2 Jets Starters Labeled Game-Time Decisions in Week 2

C.J. Uzomah

Getty New York Jets tight end C.J. Uzomah during the Week 1 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

The New York Jets are trying to break the recent September curse in Week 2 by winning a game during the first month of football.

Their opponent? The Cleveland Browns — who are without their starting quarterback as well. A few months ago, this matchup could have been Zach Wilson versus Deshaun Watson but instead, it’ll pit Joe Flacco against Jacoby Brissett in what could be a defensive grind.

Outside of the QB position, the Jets have a few key injuries to monitor as they travel to Ohio. On Friday, September 16, they revealed that two might be game-time decisions.

Jets Provide Injury Update on Jordan Whitehead, C.J. Uzomah & Braden Mann

Robert Saleh Press Conference (9/16) | 2022 | New York JetsHead coach Robert Saleh speaks with reporters before the final practice of Browns week. #NewYorkJets #Jets #NFL Subscribe to the New York Jets YT Channel: bit.ly/2KRtBJd For more Jets videos: bit.ly/2rkCbal For more Jets action: newyorkjets.com/ Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/jets/ Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/nyjets Follow us on Instagram: instagram.com/nyjets/ Get the App: goo.gl/wg7imm2022-09-16T14:45:55Z

Keep in mind that the Thursday injury report listed the following players as “limited” in practice: LT George Fant, DL John Franklin-Myers, S Jordan Whitehead, P Braden Mann, TE C.J. Uzomah, and Wilson who is not expected to suit up.

Wide receiver/special teamer Braxton Berrios was upgraded to a “full” participant on September 15. Jets head coach Robert Saleh began this morning’s press conference by going over the remaining injuries. First up was Whitehead.

“Yeah, [he] came out to practice, he looked good, he’s going to try and give it a go,” Saleh stated about his starting safety.

The Jets displayed obvious concern about Whitehead this week, activating veteran Will Parks from the practice squad. Now Gang Green will roll with five safeties heading into Week 2, but a fair estimation would be that one of three backups will end up on the inactive list.

Saleh was less certain about two other starters — Uzomah and Mann.

“[Uzomah’s] going to be all the way up until gameday, just working with a [hamstring],” the Jets HC noted before adding that Mann is “going to kick today [and] see how he feels.” Saleh confirmed that the punter will be a last-minute decision on Sunday as well, as he deals with a back injury.

The Jets covered their bases by signing veteran punter Ty Long to the practice squad this week. If they feel they might need him, Long would be elevated this weekend.

At tight end, New York has plenty of depth behind Uzomah between Tyler Conklin, Lawrence Cager and rookie Jeremy Ruckert — who was inactive for Week 1. Franklin-Myers and Fant appear to be trending toward their second 2022 start in Week 2.

Jets Run Defense Will Be Tested

After a rough 2021 campaign against the run, defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich’s unit held up pretty well during the opener. The Baltimore Ravens are known for their ability to move the chains with the ground game, yet Gang Green held the team to 63 total rushing yards.

When you consider that dynamic quarterback Lamar Jackson accounted for 17 of those yards — another impressive accomplishment from the defense — that means the Jets stifled the Ravens’ rushing attack with less than 50 yards from their backs. Sure, J.K. Dobbins wasn’t in uniform but that’s still a major improvement for this unit.

Week 2 will provide even more of a test.

“Offensively, their O-line is very good, they’ve got arguably the best one-two punch at running back [in the NFL] between [Nick] Chubb and [Kareem] Hunt,” Saleh voiced to reporters about the Browns’ rushing attack. “[Cleveland OL coach] Bill Callahan and [Cleveland head coach] Kevin Stefanski do as good a job as anyone with regards to creating issues in the run game.”

The Jets HC went into a little more detail later in the press conference: “Like I said, Bill Callahan, he’s one of the better ones in football in terms of O-line play and creating run scheme and creating conflict. And then you add those two backs who are tremendously patient and explosive, powerful, violent runners along with a really good O-line, especially on the interior, they’re as talented as you can draw it up.”

“We’ve got to bring it,” Saleh concluded. “It’s going to take all 11, every play.”

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