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Jets help empower women with online job mentoring event

Tue Nov 24 9:07am ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer

Annette Guzman-Torres was feeling discouraged and frustrated, her anxiety fueled by the uncertainty of a bleak job market during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 44-year-old married mother of two boys is close to finishing the capstone project for her doctorate from Capella University. She has a 3.77 GPA, is a member of The National Society of Leadership and Success and has big professional dreams.

But Guzman-Torres was furloughed from her government job in March after the pandemic began and still hasn't been able to return. She also found no leads for employment after her upcoming graduation.

''I was like, I have no job, nowhere to go, nothing to do,'' said the resident of Bloomfield, New Jersey. ''My fears, I was kind of letting them get to me.''

So, Guzman-Torres needed help - and found it, thanks to a collaboration between the New York Jets and Dress For Success Northern New Jersey-10 Counties.

Last Tuesday, 27 female Jets employees participated in an online mentoring program for women run by the affiliate of the nonprofit Dress For Success. The global organization is known for providing professional attire for women, but also helps build job search and interview skills with no-cost seminars and programs.

''It was a breath of fresh air, this event, because I felt like, OK, I see things a little clearer now,'' Guzman-Torres said. ''I can actually feel comfortable sending out my resume.''

Guzman-Torres was one of 11 women mentored during the event, with the concept conceived during the pandemic through weekly meetings between Jessica Mandler, the Jets' vice president of human resources and administration and the team's three other female VPs - Jessica Ciccone (content strategy and marketing); Jill Kelley (legal affairs) and Jennifer Linn (partner management and sponsorships) - about what they could do as an organization to help encourage and empower women.

Mandler recalled being impressed by the impact a Dress For Success program had while she was working for the NBA several years ago. So, she connected with the affiliate in Madison - five minutes from the Jets' facility in Florham Park - and traded ideas with Kim Iozzi, Dress For Success Northern New Jersey's executive director.

''When I brought it back to the organization as a whole, they couldn't have supported us any more,'' Mandler said. ''It was the first event like this that we had ever done. We had 27 women sign up right away, which was a huge win for us. ... You almost got a little bit emotional at how excited people were and how much people wanted to be a part of this.''

Iozzi and the Jets huddled up to create a game plan that would benefit those participating as clients, such as Guzman-Torres, and those serving as mentors.

''They came at it with the right approach,'' Iozzi said of the Jets. ''They didn't want a fluff program. They wanted to do something that was meaningful.''

The program included the Jets employees using Zoom breakout rooms to review and improve the clients' resumes and cover letters, as well as holding mock interviews and offering tips for their LinkedIn accounts and suggestions about searching for employment opportunities.

''They were amazing,'' Guzman-Torres said. ''They really took the time.''

Sandy Osipowitz, the Jets' senior director of corporate partnership activation, felt she was relatable to a lot of them as a mother of three who has been managing her work-from-home life while also balancing the responsibilities of parenthood.

''We wanted to share our experiences and do everything we can to help them,'' Osipowitz said. ''They're out of work and looking for some guidance and some additional help with getting their resumes or interview skills to a certain place to help them feel confident.''

Dress For Success was founded by Nancy Lublin in 1997 and has expanded to almost 150 cities in 25 countries. Iozzi's affiliate, with a staff of three and several volunteers, serves 10 counties in northern New Jersey and has helped nearly 1,000 women since the pandemic began.

''To have a stranger do something so nice for you and reach out and really want to make that connection because they can and because they care, it's really overwhelming, I think, for our clients to come to terms with the fact there are people out there like that,'' Iozzi said. ''It's very humbling.''

While many of Dress For Success' clients come from low-income brackets, several are women over 50 who had 20 or more years of professional experience and whose companies downsized and didn't rehire. Others are simply looking to further their careers.

''Basically, if you're a woman who needs to be suited with confidence, we're the go-to,'' Iozzi said. ''You might be underemployed, unemployed, you may be newly employed and still just trying to figure out, OK, what does that mean now? How do I budget? How can I get my family to be in a better position? So we work with a woman continually through that journey.''

The Jets hope to be there along the way, too, to continue to encourage and assist women through similar collaborations.

''It just helps the community and it really helps our employees overall in their career development and while they're home, it helps them in their personal development,'' Mandler said. ''I mean, it just hit so many things for us internally and organizationally that it just felt so good all around.''

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Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 11

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Player Notes
Cam Akers Nov 24 12:30am ET

Los Angeles Rams rookie running back Cam Akers couldn't get much going in the running game on Monday night and he's been marginalized in the offense all season. However, in Week 11 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he found his way into the end zone. He finished with five carries for 15 yards to go with one reception for four yards and a touchdown. This isn't enough volume for fantasy managers to have confidence in Akers, though. From a football perspective, it's great to see him get involved in the offense. If he can see more volume in future weeks and take more of the workload from Darrell Henderson, he might be able to provide some more fantasy upside to close out the year.

