The Jets should be receiving reinforcements on Sunday against Buffalo as RB Tevin Coleman (hamstring), who has missed the last three games and WR Corey Davis (hip), who has missed the last two, are on track to play. LG Alijah Vera-Tucker (toe) and DE Shaq Lawson (hamstring) have been limited in practice but also are expected to play.
"It looks good for Sunday," head coach Robert Saleh said on Friday. "Obviously they need to clear today, too, I don't want to jinx anything, but everything looks good."
With Lawson, who was drafted by the Bills, in the fold, the Jets will be at full strength going against QB Josh Allen. Saleh game-planned against Allen last season as the 49ers defensive coordinator when Allen "beat the crap out" of San Francisco. He threw for 375 yards and 4 TDs in Buffalo's 34-24 win over San Francisco last December in Glendale, AZ. This season, Allen has thrown for 2,236 yards (ninth in the NFL), 17 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He's also runran for 319 yards and 3 TDs.
"He's a special young man because he can play quarterback," Saleh said. "By that I mean he can get the ball where it needs to go quickly and then he can play off-schedule. The challenge in playing Josh is the fact that you have to defend two plays in one. There's the play in timing and then there's Josh Allen scrambling around. We have to be great up front in our rush lanes in terms of keeping him in the pocket. We have to be great in the back end in terms of plaster and stay connected to our coverage and understand that you're not defending three seconds, you're defending upwards around 10. You have to strain."
Elsewhere in terms of injuries, second-year WR Denzel Mims and rookie CB Jason Pinnock were both placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week, but Pinnock has a chance to play on Sunday while Mims does not.
"When you show symptoms, it becomes a 10-day protocol, so hopefully we can get him back for next week," Saleh said of Mims.
He then added that Pinnock would be able to suit up on game day if his PCR test on Saturday comes back negative -- he would have shown two negative tests 24 hours apart.
DC Jeff Ulbrich: It's a 'Collective Effort' at Safety
Injuries at safety have left the Jets having to adjust on the fly.
Two veterans -- Marcus Maye (ruptured Achilles tendon) was injured in the loss at Indianapolis; Lamarcus Joyner (torn triceps) played 11 snaps in Week 1 at Carolina -- will not play again this season. That leaves defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich the task of cobbling together an already young defensive secondary that will be tested on Sunday by Buffalo QB Josh Allen and his productive WRs Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley.
"Jarrod Wilson will be a part of that, [Sharrod] Neasman will be a part of that," Ulbrich said on Thursday. "Obviously, Ashtyn [Davis] is going to have to step up and have a bigger role, especially from a vocal standpoint. So, it's going to be a combination of all those guys. And then, obviously, Michael Carter [II] is going to have to be part of that. Is he a rookie? Yes. But he's not playing like a rookie, he's playing well. He's had his rookie bumps in the road, which we can all expect from him, he's a guy I think that's capable of being a better communicator and being more vocal. So, it's going to be a collective effort by all those guys. And obviously the backers are a part of that, too."
Michael Carter II (third on the team with 39 total tackles; 22 solo) played safety in college at Duke in addition to cornerback. So far this season he's been starting in the nickel next to second-year player Bryce Hall and rookie Brandin Echols.
While Ulbrich adjusts his rearguard, the Bills (5-3) enter the game No. 1 in the NFL in total defense, scoring, passing, third down and red zone. Buffalo is No. 2 in takeaways, and its pair of safeties -- Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde -- each has 3 INTs.
"I think it starts with their two safeties, they're very talented players," said QB Mike White, who will start his third NFL game on Sunday. "And as I said earlier, they've played together a long time, so they know each other. And then, No. 27 [Tre'Davious White], he's a very good corner. And then their nickel, No. 24 [Taron Johnson], again, their two of the best at what they do. They're just all really solid football players. So, whenever you get a bunch of football players together for a long time in this league, they start to play off each other, and they're very dialed in to what they're doing, you're going to get those results."
C.J. Mosley: 'Guys Have to Do Some on Soul Searching'
Linebacker C.J. Mosley is at the heart of the Jets' defense, the accomplished veteran voice -- on and off the field – and a leader by example. No. 57 leads the team in tackles (65 total, 38 solo) in his seven games this season. And after the Jets' Thursday night loss at Indianapolis in which the defense failed to contain the Colts, Mosley's message to his teammates came loud and clear.
"Guys have to do some soul searching," he said on Thursday. "It's easy to start letting things get lax when they are not going your way. When you get to the middle of the season, that grind, that's when technique ups your game and teams start to separate themselves, because it's the little things like tackling, the footwork that you practice when it's nice and warm outside in the spring matters when it gets cold. At this point we're not playing just to improve our record, we're not really playing to show we're capable of playing against other teams.
"We need to prove it to ourselves that we're capable of playing good, sound football every single day. That starts during the week, we have to do that every day."
No one needed to remind Mosley that the Colts amassed 260 rushing yards against the Jets.
"If you can't stop the run it's going to be a long day, long games, long season," he said.