“I know it just hurt and I was in a lot of pain at the time,” Milliner said after today’s practice, sporting a walking boot on his ankle, injured while he attempted to break up a long pass for rookie WR
There’s no word yet how severe Milliner’s injury is. He had an X-ray on his ankle, which was inconclusive. The swelling from the injury is so severe that he was unable to have an MRI, according to head coach Rex Ryan.
Ryan and defensive backs coach Tim McDonald both said Sunday's injuries were unfortunate but that these things happen in the game of football. When asked about a solution, both men said that this is the time where someone gets the opportunity to step up.
“I am not a new coach to those kind of situations. I’ve had to deal with them in the past. Adversity to some is opportunity to others,” Ryan said Sunday. “We will put the best 11 out there. We will be able to play defense. We have a lot of good football players. We will be fine. I’d rather not speculate on how long they will be gone, I’m hoping that both these guys are ready to play.”
McDonald said today that the injuries will bring about the need for the coaching staff to try out all of their available options before settling on a solution.
“We've got to coach the guys that are in front of us,” he said. “We have to put guys out there, and I look forward to getting those guys ready to play.”
“For us, he’s kind of been in our back pocket,” Ryan said today, “as a guy who has Pro-Bowl ability at safety but he can also play as a corner.”
Allen, who was described as the “cover safety” of the secondary by McDonald, lined up in numerous positions on the defense last season. He also played some nickel man coverage in the slot during 2013, so being responsible for a receiver is nothing new to him.
Although Allen got the first crack at cornerback, Ryan said that the plan is to give all cornerbacks a shot at the starting job. Ryan, who is known for catering his defensive system to the players he has, is planning to keep to that strategy as Milliner and Patterson work to get healthy.
“We take what we have and we work around it,” he said.
McDonald was asked whether the losses at cornerback added more pressure to the secondary to perform well, but in his eyes, there’s nothing different with this scenario.
“There’s always stress on the secondary. I mean, we've got to make plays back there regardless of who’s back there,” he said. “We lost a couple of big guys. Dee was really coming on and Dexter also. It’s an opportunity for other guys.”
Milliner said he’s eager to get back on the field, but he’s not going to rush back so as to not cause further injury or hurt the team by giving up big plays if he’s not at 100 percent.
“I was doing good for the most part, practicing good. I did good in the first game,” said Milliner, who had two pass deflections in the preseason opener. “I was working toward getting better each day. And with something like this, it’s frustrating to me because like I said, I want to be out there and be involved.”