The New York Jets are seven weeks into the 2021 campaign and they’re dealing with an implosion at the linebacker position.
The list of linebackers that are dinged up is an evolving list seemingly on a daily basis:
- CJ Mosley (hamstring)
- Jarrad Davis (ankle)
- Blake Cashman (groin, was placed on injured reserve)
- Jamien Sherwood (torn Achilles out for season)
- Hamsah Nasirildeen (knee)
- Quincy Williams (concussion)
Has any single position been hit harder in the NFL this season? The top six linebackers are all banged up for the Jets, absolutely insane.
All of these wounded bodies forced the green and white to make a move and work out some very interesting players this week.
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Jets Add Some Meat to the LB Corps
All of these injuries to the linebackers are hardly ideal and forced the Jets to do something ahead of their next matchup vs the Cincinnati Bengals.
On Tuesday they worked out a group of linebackers, more on that later, and they ended up signing one of them in LaRoy Reynolds to the practice squad.
The 30 (soon to be 31) year old linebacker has been around the league for a long time. He has played for seven different NFL franchises since entering the league back in 2013.
It’s a very impressive resume for someone who was at one time an undrafted free agent out of Virginia. The other thing that stands out from his background is the overlap with current Jets head coach Robert Saleh. They spent two and a half seasons together down in Jacksonville when Saleh was the Jaguars linebacker coach.
That familiarity with Saleh’s principles could help him accelerate the learning process so Reynolds can step in and contribute immediately.
Players to Watch in the Future
While Reynolds was the linebacker they signed, the Jets also worked out a bunch of other players that are very interesting.
Those players will be added to the team’s emergency list and if more injuries happen throughout the season, those guys will be on the shortlist of guys they call.
Shaquem Griffin, linebacker
The most intriguing player they worked out is one of the most inspirational stories in recent NFL memory. Griffin had his left hand amputated when he was only four years old and he overcame that perceived obstacle to be selected with the No. 141 overall pick in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL draft.
In one of the coolest draft moments, he was reunited with his twin brother Shaquill Griffin on the Seahawks.
After spending a few seasons with Seattle he was most recently with the Miami Dolphins on their practice squad. He was released last week and would bring a lot of unique traits to the Jets’ linebacking corps: speed, instincts, and his unique ability as a blitzer.
Justin Lillard-March, linebacker
Another well-traveled linebacker who has bounced around the league and has a bunch of experience in different schemes. On top of his knowledge, Lillard-March also has played a variety of different positions at the second level from his time in college to the pros which is super valuable.
Corey Thompson, linebacker
Thompson has some decent experience from his two years with the Buffalo Bills (18 games played) and most recently has been playing in the CFL with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Rashaad Coward, offensive tackle
Not exactly the name you’d like for someone who is responsible for protecting your franchise quarterback, but that is neither here nor there.
A super versatile player who was a college defensive end at Old Dominion but flipped to the other side of the trenches in the NFL. During his four years in the pros, Coward has played in 31 games and has started 15 of them (including 10 back in 2019 for an injured Kyle Long).