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Behind Enemy Lines Week 6: New York Jets

New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) looks to the sidelines for a play during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles, the former defensive mastermind for the Arizona Cardinals, brings his team to Arizona for a Monday Night Football clash with his mentor and former coach, Bruce Arians.

Bowles and his 1-4 New York Jets are hearing the grievances from Big Apple critics, and a win is needed not only to silence them, but to save their season.

The Jets dropped their season opener to the Cincinnati Bengals by one point, then took down the Buffalo Bills in a high-scoring Thursday night tilt in Week 2. They have dropped their last two games to the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers, as they have suffered from poor quarterback play from Ryan Fitzpatrick and has had a secondary get torched for big plays. Fitzpatrick leads the league in interceptions, as he has 10 picks compared to five touchdowns through five games. The Jets rank 31 in the NFL in pass defense, giving up 302.4 yards per game, and have given up eight plays of 40 or more yards.

Bowles looks to get his second win of the season against his old team. It will be his first time returning to the desert since leaving the defensive coordinator position to take the Jets’ head coaching vacancy in 2015.

All week, we’ll keep you updated on the Jets’ preparations for their Monday night showdown against the Cardinals.

It’s Behind Enemy Lines…

Monday, October 17

Jets’ many issues could prove to be nightmare against Cardinals (New York Post)

The Jets are 1-4 and have lost their last three games by a combined score of 82-23. And the chatter coming out of their locker room from players and coaches has become maddeningly repetitive, which has to be a source of hair-pulling frustration to their fans.

The last game of Jets’ cruel stretch could finish their season (New York Post)

At 1-4, the Jets come to the desert for a Monday night clash with the Cardinals with their season on the verge of getting away from them.

“A win would be huge,” Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “Winning kind of cures all, and when you think things aren’t going well … then all of a sudden one win can kind of ignite a season. That’s what we’re gunning for.”

The Price of Losing: If Jets keep floundering, watch gasbags go after Brandon Marshall and his TV gig (New York Daily News)

At this stage of his career, does Brandon Marshall play the position of NFL TV Gasbag better than Jets wide receiver?

No. Marshall’s mouth on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” has not quite caught up to the swiftness of his feet.

But how Marshall’s priorities are perceived is an entirely different story. One that is worth watching. For if the Jets continue to lose, the usual suspects in the Valley of the Stupid, and other media precincts, will be turning over every rock, so to speak, to identify what’s wrong.

Jets vs. Cardinals gameday preview (Newsday)

Friendships will fall by the wayside Monday night, as Jets coach Todd Bowles faces the Arizona Cardinals and his former head coach, mentor and friend, Bruce Arians.

Their relationship dates to the early 1980s when Arians was coaching Temple and Bowles was his sharpest and most-skilled player.

Tributes pour in for ex-Jet Dennis Byrd (

Former Jets defensive lineman Dennis Byrd made quite an impression during his 50 years on this earth.

That was apparent Sunday, as the tributes came rolling in from around the football world a day after Byrd died as a result of a two-car collision in Oklahoma.

Jets planning to crank up the heat in the Arizona desert (ESPN)

When Todd Bowles was the Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014, he was known for his pressure schemes. He brought that attacking mentality to the New York Jets, but they’ve been afraid to pull the trigger this season because of breakdowns in the secondary.

They’ve become — dare we say it? — a bend-but-don’t-break defense.

Sunday, October 16

Jets rookie Christian Hackenberg stays patient, confident his time will come (ESPN)

In preparation for the draft, Hackenberg trained with Carson Palmer’s younger brother, Jordan, a quarterback instructor. Part of that training included studying tapes of the Arizona Cardinals quarterback, which undoubtedly helped Hackenberg in practice as he mimicked Palmer on the scout team ahead of the Jets’ Monday visit to the desert.

Sheldon Richardson on long-shot odds that Jets will make playoffs: ‘You can take those percentages and shove ’em’ (New York Daily News)

“I don’t give a damn what people got,” Richardson said. “I don’t believe in predicting the future … I’ve always had this attitude: Fearlessness mixed in with a little optimism. I’m never going to call my season over in Week 6. I’m never going to do that.”

