The Jets will be without CB D.J. Reed when they visit the Broncos Sunday in Denver. Reed, who started the first four games and has registered 28 tackles, began to experience concussion symptoms early in the week and entered the protocol.
With Reed and CB Brandin Echols (hamstring) ruled out, head coach Robert Saleh was asked if CB Bryce Hall will start.
"We will see. We have a plan," Saleh said. He later added: "I have confidence in all the DBs. Whether it is moving people around, however we have to shuffle it. We have a lot of guys who have played a lot of football in this league and have played at a very high level. So, we will be fine."
The Jets will get back S Tony Adams from a hamstring injury after he missed the past two games. Adams had 10 tackles against the Bills and the Cowboys.
The Jets secondary will have the challenge of slowing QB Russell Wilson and a Broncos pass attack that has flown under the radar. Wilson has thrown for 9 pass touchdowns and 2 interceptions and he has the third-best passer rating in the NFL.
"As far as the player, I think he has lost over 20 pounds and he looks like the same guy to me," Saleh said. "He is doing a lot with his feet. He is scrambling to throw, he will scramble to run if he has to. But he is looking really good.
"They are moving in the right direction. They are doing a really nice job."
Since signing with the Jets in 2020 after playing his first four seasons in Denver, C Connor McGovern have played the Broncos each season he's been in green and white. Sunday's game will be the third consecutive season the Jets will play in the Mountain West. It will also be the third coaching staff for Denver over the four matchups. Defensively, Vance Joseph is calling the plays for what was a top-10 unit in 2022. It ranks last through four games this season.
"It's a similar defense with a little bit of a different technique," McGovern said. "You can see that they're really close to putting every piece together. Those yards, they're sneaky yards that they're very close to not letting up. Obviously, we don't want to be the week that they fully figure it out. They have the same people on defense and they were a top-10, almost top-5 defense the last however many years. It's been a long time they've been a good defense. It's the same players, they have the ability. It's a newer scheme. We have to plan for them to really nail their stuff and hope for the best."
See all the best practice photos of the Jets during Week 5 practices in preparation for the Denver Broncos.
Coming off a 70-20 loss to Miami in Week 4, the Broncos secondary buckled down in Week 5 against the Bears to help complete a 21-point comeback victory. In the fourth quarter, Denver held Bears QB Justin Fields to 5-of-11 for 50 yards and an interception.
The Denver secondary has gotten off to a slow start but still features first-team All-Pro CB Patrick Surtain II and second-team All-Pro S Justin Simmons. Surtain has totaled 5 pass defenses and 13 tackles over four starts and Denver expects Simmons to return from a hip injury after missing the past two games.
Jets WR Mecole Hardman spent four seasons with Denver's AFC West division rival, Kansas City, and played against the Broncos 6 times, including a career-best 103-yard receiving performance in 2021.
"I think he is one of the best corners in the league," Hardman said about Surtain. "He is a patient guy and very instinctive. He is a bigger corner that can run with you, and he is very fluid. People don't give him credit for how smart he is."
Hardman added on Simmons: "He's definitely a ballhawk there. He is good in the run game and he's good all-around safety. You have to know where he is at all times, especially when you're trying to throw deep ball or anything across the middle."