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New York Jets passed on AJ McCarron last year; what about now? – New York Jets Blog

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The quarterback landscape was altered this week with the news that AJ McCarron won his grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals and will be an unrestricted free agent. This week’s mailbag question focuses on how McCarron’s sudden availability could impact the New York Jets.

@RichCimini: At the start of free agency last year, the Jets received a call from the Bengals, who offered McCarron in a trade. The Jets gave it some thought but nixed the proposal because they were focused on free agents and didn’t want to surrender compensation in a trade. As everybody knows, they wound up signing Josh McCown — a terrific free-agent move.

New year, same outcome?

This time, the circumstances are different because McCarron is a free man, no strings attached. Based on what we know from last year, I have to think he’d be a fallback option if the Jets fail to sign Kirk Cousins. I don’t know where McCarron falls in the pecking order of Plan B candidates, but I can tell you one thing: Personally, I’d take McCown over McCarron.

You know what you’re getting with McCown; McCarron is a mystery man.

McCarron showed promise in three 2015 starts (a 2-1 record, with four touchdown passes and no interceptions), but I think it’s a stretch to say he’s the next Jimmy Garoppolo. Heck, I’m not even sure Garoppolo deserves to be put on that kind of pedestal. After all, he has had only seven starts, the past five of which were meaningless games. At least McCarron has started a playoff game. Should’ve won it, too, except a couple of his numbskull teammates let him down.

I talked to a scout who believes McCarron’s ceiling is that of a solid game manager. (He has topped the 200-yard mark only once.) Is that worth a three-year, $45 million contract, including $18.5 million guaranteed? That’s what Mike Glennon got last year as a free agent, and you can bet someone will pay McCarron at least that much. As for the Jets, it makes more financial sense to re-up with McCown, who probably will command less than $12 million on a one-year deal.

Neither McCown nor McCarron is a surefire answer to the long-term quarterback problem. Obviously, McCarron has more growth potential because he’ll be only 28, but his arrival wouldn’t preclude the Jets from taking a quarterback with the sixth pick. Remember, the Chicago Bears drafted Mitchell Trubisky after paying Glennon. If you’re going to go that route, you might as well stick with the grizzled vet. My hunch is the Jets feel that way, too.



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Atlanta Falcons hold on to big lead, clobber Minnesota Vikings for first win of season

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The Atlanta Falcons completed a week of new beginnings Sunday by taking a big lead — and holding it.

After jumping out to a 20-point halftime lead at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Falcons closed out their first victory of the season and trounced the Minnesota Vikings 40-23. The performance made a winner out of interim coach Raheem Morris, who replaced the fired Dan Quinn earlier this week.

The Falcons entered the game without a win despite holding a 20-0 lead in one of their games (Week 2 against the Dallas Cowboys) and a 26-10 advantage in the fourth quarter of another (Week 3 against the Chicago Bears).

The firing of Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff initiated an organizational overhaul focused on the long-term future, but Sunday’s victory — albeit against the 1-5 Vikings — suggested the Falcons might still be competitive in 2020.

Holding a game ball during a post-game meeting with reporters, Morris referenced the team’s historic “Dirty Bird” culture in assessing the victory.

“It’s less about what it means to me,” Morris said. “It’s about what it means to us. To reinvigorate the team, the city, and everything about it. A little brotherhood, a little Dirty Bird, in collaboration with a win, sounds good to me.”

The Falcons scored 20 points in each half, enough to hold off a late run from the Vikings. Receiver Julio Jones returned to the lineup to spark the offense, hauling in eight receptions for 137 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season. Quarterback Matt Ryan, meanwhile, threw a total of four touchdown passes while completing 30 of 40 passes for 371 yards.

“It shows what we’re capable of doing,” Ryan said. “We just have to find a way to be at that level week in and week out.”

More surprisingly, the Falcons defense clobbered the Vikings’ offense — and quarterback Kirk Cousins — in a stunning reversal of its play for most of this season. Entering the game, the Falcons’ defense had allowed the league’s highest Total Quarterback Rating to its opponents (81.8). It had managed only two interceptions and given up 15 touchdown passes, and not once had it shut out a team in a half of play.

