did much of their damage in the short and intermediate zones in the middle of the field. They went after linebacker David Harris, and went after him hard. Harris, not known for his pass coverage, surrendered seven completions on seven targets for 123 yards and a touchdown, according to Pro Football Focus.

[+] EnlargeDavid Harris
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIThe Lions picked on linebacker David Harris time and again in pass coverage on Sunday.
Harris allowed 35- and 23-yard completions to wide receiver Golden Tate, missing a tackle on the first one that added to the gain. You can't blame Harris for the second play, though. He was matched against Tate in the slot, and there's no way you can expect him to cover a wide receiver. Credit the Lions, who created the mismatch by using an empty backfield against the Jets' base personnel.

At the end of the second quarter, Matthew Stafford picked on Harris again, hitting tight end Eric Ebron for a 16-yard touchdown. Rex Ryan made a conservative call on second-and-10, rushing only three and dropping eight. It was a rare Cover 2 look, with Dawan Landry and Jaiquawn Jarrett in a two-high safety formation. Harris dropped into middle coverage, picking up Ebron on a seam route. Stafford made a nice, back-shoulder pass and -- boom -- touchdown.

Double-A's hiccup: Ryan wouldn't say who messed up on Jeremy Ross' 59-yard touchdown reception, but it certainly appears that Allen was the guilty party. The Jets played "quarters" coverage, meaning four defensive backs were responsible for the deep quarters of the field. They sent Kyle Wilson on a slot blitz, but Stafford still had time. Allen covered Ross out of the slot and bit ever so slightly on a pump fake/double move, allowing the receiver to get behind him. To make it worse, Allen missed the tackle at the 15. The killer: It came on a third-and-10. The Jets' third-and-long defense was exposed by the Lions, who played with a diminished Calvin Johnson. Imagine if Johnson had been healthy.

Geno's big mistake: Geno Smith was unsettled throughout the game, overthrowing open receivers and displaying shaky ball placement on his completed passes. Under duress, he was only 3-for-11 for 51 yards and an interception, according to PFF. When he had time to throw, he was 14-for-22, 158 yards and a touchdown. A pretty stark contrast, huh?

Smith took a big hit from Ezekiel Ansah on the interception, so it's hard to blame him entirely for the turnover. The offensive line went down like bowling pins -- really. Right tackle Breno Giacomini fell into center Nick Mangold, who caused left guard Brian Winters to fall down. A few yards away, right guard Willie Colon went down while trying to block Ndamukong Suh. And, oh, yeah, running back Bilal Powell also tripped. It was Keystone Cops-like. The only blocker that stayed on his feet was left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson.

Under pressure, Smith forced the pass to Eric Decker, who ran an in-cut. The Lions disguised their coverage brilliantly. Cornerback Darius Slay dropped off Decker and assumed a safety position, switching places with the safety. Smith sailed his pass, as he tends to do. Sure enough, there was Slay, backing up the play to make the interception on the overthrow. Meanwhile, Jeremy Kerley and Jeff Cumberland were wide open in the left and right flats -- wide open. Smith should've checked it down to Kerley or Cumberland instead of throwing into traffic.

The strip sack: On the ensuing possession Smith lost the ball on a strip sack by ex-Jet James Ihedigbo, who was unblocked on a safety blitz. No doubt, Smith could've done a better job of seeing the blitz, but it wasn't all his fault. The Lions rushed five. Running back Chris Johnson, in pass protection, was confronted by two blitzers. Players are taught to block the inside rusher in that type of situation, and Johnson did that. That gave Ihedigbo a free shot at Smith. One of his hot reads, Kerley, tripped on his pass route. That may have caused Smith to hold the ball longer than he wanted.

Source: 'The Terminator' returns to Jets

September, 30, 2014
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The John Conner sequel is coming to the New York Jets. Let's call it "Terminator II."

