Jets head coach Robert Saleh said on Wednesday that wide receivers Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole are expected to be available for Sunday's home opener against AFC East rival New England at MetLife Stadium. While their possible absence for the game in Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season might have meant double coverage for No. 1 WR Corey Davis (and still might), the veteran signed in free agency did not seem bothered either way.
"I'm just going to play my game," Davis told reporters. "Just trust the scheme what [offensive coordinator Mike] LaFleur and Saleh come up with to put me in position, to put us in position to win. I'm going to go out and play my game."
That game last week at Carolina, his first for the Green & White, was nothing short of a resounding success, even though the Jets and rookie QB Zach Wilson failed to beat the Panthers. In the game, Davis finished with 97 yards on 5 catches and collaborated with Wilson on the Jets' two touchdowns.
"First off it's just preparation and communication on the sideline, in practice, it's everything," Saleh said. "He's big, the veteran presence is big for the organization in general. To have him with Zach and to be able to communicate his knowledge of coverage, how to get open and how to create separation, to be that reliable sure-handed guy that you know will be exactly where he needs to be when he needs to be there and do it exactly how to we want it done, for a quarterback to have that trust is priceless. And that's what Corey gives the quarterback."
For the Jets, No. 2 and No. 84 have quickly forged a productive relationship -- one a rookie, the other a guy who played four seasons with Tennessee before joining the Jets.
"He's a tough dude," Davis said of Wilson. "He got hit a lot [6 sacks; 10 QB hits at Carolina], to see how he reacted, no frustration, no anger, just poised. He was leading us, he showed a lot of heart. We want guys that play hard, no quit. That's what he is.
"Zach's a great quarterback. It will take time for us to gel and get on the same accord. I think it happened over camp, not just us, the offense as a whole. There's still a lot of improvement to go."
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Throughout the summer, Davis said that he and Wilson were working toward a close collaboration and they developed a rapport that was clearly apparent against the Panthers and will be tested against the defensive alchemy conjured by Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick.
"They're a sound defense," Davis said. "They're going to get right after you, make few mistakes, fly around, play hard. It's a challenge for us, for this offense to do what we want to do. Just because there's no [CB Stephon] Gilmore [who is on the reserve/PUP list] doesn't mean it's going to be a cake walk. We understand what they have back there."
Going into the game, Saleh said that the Jets array of wide receivers might give the Patriots' second thoughts if they intend to double team Davis.
"We feel like we've got more than one guy," the coach said. "When you look at it, Elijah [Moore] probably wants some plays in the game back, it being the first for a rookie. Jamison is coming back, [Braxton] Berrios is capable of winning one-on-one. [Tyler] Kroft is deserving of a lot of opportunities. If they want to double a guy, it opens up opportunities for the other receivers and in the run game. That's where the chess match with Belichick happens. You have to pick and choose your battles, stay sound and committed, and get ready to play chess with one of the best chess players in the world."
Davis is ready for whatever that next move might be and he gets the last word about his second TD reception last week, which Wilson sent his way with pinpoint accuracy.
"It was a perfect pass," he said. "And a perfect pass beats perfect coverage every time."