The Jets will be without WR Jamison Crowder, their receiving yards and receptions leader since 2019, Sunday against Carolina as he's still on reserve/COVID-19.
The offense could also be without another wideout – Keelan Cole – who was limited in Thursday's practice with a knee injury.
"He's going to go down to the wire with evaluations," HC Robert Saleh said Friday morning.
If Cole joins Crowder as a gameday inactive, that could result in more playing time for second-year WR Denzel Mims against his head coach at Baylor – Panthers HC Matt Rhule. Mims had an impressive preseason debut against the Giants, hauling in three catches for 51 yards. He then missed the next two games with a hip injury. Mims, a second-round pick in 2020, had 23 receptions for 357 yards (15.5 avg) as a rookie in 2020.
"He had a really nice practice yesterday," Saleh said. "So, again, hopefully again stack it up. It's the same process. He's going through some learning curves and working out of a phone booth and working out of those tight splits, the details of route running and all that stuff. He's gotten a lot better and he continues to get better every day and I love his intent and the way he's going about his business to find versatility and knowing every single spot instead of being stagnant at one, which is difficult for a receiver. So, he's been good, his mind is in the right spot."
C Connor McGovern: Wilson Is 'Locked In'
Jets center Connor McGovern doesn't miss a beat -- and doesn't miss a game. Over the past two seasons, first with Denver and in 2020 with the Green & White, he has started and played in all 16 regular-season games.
Asked by team reporter Eric Allen in a segment of "The Two-Minute Drill" about the start of the 2021 season at Carolina on Sunday, McGovern said: "I'm excited, I feel better than ever I've ever felt going into season."
Entering his fifth season in the NFL, McGovern, 28, said that he has often done a double-take when he sees himself surrounded by his ever-younger teammates.
"When I'm in the huddle with guys born in 2000 and 1999, it's nuts," he said.
As the team's stalwart center, he will be in constant contact with the Jets' rookie QB Zach Wilson. There might be no closer relationship on the offensive side of the ball and McGovern is all in on the young signal-caller.
"He's locked in, he's ready to go," McGovern said of Wilson. "He FaceTimed me yesterday [Wednesday] when he was up watching film with the quarterbacks, asking about some looks and stuff. No moment's too big for him. I'm impressed by how much of a gamer he is. In the preseason he took a large step up from practice. Now [on Sunday] it's an even bigger step. I'm excited for him."
See the Top Images from the Practice Field Leading Up to the Season-Opener Against the Panthers
K Matt Ammendola Is Ready to Prove Himself
Matt Ammendola summed up a kicker's fate in the NFL.
"Every single day could be the last day, the last kick," the Jets' placekicker said on Thursday. "You never know. You have to take every rep with the mentality that it is a game-winning kick. You have to make everything. I want to prove myself to this organization that has given me the opportunity to have a shot."
Among the ever-precarious jobs in the NFL, perhaps the kicker is the most vulnerable. A missed field-goal attempt here, a shanked extra-point attempt there ... and the guy could be gone. Across the league it's rinse and repeat.
At one point in his three-sport high school career, Ammendola, 24, was a skillful soccer player who seemed headed to a collegiate career in the football played with a round ball. But he was asked to try out as a kicker for North Penn HS in Lansdale, PA, and quickly launched a school record 56-yard field goal along the way. It was on to Oklahoma State and a solid career over four years where he converted 60-of-78 field goals and 179-of-183 extra points, and which included First Team Academic All-Big 12 honors each year. He went undrafted and spent a couple of months with the Panthers this past offseason before being cut by Carolina.
He won the Jets job over rookie Chris Naggar and promptly nailed all three of his FG attempts in the preseason win at Green Bay, including a 54-yarder.
"The more you do it, the more comfortable you get," Ammendola said. "Oftentimes you mix comfort with complacency, but I'm not complacent. I don't want to get comfortable, you want the good jitters. I love to be out there.
"At the end of day I just want to make my kicks, whether in practice or games. I just want to go out and prove myself that I belong in the NFL. I've been working hard for this moment and I'm ready to go."
After offseason foot surgery, DT Quinnen Williams didn't practice with the Jets until the club's joint sessions with the Packers on Aug. 18-19. He didn't take a snap in the preseason, but the 6-3, 303-pounder is ready for Week 1 after transforming his body.
Head coach Robert Saleh said of Williams: "I think he's chomping at the bit. I don't know if I want to throw this out there, but I am. Over the course of training camp, he's lost 10 pounds of body fat, while increasing muscle mass, just because of the foot and catching back up. He's in fantastic shape, he looks awesome out there, and he cannot wait to get game action. We're really excited to see him play."
Saleh wore a Passaic County Technical Institute High School t-shirt Friday, the school that won the inaugural season of the Jets Girls Flag Football Pilot League that was created by the team and Nike. The league is an eight-team program with the North Jersey Super Football Conference. "We're going to recognize a local high school football team every week for doing something pretty cool," Saleh said. "So, they're the first." …
As for CB, Saleh wouldn't say who will start between Javelin Guidry, Brandin Echols, Jason Pinnock or Isaiah Dunn, but was complimentary of second-year CB Bryce Hall, calling him the most consistent corner in the room.