Jets Safety Hits Injured Reserve as 2 Players Sign From Practice Squad

Del'Shawn Phillips, Blake Cashman

Getty New York Jets linebacker Del'Shawn Phillips (#43) assists Blake Cashman (#53) on a tackle on August 27, 2021.

The New York Jets Week 1 injury report had a surprise name show up on Wednesday, September 8, safety Sharrod Neasman.

The former Atlanta Falcons defensive back with ties to Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich picked up a hamstring injury and has not practiced since. Apparently, the injury was severe enough to transfer the special teams’ ace to the injured reserve.

Not one, but two practice squad replacements joined the active roster after his departure — safety Adrian Colbert and linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips.

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Jets Utilize Fine Print in Procedural Move

If you’re doing some finger math right now and you’re wondering, doesn’t that make 54 players on the active roster? You’re correct. Associated Press beat reporter Dennis Waszak Jr. helped cleared this loophole up after general manager Joe Douglas made the changes.

Technically, this would mean the Jets actually only have 52 players on the active roster after Neasman’s move to IR. Douglas has now used his two practice squad elevations for Week 1, but Colbert could stick around as the fourth safety while Neasman remains sidelined.

Remember, in 2021 players can return from injured reserve after three games. That means Neasman is gone until Week 4 at the earliest.

Other short-term IR candidates that could be back by then are fellow safety Ashtyn Davis, tackle Conor McDermott, tackle Teton Saltes (practice squad eligible), linebacker Jarrad Davis (less likely) and guard Cameron Clark (unlikely).

The reemergence of Ashtyn Davis could end Neasman’s chances of a comeback, however, even if he’s healthy by then.

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Jets Bolster Special Teams With Defensive Reserves

The Green & White brought Colbert in for a workout on September 3 and the journeyman safety landed a practice squad job from the opportunity.

The hard-hitter played his best ball with Robert Saleh in San Francisco but he’s bounced around since then. Most recently, he spent the 2021 preseason with the New England Patriots, which means Colbert could also provide some playbook knowledge ahead of the Week 2 face-off.

He’s the perfect replacement for Neasman and an easy choice. Not only is Colbert a competent NFL-caliber safety with four seasons of experience under his belt, but he’s also a veteran special teamer.

The second call-up is harder to read. The Jets are less thin at linebacker than before with Quincy Williams joining the roster via waivers. Phillips will become the sixth man in the room as the team travels to Carolina, but like Colbert, he’ll probably only factor in on special teams.

This coaching staff seems to have an odd fascination with Phillips, who also played with Ulbrich in Atlanta. The 4-3 outside linebacker barely took the field in training camp due to nagging injuries but managed to make the practice squad over options like Noah Dawkins and Camilo Eifler. The latter two had shown promise as regulars throughout practice and the preseason.

Phillips must have shown something, the question is what? Right now, Ulbrich seems to be his lifeline to the franchise as he attempts to prove himself in whatever role he’s given on Sunday.

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