New York Jets: Could Dee Milliner be given reduced role?
Cornerback Dee Milliner of the New York Jets has shown glimpses of being a solid defender but has seemingly fell off due to an unfortunate setback. After ending his 2013 rookie season on a high note, the following season he tore his Achilles tendon and missed most of it while watching from the sidelines. There is no telling how the Jets would have ended up doing had he been in the lineup but due to it, he’s been on the outside looking in. With all the latest acquisitions by the Jets, could Milliner be given a reduced role if he doesn’t perform this time around consistently?
Back in 2013, Milliner started out rough but found his stride towards the final slew of games in a forgettable season. He ended his rookie campaign with 56 tackles and three interceptions with much promise heading into his sophomore season. Before his injury in 2014 however, he still seemed to be struggling at the position while having a hard time in the grand scheme of things.
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With training camps on the horizon, Milliner is now in a positional battle with some of the best playing at cornerback. With Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Buster Skrine all penciled in as starting material at cornerback, Milliner is going to have to step up and prove his worth to the new leadership regime in place for the Jets to earn a starting spot.
While he has the skill-set to succeed, if he starts to struggle early on, he might end up being demoted as quality on the Jets’ depth chart or even having a reduced role on special teams. While he should still make the team since he hasn’t been given opportunities to play at his potential, this could actually be a good thing for him to wait his return out.
Coming back from a torn Achilles tendon kind of injury takes a lot of time to recover as he might need even more time to heal depending on how he feels when resuming full football activities. It’s hard to imagine the Jets cutting or releasing him, especially since he’s a first-round pick from the 2013 NFL Draft and will get paid regardless if he’s on the team or not.
Overall, if Milliner doesn’t return to form, he might either be given a reduced role or be placed on the physically unable to perform list so he’ll have at least six weeks away from the game to fully heal and get prepared for his return to the gridiron. While the jury is still out on what he’ll ultimately end up contributing for the Jets in the long-term plans of the team, if he can return without any digression, he could solidify even further a Jets’ revamped defensive secondary ready to make some serious noise.
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