Sunday, the Falcons shut out the Vikings in the first half in large part because they intercepted Cousins three times. In so doing, the Falcons avoided their first 0-6 start since 1996.

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NFL Week 6 takeaways, stat leaders

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Week 6 in the NFL saw a wild division win in overtime for the Titans, a Colts comeback victory after a 21-point deficit, the Giants entering the win column on a final-minute defensive stop of a 2-point conversion and the Steelers staying undefeated by handling the Browns in a 31-point rout. Meanwhile, the Patriots fell below .500 after not finding offense all day against the Broncos, and the Falcons dropped 40 points on Minnesota for their first win of the year.

All that and more in Week 6‘s biggest takeaways from NFL Nation.

Jump to a matchup:
BAL-PHI | CLE-PIT | HOU-TEN
ATL-MIN | CHI-CAR | DEN-NE
CIN-IND | DET-JAX | WSH-NYG

Standout performer for BAL-PHI: Lamar Jackson, 186 passing yards, 108 rushing yards rushing, 2 total TDs

The Ravens are 5-1 for the first time since their 2012 Super Bowl season, but they have plenty to fix during their bye week. Baltimore’s sloppiness on offense (a season-worst 12 penalties) and struggles to stop big plays on defense (28 points allowed in the second half) nearly cost the Ravens against a one-win Eagles team. “Games can’t be that close if we want to be great,” safety DeShon Elliott said. The Ravens know they have to play more disciplined when they face the undefeated Steelers after the bye. — Jamison Hensley

Next game: vs. Steelers (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, Nov. 1)

The Eagles need to give quarterback Jalen Hurts a bigger role. Philadelphia generated 109 yards on six plays out of two-quarterback looks (18.0 average) compared to 255 yards on the other 58 snaps (4.4 average). The idea that Carson Wentz should be benched in favor of Hurts should be put on ice for now. The Eagles are committed to him financially, and he nearly rallied the team back from a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter. What Wentz needs are some playmakers who will loosen defenses up and make life easier while he operates behind an unrecognizable offensive line and with a makeshift supporting cast. Hurts, at the very least, offers that. — Tim McManus

Next game: vs. Giants (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)


Standout performer for CLE-PIT: Bud Dupree, 2 sacks, 4 tackles, 2 tackles for loss

A week after struggling to get a stop on third down, the Steelers allowed the Browns to convert just 1 of 12 attempts. The Steelers wasted little time emphasizing third-down defense, as safety Minkah Fitzpatrick intercepted quarterback Baker Mayfield on third-and-3 during the Browns’ first drive and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown. “I think it sent a message to them that third down wasn’t going to be easy sledding today,” coach Mike Tomlin said afterward. And it wasn’t. No part of the game was easy for the Browns, as the Steelers’ defense dominated with four sacks and two interceptions. — Brooke Pryor

Next game: at Titans (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Mayfield had a nightmare performance. He took several shots to his injured ribs and failed to generate anything against the blitz or on third down. Ailing, he was eventually replaced late in the third quarter by Case Keenum. There’s no QB controversy in Cleveland, but for the Browns to finally snap the league’s longest playoff drought, they need Mayfield to get healthy and play better. A lot better. — Jake Trotter

Next game: at Bengals (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


Standout performer for HOU-TEN: Derrick Henry, 212 rushing yards, 2 TDs

The explosive plays finally surfaced in the running game. Derrick Henry’s 94-yard touchdown run was the primary example, but he also broke off a 34-yard run, and Jeremy McNichols had a 20-yard run. Before this week, the longest run for the Titans was only 16 yards. Now that the rushing attack is rolling, the Titans will be a tough team to stop. Tennessee rolled up 601 yards of total offense — its most in franchise history — and scored 30 or more points for the fourth consecutive week. — Turron Davenport

Next game: vs. Steelers (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

The Texans fell to 1-5, but for the second consecutive week, quarterback Deshaun Watson had an impressive performance. He now has six games with at least four passing touchdowns since his rookie year in 2017. Only Patrick Mahomes (9) and Russell Wilson (8) have more such games during that span. There are a lot of reasons for concerns about this team going forward, but Watson showed once again why his teammates feel they’re rarely out of a game if he’s under center. — Sarah Barshop

Next game: vs. Packers (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

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Ryan Tannehill finds A.J. Brown in the end zone with four seconds left to force OT, and Derrick Henry follows up with a game-winning, 5-yard touchdown.

