Jets Trying To Figure Out Who Their 2nd String Quarterback Is

Geno Smith

When Rex Ryan was the coach of the New York Jets, the team was always in the news for either something the coach said or something one of his players said or did. After the team had hired Todd Bowles as Ryan’s replacement, it appeared things would change in New York, but this offseason has proved to us that things never change with the Jets. After barely missing out on the playoffs last season, the Jets have great online NFL betting odds of making the playoffs, but the question on everyone’s mind is can the team actually play to the level of the talent it has?

After leading the Jets to a 10-6 season, a lot of people assumed the team would take care of its free agent quarterback quickly, providing some stability for the team on offense. Instead, the Jets played a game of chicken with their quarterback and came close to having Geno Smith as their opening day starter.

Fortunately for New York, Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t in high demand because teams don’t know if his career season last year was a fluke or not. After missing most of their offseason program, the Jets finally signed Fitzpatrick on the eve of training camp.

With Fitzpatrick back in the lineup, the Jets have their undisputed opening day starter, but after Fitzpatrick, the QB depth chart is anyone’s guess.

The team drafted rookie quarterback Christian Hackenberg, but he seems to be a long-term project and will likely be the team’s 3rd or 4th string quarterback when the season begins. During the team’s first preseason game, Hackenberg didn’t get to play, so it is hard to see how far along he is regarding learning the team’s offensive playbook.

Geno smith, who many expected to be named the starter if the team could not come to terms with Fitzpatrick, is battling Bryce Petty for the 2nd string position. Since the team likes both players, the Jets could be forced to carry four quarterbacks on its roster, which is something no NFL team has done since 2013. If they don’t want to have four quarterbacks on the team, they could send Hackenberg to the practice squad, which is unlikely because he could be picked up by another team when released.

Other than Fitzpatrick, Smith is the most experienced quarterback on the team, which makes him the obvious choice to backup Fitzpatrick. However, the coaches also like what they see from Petty, which makes it a hard decision for the team to make.

Bowles told reporters after the team’s preseason win over the Jacksonville Jaguars that he liked what he saw from both Petty and Smith during the game. While neither player was lights out, they each had a few flashes of brilliance.

During the game, Smith threw a 17-yard touchdown pass and finished 8-for-14, for 79 yards while running a conservative game plan, while Petty was 7 of 14 for 93 yards.

After the game, Petty said he was much more comfortable in the offense than he was last season, which was what he had been hoping for.

While the team hasn’t made anything official, we will get an indication on who is winning the backup race by seeing which player Bowles puts in first in the next three preseason games.

Jets Win Preseason Opener Against Jaguars

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After an offseason in which the team didn’t know who their starting quarterback would be after a contract impasse with Ryan Fitzpatrick, plenty of Jets fans were happy the team was able to resign Fitzpatrick, and they showed it during the team’s first preseason game of the year. Even though the Jets are NFL expert picks to make the playoffs, the team would likely have a losing record if they had to turn to Geno Smith as their starter.

To better illustrate just how little fans think of Smith as a starter, the quarterback was booed by the home crowd after throwing two incompletions. However, Smith ignored the boos and fired off a 17-yard touchdown pass to Charone Peake in the team’s 17-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game was played on the anniversary of the day Smith’s jaw was broken at the hands of Ike Enemkpali, which cost him his starting job last year.

On Thursday, Smith replaced Fitzpatrick after the starter led the team to a touchdown in the two series he played in. Despite taking only nine snaps and missing all of the team’s offseason workouts, Fitzpatrick’s 2016 debut was impressive and showed Jets fans that the contract holdout didn’t affect his play.

As a group, the Jets quarterbacks combined for 18-for-32 passing, 244 yards, with one touchdown and no turnovers. Although rookie quarterback Christian Hackenberg didn’t play in the first preseason game, his roster spot is assured because the coaches are high on him.

Bryce Petty, who could be the odd man out if the team decides to carry three quarterbacks instead of four during the season, had a decent showing, finishing 7-for-14, for 93 yards. While Petty had a couple of nice moments, the quarterback also missed a wide-open Jace Amaro on what would have been a big play for the offense. Petty’s game management skills were also suspect at times, but he didn’t do anything that would hurt his chances of making the team, which is a positive for him.

Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, whom coaches have called one of the most improved players on the team, had a strong showing catching two passes for 69 yards. Jets head coach Todd Bowles called Enunwa the Dennis Rodman of the team’s offense because he is willing to do the dirty work. Enunwa showed he is capable of doing more than the dirty work by getting open twice on downfield plays, showing his coaches he has the ability to stretch the field.

Although Enunwa is listed as the team’s third receiver, he can also play the tight end position, making him a valuable part of the team’s offense.

