The Jets take on another interconference foe, their third of five this season, in the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium Sunday. And they'll do it with another weekly roster being shaped by injuries and COVID matters.
The injury issues ganged up on the Green & White at their skill positions. At running back, Michael Carter (ankle) remains sidelined and Tevin Coleman, who moved into Carter's role as lead back, is out in the concussion protocol. At wide receiver, the early IR-ing of No. 1 WR Corey Davis (groin) for the rest of the year was followed by the late move to Injured Reserve for eye-opening rookie Elijah Moore (quadriceps).
But the Reserve/COVID list factors in as well with the return of Keelan Cole to the wideouts (but also the loss of WR Jeff Smith to the COVID protocols). So QB Zach Wilson will have an RB corps of Ty Johnson, Austin Walter, La'Mical Perine (who'll be playing in just his fourth game this season) and Nick Bawden and a WR group that will have Cole, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims and Braxton Berrios, plus two more wideout elevated from the practice squad in Vyncint Smith and D.J. Montgomery
And Wilson will have RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle) back as well as TE Ryan Griffin (knee/ankle). The changing cast around him did nothing to dim the optimism of the rookie QB set to make the ninth start of his pro career and his third since returning from his own knee injury.
"I feel these guys are hungry and ready to take advantage of the opportunity," Wilson said of the newcomers to the main mix on offense, adding about his task vs. the Saints, "I've got to be accurate, we've got to win. I know the receivers know the challenge coming ahead for them as well. I've got to give those guys a chance with the ball. And then really, we've just got to execute, we've got to be efficient. I've got to be able to make the right decisions, understand when to get off of something, and just give our guys a chance to make plays."
See the Top Photos from Pregame Before Jets-Saints
His ability to do all those things will be challenged by the New Orleans crew that has its own comings and goings due to injury. The Saints pass rush regains the services of Marcus Davenport (shoulder), but the linebackers won't have starter Pete Werner (elbow).
Offensively, new starting QB Taysom Hill appears to be over the jammed middle finger of his throwing hand and also gets the return of versatile, dangerous RB Alvin Kamara, who missed the past month with a knee injury. But RT Ryan Ramczyk (knee) has been deactivated.
And facing off against Hill and his receivers led by Deonte Harris, the Jets secondary also had a change of personnel, with Michael Carter II (concussion) out but rookie Brandin Echols returning to action from short-term IR. Whew!
Who adapts better will have a lot to say about whether the Jets rise to 4-9 in their first season under Robert Saleh and with Wilson at the controls or the Saints end their five-game losing streak, move to 6-7 and stay relevant in the NFC playoff picture.
This is the Jets' seven-man inactive list today:
- RB Tevin Coleman
- CB Isaiah Dunn
- CB Michael Carter II
- DL Ronnie Blair
- OL Isaiah Williams
- TE Trevon Wesco
- DL Jonathan Marshall
And this is the Saints' seven-player inactive list:
- QB Ian Book
- LB Pete Werner
- CB Ken Crawley
- LB Kaden Elliss
- C Will Clapp
- T Ryan Ramczyk
- WR Lil'Jordan Humphrey