Standout performer for ATL-MIN: Julio Jones, 137 receiving yards, 2 TDs

The firing of coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff initiated an organizational overhaul focused on the long-term future. But Sunday’s victory — albeit over the 1-5 Vikings — suggested the Falcons might still be competitive in 2020. We knew the Falcons’ offense can score, especially after the return of receiver Julio Jones. But the Falcons’ defense was strong in the debut of interim coach Raheem Morris, and its three first-half interceptions of Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins set the tone for the entire game. — Kevin Seifert

Next game: vs. Lions (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

The Vikings are the NFL’s biggest version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. A week ago, they took undefeated Seattle down to the wire in a one-point loss. Then they turn around and allow a terrible Atlanta team to build a 23-point lead and get its first win of the season. “It’s just strange,” coach Mike Zimmer said of how poorly his team played. The Vikings’ season is all but lost, and they’ll have to focus on where they go from here after a 1-5 start that brings into question more than a handful of moves they made in the offseason (extensions for Zimmer, GM Rick Spielman, Cousins and running back Dalvin Cook) and whether those are coming back to haunt them. — Courtney Cronin

Next game: at Packers (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, Nov. 1)


Standout performer for CHI-CAR: Roquan Smith, 12 tackles

The Bears need to be taken seriously. Without question, Chicago has flaws — plenty of them — and the overall offense is not good enough. But what cannot be disputed is the club’s record after six games. The Bears are 5-1 for the first time since former head coach Lovie Smith’s final season in 2012. Entering this year, there were 102 teams that started 5-1 since the NFL went to 12 playoff teams in 1990 and 85 went on to make the playoffs (83.3%), according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The NFL expanded the playoff field to 14 teams for 2020. Add it all up, and the Bears are in prime position to challenge for their second playoff berth in three years under head coach Matt Nagy. — Jeff Dickerson

Next game: at Rams (8:15 p.m. ET, Monday, Oct. 26)

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was sacked four times and had to scramble a season-high eight times for 48 yards against the league’s No. 1 red zone defense. Perhaps that pressure is why, with a chance to pull even in the closing minutes, Bridgewater missed a wide-open DJ Moore at the Chicago 20-yard line with nobody between him and the goal line. Carolina (2-2) needs to fix its pass protection in a hurry to remain a factor in the NFC playoff race. — David Newton

Next game: at Saints (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


Standout performer for DEN-NE: Brandon McManus, 6-for-6 FGs

After a 17-day layoff, the Broncos forced three turnovers, got four sacks and saw a 100-yard rushing day from Phillip Lindsay in their win over the Patriots. It was their first three-turnover game of the season on defense and Lindsay’s first 100-yard effort after missing three games with a toe injury. Coach Vic Fangio has taken more chances in the pass rush with Von Miller and Jurrell Casey out for the season, including more five- and six-man pressures, and it paid dividends in wins over the Jets and Patriots. — Jeff Legwold

Next game: vs. Chiefs (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)

The Patriots hardly practiced over the past two weeks, and it showed in Sunday’s loss to the visiting Broncos. This was U-G-L-Y, one of their worst home offensive performances of Bill Belichick’s 21-year coaching tenure. Maybe injuries and having five players placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list caught up to them, but after watching how the Titans handled a similar situation last week and still trounced the Bills, it wasn’t a stretch to expect more from New England. One thing that stood out: the Broncos devoting extra resources to take away the running game and forcing Cam Newton and the Patriots to win through the air. — Mike Reiss

Next game: vs. 49ers (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)


Standout performer for CIN-IND: Philip Rivers, 371 passing yards, 3 TDs

The Colts head into their bye with a 4-2 record by beating teams with a combined record of 12-22-1 and coming from 21 points down to beat the Bengals in Week 6. But the schedule will get tougher for the Colts, who play six of their final 10 games against teams currently with winning records, including four teams that went into Sunday undefeated. — Mike Wells

Next game: at Lions (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, Nov. 1)

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0:19

Philip Rivers’ pass is on the money to Zach Pascal, who makes a sensational catch for a 17-yard touchdown.

