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Greg Salas Embodies the Concept ‘Next Man Up’

Posted Nov 5, 2013

Entering Sunday’s game against the Saints without our No. 1 wideout, Santonio Holmes, or either of our starting tight ends, Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow, it was clear that our receiver depth would be tested.

Then, adding insult to injury, or perhaps more accurately, adding injury to injuries, we lost slot receiver and third-down machine Jeremy Kerley midgame after he hurt his elbow.

QB Geno Smith said Monday in front of his Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker that general manager John Idzik "tells us every single guy has to contribute and every single guy has to compete, so that’s basically I think his mantra and that’s something that is reflective of this team."

That mantra summed up in three words: Next man up.

“That goes back to John,” Geno said. “That’s something that he wanted to start here, and I felt it from the very first day I got here. I’ve been in constant competition every single day so when guys go down and you see guys step up, it’s all a result of the way that we work and the way that we practice.”

So, suddenly faced with competing against a Rob Ryan defense without four of his top targets, Smith didn’t panic. He simply relied on the new guy, WR Greg Salas.

“Obviously it was a great team win,” Salas said after Sunday’s 26-20 victory over Drew Brees and the Saints. “My teammates were the ones who helped me do what I was able to do so I’ve got to thank them. For me, I just try to hold myself accountable and do what I’m supposed to do, and that’s pretty much all I had to do.”

Salas’ job for the day was to catch two wideout screen passes thrown his way. With some help from his fellow receivers matching up and run-blocking for him, he was able to pick up 13 yards on second-and-11 and 44 yards on third-and-10, our longest pass play of the day.

“I don’t know which guys were pulling out in front of me,” he said, “but they did a great job of kicking people out and just reading their blocks and trying to make the most of it. David [Nelson] was definitely out there and had a pretty good block for me on the perimeter, so I have to thank my teammates for those plays.”

A few weeks ago, Salas was an injured player on the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad. Today he’s one of 17 guys — yes, 17 — to catch a pass for the Jets this season. And that doesn’t even include guys like Michael Campbell or Ryan Spadola who had a few offensive snaps for us.

Whether it’s Nelson or Sudfeld, Cribbs or Salas, the Jets continue to persevere and overcome any injuries or obstacles thrown their way.

With the bye week upon us, perhaps guys will recover and our healthier team will move on without too many more bumps in the road. Then again, this is the National Football League, a career where the injury rate is roughly 100%.

In that case, next man up.

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