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  • Jan 18
    NEW YORK (AP) —
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    , who are these guys?Are the New York Jets the team that
    looked dominant in victories over Denver and Detroit? Or, the sluggish squad
    that struggled through three straight losses in between?Well, probably a mix of
    both. But their next game against the skidding Indianapolis Colts could help
    provide some clarity. Or, at the very least, some consistency.“We’re trying to
    find that week after week,” coach Todd Bowles said Monday. “That’s the biggest
    thing after a game. We’ve got to make sure we carry it over to the next game,
    and make sure we continue to do things to get better. We’ve just got to keep our
    heads down and keep grinding at it.”Sounds simple enough, but it has been a
    challenge so far for the Jets (2-3).“We’ve got to grow up,” left tackle Kelvin
    Beachum said. “It’s a maturity game for us. It’s great to get a win, but at the
    same time, we’ve got to keep things in perspective.”They opened the season with
    an impressive 48-17 win at Detroit in front of a prime-time audience on “Monday
    Night Football,” a rousing debut by rookie quarterback Sam Darnold.That all
    quickly faded with three consecutive losses — 20-12 vs. Miami, 21-17 at
    Cleveland and 31-12 at Jacksonville — that had the season teetering on the brink
    of spiraling. The hot seat under Bowles suddenly got a lot warmer and some fans
    and media wondered when the next win might come.Out of nowhere came a 34-16
    victory over the Broncos on Sunday , highlighted by Isaiah Crowell running for a
    franchise-record 219
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    , New York putting up 512 total yards — the most
    in Bowles’ four seasons — and the defense making things miserable all day for
    Case Keenum and Denver’s offense.So, what gives with the Jet-kyll and Hyde
    act?“It just starts in practice, man, just communicating and playing fast and
    just making plays in practice,” safety Jamal Adams said. “I strongly believe in
    practicing how you play. We had a great practice week and it showed
    (Sunday).”Andrew Luck and the Colts (1-4) are right where the Jets were coming
    into last week, having lost three in a row and in danger of already having their
    thoughts turn to next season. If New York can capitalize on the struggles of
    Indianapolis and build off its impressive victory and start a modest winning
    streak, the Jets’ season could look a lot better in a hurry.Of course, the
    outside panic could all start up again if the Jets have another dud of a
    performance after such an uplifting win.“It’s about just staying level-headed as
    a team,” Adams said.The players can all look to Darnold, who has somehow been
    the picture of cool and calm to start his NFL career.“He’s honestly like a
    five-year vet,” Adams said. “He stays grounded. He stays hungry.”Even as he
    struggled during the losing streak, Darnold found some positives and assured his
    coaches and teammates that his mistakes wouldn’t be repeated. And, most
    importantly, he’d learn from them.Perhaps even most telling is how Darnold
    reacted after helping lead the Jets back into the win column Sunday.“I think his
    demeanor stays the
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    , even with the lows that we had a couple weeks
    ago,” Beachum said. “Even with the win yesterday, he stayed the same. As a
    leader, as a quarterback — the starting quarterback on this team — to have that
    type of demeanor, especially in a market like this, is really impressive for his
    age.”The 21-year-old Darnold had mostly pedestrian numbers against the Broncos,
    going 10 of 22 for 198 yards and an interception — but with three touchdowns.He
    placed a perfect ball into the hands of a wide-open Robby Anderson who outraced
    the coverage for a 76-yard TD. Darnold later threw a ball to where only Terrelle
    Pryor could reach, and the Jets receiver corralled it with one hand for a
    20-yard touchdown. There was also the third-and-12 throw to Jermaine Kearse for
    14 yards when he zipped the pass over the defender.“I thought my feet were a lot
    more quiet,” Darnold said, “which means I felt like I did a better job of
    staying under control and taking what the defense gives me, but also taking my
    shot when they’re there.”Showing patience to go along with his poise can only
    rub off on his Jets teammates, especially as they search for consistency as a
    whole moving forward.“It’s really cool to be able to just kind of be me, but
    also when I do talk, when I do say something in the
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    , guys can kind of look at me and just believe, ‘OK, here
    we go,'” Darnold said. “I mean business, but at the same time, I’m just a normal
    dude who wants to get a win just like everyone else.”NOTES: Bowles had no
    immediate update on the status of defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers , who is
    sidelined with what the coach has called a “serious” illness. … Bowles on S
    Marcus Maye’s 104-yard interception return in which he was tackled at the 1-yard
    line: “It looked like it was in slow motion.” NEW YORK (AP) — The Jets quickly
    cut ties with third-round pick Jachai Polite, a pass rusher from Florida who
    struggled to make an impact during training camp.Polite was among the last draft
    class selected by previous general manager Mike Maccagnan, who was fired a few
    weeks after the draft and replaced by Joe Douglas. New York has been looking to
    upgrade its edge rush, but Polite routinely worked with the third-team defense
    and appeared buried on the depth chart. He was considered a potential
    first-rounder before poor performances in workouts and interviews leading up to
    the draft caused his stock to drop.New York also traded cornerback Parry
    Nickerson, a sixth-rounder last year, to Seattle for a conditional 2021 draft
    pick as teams got down to the mandatory 53-man initial roster Saturday.Despite
    the Jets in need of depth at cornerback, Nickerson couldn’t make his mark as a
    backup. He made two starts as a rookie, but struggled.The Jets waived both Davis
    Webb and Luke
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    , leaving starter Sam Darnold and backup Trevor Siemian as
    the only quarterbacks on the roster. Falk outplayed Webb in the preseason and
    could be brought back on the practice squad.Running back Elijah McGuire was
    waived and tight end Eric Tomlinson was released, both of whom started games for
    New York the past two seasons. Other veteran cuts included: linebacker Stephone
    Anthony, cornerback Marcus Cooper and wide receiver Deonte Thompson.Running
    back/wide receiver Valentine Holmes, the former Australian rugby league star,
    was among those waived. He could join the Jets’ practice squad under the NFL’s
    International Player Pathway Program. Through the program, all AFC East teams
    this year can carry an international player on its practice squad that doesn’t
    count against the 10-man limit.Kicker Taylor Bertolet, who made two field goals
    but missed three in the preseason finale against Philadelphia, remained on the
    initial roster.Rookie cornerback Bless Austin was placed on the non-football
    injury list, while tight end Chris Herndon and linebacker Brandon Copeland were
    officially added to the suspended list — both for four games.