Jets’ weakness vs. Cardinals’ scary strength could be disastrous (New York Post)

Through five games, there are tread marks all over the backs of every one of the Jets defensive backs, who have had a hand in yielding a league-high eight pass plays of 60 or more yards.

All five quarterback who have faced the Jets’ defense, which was supposed to be the team’s strength, have posted a passer rating of 100 or better. This is positively inexcusable — particularly for a team whose head coach, Todd Bowles, is a former NFL defensive back.

To end losing skid, Jets need to revitalize rushing attack (New York Daily News)

The Jets combined for 35 rushing attempts in the second halves of the first two games of 2016. In the last three weeks, they’ve averaged just seven carries over the final two quarters. And in each of the past two games, losses to the Seahawks and Steelers, the Jets rushed the ball just five times in the second half.

Jets can’t find sack-cess (

“Oh, God,” Arians said, leading up to Monday night’s game at University of Phoenix Stadium. “That defensive line. It starts with that.”

It’s a familiar refrain. Every week, the opposing coach heaps praise on the Jets’ pass rush.

But when the games have actually been played, the defensive line has been, well, not very impressive.

Dennis Byrd, ex-Jet who beat paralysis, killed in car crash (New York Post)

Dennis Byrd, one of the most inspirational athletes in New York history, was killed Saturday in a two-car collision in Oklahoma. Byrd was 50 years old.

Saturday, October 15

Todd Bowles faces his mentor at crossroads in Jets tenure (NY Post)

When you’re trying to understand the resolve of a man, the fastest way to do so is to seek the opinions of those closest to him and who have known him longest.

More than even those inside the Jets organization, with whom Todd Bowles has worked for the last year-and-a-half, those in the Cardinals organization have an even deeper understanding of Bowles and what he’s made of.

Why Jets’ run game problems aren’t all Matt Forte’s fault (NY Post)

The problem isn’t Matt Forte.

At least that was Todd Bowles’s take, when asked why the Jets’ running game has stalled more than an old Buick in recent weeks.

“We got to open more holes for him,” the second-year Jets coach said Friday after practice. “I haven’t noticed anything different in him. He’s still doing everything he needs to do. We got to give him some help.”

David Harris confident his streak won’t end, but Jets aren’t so sure (NY Post)

David Harris remains “optimistic” his consecutive-games-started streak won’t end Monday night, but for the third straight day, the Jets’ middle linebacker was in the training room instead of on the practice field.

The Price of Losing: If Jets keep floundering, watch gasbags go after Brandon Marshall and his TV gig (New York Daily News)

At this stage of his career, does Brandon Marshall play the position of NFL TV Gasbag better than Jets wide receiver?

No. Marshall’s mouth on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” has not quite caught up to the swiftness of his feet.

Darrelle Revis hopeful he’ll suit up for Jets on Monday night vs. Cardinals (New York Daily News)

Darrelle Revis wouldn’t offer a percentage Friday for how healthy his hamstring is feeling.

Nonetheless, the Jets cornerback found a way to convey his positivity regarding his availability for Monday night in Arizona.

Jets on Cardinals’ Fitzgerald: Hats off to Larry (Newsday)

Larry Fitzgerald, 33 and in his 13th NFL season, has 31 catches, 361 yards and five touchdown receptions through five games — the same number of touchdowns as the entire Jets team.

But when you listen to NFL people discuss the Cardinals receiver, it quickly becomes evident that he is more than merely a still-productive wideout for a man his age. He is among the most respected players in the NFL on and off the field.

Jets’ 2015 second-round pick Devin Smith close to returning (Newsday)

Devin Smith has had 10 months to think.

About life. About football. About his future.

The New York Jets wide receiver has been sidelined since last December with a knee injury that cut short his rookie season — and threw his career into uncertainty.

Jets’ Chan Gailey defends his third-and-short calls (

Three weeks and three straight losses later, the same people are wondering if they’re not using Forte enough.

