Mekhi Becton wasn’t the only person devastated to see Michael Carter cut from the team this week. I’ve been an advocate of his since day one, and it’s been tough to see him demoted each year en route to hitting waivers, but Robert Saleh claims it’s to make way for the shifty rookie Israel Abanikanda.
In three preseason games, Abanikanda averaged 4.50 yards per carry en route to 113 yards and a touchdown, where he got to show a glimpse of his sub-4.40 speed that makes him a homerun threat every time he touches the ball.
Still, I would be shocked to see Abanikanda involved before the veteran in the room, Dalvin Cook. Cook looked spry in very limited action last week, where he amassed 26 yards on four carries.
It was the only time all season he was able to gain more than four yards per carry in a game, and his 10-yard carry was the longest by a Jets running back that game.
Perhaps they try to see if there’s more juice to squeeze against a Buffalo Bills team that just allowed 122 rushing yards to the Denver Broncos? Breece Hall’s rut has continued where he hasn’t topped 50 rushing yards in any of the last four games despite getting 12+ carries in all four games.
Which other NY Jets players are in line for an increased role?
Robert Saleh also mentioned some other ‘personnel changes’ that many media members believe refer to C.J. Uzomah getting less playing time in favor of the sophomore tight end Jeremy Ruckert. This would be my personal favorite personnel change because Ruckert is someone I've had my eye on since Ohio State.
I believe Ruckert would’ve performed well as an NFL rookie, but for some reason, Joe Douglas signed two veteran tight ends and drafted Ruckert in the third round in an attempt to address the gaping hole on the roster.
What ended up happening was a logjam, but perhaps Uzomah's very loud blunders have paved the way for Ruckert’s sure hands and effective blocking to complement Tyler Conklin’s sizable role in the offense.
But could it also mean we see some Jason Brownlee this week? Brownlee was the media darling of training camp with his highlight catches in practice and high usage in preseason games, so it’s befuddling to see his peers get meaningful snaps while he remains healthily inactive.
Especially in a receiving corps that has experienced a high amount of drops but not a high level of separation, perhaps adding someone with Brownlee’s skillset would make a difference.
So, was Saleh just giving us another dose of coach speak? Or will Israel Abanikanda, Jeremy Ruckert, or Jason Brownlee (or someone else) get the call to step up and help this offense climb up from the absolute bottom of the barrel? We should find out soon.