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Cooper Kupp Nov 24 12:30am ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp didn't have a great matchup in Week 11 on Monday night, but it didn't matter, as he went off for a big night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He caught 11 of his 13 targets for 145 yards. Unfortunately, he couldn't get into the end zone on the night, but this was still a fantastic night regardless. The matchups that the Rams are dealing with over the next few weeks aren't great, but Kupp gets enough volume to maintain fantasy value. He's firmly in the WR2 conversation with the volume that he's seeing and he can have WR1 upside with games like this.

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Robert Woods Nov 24 12:30am ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods took advantage of his team's perfect game plan in Week 11 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night en route to a third-place finish among wideouts for the week. He caught 12 of his 15 targets for 130 yards and a touchdown. After seeing his targets trend downwards for the last four weeks, he led the team in targets and had nine more than teammate Josh Reynolds, who had been outperforming Woods over that span of games. Woods will rarely present this type of ceiling, but his floor is generally one of the safest in football as a WR2.

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Jared Goff Nov 24 12:20am ET

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff saw a terrible matchup in Week 11 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday, but he shrugged it off in a big way. He finished the game 39 of 51 for 376 yards to go with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He finished as the QB4 on the week and he would have jumped to third if it weren't for the pair of interceptions. Despite losing left tackle Andrew Whitworth to a likely season-ending injury, the Rams kept their passing game on schedule with a quick passing attack. Goff has been a decent start this year, but his fantasy playoff schedule leaves a lot to be desired.

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Darrell Henderson Nov 24 12:20am ET

Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson Jr. has been trending down of late, and he crashed hard in Week 11 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night. He finished with eight carries for five yards to go with two receptions for four yards. Henderson was a solid RB2 about a month ago, but that value has vanished with the resurgence of teammates Malcolm Brown and rookie Cam Akers. With a difficult slate of games upcoming and a lack of consistent volume ahead of him, Henderson has become even hard to trust as an RB3/flex.

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Rob Gronkowski Nov 24 12:10am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski had two receptions for 25 yards on six targets in Monday's loss to the Rams. After a terrific stretch of games just a few weeks ago, Gronk has declined a bit recently and now has below 30 yards in two of the past three games. Still, he has seen at least six targets in two of the past three games as well and remains a favorite target of Tom Brady. Add this all up and Gronk should still be considered a low-end TE1 going forward.

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Chris Godwin Nov 24 12:00am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin compiled seven receptions for 53 yards and a score on 10 targets in Monday's loss to the Rams. The WR has seen at least six targets and has accumulated over 41 yards in all seven games he has played this season. His role is large and his production is generally consistent. This makes him a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 candidate each week going forward.

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Antonio Brown Nov 24 12:00am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown finished Monday's loss to the Rams with eight receptions for 57 yards on 13 targets. It was certainly an encouraging performance for Brown, who led the team in every receiving category. In addition, his rapport with Tom Brady is proving to be very strong. Though he will have to fight with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski each week for targets, Brown is proving he deserves some of those targets. The WR should be considered a WR3/flex going forward and there is room for his fantasy value to go up should he continue to thrive.

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Leonard Fournette Nov 23 11:50pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette had seven carries for 17 yards and a score and one reception for nine yards on four targets in Week 11. Fournette continues to play behind Ronald Jones II and now has 16 rushes for 36 yards in the past three games total. Fournette should not be considered a worthy fantasy starter going forward given his smaller role in this offense and lack of production.

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Mike Evans Nov 23 11:50pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans finished with five receptions for 49 yards and a score on nine targets in Monday's loss to the Rams. Evans continues to remain a big part of this offense and though his yardage doesn't always reflect that, he has seen at least six targets and gotten three touchdowns in the past four games. The WR should be considered in the low-end WR1/high-end WR2 tier each week going forward.

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Tom Brady Nov 23 11:40pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady went 26-for-48 for 216 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in Week 11. Brady struggled most of the game against a powerful Rams defense and thus had a bit of an off-day. Nevertheless, the QB should remain in the low-end QB1 tier going forward as he has also had some terrific games as well. Based on his previous games though, it seems Brady does well only in favorable matchups rather than being consistent.

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Ronald Jones II Nov 23 11:40pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II finished with 10 carries for 24 yards in the loss to the Rams on Monday. Jones fell flat after a 192-yard performance last week but ended up with more carries than Leonard Fournette on the bright side. It seems Jones will remain the workhorse back going forward, which makes him the safer option to start. The only problem seems to be consistency, as Jones cannot put together a long string of decent games. He has now rushed for less than 35 yards in four of the past five games, so the RB should be considered a mid to low RB2 going forward.

