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In losses, New York Jets search for silver linings

By Chris Mascaro, The Sports Xchange
In losses, New York Jets search for silver linings
New York Jets QB Josh McCown throws against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at the Coliseum in Oakland, California on September 17, 2017. File photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets getting blown out in Oakland on Sunday was hardly a surprise. Many people picked the Raiders in the survivor pools and the Vegas betting line was two touchdowns at kickoff.

But what was slightly strange were the good vibes floating around the locker room despite the 45-20 loss that resulted in the franchise's first 0-2 start in 10 years.

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Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson called it "a positive" feeling, quarterback Josh McCown, whose glass is always half full despite a 1-18 record in his last 19 starts, said "there's always reason for optimism," and even head coach Todd Bowles, while acknowledging his team's deficiencies, said "we might have grown as a team with this loss."

The only person who seemed genuinely angry was linebacker Jordan Jenkins, who said he was "pissed off" -- but not about the score, or the 45 points they gave up, which is the most points they've allowed in Bowles' three seasons as head coach. He said it about Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch dancing on the sideline once the game turned into a blowout.

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Jets fans might need to start channeling the Philadelphia 76ers' motto and simply "Trust the process," as the slow march toward a high draft pick continues. They are 0-2 -- a playoff run is highly unlikely, the journeyman quarterback is 38 years old and even the once feared run defense has, by far, allowed the most rushing yards in the league (370, the Bengals are next at 325). So what were the positives on Sunday?

Well, for starters, McCown didn't throw an interception. He did lose a fumble, but he was otherwise pretty solid, throwing for two touchdowns to Jermaine Kearse. Through two games, Kearse leads the Jets with 11 catches for 123 yards, and seems to be someone fantasy players are taking notice of.

The Jets also rushed for 126 yards as a team, and five per carry. Running back Matt Forte didn't start; that honor went to Bilal Powell, but he did contribute with nine carries for 53 yards and four catches for 38 yards. And rookie Elijah McGuire, a sixth-round pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette, got his first NFL carries, racking up 29 yards on six attempts and a seven-yard catch.

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Kicker Chandler Catanzaro still hasn't missed this season. He's 4-for-4 on field goals and has made his only two extra-point attempts.

Cornerback Morris Claiborne, who was limited most of the week with an ankle injury, played relatively solid defense on Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper, holding him to four catches for 33 yards.

And that's about it for the positives.

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The Jets are one of two AFC teams to not have played a home game yet (the Dolphins would have, but their Week 1 game was postponed due to Hurricane Irma). They'll finally get to do that this week, when they welcome Jay Cutler and the Dolphins to town. Miami was a 19-17 winner over the Chargers in L.A. Sunday.

Maybe some more positives will materialize then. Even if another loss is in the cards.

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