Conner, a former Jets draft pick who played with them from 2010 to 2012, will re-sign with the team, a league source confirmed Tuesday. He will replace starting fullback Tommy Bohanon, who fractured his collarbone in Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions. Bohanon appears headed for injured reserve, which would create a roster spot for Conner.

Conner, nickamed "The Terminator," was a popular player for the Jets in 2010. He was one of the featured players in the 2010 HBO "Hard Knocks" series, making a name for himself with punishing blocks. He was always a favorite of Rex Ryan, who likes to tell people that Conner was his choice in the fifth round of the 2010 draft.

The Jets cut Conner in October 2012. He played that season with the Cincinnati Bengals before moving to the New York Giants in 2013. He played 13 games for the Giants, who released him in August during the final cutdown.

Used almost exclusively as a blocker, Conner, 27, has only 21 career rushes for 88 yards and two touchdowns. He has 10 receptions for 22 yards.

Injuries are starting to mount on offense. Wide receiver David Nelson has a severe low-ankle sprain and is unlikely to play this week, one of the reasons why they signed T.J. Graham and Chris Owusu.

UPDATE: The Jets confirmed the Conner signing and announced that Bohanon has been placed on season-ending injured reserve. Bohanon will have surgery to repair his collarbone.
video

Stephen A. Smith and the "First Take" crew debate why the Jets have not benched Geno Smith. Just look to the GM, John Idzik.

The Film Don’t Lie: Jets

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
11:00
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A weekly look at what the New York Jets must fix:

The Jets are into the "Missiles of October" portion of their schedule, as they face Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in an 11-day span. Unfortunately for the Jets, they're hitting this stretch with a defense that doesn't scare quarterbacks.

Oh sure, the Jets' defensive front will gets its share of sacks, but when it comes to making game-changing plays -- forcing turnovers -- its useless. Rex Ryan's defense has produced zero interceptions in four games. The only other team with an oh-fer is the New Orleans Saints, whose defense is headed by Ryan's twin brother, Rob. Talk about keeping it all in the family.

It's pretty amazing when you think about it: Opposing quarterbacks have dropped back to pass a total of 150 times against the Jets, and not one of those throws has ended up in the wrong hands. On Sunday, they travel to the San Diego Chargers and will face the hottest quarterback in the league. Rivers has a league-best 114.5 passer rating and has completed 70 percent of his attempts.

How does Ryan fix the takeaway issue? It's tough because they're undermanned at cornerback. The anticipated return of former first-round pick Dee Milliner should help -- maybe. Ryan is a man-to-man coach, but maybe he can change it up by playing more zone. Maybe he can play more two-high-safety looks instead of the usual one. He has to do something, because the Jets' bad start could turn ugly over the next 11 days.

Jets playing-time breakdown: Week 4

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
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A look at the snap counts from the New York Jets loss to the Detroit Lions:

OFFENSE (Based on 64 snaps)

Quarterback -- Geno Smith 64.

Ivory
Running back -- Chris Ivory 37, Chris Johnson 18, Tommy Bohanon 16, Bilal Powell 11.

Wide receiver -- Eric Decker 51, Jeremy Kerley 49, Greg Salas 41, David Nelson 16, Walter Powell 4, Saalim Hakim 1.

Tight end -- Jeff Cumberland 50, Jace Amaro 22, Zach Sudfeld 4.

Offensive line -- D'Brickashaw Ferguson 64, Brian Winters 64, Nick Mangold 64, Willie Colon 64, Breno Giacomini 64.

Offensive analysis: The news here is that, for the first time, the Jets got away from a 50-50 split between Ivory and Johnson. They decided to feature Ivory against the Lions' aggressive and physical front four. Johnson ended up with the longest run, a 35-yard touchdown, but Ivory was the most effective back on a down-to-down basis. ... This marked the first time that Michael Vick didn't get into the game. His snap counts for the first four games: three, two, one, zero. Isn't it interesting how his playing time has gone down as Smith's struggles have gone up? ... Nelson's early ankle injury resulted in a heavy workload for Salas. ... Decker played 80 percent of the snaps, an indication his cranky hamstring has improved significantly. ... With Jalen Saunders inactive for the first time (he was cut Monday), Powell made his NFL debut, also handling punt returns. ... Amaro's snap counts for the first four games: 21, 21, 23, 22. Gee, I wonder if there's a predetermined amount.

