Wed Sep 23 6:03pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon (28) runs past New York Jets' Neville Hewitt (46) for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
San Francisco 49ers' Jordan Reed (81) breaks away from New York Jets' Marcus Maye (20) for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Yep, we're talkin' about practice.
An 0-2 start with dismal performances in both games has the New York Jets in an early season hole. There are questions about coach Adam Gase's job status, quarterback Sam Darnold's future with the franchise - and, now, concerns about how the team is preparing for games.
The budding controversy began when safety Bradley McDougald told SNY after the Jets' 31-13 loss to San Francisco last Sunday that some of the struggles, particularly with the defense, can be attributed to them having ''slow'' practices and how they haven't had ''a complete, full week of just great practices.'' Linebacker Jordan Jenkins also said in a Zoom call with reporters after the game that players need to look at themselves and how they're preparing.
''Nobody said anything during the week,'' Gase said Wednesday. ''I felt like we had a really good tempo to practice. Sometimes an individual guy, if he wants to change something, we talk about it every week. It's not like it's not an open forum. If somebody doesn't like the way something is going, he can easily speak up.''
McDougald, who was traded to New York from Seattle in the deal that sent Jamal Adams to the Seahawks, added that the key is winning in practice and ''then it will translate to the games on Sunday.''
In his weekly spot Tuesday on WFAN Radio, linebacker Avery Williamson supported McDougald's premise. He said players miss tackles at times in practice and aren't as crisp as they should be. Williamson added that the Jets ''can't come out sluggish in games and expect to win.''
The comments buzzed on social media and sports talk shows - a bit reminiscent of Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson's rant about practice 18 years ago. Many fans and some media pointed the blame at Gase for not overseeing better, sharper practices, although coordinator Gregg Williams is responsible for the defense.
''Yeah, I mean everybody has a different feel of how practice goes,'' Gase said. ''We're heading into Week 3 here. If that's the feeling that they have, we have a chance to really kind of ramp it up and make sure that we're doing what we need to do in individuals (drills) and pick up the tempo.
''I haven't necessarily felt that. When I watch our guys, I feel like guys are flying around, they're chasing the ball. But you're always looking to improve in practice.''
Gase said Williamson texted him after making his radio appearance to try to clarify his comments before the coach heard them second-hand.
''He just said that he said something about how they practice on defense,'' Gase recalled. ''He said he felt like what he said wasn't really what was reported. I don't know, I told him it is what it is.''
McDougald didn't backpedal from his comments Wednesday, reiterating during a Zoom call with reporters that it is a problem the Jets have had ''slow'' practices, but he also clarified his point.
''It starts with players,'' he said. ''We have to want it in practice the same way we have to want it in games.''
McDougald said he didn't feel he needed to clear the air with either Gase or Williams because he didn't think he ''disrespected anybody or came at anybody.'' He reiterated that he was speaking in general terms - not trying to imply the coaches aren't doing a good enough job.
''My comments weren't pointing the finger at anyone because I feel like this is a collective effort to turn this ship around,'' McDougald said. ''I'm not coming for my coaches. Our coaches do a great job of preparing us, but we're all in this together.
''When I say `we,' it's `we' as a collective, you know? The players and coaches included. Everybody's a part of this. ... We need to have a great week of practice. That's it.''
McDougald acknowledged there was ''an uptick'' of energy from the players at practice Wednesday, saying ''guys were flying around'' the field.
''The coaches are going to keep coaching us hard, they're going to keep showing up with game plans and expecting us to execute,'' McDougald said. ''We, as players, have to come out there and execute.''
