The NY Jets were already going into their matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles with some big names out, as Aaron Rodgers, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and DJ Reed were all in line to sit this game out. At least Sauce Gardner was going to play, right? Wrong! Couldn't be more wrong!
After Reed was ruled out due to a concussion, Gardner missed practice on Friday with what was deemed an illness. Head coach Robert Saleh gave Gardner the kiss of death when he said that he expected the All-Pro corner to suit up against AJ Brown and Devonta Smith.
Gardner has officially been ruled out with a concussion, which will make this the first game in his professional career he will have to miss. With Reed's head, Brandin Echols' hamstring, and Justin Hardee's hamstring all preventing those players from suiting up, the depth chart is thin.
Sauce Gardner injury update: NY Jets CB out in Week 6 vs. Philadelphia Eagles with concussion
While Gardner didn't play like an All-Pro in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills, he returned to his usual lockdown self in the following weeks. Gardner allowed just seven catches for 59 yards in the previous three games, including the Jets' win against the Broncos.
Gardner and Reed being out against an elite 1-2 punch at wide receiver and an offensive line that will limit the Jets' pass rush isn't ideal, but the loss of Hardee and Echols takes away two dime defensive back options as well as the team's top two punt gunners. Even Jarrick Bernard-Converse is out due to his lingering injury.
With Gardner out, Bryce Hall (who played well against Denver) will start on the outside while Michael Carter II remains in the slot. Craig James, who was promoted from the practice squad, will likely be one of the starters on the outside. Tae Hayes will also see some snaps.
The bye could not come at a better time for the Jets, as they will get done with a brutal early schedule before they get one week of rest and relaxation. In terms of their Week 6 matchup against the Eagles, this has all the makings of a steamrolling if James and Hayes perform like practice squad players.