DEFENSE (Based on 65 snaps)

Defensive line -- Muhammad Wilkerson 59, Sheldon Richardson 55, Damon Harrison 30, Leger Douzable 17, T.J. Barnes 16.

Linebacker -- David Harris 65, Demario Davis 64, Calvin Pace 52, Quinton Coples 46, Jason Babin 20, Trevor Reilly 11, Nick Bellore 1.

Secondary -- Dawan Landry 65, Antonio Allen 65, Darrin Walls 63, Jaiquawn Jarrett 40, Calvin Pryor 25, Kyle Wilson 21.

Defensive analysis: Pryor, who missed only five snaps in the first three games, left the game with a bruised thigh, giving Jarrett a chance. ... Allen played the entire game on an apparent leg injury. After the game, he needed to be carted to the parking lot from the locker room. Turns out he's fine. ... They dressed nine defensive backs, but Josh Bush, Phillip Adams and LeQuan Lewis played no defense. Lewis did enough damage on special teams, committing two penalties. He was cut Monday. ... Nose tackle Kenrick Ellis was a surprise inactive, replaced by Barnes. ... Reilly's role seems to be growing, as he played a season-high 11 snaps. ... Babin was the only defensive player not to play a single snap on special teams. ... We made it through an entire report without mentioning Dee Milliner and his injury situation. Well, almost.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- If a head coach wants to change his quarterback, as Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone did Monday, he should be allowed to make the move without having to call an organizational meeting to discuss, debate and vote. It shouldn't be as complicated as getting a bill passed by Congress; it should be a one-man, executive decision. That's how Marrone did it in Buffalo, replacing EJ Manuel with Kyle Orton.

[+] EnlargeRex Ryan and John Idzik
Bill Kostroun/AP PhotoIf Jets coach Rex Ryan wants to make a change at quarterback, what sort of role would general manager John Idzik play in that decision-making?
With Geno Smith slumping, the New York Jets could be approaching a quarterback decision in the coming weeks, except in their case it's fair to wonder if coach Rex Ryan truly has the power to make that call. He was asked the question twice Monday, and each time he gave a cryptic answer that suggested he doesn't have the ultimate authority. If he doesn't -- if general manager John Idzik is pulling the strings from his bunker at One Jets Drive -- Ryan is just a puppet coach. And that would be troubling.

"To say who's going to outright make that call or whatever, I'd rather not say those things, but it would be a team decision," Ryan said at his news conference.

A short time later, Ryan was asked the same question during his weekly radio spot on "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. This time, it was presented in the context of an in-game decision. Once again, Ryan dodged.

"You know what? I'd rather not get into this," he said. "It's always a Jet decision and I'm going to leave it at that, no matter how many times you ask me."

That response triggered images of Ryan calling up to Idzik's booth at halftime, asking if he's cool with the idea of bringing in Michael Vick. Idzik isn't that demanding, is he? All I know is the man monitors Ryan's news conferences and likes to stay involved in all aspects of the organization, staying abreast of seemingly trivial matters that could be handled by underlings. Yeah, he's hands-on.

There could be two explanations for Ryan's wishy-washy response. Maybe he did it to appease Idzik, allowing his boss -- the man who could determine his fate at the end of the season -- to be a part of the process.

Or maybe Ryan really doesn't have the power to make a quarterback change. That would be unusual because most head coaches have the contractual right to choose who plays and who sits.

Either way, it's bad form because of the perception it creates: A head coach with diminished power.

In Buffalo, Marrone made the decision and informed his general manager, Doug Whaley.

"I went to Doug, I said look, 'This gives us the best opportunity to win,'" Marrone told reporters. "We talked about it. We looked at some things, and we were in full agreement on it."

