Jets Pick Up 2 New Injuries at Edge Rusher Position

Robert Saleh

Getty New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh during the 2021 preseason.

The New York Jets hosted their first of two joint practices with the Atlanta Falcons ahead of the Monday night preseason outing on August 22.

For the most part, all went well as Joe Flacco and the offense outshined the Falcons secondary and the Jets defense got the better of Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder. New York Daily News beat reporter Antwan V. Staley summed the practice up for fans.

“Jets were able to move the ball against the Falcons defense. Breece Hall and Elijah Moore had standout days. Jets defense also forced some pressure against the Falcons quarterbacks,” he tweeted.

Of course, there were one or two troublesome developments.

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Curry Limps off, Huff out ‘a Couple of Days’

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Just when things looked like they might be turning around for veteran defensive end Vinny Curry — a solid return to practice including a tackle for a loss on August 18 — another setback occurred.

Associated Press reporter Dennis Waszak Jr. detailed the scene: “Jets DE Vinny Curry just limped off the field during team drills. Took off his helmet off to the side and slammed it to the ground.”

“The Buffalo Jet Fan” put words to what most fans were feeling after the latest injury to the 34-year-old bubble candidate. “Gotta feel for Vinny Curry,” he voiced. “Worked his a** off to be back. But he’s only been able to practice a couple times. With the depth & youth at edge, don’t see a spot for him on the 53.”

It’s the truth. Curry’s second-chance opportunity with the Jets is slipping away as alternative pass rushers like Jacob Martin and Jabari Zuniga impress in camp.

The nine-year vet’s odds of making it were always slim after his medical condition forced him to miss a full year of football activity, but his latest ailment on August 19 — which head coach Robert Saleh referred to as a believed hamstring issue — could end all hope of a comeback. Curry will be evaluated ahead of a key second preseason game, considering he already missed the first.

Saleh also told reporters that Huff was “dealing with an oblique and should be [out] a couple of days.” At the beginning of practice, ESPN’s Rich Cimini noted that the younger pass rusher was off to the side in the rehab area.

“New injury,” he informed, before adding that Huff had been “having a good camp” so far. Both D-end bubble candidates should now be considered questionable for the Monday night showdown against the Falcons.

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Edge Rusher Battle Is Taking Shape

We’ve talked about it before but the highly-competitive battle at defensive end is beginning to take shape. One can assume that when healthy, four exterior pass rushers are safe — Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, Jermaine Johnson II, and Micheal Clemons.

Martin — who was brought in by this coaching staff in free agency — looks like he’s won a spot as well.

That most likely leaves one final non-defensive tackle role on the D-line. Keeping six edge rushers is stretching it, even for Saleh, and anything more would be overkill. The candidates are the two walking wounded (Huff and Curry), the former top prospect (Zuniga), and the longshot (Bradlee Anae).

If the Jets do keep a sixth D-end, it’ll probably come down to 2020 rookies Huff and Zuniga. Huff still holds the advantage based on past success but his constant nagging injuries like today’s oblique could open the door for the surging third-round selection.

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