The Jets’ offense could get that little extra boost it’s been searching for the previous two preseason games with Rex Ryan’s announcement this afternoon that both WRs Santonio Holmes (rib) and Jeremy Kerley (hamstring) are probable to get in their first reps of the summer games on Sunday night against Carolina.
“Unless there’s a setback, I think both those guys are playing,” Ryan said at today’s news conference following the final open practice of training camp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
Minutes earlier, Kerley said in the Jets’ locker room that he hoped to learn he would be green-lighted for the Panthers.
“I think it’s very important,” he said. “I’ve got to get my timing back, get my feet underneath me. I’m hoping to get a couple of reps in, 15 or so.
“I hope it’ll be a big spark,” he added of what Nos. 11 and 10 could provide to the only NFL offense yet to score a touchdown in a preseason game. “It’ll put some new legs out there and give Mark [Sanchez] some more targets.”
Some other seemingly, hopefully, minor injury issues crept up during Friday’s midday practice.
S Yeremiah Bell “had a little knee thing, nothing serious, but if there’s any issue at all, we won’t play him,” Ryan said.
Same with DT Mike DeVito, who had “a calf injury today. That’s not a good thing for a D-lineman. If there’s anything to that, he won’t play.”
Also out of this national-TV game are DT Sione Po‘uha, CB Ellis Lankster and S Eric Smith. Dinged up but probable for action are KR-RB Joe McKnight, WR Patrick Turner, TE Jeff Cumberland and LB-FB Nick Bellore.
Returning to Returns
Both Ryan and Kerley agreed that it would be nice to get JK some punt returns. He is, after all, listed as No. 1 on the PR chart, the incumbent returner, yet his hammy has kept him sidelined since the first week of camp while rookies Jordan White and Royce Pollard and third-year CB Kyle Wilson have done all the punt-returning in the first two games.
“Definitely, definitely,” Kerley said of that idea. “That’s not something you can just roll out and do. Hopefully I get a rep there.”
“Yeah, we’d like to see that,” Ryan said. “But again, we’re going to make sure he’s ready to go opening day. The same thing with Holmes. Is that 10 plays, 12 plays? We just want to be real cautious here. We need these guys.”
We may be jumping the gun a little on this because even with a punt return or two vs. the Panthers, it wouldn’t help Kerley to bust a move for a punt-return TD at the expense of re-busting his hamstring. But the second-year man is aware of the Jets’ dearth (no relation to James) of scores off of punt returns. They’ve had none in the preseason since 2008 and none in the postseason since 2004 and none in the regular season since ’02. Here is the short list of players who’ve had punt-return TDs for the Jets in the new millennium:
|10.27.02||RS||Santana Moss||vs. CLE||63|
|11.03.02||RS||Santana Moss||@ SD||52|
|8.21.04||PS||Ian Smart||@ IND||59|
|1.15.05||PO||Santana Moss||@ PIT||75|
|8.07.08||PS||Dwight Lowery||@ CLE||62|
Ryan huddled the whole team for a relatively long time before the end of this relatively short practice. There were no brawls today but the message was “team” again, similar to the one he had for his players up in Cortland after their second day of infighting.
“I thought it got a little chippy there during practice,” he said. “We don’t need that. I love the competition. I want guys going full-speed, competing against each other to the whistle. But things after the whistle, hitting a player when he’s in a vulnerable position, shoving a guy after the whistle, grabbing hold of the ballcarrier, we don’t need to do that. We don’t need to do things after plays, especially with our own guys. I just wanted to make sure I reminded them of that and that we’re a team.”
Rex’s recommendation to Austin Howard on handling the glare of publicity as the new RT starter: “You’ve just got to do your job. I think that’s where the focus needs to be, and that’s it. Whether we’re looking at right tackle or left guard, whoever it is, obviously there’s more media covering us than with other teams. He’s just got to focus on doing his job, executing his assignments, and when in doubt, listen to Brandon.” That’s Brandon Moore, next door at RG, of course.
Attendance at today’s final open practice of Jets training camp was 2,772. Attendance for past two days at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center: 5,157. Attendance for all Jets open offseason and preseason practices, at SUNY Cortland, MetLife Stadium and AHJTC: 46,157. Thanks to all who came out to cheer on the Jets.
Tags: Austin Howard, Brandon Moore, Carolina Panthers, Jeremy Kerley, punt returns, Rex Ryan, Santana Moss, Santonio Holmes
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