The key words: Best opportunity to win. Every decision should be based on what gives the team the best chance to win now. If Ryan decides at some point Vick gives the Jets the best chance, he should be allowed to make the call without having to convene a special session of the Woody Johnson cabinet. If Ryan is over-ruled, it's a bad situation because that's no way to run a team.

If Ryan is forced to play Smith longer than he wants -- and we're not suggesting he wants to dump him right now -- it would signal another rebuilding year, another year devoted to developing Smith. Ryan, his players and the fans deserve the chance to be better than that.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan huddled with Geno Smith Monday to discuss the quarterback's postgame F-bomb, directed at a heckler behind the New York Jets' bench. You might say Ryan and Smith are the F Troop.

"Unfortunately, I've made the same mistake," Ryan told reporters, alluding to the incident three years ago in which he yelled the same profanity at a fan.

Ryan didn't come down hard on Smith, saying both players and fans get frustrated when the team isn't winning. But the coach also said, "It's still not appropriate to lash out. ... Geno, up until this point, has done a great job of that, but he's clearly got to learn from it. Obviously, it's something I regret when I did it, and I know Geno is the same way."

Ryan doesn't believe the emotional outburst is an indication that Smith is letting the pressure get into his head. He chalked it up to frustration.

Smith's expletive will be costly. He knows that, and he's prepared to accept the penalty.

"What I did was not right and I'm subject to a fine," he said Monday. "Whatever the consequences are, I will accept it."

According to the NFL, any player involved in unsportsmanlike conduct toward a fan is subject to a fine. A first-time offender is fined $11,025, per the league's fine schedule.

Smith lost his cool moments after the Jets' 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions, responding to a heckler behind the Jets' bench at MetLife Stadium. As he walked off the field after another multiple-turnover performance, Smith yelled at the fan, "F--- you!" It was caught on camera by WCBS 2 New York. He apologized after the game, but refused to say what the fan said to him.

Smith said Ryan spoke to him about the incident. Ryan, of course, did the same thing in 2011, when he shouted the same profanity at a fan. He was fined $75,000.

Smith said Ryan didn't mention his own transgression during their conversation.

"The thing he told me was, it can't happen," Smith said. "I'm fully aware of that, and I've apologized for it. It won't happen again.

"I should've never let that situation escalate that far. I've got to do a better job with that and I understand that."

Rex Ryan backs QB Geno Smith

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
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video

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The tension is mounting in the New York Jets' locker room.

The struggling offense held a players-only meeting Monday, one day after a home loss in which the crowd was chanting for Michael Vick to replace Geno Smith at quarterback.

The embattled Smith, whose turnovers are one of the main reasons for the Jets' three-game losing streak, was one of a few players that spoke at the meeting.

"The meeting was for us to kind of vent to one another about some of the things we can do better, and some of the ways we can get better as an offense," said Smith, adding that it was a "group decision" to call the meeting.

He bristled when it was suggested the session was designed to air grievances.

"No grievances," Smith said. "I understand semantics are a huge thing in this market, but there were no grievances. I don't want you guys to get that misunderstood. No one is hanging their head around here and no one is sad. No one is down on themselves."

But there is an escalating quarterback controversy. Publicly, Rex Ryan and players have remained supportive of Smith, but their patience could be wearing thin after two straight poor performances by the second-year quarterback.

Smith didn't do himself any favors by cursing a heckler in the crowd after the 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions, an F bomb that resulted in a torrent of criticism and almost certainly will result in a fine from the NFL. The amount for a first-time offender is $11,025.

On Monday, Ryan spoke to Smith about the incident, telling him it was "inappropriate." The irony is that Ryan did the same thing in 2011, incurring a $75,000 fine for yelling a profanity at a fan.


(Read full post)


Jets injury update: Bohanon's collarbone

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets fullback Tommy Bohanon broke his collarbone in the team's 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions, but played the entire second half before being diagnosed.

Bohanon
"That obviously is a major injury, we'll bring some guys in, we'll see how that progresses," Jets coach Rex Ryan said.