NOTES: The Jets signed S Marqui Christian to the active roster from Chicago's practice squad. Christian was a free agent in the offseason and agreed to a deal then with New York, but it fell through. He was suspended for the first two weeks of the season by the NFL in June for an unspecified rules violation but was signed by Chicago in August.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 6
The Dallas Cowboys Defense struggled once again in Week 6, allowing 38 points and recording just one sack with no turnovers. They ended up with -3.0 points in standard scoring formats, their third time in six games winding up with negative points. They've totaled seven fantasy points this season. Seven. Even with a seemingly good matchup next week against the struggling Washington Football Team's offense, the Cowboys will not be a recommended fantasy defense.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz made four catches in a Week 6 loss, gaining 35 yards. He was targeted five times, mostly running short routes in a game where Andy Dalton threw the ball 54 times but struggled seemingly every time he threw. Schultz flashed in his first post-Blake Jarwin start, but he's settled into a decent floor but low-ceiling tight end option. He'll come down with a touchdown now and then, but is more of a high-end TE2 in most matchups.
Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein made one field goal and missed another in Week 6. He made his one extra point attempt. Zuerlein's made field goal came from 34 yards out and his miss came from 58 yards. With the huge downgrade in the Cowboys offense in going from Dak Prescott (ankle) to Andy Dalton, Zuerlein's time as a top-12 kicker this season may have come to an end.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup caught only two passes in a Week 6 trouncing by the Arizona Cardinals. Gallup was targeted six times and dropped a potential first half touchdown, ending up with just 23 yards on the night. Gallup has become very much a boom-or-bust wide receiver, and with Andy Dalton under center in place of Dak Prescott (ankle), there are likely much more bust than boom weeks coming up.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cedrick Wilson made just two catches in a Week 6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Wilson was targeted three times, gaining 10 yards on his two catches. Andy Dalton threw the ball 54 times and showed that even though the Dallas defense will make him keep throwing the ball plenty, he likely won't be able to push the fourth wide receiver on the depth chart into fantasy relevance. Wilson won't be a recommended starter in most formats as long as the rest of the Cowboys receivers remain healthy.
Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard ran the ball 10 times in a Week 6 loss, gaining 31 yards. He was targeted four times in the passing game, catching two passes for nine yards. Pollard came into this one with a total of 13 rush attempts, so his 10 runs were a bit of a surprise. Starter Ezekiel Elliott lost two fumbles and cost the Cowboys a competitive first half, likely leading to an increased role for Pollard. Still, Elliott is in no danger of losing his role on offense, leaving Pollard as a huge difference-maker only if Elliott misses time due to injury, illness, or suspension.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper bounced back from his rough Week 5 performance. He was targeted 10 times in the passing game, catching seven passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. This was very much a garbage time performance, as Cooper wasn't even targeted until late in the first half. His touchdown came from one yard out and made it a 31-10 game with about six minutes left in the game. Cooper will take a hit with the loss of Dak Prescott (ankle) for the season, but based on his talent and the fact that the Cowboys Defense will make sure the offense has to throw the ball a lot, Cooper will remain a high-end WR2.
Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb made seven catches in Week 6, gaining 64 yards. He was targeted 10 times in the passing game, tying for second with Amari Cooper behind running back Ezekiel Elliott. Lamb will continue to see plenty of targets every week, but the drop off from Dak Prescott (ankle) to Andy Dalton is looking like a much bigger drop than originally expected. Lamb will retain WR3 value in standard leagues with a bonus in PPR formats.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton did not play well in his first start. Dalton took over in Week 5 after Dak Prescott (ankle) was forced to leave the game and looked decent, but looked almost the complete opposite in his Week 6 start. Dalton completed 34 of his 54 pass attempts for 266 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He added four yards on two carries. Dalton missed some throws by high school margins and checked down to running backs 15 times despite having three elite wide receivers running on the field. Some of it was probably rust and Dalton should look better than this at most points this season, but he proved that the drop off from Prescott to Dalton for the rest of the season may be a lot more significant than originally expected. Dalton will be a QB2 for a matchup against the Washington Football Team in Week 7.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott ran the ball 12 times in a Week 6 loss, gaining 49 yards. He saw a team-high 11 targets in the passing game, catching eight of them for 31 yards. It was a rough game for Elliott, who lost two fumbles in the first half and was one of the key reasons this was not even a competitive game. Elliott saw backup Tony Pollard carry the ball 10 times in this one as well. "Zeke" will have better games, but with Andy Dalton under center, opposing teams won't be as concerned with the passing game and will be able to focus on shutting down the running game. Based on volume alone, Elliott will remain a weekly RB1, but he won't be the top-tier option he was with Dak Prescott (ankle) calling the shots.
Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin (concussion) left the Monday night game against the Cardinals in the first quarter after suffering a concussion. Martin was ruled out to begin the second half with the team trailing 21-3. The Cowboys above-average offensive line has been decimated by injuries this year. Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick retired in the offseason. Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith had season-ending neck surgery last week, while right tackle La'el Collins is on Injured Reserve after having hip surgery. Joe Looney, who replaced Frederick at center, is on Injured Reserve as well. With quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle) also out for the year, the offense struggled against Arizona. The injuries to the offensive line have been more bad news for the offense, especially for running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Andy Dalton.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown returned after a one game absence, but it looks like he took this game off as well. Brown failed to haul in all of his four targets during the Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Quarterback Josh Allen had a tough time connecting with his receivers in this one. However, both Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley found the end zone. Brown should have WR4 upside against the New York Jets next week.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis was not able to do much damage against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He finished with one reception on his lone target of the game for seven yards in the loss. Quarterback Josh Allen did not have a good game throwing the ball, so that was part of the problem as well. Davis is likely going to get lost in the shuffle with the Bills receivers healthy at the moment. He might have desperation deep league appeal against the awful New York Jets Defense in Week 7.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has been reliable all season long and that continued against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He hauled in four of his seven targets for 45 yards and one touchdown. The Bills weren't able to get the air attack going well in this game. However, that should change next week against the horrendous New York Jets Defense. Beasley continues to be a reliable PPR option and that should be the case next week as well.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs had a fairly quiet game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He hauled in six of his eight targets for 46 yards and one touchdown in the loss. He led the Bills in all receiving categories, but quarterback Josh Allen finished with a total of 122 passing yards in this game. Diggs salvaged his fantasy value with the touchdown, but he should rebound nicely next week. He'll get a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. Fantasy owners should be able to lean on him as a WR1 for that game.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman only received one target on Monday and recorded zero yards against the Buffalo Bills. Hardman is a weekly boom or bust candidate and he had some potential in Week 6 with Sammy Watkins (hamstring) sidelined, but it was Demarcus Robinson who took advantage on Monday. Due to inconsistent performances, Hardman is only WR4/WR5 with upside most weeks. Hardman will look to pick up some stats against the Denver Broncos in a Week 7 matchup.
Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary was the lead back once again, but failed to do much damage on the ground. He rushed 10 times for 32 yards on the ground in the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Singletary also hauled in one of two targets for 13 yards through the air. Rookie Zack Moss did return in this game, but Singletary still managed to get double digit carries. Fantasy owners should be able to lean on Singletary as a low-end RB2 against the New York Jets next week.
Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss (toe) was able to suit up for the Week 6 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. He missed each of the last three games due to a toe issue, but honestly he could've missed this one too and it wouldn't have changed anything. Moss finished with 10 yards on five carries in the loss to the Chiefs. Devin Singletary remained the lead back and that will probably be the case going forward. Moss should have increased value against the New York Jets next week. He could be worth a stash for that matchup.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had arguably his worst game of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He completed 14 of 27 passing attempts for 122 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the loss. He also added 42 yards on the ground with eight rushing attempts. Allen started off red-hot to begin the season, but hasn't looked the same over the last two weeks. He should be a top tier QB1 for the Week 7 matchup against the New York Jets.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams rushed six times for 26 yards and a touchdown on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Williams also snagged one reception for 15 yards. The Chiefs ran the ball 46 times and part of that could be because of the bad forecast throughout the game. Despite the nice night, Williams is likely to be demoted to the third running back on the roster with the recent addition of LeVeon Bell. Williams should be avoided in all formats and should only have value if Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Bell were to get hurt.