After a week of preparation, the Jets are ready for the trip to Washington. The Redskins are fresh off their 23-17 comeback win in Seattle in Week 12. The Jets also enter on a high note after defeating the Buffalo Bills and keeping their playoff hopes very much alive.
“Full of energy, fast tempo, and the ball never hit the ground,” head coach Rex Ryan said about today’s practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “It was an excellent Friday practice, and I’m excited about that.”
The ‘Skins have had a healthy rotation of tailbacks this season, with three backs carrying the ball at least 55 times. Washington head coach Mike Shanahan announced that rookie RB Roy Helu would take the bulk of the carries on Sunday after his 23 carries, 108 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks.
“At Nebraska, he averaged [6.8] yards per carry last year,” said Ryan. “He has speed and home-run-hitting ability. He’s similar to [Bills RB C.J.] Spiller in that way.”
The Jets held Spiller to 55 yards on 19 carries last Sunday. They will aim to do the same against Helu, and will be led as usual by LB David Harris. Harris is quietly enjoying a terrific season, and Ryan praised his defensive stud today.
“He’s leading our defense,” said Ryan. “I don’t know who’s playing better than him at middle linebacker this year, but he’s a guy that has to be considered for the Pro Bowl. I think he’ll finally go this season.”
Shifting his focus to the other side of the football, Ryan spent some time addressing his offensive line and their stellar performance against the Bills. The O-Line allowed no sacks and paved the way for Jets rushers to run for 6.0 yards per carry, and on Thursday were named this week’s Madden Protectors Award.
On Sunday the Jets face a much more violent pass rush from the Redskins, who are tied for third in the NFL in sacks with 33. Can the OL duplicate its performance vs. the Bills?
“It’s going to be a huge challenge, but I think we can,” said Ryan. “I think that’s the kind of line we have. We had a great week of practice, and I expect them to play well.”
One member of the offensive line has particularly blossomed this season. LG Matt Slauson has taken on a role of leadership and has impressed Ryan with his play.
“It’s like he’s an old pro, and that’s what you like about him,” said Ryan. “I see a guy that you assume has played for years and years. He’s always been a big, strong, tough guy and brings that each week. Now he recognizes everything and just fits in with those guys.”
Friday Injury Reports
The Jets were surprisingly healthy this week, as other teams deal with impactful injuries in the waning season. RB LaDainian Tomlinson and WR Jeremy Kerley will return to action following their knee injuries that held them out against the Broncos and Bills. Rex said both will be back in “similar spots” as before their injuries. That includes Kerley as the primary punt returner.
“The past couple weeks have been a little rough, guys have been a little banged up,” said Kerley. “We were moving guys around, trying to see if they can fit the spot, but I’ll be back there.”
The only Jet ruled out for Sunday is DT Mike DeVito, who suffered a knee injury of his own on Sunday. Rookie DT Kenrick Ellis will start in his place in the base defense.
For the Redskins, hard-hitting S LaRon Landry has been ruled out with a groin injury. DE Stephen Bowen participated in practice for the first time this week, albeit on a limited basis, and is questionable for Sunday’s game. Veteran LB London Fletcher is also questionable with an ankle injury.
Tags: David Harris, Kenrick Ellis, Matt Slauson, Mike DeVito, Rex Ryan, Roy Helu, Washington Redskins
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