Ryan announced the injury during his Monday news conference, and said the team will wait for a second opinion on Tuesday before deciding whether to place Bohanon on reserve/injured. The fullback was drafted in the seventh round of the 2013 draft.

The Jets had a few other injuries during the game. Wide receiver David Nelson has a sprained left ankle, but Ryan was unsure how severe the injury is. "The fact that he didn't finish the game will lead you to believe that it's a pretty good ankle [injury]," Ryan said.

Ryan said top wide receiver Eric Decker came through the game well after working through a hamstring injury the past two weeks.

"He feels better today than he did this time last week," Ryan said.

As for the secondary, the Jets got some good news. After a scare in the lockerroom postgame, Ryan said Antonio Allen wasn't hurt. "My understanding is he's fine."

Cornerback Dee Milliner, who missed the last two games with a quadriceps injury, is expected to return this week. Ryan said he's "confident" the former first-round pick will be ready.

Rookie safety Calvin Pryor has a thigh contusion, but it's not as severe as initially thought. "It's not as swollen as we thought it would be, so that's a positive sign," Ryan said.

Defensive lineman Damon Harrison has an ankle injury, but returned to the game.

Jets cut Jalen Saunders

September, 29, 2014
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets released fourth-round wide receiver Jalen Saunders on Monday, the fourth of 12 draft picks the team had this year. The Jets then signed WR T.J. Graham.

The Jets also cut cornerback LeQuan Lewis, who had two penalties in the Lions' game.

Saunders was briefly the team’s punt returner, but after dropping two punts in two weeks, Saunders was inactive Sunday and replaced by Walt Powell for a 24-17 loss to the Lions at Metlife Stadium.

Saunders has a medical emergency situation in August, when he had a seizure in his car near the Jets' training facility. After doctors evaluated him, he was back at practice 10 days later.

He was the only one of three wide receivers drafted who was on the 53-man roster.

Also, the Jets signed wide receiver Chris Owusu, who played in 17 games for the Tampa Bay. For the Bucs, Owusu had 16 receptions for 158 yards and a touchdown. He scored in the Bucs' season-opening loss.

The Jets drafted 12 players in the spring, and the team is already dealing with attrition. First-rounder S Calvin Pryor and second round pick TE Jace Amaro are rostered and contributing, while third-round pick CB Dexter McDougle rehabs a knee injury on the reserved/injured list.

Three of the others are on the roster; OT Dakota Dozier, DE IK Enemkpali and LB Trevor Reilly. WR Shaq Evans is on reserved/injured and WR Quincy Enunwa is on the practice squad.

Three others are no longer with the team; LB Jeremiah George, CB Brandon Dixon and QB Tajh Boyd.

Graham, 25, was initially drafted by the Bills in 2012. He has caught three touchdowns in the NFL, and his career stats include 54 catches for 683 yards.

Slumping Jets hold players-only meeting

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- With a three-game losing streak and an escalating quarterback controversy, the New York Jets' offense held a players-only meeting Monday -- a sure sign the team has reached a pressure point in its season.

Smith
"The meeting was for us to kind of vent to one another about some of the things we can do better, and some of the ways we can get better as an offense," embattled quarterback Geno Smith told reporters.

Smith said he was among a few players who spoke at the meeting. The idea to have the meeting, he said, was a "collective group decision." Smith bristled when it was suggested the session was designed to air grievances.

"No grievances," Smith said. "I understand semantics are a huge thing in this market, but there were no grievances. I don't want you guys to get that misunderstood. No one is hanging their head around here and no one is sad. No one is down on themselves."

There is no doubt that Smith's recent performances came up in the meeting. He committed two turnovers in Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions, bringing his total to seven -- five interceptions and two lost fumbles.

After the game, Rex Ryan gave Smith a vote of confidence, saying he will remain the starter. Several of Smith's teammates backed him publicly, some of them -- mainly Eric Decker and Sheldon Richardson -- denouncing the fans for chanting for Michael Vick during the game.

