Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams cleared concussion protocol and will play Sunday against the Chargers. After missing the second half against the Saints, Williams was a full participant at Friday's practice andd is looking to close out the season on a high note.
"The number one overall thing we're sticking to since the year started is staying united," he said. "No matter what season we've been having, no matter what the record is, we're going to play for each other…it's not like we're hanging up the towel or anything like that. If we're going out there to play, we're going to play to win."
Williams and the defensive line have a tough test this weekend as they'll face the league's seventh-leading rusher in Melvin Gordon and a Chargers offensive line that has only yielded 17 sacks, which is the best in the NFL.
Right guard Brian Winters is out for Sunday's Week 16 matchup with a nagging abdomen injury that may require surgery. Brent Qvale, who's started five games for the Green & White this season, or Dakota Dozier, who started in place of Winters in Week 3, will get the nod in his place.
"He's a tough guy," head coach Todd Bowles said of Winters. "He's been dealing with it. We'll work on it after the season."
Dozier and Jonotthan Harrison are the options at center if Wes Johnson (hip – questionable) is unable to play. Running backs Matt Forte (knee) and Eli McGuire (illness) are also listed as questionable.
As Bryce Petty prepares to make his second start of the season and first at MetLife Stadium, the third-year passer is honing in on two aspects of his game.
"Footwork is a big thing," Petty said on Inside the Jets Monday night. "But at the same time, just seeing the whole field. There was one play that really hit me and left a sour taste in my mouth. It was right after the pick that Leonard Williams got. It was a bunch set to the right and I threw the ball to Chad Hansen. The very next play, they showed a Cover 0 look and got out of it. I was interested in audibling and not really looking at the defense.
"I just really want to see the whole field and not get rushed or enamored by what the front looks like or what I'm thinking in my head. Just take a deep breath and make sure as the ball is being snapped, from pre snap to post snap, it's the same picture in my head."
Against the Saints, Petty completed 19 of his 39 passes for 179 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Offensive coordinator John Morton said quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates emphasized footwork at practice this week and the signal caller has responded well. Morton liked Petty's decision making in The Big Easy and expects improvements Sunday against the Chargers.
"I thought he did a pretty good job there, I really did," Morton said. "That's a tough environment to go into. That's a good team over there and we know we had chances to win that game. The defense gave us three turnovers and we didn't score touchdowns where we needed to score touchdowns. There were opportunities to do that."
Down the Rivers
The Jets face another high-powered offense as the Chargers rank No. 7 in the league, led by quarterback Philip Rivers. The 36-year-old Rivers ranks fifth in the league with 3,838 yards and has added 24 touchdowns while completing 62% of his passes.
"We're playing a team with another really good quarterback and a very good offensive line," linebacker Demario Davis said. "They have some special receivers and I think one of the better running backs in the league, so it's going to be a good challenge."
Barring injury, Rivers will eclipse the 4,000-yard mark for the ninth time in 10 seasons.
"He's probably one of the smartest quarterbacks that I’ve ever faced or played against from Arizona and a few other teams," head coach Todd Bowles said. "Highly intelligent, highly accurate. Studies his butt off and he plays the game the way it's supposed to be played."
Top Snapshots from Thursday's Indoor Practice During Week 16