Saturday has become “elevation” day in the modern NFL era. With kick-off less than 24 hours away, teams reveal any practice squad reinforcements that are going to suit up for the upcoming game.
Last week, the New York Jets only chose to elevate offensive tackle Grant Hermanns but they’re calling up two reserves in Week 2 according to team reporter Ethan Greenberg. The first will be Hermanns once again, but this time tight end Kenny Yeboah will join him.
These are very telling choices from head coach Robert Saleh and his staff. Not only do these selections signal players that could miss the outing in Cleveland, but they also ensure that one or two starters will be out there.
Jets Elevate Kenny Yeboah & Grant Hermanns vs. Browns
We’ll start with Hermanns, who will get his second opportunity as the primary backup behind George Fant and rookie Max Mitchell. The Purdue UDFA was not called upon to take the field in Week 1 but his presence implies that veteran Conor McDermott is still ailing from the ankle injury that has sidelined him since training camp.
It’s also important to note that the Jets are running out of elevations with Hermanns. Per NFL rules, Saleh and the front office can only use three elevations on any individual player in 2022.
That means the Jets can only use one more single-day promotion on Hermanns before they have to sign him to the active roster.
The bigger story is probably Yeboah this time around. After failing to make an impact during his rookie season, the fan-favorite tight end was replaced both short-term and long-term by an overhaul of the position — Tyler Conklin, C.J. Uzomah, Lawrence Cager and rookie Jeremy Ruckert.
Against the Browns, Yeboah could get his chance to make up on lost time. Like with Hermanns, this move also signals a couple of potential inactives for tomorrow.
The first is the veteran of the tight end room, Uzomah, who was listed as doubtful with a hamstring injury on Friday. The other is Ruckert, who was inactive during the home opener.
Theoretically, the Jets could dress the rookie and scratch someone like Cager who struggled against the Baltimore Ravens, but the safe bet is that Yeboah’s elevation means the staff doesn’t feel Ruckert is ready for NFL action just yet.
On the other side of the coin, it appears that punter Braden Mann will play on Sunday. Labeled questionable on the final injury report with a back issue, the Jets could have potentially elevated veteran Ty Long for Week 2. Now that the practice squad announcements are official, however, it appears Mann will get the start after all.
Saleh had initially called both Uzomah and Mann game-time decisions.
The final name to watch is safety Jordan Whitehead. Saleh told reporters that the 2022 free-agent acquisition was “going to try and give it go” on Sunday but the Jets are covered either way with veteran Will Parks signed to the active roster.
Assuming Whitehead does play, it’ll be interesting to see if Saleh chooses to inactivate Parks — or a more unproven player like Ashtyn Davis or rookie Tony Adams.
Cleveland Browns Elevate LB Jordan Kunaszyk & DT Roderick Perry
The Browns will reportedly elevate two practice squad players for the Week 2 face-off as well — linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk and defensive tackle Roderick Perry.
Brandon Little of Sports Illustrated’s Browns Digest detailed the moves: “The most notable is Perry, who will add additional help in the middle on defense. Kunaszyk has played in 27 games in his career, including last week’s game against the Carolina Panthers. He will wear No. 5 with the Browns. Perry played his college football at Illinois, where he started 50 games.”
The lineup card is just about set for Jets-Browns, aside from a few more inactive decisions. Will wide receiver Denzel Mims remain on the shelf? Will the Saleh dress another pass rusher like Bryce Huff this time around, or go big on the defensive line against another tough rushing attack?
NFL teams are allowed to dress a maximum of 48 players on game day in 2022. Taking into account Hermanns and Yeboah, that means seven members of the 53-man roster will be inactive in Week 2.
You can pretty much lock in most of that group already — Zach Wilson, Uzomah, McDermott, Ruckert (most likely), and one of the five safeties. Two to go.