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Tommy Sweeney Nov 23 10:40pm ET

Buffalo Bills tight end Tommy Sweeney (heart) will miss the rest of the season after a cardiologist discovered that he has myocarditis, which is a heart condition. Sweeney started the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a foot injury, and he was nearing a return when his condition was discovered during an NFL-mandated checkup. He was also placed on the COVID-19 list in Week 7 after being a high-risk close contact to teammate Dawson Knox, who tested positive for the virus. The 25-year-old caught eight passes for 114 yards in six games in his rookie season in 2019. Knox remains the team's top pass-catching tight end, with Lee Smith, rookie Reggie Gilliam and Tyler Kroft backing him up.

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Nick Mullens Nov 23 9:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams tested positive for COVID-19 last week and has landed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list along with eight of his teammates. Williams, who is considered a high-risk individual after a fight with cancer, said he was feeling OK and expects to recover. It's unknown if the blind-side protector for quarterback Nick Mullens will be available in Week 12 against the division-rival Rams. It's Williams' second stint on the COVID-19 list after he was previously deemed a high-risk close contact. If Williams doesn't clear the league's protocol in time, it'll make Mullens more vulnerable against a good Rams pass rush next Sunday.

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J.K. Dobbins Nov 23 9:40pm ET

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh confirmed that defensive lineman Brandon Williams was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday after he was considered a close contact of running backs Mark Ingram II and J.K. Dobbins, who tested positive for coronavirus. Williams will have to quarantine for five days and will miss the Thanksgiving tilt on Thursday against the undefeated Steelers. As of now, the contest remains on schedule for Thursday night. Williams, a third-round pick in 2013, has just 20 tackles (13 solo) in eight games for Baltimore this season. The Ravens Defense has basically been a must-start fantasy unit all year long, but they'll face a tough Steelers offense on Thursday and should be faded in DFS.

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James Morgan Nov 23 8:30pm ET

Despite New York Jets head coach Adam Gase all but saying that 2020 fourth-round pick James Morgan is essentially getting a redshirt year as a rookie, the organization made the call Monday to release quarterback Mike White, who had been serving as Joe Flacco's backup. While Sam Darnold (shoulder) continues to battle injuries, Morgan may now slot into the backup role without White on the roster. New York's quarterback situation continues to remain fluid, but Morgan could get a look in the final weeks of the year if the team's losing woes continue and Darnold remains embattled with his shoulder injury. White, who has not yet thrown an NFL pass, will be looking for a new home prior to the conclusion of the year.

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Joe Burrow Nov 23 8:20pm ET

The New York Giants Defense could have both safety Xavier McKinney (foot) and linebacker Oshane Ximines (shoulder) back in the mix Sunday versus Cincinnati after having designated both to return from injured reserve Monday. McKinney was the team's second round Draft choice in 2020, although he would likely play a limited role in his first game, per head coach Joe Judge. Ximines has started three of the four contests that he has appeared in this year, combining for five tackles and three quarterback hits. Their availability will become clearer following Wednesday's practice. While not a standout group in their own right, the Giants' defense should receive sizable season-long streamer appeal due to its matchup versus Ryan Finley and Co., who will be navigating their first game all year without Joe Burrow.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick Nov 23 8:10pm ET

Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jesse Davis (COVID-19/reserve list) has been placed on the COVID-19/reserve list as of Monday, and will reportedly not be available for Sunday's game versus the Jets. (Players do not have to test positive to be added to the list.) Davis' absence likely means that Rob Hunt will slide over to man the right tackle spot, blocking for Tua Tagovailoa, who is expected to start after being removed late in Week 11 in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick. The loss of Davis means that Tagovailoa will have a new blind spot protector, while Salvon Ahmed is expected to lead the backfield once again, albeit with a shifting o-line in front of him. At this time, it appears as if Sunday's matchup between Miami and New York is in no danger of being shifted, although the situation will remain fluid throughout the week.

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Kenny Golladay Nov 23 8:00pm ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip) has been sidelined since Week 8 due to a hip ailment, but despite the quick turnaround ahead of a Week 12 matchup versus Houston, the team's top receiver was listed as a would-be limited practice participant Monday. While he will likely need to log some actual practice time in order to suit up Thursday, his status is beginning to trend in the right direction for potentially facing an exploitable Texans secondary. Golladay has exceeded the 100-yard plateau as a receiver in each of his last two full contests in 2020, making him a must-start asset should he eventually get the green light to suit up. Check back over the coming days to get a better read on his status with the Lions taking the field for practice Tuesday.

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Randall Cobb Nov 23 8:00pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Randall Cobb (toe) would not have been available to participate in Monday's practice had there been one. After leaving Sunday's win over New England due to a toe injury, Cobb is not trending in the right direction to return for Thursday's matchup with the Lions. Keke Coutee earned praises in the slot in place of Cobb, and would figure to continue seeing an increased usage with the veteran sidelined. The Lions Defense is allowing the fifth-most receiving yards to opposing wide receivers this season, putting Coutee, Brandin Cooks, and Will Fuller V in line for increased usage should Cobb ultimately not make it back in time for the contest.

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