Welcome to the wacky world of Jets football.

Win or lose, aging Jets headed toward offseason makeover (ESPN)

Thanks for all the great questions this week. If the New York Jets’ play matched the quality of your questions, they’d be 4-1, not 1-4.

Matt Forte ready to turn around Jets’ running game (ESPN)

The numbers have dropped dramatically for running back Matt Forte over the last three games, but New York Jets coach Todd Bowles said Friday the fault doesn’t lie with Forte, the 30-year-old veteran the Jets signed as a free agent last spring.

Friday, October 14

How will Jets replace Decker? One man has to figure it out (NY Post)

It is up to Gailey to figure out how to minimize Decker’s absence, a prospect that can’t be very encouraging given the way the Jets have performed during a 1-4 start.

Why Jets’ quarterback pressure disappeared (NY Post)

Despite a front filled with Pro Bowl regulars and not one but two former winners of the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award, the Jets barely are getting a breath — much less a hand — on quarterbacks since terrorizing Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton in the opener.

See which Jets players are ‘optimistic’ about playing (and which aren’t) Monday against the Cardinals (New York Daily News)

Officially, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis did not practice Thursday. But he still made some important strides toward returning from a strained left hamstring he’s been battling since Oct. 2.

Did Jets make a mistake drafting Christian Hackenberg, a second-rounder who won’t help this year? (New York Daily News)

Christian Hackenberg might turn out to be a terrific player, but did Maccagnan put his head coach at a disadvantage by not selecting a player who could contribute in the here and now?

The Jets ship is taking on water at a rapid rate thanks to breakdowns from a roster that needs as much personnel help as it can get.

Jets’ Darrelle Revis emphasizes patience (Newsday)

While diagnosing the ailments of his beleaguered Jets, Darrelle Revis reiterated one simple message: There’s still time.

“We know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for us as a team,” the cornerback told Newsday.

Eric Decker: Getting shoulder surgery was easy decision (Newsday)

Decker, who played in only three games this year, was officially placed on injured reserve Wednesday. He described the pain as “someone is kind of stabbing you.” As for his recovery timetable, Decker said it’ll be six to eight months before he’s at full strength.

Struggling Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has friend, supporter in Carson Palmer (ESPN)

Their worlds will collide on Monday, when the close friends will try to right their disappointing seasons in a prime-time game between the New York Jets (1-4) and Arizona Cardinals (2-3) in Glendale, Arizona. Both quarterbacks, coming off signature seasons, have regressed in 2016, especially Fitzpatrick.

Hail, hail, Jets’ quarterback gang is all together again (

Bryce Petty rejoined the party on Thursday, practicing for the first time since bruising his right shoulder in the final preseason game. He had been throwing in individual drills, but this was the first time he participated in the team period.

Jets fans: 5 things you should know about the Cardinals (

The Jets head to the desert on Monday night for a critical game. The only way they can avoid falling to 1-5 is to beat Arizona. Here’s a primer on the Cardinals:

Thursday, October 13

Jets get more bad news: They’ll have to face Carson Palmer (NY Post)

Bad news for the Jets: The 2-3 Cardinals will be whole again when they play the 1-4 Jets Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, who missed last week’s game with a concussion, has been cleared to play and will face the struggling Jets.

Todd Bowles is traveling to Arizona — and his past (NY Post)

“It’s no different,” Bowles said of playing his former team. “We need to win a ballgame. We’re trying to win a ballgame. It just happens to be Arizona. I know a lot of people over there, a lot of good friends. We’ll shake hands after the game. During the game, we’re going to try to kill them and they’re going to try to kill us.”

Jets practice on Wednesday — here’s who was able to participate (New York Daily News)

Linebacker David Harris (hamstring), center Nick Mangold (knee) and cornerback Darrelle Revis (hamstring) were not practicing in Florham Park on Wednesday as the Jets returned to the field in preparation for Monday night’s contest against the Cardinals in Arizona.

With Eric Decker on IR, young Jets receivers asked to stand up (Newsday)

Robby Anderson was asked to stand up on Wednesday.

