Jets Expect ‘Good Influx of Guys’ in Week 15 as Several Starters Return

Michael Carter

Getty New York Jets running back Michael Carter could return as soon as Week 15.

Week 14 was difficult to watch for New York Jets fans, not because the team was overmatched or blown out in the first quarter but because a winnable game slipped away as second and third-stringers made silly mistakes.

Taysom Hill and the New Orleans Saints weren’t doing anything special, the Jets offense just couldn’t operate between Zach Wilson having one of his worst days this year and the skill position players not having a clue how to help him.

It was brutal, plain and simple, but things may be looking up in Week 15.

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Saleh Provides a Glimmer of Hope

The Jets’ slim chance of making the playoffs was officially snuffed out against the Saints but most of us didn’t expect the postseason to begin with. It’s basically year one for this new regime outside of Joe Douglas, considering the new playbook, system, quarterback and mentality.

For the average fan, 2021 was about improvement. The frustration has come because of a lack of competitiveness and regression in key areas.

Basically, when the Jets lose, they lose ugly.

One reason for that has been the injuries. To the surprise of no one, Gang Green was dead last in the NFL on FOX’s new “Banged Up Score [BUS]” analytic through the first 13 weeks of the year.

With most of their starters on the shelf heading into the home game against New Orleans, the Jets received a BUS score of 51.4 — and yes, the lower your score the more detrimental injuries you have.

ESPN’s Rich Cimini wrote that the NYJ franchise had 17 players on injured reserve at the time, with 72 projected “starts missed” because of injury. The only two teams with more starts missed this year were the Saints and Baltimore Ravens.

That’s why when head coach Robert Saleh began his Monday press conference with news that several starters were returning, it did provide some small glimmer of hope.

Saleh stated: “[Quinnen] Williams — he’s good, obviously we’ll limit him some in practice with his shoulder but he’s going to be good to go, he shouldn’t have any issues. And then we’re expecting to get Tyler Kroft back this week along with both Michael Carters, Bryce Huff, Tevin Coleman, so a good influx of guys this week.”

During a follow-up question, the Jets HC confirmed that both Carter the running back and Carter the nickelback are expected to return in Week 15.

He also added that he’s “hopeful” to have wide receiver Elijah Moore back for the final two games of the season, once available to return from the injured reserve. Saleh noted that the rookie would have been “50-50 at best” for Week 16 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, so his staff determined “it was just better to give him that week to heal instead of trying to rush him back.”

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Are the Jets Cursed?

I’ve never been one to believe in superstition but the Jets have been almost unfathomably unlucky in 2021 — and it does feel as though stuff like this happens every season.

I highlighted the difference between the Jets and New England Patriots free agency classes last night and the Pats did not have a single long-term injury to their top nine free-agent additions. Meanwhile, the Green & White only had two of their top nine additions appear in 10 games or more this year.

Three of those players — Carl Lawson, Vinny Curry and Lamarcus Joyner — didn’t make it to or past Week 1. Left tackle Mekhi Becton was also injured during the opening game and he’s yet to return.

The entire situation is absurd and I for one will just be happy if playmakers like the Carters are on the field again.

If they can suit up against the Miami Dolphins this week, Carter and Coleman would immediately start at running back and Kroft would either start or split time with Ryan Griffin at tight end.

Carter the DB would also start on defense at nickel and the promising edge rusher, Huff, would work in on passing downs. That’s three or four guaranteed starters and five major contributors returning in a single game.

There is a God! — I think.

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