The biggest football story today at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center was the Green & White’s injury report. Six players did not practice, including late entry WR Santonio Holmes with a turf toe suffered Sunday at Pittsburgh.
And QB Mark Sanchez, even though he worked with his sore right shoulder on a limited basis during team drills at today’s outdoor practice, tops the list of concerns.
But head coach Rex Ryan was optimistic about both Sanchez’s and Holmes’ availability for Sunday’s possible playoff-clinching game at Chicago.
“Mark was moving around good but was limited with the amount of throws he took,” Ryan said after practice this afternoon. “I think if we had to play a game today, he’d play right now. Again, he’s sore so we’re being cautious there, letting him heal, getting him ready to go on Sunday.”
“I’ll be ready to play,” Sanchez said a few minutes later in front of his locker. “I’m in there. I’m playing, that’s all there is to it, and I have to be on the field. That’s what I’m here for and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Ryan said his quarterback did participate a bit today. He took all the prepractice walkthrough snaps — “albeit left-handed,” the coach said — and did a lot of the running-play snaps with the first offense before yielding to backups Mark Brunell and Kellen Clemens on the passing plays. Yet coordinator Brian Schottenheimer still had Sanchez call some of those pass plays to keep him preparing mentally for the Bears and their menacing front seven.
Asked if Sanchez has the experience to play Sunday without getting at least one day of full team drills, Ryan replied, “That’s not an ideal situation.” But he gave his prognosis for Sanchez and it sounded fairly positive.
“It’s just a sore shoulder, nothing that’s going to keep him from playing,” he said. “If he can’t go and he doesn’t feel like he can go, we’ll play Brunell and Kellen as our quarterbacks. But I think he’s going to be able to go. I feel 99 percent sure he’s going to be able to play Sunday.”
As for Holmes, Ryan said the toe got “turfed” during the Steelers win. Except for the amount of team drills, the coach’s description for his wideout sounded somewhat similar to that for his quarterback.
“I didn’t think we’d have to hold him out today, but it was bad enough to keep him out,” he said. “He was not comfortable today. I don’t think he’s out by any stretch of the imagination.”
The Other Aching Jets
The other Jets sitting out today’s practice included S James Ihedigbo (knee/ankle), S Eric Smith (concussion — “He jogged today and seemed to be doing better”), T Damien Woody (knee), and RB LaDainian Tomlinson and FB Tony Richardson (both non-injury-related).
Limited besides Sanchez: CB Darrelle Revis (hamstring) and DT Trevor Pryce (hip). Full-gos: CBs Antonio Cromartie (groin) and Drew Coleman (groin), C Nick Mangold (shoulder) and WR/KR Brad Smith (hand).
Update, 4:40 p.m.: At the top of the Bears injury report is WR Earl Bennett (45 receptions, 547 yards, 3 TDs), who did not participate in team drills today with an ankle injury. Three players were limited: LB Lance Briggs (shoulder), CB Charles Tillman (knee) and LB Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee). Four practiced full: CBs Zackary Bowman (foot) and Corey Graham (calf) and safeties Craig Steltz (ankle) and Major Wright (ankle).
Wednesday Ryan Story
At his news conference, Ryan declined to answer questions regarding a personal story about him reported by a number of media outlets this morning.
General manager Mike Tannenbaum issued a statement this afternoon saying that he and Jets owner Woody Johnson met with their head coach on the story. “It’s a private matter,” Tannenbaum said, “and Rex has our support.”
Jets in the Pro Bowl Fan Balloting
LaDainian Tomlinson finished with the most online fan votes and Nick Mangold and Darrelle Revis had the highest rankings at their positions in the Pro Bowl balloting that ended Monday night at midnight.
Tomlinson gathered almost 460,000 votes, but he’ll need the Jets not to be playing in the Super Bowl and two backs ahead of him to bow out of the game if he is to play in Honolulu on Jan. 30 in his sixth all-star game in his 10th NFL season.
Meanwhile, Mangold, second among AFC centers behind the Colts’ Jeff Saturday, and Revis and Antonio Cromartie, 2-3 among corners behind the Raiders’ Nnamdi Asomugha, are in position to return to the annual AFC-NFC battle, which for the second year will be played the week before the Super Bowl.
D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Tony Richardson and Shaun Ellis are the other Jets who finished in the top fives at their positions. Fan balloting comprises one-third of the total Pro Bowl balloting, with the other thirds going to the players’ and coaches’ votes. Coaches and players will cast their votes by Thursday and the Pro Bowl rosters will be announced in an NFL Network special next Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.
Here are the Jets’ top-five finishers, with ranking at their position and number of votes in parentheses:
Running Back — LaDainian Tomlinson (5th, 458,966)
Fullback — Tony Richardson (5th, 140,285)
Tackle — D’Brickashaw Ferguson (4th, 225,193)
Center — Nick Mangold (2nd, 272,548)
Defensive Tackle — Shaun Ellis (5th, 149,360)
Cornerback — Darrelle Revis (2nd, 320,847), Antonio Cromartie (3rd, 236,990)
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Chicago Bears, Darrelle Revis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Mark Sanchez, Nick Mangold, Pro Bowl, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes
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