Refresh this page for the latest news and notes before, during and after Broncos practice Thursday, Oct. 4, from Denver Post beat reporters Ryan O’Halloran and Kyle Fredrickson.
11:00 a.m. — 5 questions with a Jets beat writer
To catch up on the 1-3 Jets, we enlisted Darryl Slater, beat writer for the Newark Star-Ledger, to answer five questions about Gang Green:
1. Sunday is the first of three consecutive games at home for the Jets (Broncos, Indianapolis and Minnesota). Does coach Todd Bowles’ job status hinge on the next three weeks?
It very well could. If the Jets aren’t able to win one or two of these next three games, then Bowles could find himself looking at a massive hole, as he tries to avoid being turfed. Many Jets fans already want to see Bowles canned, but acting owner Christopher Johnson surely wants to see more before he decides whether to sack Bowles. After this three-game home stretch, the Jets close with this schedule: Bears (road), Dolphins (road), Bills, Patriots, Titans (road), Bills (road), Texans, Packers, Patriots (road). Yes, the Bills are terrible, so maybe Bowles can pick up two wins there, as he hopes to dodge a pink-slipping.
2. Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold is having a rookie kind of year (some ups, more downs). What signs of progress have you seen him make through the first month?
Darnold is doing a nice job of recognizing what he needs to fix. So that’s a start. After that pathetic loss at the Browns, Darnold said he needed to do a better job of being quicker and more decisive as he goes through his reads. For the most part, he hasn’t tried to force things this season. So that’s a plus, along with his ability to pinpoint what exactly is going wrong. But he doesn’t have a ton of weapons around him, and his offensive line is shaky. So those two things are going to impact his progress. The Jets ultimately just want to see Darnold move forward, to at least some degree, every week.
3. Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates has ties to the Broncos from his time on Mike Shanahan’s staff. What made him Todd Bowles’ choice to be promoted and what’s your take on his play-calling?
Bates actually still has the quarterbacks coach title. One of the issues with John Morton — who was axed after one not-so-rosy season — was that he didn’t have a background with developing quarterbacks. Bowles likes Bates’ quarterback background, most notably with Jay Cutler. The single most important thing about this season for the Jets is whether they can develop Darnold. And Bowles thinks Bates has a good shot at developing the kid … or at least a better shot than Morton. In terms of the play calling, Bates hasn’t asked Darnold to go deep a lot. In the running game, Bates leans a lot on those Shanahan-style outside zone plays. Against the Jaguars, Bates didn’t do enough to establish a running game in the first half. His pass-happy plan made little sense. He has done some good things, but this was a disaster.
4. What stood out watching Jets-Jaguars was how little No. 92 (Leonard Williams) was called. Is the big fella not as active as previous years?
Teams are throwing a lot more double teams at Williams this year, but ultimately, if he’s going to be considered an elite pass rusher, he needs to convert more sack opportunities. He has proven himself to be a very good (but not great) player so far. He has just 13 career sacks in 52 games, including one this season. Not good enough, especially if he wants to be paid like a top-level pass rusher.
5. Safety Jamal Adams appears to be a terrific player. How do the Jets use him to take advantage of his skills?
The Jets typically use Adams as a strong safety, closer to the line of scrimmage, while having Marcus Maye roam the deep middle. Maye is definitely more of a coverage-focused free safety. There are concerns about Adams’ coverage skills, especially against the league’s best tight ends. But in terms of being able to cover ground laterally in the open field — and making plays in that way — Adams is a big asset for the Jets’ secondary.