The Jets face challenges on both sides of the ball as they warm up for the second home game of the 2021 season, against the 2-1 Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium.
On one side, QB Zach Wilson and the offense want to get the ball rolling after three losses with limited yardage gained and touchdowns scored. And to do it, Wilson will have to coordinate quickly with a wideout group that will be missing two injured players, rookie Elijah Moore and Jeff Smith, but that will gain the services of two other WRs who have made virtually no appearances this regular season.
Jamison Crowder is active for the Titans and so is Denzel Mims.
Crowder has missed the first three games, one on Reserve/COVID and two inactive from a groin injury. But he's ready to go today and head coach Robert Saleh says that's a good thing, citing his veteran presence and reliable route-running.
"He's won one-on-ones for a long time in his career," Saleh said of Crowder, the Jets' leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches for the past two seasons, "and we're just excited to have his reliability and his veteran leadership back out there."
Then fans will be eager to see Mims get an extended look in the offense. Last year's second-round pick has taken the field for just three offensive snaps this season, with one catch, for 40 yards in the opener at Carolina.
Mims, said Saleh, has "stacked up a third consecutive week of great, deliberate practice. He's really getting comfortable within the offense. We're excited to see him get his opportunity."
See the Green and White Arriving for the Second Home Game of the 2021 Season Against the Titans
Along with WR Corey Davis, playing against his former team of the previous four seasons for the first time, and Tevin Coleman, returning from non-COVID illness at running back, the skill positions surrounding Wilson are arguably the strongest they've been since September. Now three days into October, coordinator Mike LaFleur and the offense will need the group to come together to help keep the Titans defense on the MetLife pitch in order to augment their own defensive task: Slow down Derrick Henry.
The Titans' bellcow back is the class of the NFL these days, the league's leading rusher in 2019 and '20 and the only runner heading into today's games with 300-plus yards rushing.
"When this man gets rolling, he is all of, whatever height he is and size [6-3, 247], he looks like an offensive lineman carrying the football," Saleh said. "He's a load, he's deserving of all the accolades he's gotten, and it's going to be a tremendous challenge this week."
The Jets' defense gets an additional curveball thrown at it with S Marcus Maye's ankle injury. One week after settling in Adrian Colbert alongside him in the deep middle, now Saleh and DC Jeff Ulbrich will be rotating in players alongside Colbert to replace Maye. Among those players will be second-year man Ashtyn Davis and Sharrod Neasman, both activated off short-term IR on Saturday, and Jarrod Wilson, who arrived with Colbert a month ago after Lamarcus Joyner's season-ending injury.
But the Titans offense has also been bitten by the injury bug, perhaps leveling the playing field somewhat, as they declared their two top wideouts, Julio Jones and A.J. Brown, both out for the Jets with hamstring injuries.
Here is the Jets' six-man inactive list for today's game:
- WR Elijah Moore
- WR Jeff Smith
- S Marcus Maye
- RB La'Mical Perine
- CB Jason Pinnock
- DL Tim Ward
And these are the Titans' seven inactives:
- WR Julio Jones
- CB Caleb Farley
- P Brett Kern
- WR A.J. Brown
- RB Mekhi Sargent
- LB Bud Dupree
- OL Dillon Radunz