The Jets will likely start their fifth offensive line combination Monday night against the Chargers after OL Connor McGovern (knee) and Wes Schweitzer (calf) landed on injured reserve earlier this week.
The group, however, could get reinforcements in rookie C/G Joe Tippmann, who missed last week's game with a quad injury, and Duane Brown, who returned to practice on Thursday. Brown has missed the last five games because of shoulder and hip ailments.
"We'll see again today and see where he's at," HC Robert Saleh said on Friday. "It's been a month now since he's gotten pads on, so the feedback tomorrow when he bangs bodies and how his body feels will be a big part of that decision."
They were both limited in Thursday's practice, as was LG Laken Tomlinson, who is dealing with a hamstring injury. The final injury report will be released on Saturday.
Brown, who underwent offseason shoulder surgery, told reporters his shoulder is at full strength after what he described as an "ambitious" initial recovery time.
Brown was asked about the idea of playing right tackle, a position he hasn't played in his 17-year career, as Mekhi Becton has played LT in Brown's absence.
"We'll see," he said. "We don't know what's going to happen yet, but whatever happens I am going to be the best player I can be and just go from there. But as of now, I'm just trying to get back into playing shape, get back into trusting my body and that's all I'm really focused on."
First Game Without Woods
To fill Al Woods' (Achilles tendon tear) spot on the interior of the defensive line, the Jets signed veteran DL Tanzel Smart to the active roster. Smart, who was featured on HBO's "Hard Knocks," has been on and off the active roster and practice squad since 2020. He's played in 37 games (4 starts) in his NFL career and has 29 tackles and 1 pass defense.
"Strain, finish, toughness, energy, juice," DC Jeff Ulbrich said of Smart. "When he gets opportunities to play, he makes plays, so I anticipate he makes plays. I'm excited about him getting his opportunity. He's why you coach football. He just loves this game and his approach every day is just unmatched as far as his energy and his focus and his detail. So happy and fortunate that we have a guy like that on our roster that we can lean on in times like this."
See the Jets back on the field on Thursday to start Week 9 practices.
Saleh Praises Chargers S Derwin James
Over the first seven games, the Chargers secondary has struggled and ranks last in passing yards allowed (2,082) and No. 27 in passing touchdowns allowed (12). The unit, however, does feature marquee names including Chargers All-Pro S Derwin James.
"He plays a style that we love here," Saleh said. "He plays fast and communicates. And I have gotten a chance to study him a lot because when Gus [Bradley] was there they ran a similar scheme to us. He is an animal, and you always have to keep your head on a swivel when he is around. He is going to hit you. He is a dynamic football player and he's one of the better ones."
A three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, James has 1 interception, 3 pass defenses and 1 fumble recovery this season. His 37 tackles rank fourth on the Bolts.
James missed the Jets-Chargers matchup in 2020 with a knee injury, making Monday night's game the first time he will face the Green & White.
"They have hot a lot of guys that can score the ball from anywhere on the field," he said. "Whether it's the running backs like Breece Hall or [WR] Garrett Wilson. We have to be in tune for sure."
Speaking about it Jets QB Zach Wilson, James added: "I am seeing someone who is having fun and is poised. He is doing everything he needs to do to lead his team to victory, so we just have to be ready to play."