The New York Jets secondary will be incredibly thin this week as the team has been decimated with injuries to numerous key starters.
The New York Jets roster is a shell of what it was to begin the season as injuries have piled up and decimated a roster that at one point was pretty talented. And this week, the Jets will have to deal with more of the same.
The Jets are expected to enter their Week 14 matchup with the Miami Dolphins without three of their five starting defensive backs. Nickel cornerback Brian Poole has already been declared out while both safety Jamal Adams and cornerback Arthur Maulet are listed as doubtful.
And for a Jets secondary that has had its struggles this season, that’s pretty significant.
Gang Green has struggled to find a suitable duo at outside cornerback this season beginning the year with Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts as the starting pair. Johnson was benched and later placed on the injured reserve while Roberts has also dealt with injuries and been benched as well.
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In their place, the duo of Blessuan Austin and Maulet have stepped up and played exceedingly well in a starting role. The rookie Austin is Pro Football Focus’ No. 2 ranked cornerback over the past four weeks while Maulet has been a substantial upgrade over Johnson and Roberts.
But with Maulet out, the Jets might be forced to resort back to Roberts. However, things become trickier with Poole also set to miss this week.
Outside of Poole and Maulet, there isn’t a player on the Jets roster with much experienced covering the slot. Roberts was asked to fill that role last week and it’s likely that we see him there again this week.
As for who will replace Maulet, the Jets trusted recent waiver-wire pickup Maurice Canady to take over for him last Sunday but the former Baltimore Ravens cornerback has battled illness all week and is listed as questionable himself.
Outside of Canady and Roberts, the Jets still have Nate Hairston and Kyron Brown who were both healthy scratches last week. Hairston saw time as a starter earlier in the season while Brown impressed in the preseason before being brought back a few weeks ago out of necessity.
Now, both are expected to see defensive snaps on Sunday.
Behind Adams, the plan is even less clear. With Rontez Miles being placed on the injured reserve a couple of weeks ago, the Jets have three backup safeties on the roster — none of which have seen a single defensive snap with the team this season.
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One of those players is Matthias Farley who also happens to be listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game. With Farley out, the Jets will have only midseason pickup Blake Countess and the newly-claimed Bennett Jackson available to play.
Countess is the most likely to start as the former Los Angeles Rams defensive back has at least been on the team for more than a few days. The former sixth-round pick has experience playing both safety and cornerback and does bring the same type of physicality that Adams does.
Meanwhile, Jackson was claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens just three days ago but also has experience playing both cornerback and safety.
The Jets will likely deploy a secondary starting the likes of Blessuan Austin, Maurice Canady, Darryl Roberts, Marcus Maye, and Blake Countess on Sunday. Only two of those players were on the Jets’ initial 53-man roster.
It’s been a difficult season for Gang Green and things aren’t expected to get any easier this week. A matchup with the Miami Dolphins and the red-hot Ryan Fitzpatrick awaits a beat-up Jets secondary.
Things could get ugly this week — and not in the way most Jets fans would have expected at the beginning of the season.