You take the good with the bad sometimes and on November 2, New York Jets fans got a dose of both when it came to injury updates.
Starting with the negative, during Robert Saleh’s press conference on deadline day, the head coach announced that left tackle Mekhi Becton is still “a couple weeks” away from practicing. The Jets HC elaborated: “He’s getting closer, his knee feels really good but the biggest thing is to try and regain some strength back in that knee and that leg. He’s a big man but he’s coming along.”
This is a major setback from the initial four-to-six-week timelines that NFL insiders like Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport suggested. While these estimates always seemed too good to be true, the reality has been even worse than expected as it appears Becton will be out until Week 12 minimum based on Saleh’s comments.
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Return of Another Linebacker
During the Week 7 trouncing in New England, Gang Green was down to its practice squad at linebacker and it showed. At the time, the list of injuries at the position had piled up to an unfathomable amount, leaving very few options towards the end of that outing.
- C.J. Mosley: Missed Week 7 with a hamstring injury.
- Jarrad Davis: Unable to return in time for Week 7.
- Jamien Sherwood: Ruptured his Achilles tendon during Week 7.
- Quincy Williams: Left Week 7 with a concussion.
- Blake Cashman: Left Week 7 with a groin injury.
- Hamsah Nasirildeen: Placed on the injured reserve after Week 4.
The two remaining linebackers were Del’Shawn Phillips and Noah Dawkins at the time, both of which spent time on the practice squad this season. Heading into Week 9, the Jets are in much better shape.
Veterans Mosley and Davis led this group to an emotional win over the Cincinnati Bengals and Williams was involved as well. The team announced that one more player would be returning to practice this week, the rookie out of Florida State.
Yes, Nasirildeen has returned to practice, although that does not mean he’ll be activated for Thursday Night Football versus the Indianapolis Colts.
The converted safety actually began the season as the starting WILL linebacker before Williams entered the fold, but he ended up reverting to a special teams role. Like Sherwood, the Jets have made it clear that they have big plans for the first-year player but an NFL transition like theirs is not easy and injuries have slowed the development of both prospects in year one.
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Corresponding Transactions, Week 9 Protections
With health improving in the linebacker core, the franchise has released Dawkins from the active roster once again. He’s been one of those players that has bounced back and forth for the Green & White and it would come as no surprise if he’s back on the practice squad in short order.
Speaking of players bouncing on and off the roster, the Jets re-signed safety Jarrod Wilson. Saleh and Joe Douglas decided to roll with just three safeties on the roster in Week 8 — Marcus Maye, Ashtyn Davis and Sharrod Neasman — but it looks like they’ll go back to employing four in Week 9.
The team also tweeted that they had re-signed defensive back Natrell Jamerson to the practice squad, as recent pickup LaRoy Reynolds hit the practice squad injured reserve, relayed by Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press above.
In one final clerical move, Douglas chose to protect four players on the practice squad ahead of Week 9 — QB Josh Johnson, TE Kenny Yeboah, DE Jabari Zuniga and OT Grant Hermanns. Waszak had the coverage here as well.
Johnson could be elevated again this week if the coaching staff deems that Joe Flacco isn’t ready to serve as the backup quarterback to Week 8 standout Mike White. Yeboah and Zuniga are also candidates for gameday elevation.
The Jets just traded tight end Daniel Brown to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, so the roster is down one at the position which is promising news for Yeboah. Meanwhile, 2020 third-rounder Zuniga had possibly his best performance of his career against the Bengals with one sack off two quarterback pressures, plus a forced fumble and three tackles in 21 defensive snaps.