OAKLAND -- A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:
1. A tale of one draft: You could argue the biggest difference between the Jets and the Oakland Raiders is the 2014 draft. The Raiders crushed it, picking pass-rusher Khalil Mack, quarterback Derek Carr and guard Gabe Jackson in the first three rounds. The Jets? They pulled a Bill Buckner, letting a great opportunity go between their legs. Only one of then-GM John Idzik's 12 picks remains on the roster: backup guard Dakota Dozier.
You may find this interesting (or just a cruel tease), but there was a small segment of the organization that felt Carr had the goods to be a franchise quarterback, sources said. The Jets interviewed him at the Senior Bowl and dispatched quarterbacks coach David Lee to his pro day at Fresno State. Impressed, Lee told people they should draft Carr. The team had picked Geno Smith the previous year, but some in the organization weren't sold on him (and with good reason, as it turned out).
No matter. Sources said Idzik and his scouts had doubts about Carr because of a lackluster bowl game and the belief -- shared by others around the league -- that he'd turn out like his older brother, former draft bust David Carr. A lot of quarterback-needy teams look pretty silly now.
As it turned out, Carr was picked 36th overall, 13 spots ahead of the Jets' slot in the second round. The Jets made an effort to trade up, but not for Carr. No, Idzik wanted wide receiver Marqise Lee, who went 39th to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He settled for tight end Jace Amaro, who would become the latest in a long line of second-round busts. One team official was told by a league insider to "run away" from Amaro because of concerns about his toughness. Some folks in the draft room were crestfallen by the turn of events.
It'll be remembered as the "What might have been" draft. As previously reported, the Jets had interest in Odell Beckham Jr. Before taking safety Calvin Pryor (another bust), the Jets talked to at least one team in the top 11 about swapping places. They would've given up the 18th pick and their second-rounder to move up. Why a trade didn't happen is one of those unsolved Jets mysteries.
It's no mystery why the Raiders are a prohibitive favorite in Sunday's matchup.
2. Wake up, Mo: Coach Todd Bowles called out his defensive line last week after its poor performance in the opener. He should've singled out Muhammad Wilkerson, who was credited with only two tackles and one tipped pass in 63 snaps. It was a continuation of last season, causing some in the organization to wonder what's going on. At this rate, Wilkerson has no shot at seeing his $16.8 million salary for 2018, which becomes guaranteed in March.
Defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers tried to rationalize the performance by saying he doesn't expect Wilkerson to make plays when the opponent runs to the opposite side. Roughly two-thirds of the Buffalo Bills' attempts were away from Wilkerson, but great players find a way to make plays. He did it two years ago and was rewarded with a five-year, $86 million contract.
On Sunday, Wilkerson will be matched up against the weak link of the Raiders' offensive line, right tackle Marshall Newhouse. There's no excuse for another clunker.
3. In Josh they trust: For those pining for a quarterback change, you may have to wait awhile. Despite generating only 214 total yards, the fewest of the Todd Bowles era, Josh McCown received positive reviews for his Week 1 performance. Offensive coordinator John Morton said McCown "played a really good game. I'm really proud of the way he played the game."
He's right. McCown wasn't the reason the Jets lost the game. Consider the circumstances: He had to play with a new wide receiver (Jermaine Kearse) and a new tight end (Will Tye) for the first time. There were times during the game when McCown had to explain the play to Tye and tell him where to line up. This is what happens when you have only four practices together.
4. Catching some Zzzzz: To accommodate the recently acquired Kearse, the Jets made a subtle change at wide receiver. Robby Anderson, who always played the X position (split end), was moved to Z (flanker) for the opener. The flanker can line up off the line and has the freedom to go in motion. Anderson said it was an easy transition, but it didn't appear that way. He was targeted eight times but had only four catches for 22 yards.
5. It's a dirty job: To prepare for the grass/dirt infield at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, the Jets took their kicking operation on the road. Kicker Chandler Catanzaro, holder Lachlan Edwards and long-snapper Thomas Hennessy worked out Thursday at the Somerset Patriots' minor league field, about 30 miles from the Jets' facility. Edwards, who grew up in Australia, said it was his first time on a baseball field.
"I really appreciate the coaches taking us over there," Catanzaro said. "Obviously, you don't have a lot of time when you get to the stadium, so this cuts down on some of the preparation time."
6. Homecoming for Johnny Mo: Morton ran the 40 in 4.36 seconds at the 1993 scouting combine, and it changed his life. It piqued the interest of Raiders owner Al Davis, who was always obsessed with speed. He signed Morton, a wide receiver, to the Raiders' practice squad. So began a special relationship, one Morton cherishes to this day. He'll be thinking about the late Raiders patriarch on Sunday.
"Listen, I wouldn't be sitting here right now if it wasn't for Al Davis," Morton said. "He's the one that got me started. ... I was just a practice squad player there for a couple years, and we always talked football after practice. He'd bring me over and we'd always talk football. I was a football junkie, and he told me, 'When you stop playing, give me a call.' And that's what I did. I gave him a call, and he gave me a job.
"I was just his little gopher for one year, making cutups for him, and then Jon Gruden got hired. We had a relationship because I was in Green Bay and he was my receiver coach, so that's how that started. But I wouldn't be sitting here right now if it wasn't for Al Davis. I owe him everything, and I can't wait to go to the Black Hole and listen to that AC/DC music. That gives me goose bumps, man. You can't tell me you don't get goose bumps when you hear that music."
7. Football folly: A loyal reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, checked in to offer a name for the wacky play last week on which Juston Burris was inadvertently tackled by teammate Marcus Maye on an interception return:
"The Butt Tumble."