Posse? First time I heard the word was on Westerns, when the sheriff formed a posse to chase down the stagecoach bandits.

Next? Heard it frequently, but not exclusively, from African-Americans as slang for their buddies, their “crew.” As if Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James don’t know that.

Then the expression mostly dried up, until last week when Phil Jackson was found to have used it as per James & Co.

Didn’t strike me as ill-intended, certainly not racist, but rather as a reach for a hip expression that a few years back had the hipness drained from it.

Smith likes what he has seen of his protégé, but pointed out the challenges he’ll face having not played in a game since preseason.

“On the mental side, he’s obviously watching and mentally observing and [taking] mental reps and things like that,” Smith said. “But throughout the week, limited [practice] reps. So he hasn’t been in live bullets since camp. [Regular-season] practices aren’t like that. So in that sense, it’s been a while.’’

In the scouting world, the importance of fit within a scheme is rarely discussed, but it is critical to the evaluation. Astute coaches and scouts understand that it’s not just about assessing a prospect’s talent, but understanding how to feature the player in a way that highlights his strengths and minimizes his weaknesses.

It made for a hectic weekend, but things seemed to go relatively smoothly. Coaches had more players available for the final round of preseason games and those bottom-of-the-roster players had one final chance to impress. It’s doubtful that changed much, if anything, about the composition of the season-opening rosters, but this new roster-cutting formula seems likely to be retained going forward.

Jets and McCown… The Jets’ handling of McCown during the preseason was a bit baffling. McCown played in only two of the four preseason games and attempted a total of 12 passes. This is with a new team, remember. So he’s had very little work under game-like conditions to familiarize himself with his new offense and teammates, and now the regular season arrives. At least expectations are about as low as possible.

The league could lose two of its biggest stars this offseason if Peyton Manning and Calvin Johnson call it quits.

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