But on Monday, only a handful of Smith's teammates appeared in the locker room during the media period, perhaps trying to avoid sensitive questions about their confidence level in Smith.

Tackle Breno Giacomini said a players-only meeting "isn't a bad thing. We need to, individually, have more accountability." At the same time, Giacomini lauded the team's character, claiming it will find a way to dig out of the 1-3 hole.

"It comes down to accountability, and every man has to be accountable for his actions," Smith said. "I spoke to the guys earlier and told them just how disappointed I was with myself for the turnovers we've had. I know how hard I've worked on straightening those things out. We've emphasized those things, but I've allowed some of those things [to] happen that I can't let happen."

Smith, who said he expects to be fined by the league for cursing at a fan after the game, was in a snippy mood with reporters. He received intense criticism for his uncharacteristic outburst after the game, when he yelled at a heckler, "F--- you!"

When asked about the reason for his turnovers, Smith bristled, "It's football, man. You guys try to make it about something else, but it's football."

Smith acknowledged the Jets' season is on the brink.

"You can obviously go in the tank and say the season is done with, or you can do what we're going to do -- get back to practice Wednesday and pick ourselves up," he said.

Things we learned about the Jets

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A few takeaways on the New York Jets' loss to the Detroit Lions:

1. Lack of energy: There were stretches in the game when the Jets seemed utterly lifeless. I suppose that's what happens your offense suffers five consecutive three-and-out possessions, but it's still uncharacteristic of a Rex Ryan-coached team. Except for the crowd responding to a few big plays and chanting for Michael Vick, the stadium was dead. Other than empty seats, nothing upsets an owner more than lethargy.

2. Rex's job security: I'm not one of those who believe it's playoffs or bust for Ryan. I think he can survive if they finish on an upswing, as they did last season -- and the second-half schedule isn't nearly as formidable as the first half. So, no, he's not Dead Man Coaching, but there are certain red flags that will doom him -- a perceived lack of effort and fracturing in the locker room. The next three weeks (at the San Diego Chargers, home for the Denver Broncos and at the New England Patriots) will go a long way toward determining whether he withstands the storm.

3. A crack appears: For the first 19 starts of his career, Geno Smith showed a remarkably calm demeanor, deflecting adversity with the aplomb of a seasoned veteran. That changed Sunday when he cursed out a heckler, an indication the pressure of losing and the stress of a quarterback controversy are inside his head. It's a troubling sign. Nevertheless, Ryan was resolute in his support for Smith, who also has the all-important backing of GM John Idzik. Ryan also has to gauge the pulse of the locker room because, with another bad game by Smith, his players will start to jump on the Vick bandwagon, if they haven't already.

4. Identity crisis: The Jets began the game by running the ball down the throat of the NFL's second-ranked run defense. They ran 10 times en route to a field goal, but they ran Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson only 13 times over the final 3 1/2 quarters. I think offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is searching right now, trying to figure out what he has. I also believe he's still trying to determine the best way to navigate Smith's inconsistency. After last week's loss to the Chicago Bears, Mornhinweg chided himself for putting "too much on [Smith's] plate." He scaled back the game plan, calling safer plays and using fewer substitutions. That didn't work, as the offense went into a deep freeze. Let's face it: They're scrambling to form an identity.

5. Playing like No. 2 vs. No. 2s: How lucky can you get? The Jets were handed gifts the last two weeks, facing a banged-up Brandon Marshall and Calvin Johnson. Once upon a time, a Ryan-coached defense, sensing blood in the water, would've responded with a feeding frenzy. Not anymore. They were shredded by the No. 2 receivers of the Bears and Lions. Alshon Jeffery and Golden Tate combined for 16 catches for 221 yards, underscoring the Jets' problems at cornerback. Don't blame Antonio Allen and Darrin Walls; they're doing the best they can. Blame Idzik for leaving Ryan with a suspect group of cornerbacks -- and that was before the injuries hit.

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