Injuries are a bullet point on the Jets agenda today, only because of the three players who didn’t practice again. One is the Jets’ hottest wide receiver, another is the NFL’s leading kickoff returner and the third is a key man in the defense’s safety rotation. And the Patriots loom over the horizon.
Plaxico Burress, whose lower back acted up a week ago Wednesday, spent his second day this week not participating in team drills or any drills, instead getting treatment. Considering he’s coming off his three-TD game vs. San Diego and his five catches on all five balls targeted for him for 79 yards at Buffalo, and his sometimes achy body, this could be a concern.
Except that Rex and Plax say it’s not.
“It feels good,” Burress said in front of his locker. “I’m making progress. … I missed yesterday and today. I’ll be out there tomorrow and be ready to go Sunday.”
“I just feel confident he’ll be ready to roll,” said head coach Rex Ryan at his daily news conference.
Joe McKnight, he of the league-leading 40.2-yard kickoff-return average, has a toe has been an issue this week, but he was on the field today, just not participating in team drills.
“McKnight is more of a wait-and-see,” Ryan said.
Pool is the player Rex is most concerned about. The safety went to the Ralph Wilson turf on the second play of Sunday’s game with a knee injury after he was cut by a Bills receiver. He played most of the rest of the way but the knee isn’t in tip-top shape yet. It’s not welcome news when the Jets’ tallest safety might not be available for the Patriots’ tall, talented tights, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
“I’m a little concerned with Brodney. I’m not sure right now if he’ll go,” Ryan said, adding that Pool has “done a tremendous job for us. I love having those three guys. It’s like having three starter with Brodney Eric [Smith] and Jimmy [Leonhard] playing together now for a second year. They really do a great job communicating with each other. They’re all excellent players.”
“I’m just taking it one day at a time,” Pool said. “I feel better now than I did Sunday. But it’s just the type of injury that you want to be 100 percent sure about so you can go out there and perform.”
If Pool has to sit, Emanuel Cook will see time on the defense with Smith and Leonhard. If McKnight can’t return kicks, Ryan and Mike Westhoff will return to Antonio Cromartie, their kickoff man for Games 1, 2 and most of 3. If Burress … but he and the coach said there are no buts about it.
Other Injury Updates
DT Marcus Dixon and LB Josh Mauga were both limited again today but Ryan expects both to play. There are now 16 players in all listed on the Jets’ I-report with the addition of three finger injuries today, to Cromartie, Wayne Hunter and Sione Pouha. All three practiced fully.
The Patriots’ report today is identical to Wednesday’s: Four not practicing, including LB Brandon Spikes and S Patrick Chung; nine limited, including WR Wes Welker, RBs BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Kevin Faulk, and LB Jerod Mayo.
Ryan on OC Brian Schottenheimer and the Jets’ red zone offense: “Schotty I think is doing a great job. The extended offseason probably helped us, gave us time and we really studied hard and looked at the teams that were at their best. We had several coaches come in — Tom Moore we’ve talked about — but Schotty’s done a super job preparing our team in the red zone.”
One more measure of that success: In the last four games the Jets have scored nine touchdowns on 13 RZ trips, a 69.2 percent success rate. The last time the Jets had a better four-game stretch inside the opponents’ 20 was 2004, a 6-for-8, 75 percent performance that also ran from Games 5-8 and also ended with a game at Buffalo.
Nick Folk nailed a 58-yard field goal with room to spare to end today’s practice. Folk said he hit his first miss of the season, from 50 yards toward Buffalo’s West end zone, aiming at the same spot that he did when he had driven through his 49-yarder just two minutes of clock time earlier. But the breezes had turned into more of a crosswind in just that small amount of time and Folk’s kick just sailed wide right. But Folk is still 10-for-10 from under 50 and will seek to extend that if called on at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night.
Moore, the longtime OC for Indianapolis and Peyton Manning before becoming a Jets consultant this year, will be recognized by the Colts for his contributions prior to their game Sunday against the Jaguars. … Marty Lyons, Sack Exchange member and radio analyst of the Jets, will be honored by the Heisman Trophy Trust as the recipient of the 2011 Heisman Humanitarian Award. The award, to be presented Dec. 12 during the Heisman Trophy awards dinner, comes with a $50,000 charitable donation to the Marty Lyons Foundation.
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Brian Schottenheimer, Brodney Pool, joe McKnight, Marty Lyons, Plaxico Burress, red zone offense, Rex Ryan, Tom Moore
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