Due to injuries, newly acquired running back Matt Forte and defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson didn’t play. Cornerback Darrelle Revis was dressed but also didn’t play against Jacksonville. Revis’ absence was probably a precaution to avoid a serious injury during the preseason.

Rookie receiver Jalin Marshall impressed the coaches by making one of the biggest plays of the night, which was an 84-yard kickoff return. Marshall, who is an undrafted free agent from Ohio State, might have locked down a roster position with his play on Thursday night.

Jets Ink RB Antone Smith; Place RB Bernard Pierce on IR

Antone Smith

The Jets made a couple roster moves today surrounding the running back spot, as the team signed veteran Antone Smith and put Bernard Pierce on injured reserve.

The 5’9”, 192-pound Smith, a Florida State product entering his seventh NFL season, appeared in five games with the Chicago Bears last season. An undrafted free agent who spent his first five credited NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Smith has averaged 9.9 yards on his 30 NFL carries and totaled 7 touchdowns on 45 touches.

Pierce signed with the Jets in July, but he had been slowed by a hamstring injury during training camp. The 6’0”, 232-pound Pierce, a Temple alum, appeared in seven games last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars after spending his first three pro seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. He has rushed for 1,345 yards and 5 TDs on his 359 career attempts.

Jets RB Matt Forte Back on the Practice Field

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Veteran running back Matt Forte returned to the New York Jets practice field on Tuesday according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

Forte ended up missing a total of four days after tweaking his hamstring last week. Now 30, Forte missed three games with knee issues last season for the Chicago Bears and was allowed to walk as a free agent this offseason. He is expected to be the No.1 back in a committee approach in his first season with the Jets.

Jets QB Geno Smith Ahead in the Early Race at QB at Training Camp

Geno Smith

Quarterback Geno Smith is clearly ahead of both rookie Christian Hackenberg and second-year QB Bryce Petty in the competition to be the New York Jets’ No.2 quarterback according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports.

As he should be considering that Smith has 29 NFL starts under his belt in three-year career with the Jets as opposed to a raw rookie and a sophomore with exactly zero NFL snaps under his belt. The news is important, however, considering the dynamics of the Jets quarterbacking situation. Without question, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick is the Jets starter in 2016 now that the long contract impasse between his agents and the front office has ended but he is on a one-year deal. Smith is in the last year of his rookie contract and it is clear he wants to get a fresh start elsewhere-and the Jets would love to make that happen.

If Hackenberg or Petty could show enough in camp to earn the No. 2 job, the Jets would be able to move on from Smith instead of potentially cutting one of their young projects. With neither making up any ground, however, the Jets will either have to keep four quarterbacks or cut Petty at the end of camp. Neither scenario is particularly attractive as the team could end up with only Hackenberg under contract in 2017-and few observers believe he will be ready to lead a playoff-caliber NFL team that soon.

Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson Starts Training Camp on the PUP List

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One of the Jets big name defensive players won’t be on the practice field when camp starts, as today the team announced that Muhammad Wilkerson is starting training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

Wilkerson is still recovering from a broken right leg that he suffered last season, but the good news is he’s expected to be ready to go week one against the Bengals.

Wilkerson wasn’t the only Jets player to begin camp on the sideline. Devin Smith, Khiry Robinson, James Carpenter, Breno Giacomini and Kendall James all were placed on the PUP list

Jets Waive Punter Hackett to Make Room on the Roster for Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Thursday afternoon, the Jwets announced they have waived undrafted rookie punter Tom Hackett as a corresponding transaction to the signing of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

As a result, Lac Edwards, New York’s seventh-round pick in this year’s draft, becomes the lone punter on the Jets’ roster, Conner Hughes of the Newark Star-Ledger reports.

Hackett, 24, was signed by the Jets shortly after the 2016 NFL draft came to a close as an undrafted free agent. At that point in time, the Utah product was viewed as competition for Edwards. Despite the two splitting reps during OTAs and minicamp, Edwards had a clear-cut advantage. While both players were evenly matched in terms of directional accuracy, Edwards’ leg strength was far and away better than Hackett’s.

Jets WR Brandon Marshall Challenges Steelers WR Antonio Brown in Bet Involving Yards

 Brandon Marshall

Standing in front of a white Porsche — the new sponsor of the Jets — Brandon Marshall said on an Instagram video he’ll give up the car if Antonio Brown outdistances him in receiving yards, but “if I have more receiving yards than you, you’ve got to give me the Rolls-Royce,” Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports.

Brown is scheduled to drive a Steelers-inspired Rolls-Royce Wraith into training camp Thursday.

Marshall recorded 1,502 yards last season, which is 332 short of Brown’s 1,834 total.

“The RR is about $100K up (from the Porsche value),” Brown told TMZ. “If he really serious, CALL ME…I’ll gladly accept. Don’t Internet it.”