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Jets' secondary needs to bounce back

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets' secondary has made one interception in its last five games after a stretch of eight picks in five games, and last week against the Chiefs, it allowed Alex Smith to throw for 366 yards and four touchdowns.


Rookie safety Marcus Maye got beat at least twice for long gains by Kansas City speedster Tyreek Hill, and the entire unit looked overmatched by the Chiefs' speed.

"They got deep," head coach Todd Bowles said about the Chiefs' receivers after practice Wednesday. "We got beat. It can't happen. We didn't play well. We'll work on it and we'll get better this week."

The Broncos average 6.3 yards per pass attempt, which is 27th in the league (Kansas City is fourth at 8 yards per attempt), so things should improve in that department on Sunday, especially against a struggling quarterback like Trevor Siemian.

--Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, who was benched most of the first quarter against the Chiefs because he was late to a meeting last week, would not talk about the incident after Wednesday's practice.

"I'll answer anything about Denver," the 28-year-old said. "If you ain't got no Denver questions, you don't got to ask me anything."

Reporters tried to press Wilkerson on the topic, to no avail. reported Tuesday that Wilkerson has been late, or absent, to "at least" five meetings this season, according to an anonymous source. The infractions are punished with increasing fines and eventually benching, according to the website.

When a similar issue arose last year (the second time it had happened), Wilkerson apologized, saying he had to "show better and do better" as a leader on the team. He didn't offer an apology this time around.

Wilkerson has played through shoulder and foot injuries this season, but has only 2.5 sacks and an interception in 12 games. In 2015, he had 12 sacks, two forced fumbles and seven pass deflections. The Jets will likely release him before his 2018 salary becomes guaranteed, unless he takes a pay cut.

Said head coach Todd Bowles when asked about Wilkerson on Wednesday: "I just worry about guys getting better each game. I don't worry about living or not living up to contracts."

--Bowles said Wednesday that Josh McCown will be the team's starting quarterback for the last four games, barring injury.

This is not surprising, considering Bowles has never wavered from the 38-year-old all season, but this is the first time he's said unequivocally that McCown will start the rest of the season. McCown's start on Sunday against the Broncos will be his 13th of the season, tying his career high with the Cardinals in 2004.

McCown has a career-high 18 touchdown passes along with eight interceptions this season and hasn't missed a snap. He was also named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Chiefs.

Backup Bryce Petty, who had three touchdown passes and seven interceptions in six games (four starts) last season, said McCown deserves to keep his job, but added: "I'm young. I'm going to get my shot. I know that for a fact."

Third-stringer Christian Hackenberg, a 2016 second-round draft pick who hasn't yet played a regular-season snap, said his opportunity "just hasn't happened yet. I'm not mad about it. I feel like it's counterproductive to be frustrated about it."

Hackenberg called McCown "a good dude" and "awesome."

Only three quarterbacks since the 1970 merger didn't see action in either of their first two seasons after being drafted in the first or second round, according to

NOTES: RB Matt Forte, who scored his first touchdown since Week 9 in Sunday's win over the Chiefs, missed Wednesday's practice as he continues to deal with swelling in his knee. ... OLB Bruce Carter missed Wednesday's practice with a groin injury. ... SS Terrence Brooks missed Wednesday's practice. He was excused, according to head coach Todd Bowles. ... CB Juston Burris, who didn't play against the Chiefs, was limited at Wednesday's practice as he remains in the concussion protocol, according to head coach Todd Bowles. ... RG Brian Winters (abdomen, ankle) was limited at Wednesday's practice.

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