Skip to main content

Notebook | Jets RB Michael Carter Expected to Have 'Significant Role' vs. Dolphins

OC Mike LaFleur on QB Zach Wilson’s Eyes; Eddy Piñeiro Grateful for His Opportunity 


Jets LT George Fant, who has not practiced this week because of a knee injury, is "on the fence" to play Sunday in South Florida against the Dolphins. If he's not able to go, Conor McDermott would start in his place. 

The Jets are expected to receive reinforcements on offense with the return of RBs Michael Carter and Tevin Coleman, TE Tyler Kroft and TE-FB Trevon Wesco, who have practiced all week.

"It's always significant," HC Robert Saleh said. "This league is about playmakers. When you get the ball in your hands, can you take it to the house? To get Michael Carter back, Tevin [Coleman] and Kroft as an option for the quarterback along with the guys who have been getting their reps and getting better every week, it's beneficial for sure. Now we have to go execute."

Carter still leads the Jets with 111 rushes, 430 yards and 4 TDs despite a three-game hiatus with a low-grade high-ankle sprain. The 2021 fourth-round pick is the fourth-highest graded offensive rookie in the NFL (80.1) since Thanksgiving. He was averaging 113.3 scrimmage yards per game in the three games before sustaining the injury. Then against the Dolphins in Week 11, he had 63 rushing yards on 9 carries (7-yard avg) before exiting in the third quarter.

"He's exactly what you'd expect out of a young guy," Saleh said. "He comes in as a fourth-round pick, has some ups and downs during training camp, shows some flashes. Starts out a little bit slow during the season and just gets better and better, and every time he touches the ball he does something to the point where you can't deny him the ball. It's exciting for him to get back with four games to finish the season strong and really grasp as much as he can and learn as much as he can from this rookie year so he can propel himself next year to have an explosive season."

Saleh added: "Our offense is always more of a committee approach, but definitely anticipate him having a significant role."

With rising COVID-19 cases around the league that resulted in updated protocols, the Green & White has not been as affected as other teams.

"Knock on wood, we've been good," Saleh said. "We're kind of ahead of the curve in terms of all the protocols that got released yesterday. We've been doing that for a few days now. We have three or four cases, so we're in pretty good shape."

OC Mike LaFleur Keeps It Focused
After last Sunday's game, HC Robert Saleh critiqued the play of rookie QB Zach Wilson, saying that "his eyes probably got a little bit out of a whack, which led to some of the accuracy issues." Saleh was referring to a couple of errant short passes that missed the mark against the Saints.

But what, exactly, was Saleh talking about? OC Mike LaFleur offered some clarification this week.

"You go through your progressions," he said. "Let's just say you go one, two, three. You got a guy one, guy two and your outlet is number three. How fast you can say no to one to get to two and if two is open you're getting him the ball. But you gotta have eyes before feet, so your eyes have to be at the target before you're throwing the football. At times, sometimes young guys can get stuck on one and then all of a sudden, 'OK, I know two is there,' and you're literally in the motion as your eyes are getting there. So, from a fundamental standpoint, you just want to get your eyes to the target, which is going to help your body position to allow you to be more accurate.

"I know Zach's frustrated with it, and I know he has made those throws his whole life. The difference is this is Sunday in the NFL, the speed of the game is faster, and things are happening faster. I think from the naked eye, it's going fast for a lot of guys. It takes these guys at all different speeds to catch up to it."

See the Top Practice Images Leading Up to the Sunday's Game at Miami

Eddy Piñeiro Attracts a Crowd in Miami
Early on after joining the Jets, placekicker Eddy Piñeiro took a quick look at the schedule.

"When I first signed here, I knew I had to have a good first game so I could go to Miami and play against Miami," said Piñeiro, who hit on all three of his field-goal attempts last week against New Orleans.

The native of Kendall, FL, just outside Miami city limits, expects to have about 150 family members in attendance at Hard Rock Stadium when the Jets face the Dolphins on Sunday. Piñeiro is the son of a Cuban father and a Nicaraguan mother.

"Being Hispanic, we have big families," he said. "I'm super excited about going home. It's a dream come true."

Piñeiro, an undrafted free agent signed by Oakland in 2019, joined the Jets after stints with the Bears, and quick stops in Indianapolis and Washington in the preseason. He said his hopes of playing for the WFT fell by the wayside when he needed core muscle surgery in early September.

He said that during his time with the Bears, a stint that also eventually fell victim to injury, family members would rent cars and travel to the Windy City for each home game. 

"I'm super grateful for this opportunity to play again,,," he said. "I had surgery almost four months ago now. I feel healthy career, I feel good, and I'm happy about that."

Related Content