Under Zac Taylor, the Bengals are 1-11-1 in one-score games, which is easily the worst record in the NFL during that span. The lone win was a Week 4 victory against the Jaguars this season, in which a late Jacksonville field goal cut Cincinnati’s winning margin to 33-25. Sunday’s loss to the Colts was perhaps the most troubling of the one-score lapses. The Bengals led 21-0 early in the second quarter and were on the verge of picking up Taylor’s first win in Cincinnati against a team with a winning record. If Cincinnati wants to get out of this rebuilding phase, it must find ways to win close games. “Everybody could have done one more thing to help us get this win,” Taylor said. “That’s all of us. That’s the coaches and the players. Everyone has gotta be accountable to that.” — Ben Baby

Next game: vs. Browns (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)


Standout performer for DET-JAX: D’Andre Swift, 116 receiving yards, 2 TDs

The Lions badly needed a win in Jacksonville and to find something with their defense. By bringing more pressure than they had in any of the first four games, they made Gardner Minshew II uncomfortable with four quarterback hits and enough chaos to force him into mistakes. It’s just one game against one of the worst rosters in the NFL, but it’s something Detroit can build on after holding Jacksonville to 2.4 yards per carry and Minshew to 56.8% completions. — Michael Rothstein

Next game: at Falcons (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

The Jaguars are bad — bad enough that they are legitimately in contention for the first overall draft pick. Sunday’s loss to the Lions was their fifth in a row, and they have given up 30 or more points in each of those losses. They’re also the first team in NFL history to lose three consecutive games to winless teams (excluding season openers). — Mike DiRocco

Next game: at Chargers (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)


Standout performer for WSH-NYG: Tae Crowder, 43-yard fumble return for game-winning TD, 10 tackles

Joe Judge got his first head-coaching win, and the Giants can now say they are one win behind the NFC East leader heading into Monday night, no matter how gargantuan their struggles have been. This win was desperately needed. Several Giants players expressed last week that it was time to produce results. Enough talking about making progress. The win also allows Judge some validation to his program. It would have been difficult to continue asking so much of his players without it translating to victories. Now they finally have one. — Jordan Raanan

Next game: at Eagles (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)

Washington needs to do more than just show resolve in games. It has to quit allowing big plays on defense. It has to limit turnovers on offense, which now have cost them two games. QB Kyle Allen showed a lot of good and bad against the Giants, but Washington has now lost five consecutive games. At 1-5, Washington needs to start winning games, especially ones like Sunday. It was in position to win, but costly mistakes haunt this franchise, and that’ll be the story until the team stops making them. — John Keim

Next game: vs. Cowboys (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

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With TD pass vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, Matthew Stafford now has TD vs. every team but Detroit Lions

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It took a dozen seasons, but Matthew Stafford has now scored on them all.

With a 1-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Hockenson in the third quarter during the Detroit Lions34-16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the 32-year-old quarterback completed the journey of throwing a TD pass against every other team in the NFL.

Stafford had played Jacksonville twice before in his career, and threw for over 250 yards in each of those games but didn’t throw a ball into the end zone. And after two rushing touchdowns by the Lions in the first half, it looked like it might happen again.

Then Stafford took three straight throws to the end zone from the 1-yard line, connecting on his third one to be able to say he’d done it against every team except Detroit, the squad he has played for his entire career.

It was the 265th touchdown pass of Stafford’s career.

Stafford said there wasn’t a particular focus to get him the touchdown mark.

“Not really. It was entirely too hard to score down there on a couple of those,” said Stafford, who was wearing a suit for his post-game Zoom conference because it was the only way he could transport his garment back to Michigan after the game. “I was trying to throw another one to Hock earlier, and [Jason] Cabinda thought it was coming to him and he knocked it out. It was a tough series to get it in there, but it was nice to score.

“I’m just happy that our team got in the end zone, run or pass. Obviously we got a couple rushing touchdowns today, which was awesome, and I know the guys up front love that, I know the guys on the sideline love that, it’s awesome to watch us run it in, so I was proud of the guys up front for doing that, but as far as I go, I just wanted to score. Cool that we had the touchdown, nice that I got the stat. I’ll just keep it moving.”

Stafford is the 27th quarterback to achieve the feat, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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