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NY Jets: 3 takeaways from the initial 15-man practice squad

NY Jets (Photo by Robert Sabo-Pool/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Robert Sabo-Pool/Getty Images)
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NY Jets (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

The NY Jets’ initial 15-player practice squad for the 2020 season has been revealed.

The NY Jets finalized their 53-man roster — for the most part — with roster cuts on Saturday. And on Sunday, they officially set their 15-man practice squad for the 2020 season by bringing back numerous familiar faces.

In theory, the Jets have one open spot on the practice squad that they might be saving for a player who wasn’t on the training camp roster. But per the team’s report, they currently have 15 of the 16 spots filled up.

The practice squad rules changed a bit in 2020 to allow for more flexibility given everything going on with COVID-19. Rosters expanded from 10 to 16 players and teams are now permitted to have up to six “veterans” with any number of accrued seasons on the squad.

That means that the practice squad isn’t only exclusive to first and second-year players as you’ll soon see. Here’s a look at the 15 players that make up the Jets’ current practice squad.

  • David Fales (QB), Mike White (QB), Josh Adams (RB), Lawrence Cager (WR), Donte Moncrief (WR), Josh Malone (WR), D.J. Montgomery (WR), Ross Travis (TE), Bronson Kaufusi (TE), Corbin Kaufusi (OL), Jimmy Murray (OL), Javelin Guidry (CB), Lamar Jackson (CB), Zane Lewis (DB), Bennett Jackson (S)

While there aren’t any major surprises, there are a few things to take away from that list. Let’s take a look at a few notable takeaways from the original practice squad roster.

Next: 3. Notable UDFAs absent

NY Jets (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

3. The NY Jets left three notable UDFAs off the practice squad

The Jets signed four undrafted rookies from the 2020 class to the practice squad and another one, Bryce Huff, was able to make the 53-man roster.

But while the likes of Lawrence Cager, Javelin Guidry, Lamar Jackson, and Zane Lewis will be enjoying spots on the practice squad, a few notable players were left off.

Of the six cuts that did not return to the team in any fashion, three of them were undrafted free agents — wide receiver George Campbell, offensive tackle Jared Hilbers, and safety Shyheim Carter.

All three seemed like probable candidates for the practice squad when they were cut but ultimately couldn’t crack the roster.

Campbell’s size/speed blend was intriguing and he flashed at times in practice, but four other receivers made the squad over him. Hilbers looked the part and was one of the more high-profile UDFAs the Jets signed, but he was passed over for converted defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi.

Meanwhile, Carter was given the second-most guaranteed money of any undrafted free agent the Jets signed — behind Huff — but didn’t do enough to stick around.

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Carter was sidelined for much of training camp which likely hurt his case, but with only three safeties on the active roster and one veteran (Bennett Jackson) on the practice squad, one would have thought that the Jets could have kept him.

Nonetheless, all three will be searching for new homes. But a reunion with the Jets shouldn’t be counted out as the year goes on.

Next: 2. Four wide receivers

NY Jets (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

2. The NY Jets kept four wide receivers on the practice squad

It’s no secret that the Jets have had struggles with the wide receiver position this summer. An already-thin unit was decimated with injuries to the point that just three receivers remained healthy throughout all of camp.

In turn, only one of those three — Josh Malone — was retained on the practice squad while the other two were let go. Malone was joined by three other receivers giving the team a total of four on the practice squad.

Undrafted rookie Lawrence Cager, wavier-wire pickup D.J. Montgomery, and veteran Donte Moncrief joined Malone on a receiver-heavy practice squad.

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That means that four out of the 15 members (over 25 percent) of the Jets’ practice squad consists of receivers. While that may seem like overkill, it makes sense given the injuries at the position.

Vyncint and Jeff Smith are possible injured-reserve candidates while the likes of Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims are still working their way back from injuries.

It makes sense for the team to overload at a position that is not only beaten up but weak to begin with.

Cager is a fan-favorite who excelled in training camp. Montgomery is a waiver-wire flier who was stuck behind a crowded receiver depth chart in Cleveland.

Moncrief is veteran insurance in case injuries pile up again. And Malone is a former fourth-round pick who was here last year and knows the system.

Each player has a role. So while it may seem unusual to devote over a quarter of the practice squad to one position, it makes sense given the circumstances.

Next: 1. Two quarterbacks

NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

1. The NY Jets kept two quarterbacks on the practice squad

Another unusual quirk about the Jets’ practice squad is that they will be housing two quarterbacks — at least for the time being. Combine that with the three quarterbacks on the active roster and all five QBs who entered camp remain with the organization.

No other team in the league, at least by my account, is currently rostering five quarterbacks. But there’s a reason for this and it all has to do with the status of Joe Flacco.

Flacco is still rehabbing from offseason neck surgery and isn’t expected to be ready for Week 1, but he should be cleared soon after.

The Jets aren’t going to cut rookie fourth-round pick James Morgan, but they also don’t trust him to backup Sam Darnold yet after a shaky camp. Thus, either David Fales or Mike White will receive the temporary promotion to the active roster while Flacco is out.

Teams are permitted to promote a player twice this year without having him subject to waivers. So in theory, if Flacco is out for more than two weeks, the Jets will be able to do this with both Fales and White.

The latter was arguably the most impressive backup quarterback in camp, but Fales has history with head coach Adam Gase so it’s likely he gets the call first.

NY Jets 2020 Practice Squad Tracker: Who’s in and who’s out?. Next

It’s a weird situation the Jets find themselves in, but it’s one that’s born out of necessity.

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