First metaphorically, by guys like Todd Bowles and Ryan Fitzpatrick, who are looking for the Jets young wide receivers to fill the hole left by Eric Decker. And then literally, by Brandon Marshall.

Sullivan: Jets try to regroup without Eric Decker (

Brandon Marshall was standing at his Jets’ locker stall Wednesday, lamenting the loss of his fellow starter at wide receiver, Eric Decker, who was placed on injured reserve in advance of shoulder surgery.

Jets coach Todd Bowles spreads his wings, gets more involved in offense (

Searching for answers during this three-game losing streak, Bowles said Wednesday he has branched out from his defense-centric role. He wouldn’t get into specifics, but it sounds as though he’s spending more time with the offensive coaches, if not the players.

Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ultimately will pay price for Eric Decker injury (

Yeah, the Jets are in big trouble without Decker.

Embattled quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will feel the brunt of it because he has only two proven receiving options — Brandon Marshall and running back Matt Forte, who, for some reason, hasn’t been featured in the passing game (only 13 catches). Quincy Enunwa leads the team with 27 receptions in a possession-type role, but he was better as a No. 3 receiver. As the No. 2, he’s facing better cornerbacks.

Hamstring issue keeps Revis out of Wednesday’s practice (SNY)

Jets CB Darrelle Revis did not practice with the team Wednesday as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury.

Revis missed Sunday’s game against the Steelers with the same hamstring issue.

3 Matchups to Watch: Jets vs. Cardinals (

Eric Allen and Alex Giaimo Preview Monday’s Game in Arizona.

Wednesday, October 12

Eric Decker placed on injured reserve by Jets, will have surgery (

Decker has a partially torn rotator cuff and has missed the Jets’ past two games. He will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the injury, a source told ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

Jets sign CB Nick Marshall (

The New York Jets have signed CB Nick Marshall from the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad,Marshall said on Twitter Wednesday morning.

Wilkerson: Jets have to keep on fighting (

The 31-13 score said a blowout loss, a third consecutive defeat for a team struggling to find its way. But DE Muhammad Wilkerson insists the Jets, a club that entered Sunday’s fourth quarter trailing the Steelers just 17-13, aren’t far away from turning the corner.

Todd Bowles shares path with recent Jets coaches, minus playoff berth (

Todd Bowles’ career record is 11-10, which means he has plenty of company in the New York Jets’ “21” club. Three of his four predecessors owned the same record after 21 games — Eric Mangini, Herm Edwards and Bill Parcells. Kind of a weird symmetry, isn’t it?

Brandon Marshall explains why he’s staying positive despite Jets’ 1-4 start (New York Daily News)

The mindset starts with locker-room leaders like Brandon Marshall, who after Sunday’s 31-13 loss to the Steelers said the Jets are in a “perfect position” despite falling to 1-4 on the season.

Diagnosing what’s gone wrong for Jets’ running game (New York Post)

The Jets had just 72 rushing yards Sunday in their 31-13 loss to the Steelers. If you look closer, 28 of those came on one run and 9 came on a scramble by Ryan Fitzpatrick. That would leave you at 35 yards.

Jets claim ex-Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Butler (Newsday)

The Jets claimed former Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Butler yesterday, a sign that Eric Decker isn’t close to returning — if at all this season.

The difference between resurrecting Jets season and complete collapse (New York Post)

The Jets will be reminded often this week about how long their playoff odds are at 1-4. Just 6 percent of the teams that have started a season 1-4 have made the playoffs since 1990, when the current playoff format was introduced.

Bowles won’t back down from decision that doomed the Jets (New York Post)

Bowles has been under siege from media and fans for the decision, which essentially ended any hope of a Jets comeback. Bowles was asked Monday if he thought any differently about his reasoning or decision.

Jets’ Todd Bowles: Fans’ outrage is ‘part of the business’ (

On the airwaves of New York sports radio, and on social media, fans and pundits are outraged by the Jets’ start — especially after last year’s 10-6 season. Bowles and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, heroes as recently as January, have been at the center of the criticism.

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