NFL short weeks can have a way of further depressing teams that are down on their luck. But in the Jets' case, they're upbeat about possibly getting some frontline players back from injury rehab in time to try to beat the Broncos at MetLife Stadium on Thursday night and hang a W up on their side of the board after three losses.
Jamison Crowder is one of those players. After missing the 49ers and Colts games with a hamstring injury, he's ready to rejoin Sam Darnold and the Jets offense.
"I feel real good about them," Crowder said of his chances for returning to do some damage against the banged-up Broncos defense. "I've been working out, doing some running. ... I feel like I did some really good cutting and ran a few routes today and it felt good."
It felt good as well for head coach Adam Gase, who, after being down several wideouts all season, prepares to reinsert his No. 1 receiver from last season (78 receptions, 833 yards and 6 touchdowns) into the slot.
"Anytime that you can get your best receiver back on the field, that gets you fired up a little bit," Gase said. "So all these are pointing in the right direction. We've just got to make sure the guys keep doing the proper things to get their bodies right and healthy and ready to go, and the guys that are in the concussion protocol [T George Fant and CB Quincy Wilson], we finished those up the proper way and hopefully those guys will be able to play."
Crowder has a history of making dramatic reintroductions to Darnold. In the duo's first game together in the 2019 opener, the wideout posted a franchise opening-day record of 14 catches, for 99 yards, against the Bills. In Darnold's first game back from mono, against Dallas, Crowder came up big again with six grabs for 98 yards. Ditto in this year's opener at Buffalo — seven catches, 115 yards and a TD.
The hope and the plan is that the 5-9 sparkplug will make it through the Broncos game in decent shape and then will get 10 days to rest up before the Jets' next game, also at home vs. the Cardinals a week from Sunday.
"Being that this was a short week and next week we have a little bit longer period to get ready, it felt like it's good enough to get through," he said. "I've been doing running, endurance and everything. My legs, they feel up to par. And I'm confident I can go out there and get through a full game without any reinjury."
As taxing as the injury and rehab have been on his body, the team's season-opening slump has preyed on his mind. And that's also gotten him ready for a winning performance in his first action since the opener.
"I really can't put my finger on it honestly," he said of what's been missing, besides himself, in the offense. "I wish I could. If I knew, then I would definitely try to turn it around. In my opinion, we've just got to make plays, and that's across the board, especially on the offensive side of the ball. I feel like the last two weeks we moved the ball really well, and I just feel like we've got to get points somehow, someway, once we get in the red zone.
"I thnk the psyche on the team right now is just win. Everybody's got to find a way to win, any way we possibly can. We've just got to go out there and play complementary football and win."