The Jets will be without CB Michael Carter II (concussion), RB Tevin Coleman (concussion) and TE Trevon Wesco (ankle) Sunday against the Saints, and both WR Elijah Moore (quad) and RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle) are questionable.
"We're going to give him a run today, give him a run tomorrow," HC Robert Saleh said of Moore. "Continue to see how he's developing. LDT, same thing."
He added on Moore: "It's just trying to make sure he's good with his quad, putting him through a good workout to see where he's at."
Without Coleman in the lineup, who had been the lead horse in the offensive backfield the last two games without rookie RB Michael Carter, Ty Johnson, Austin Walter and La'Mical Perine are next in line to take reps.
"The silver lining in this case is that we're getting the opportunity to see a lot of different players," Saleh said. "It's the same thing I mentioned earlier this week. The clouds are clearing with regards to the exact direction that the organization needs to go in the offseason to get itself in a position to be in contention year in and year out. These next five weeks are really to solidify all that in terms of the players that are here and we're developing, the veterans that are establishing leadership and that combination of everybody -- scheme, coaches. It's all coming together and the more people who get opportunities to put stuff on tape, the better."
Even though Carter II, a 10-game starter, is out, the defense could get another starter back in the mix with Brandin Echols, who was designated to return to practice earlier this week. He missed three games with a quad injury and the organization will make a decision whether to activate Echols off injured reserve later today. Regardless if the rookie sixth-round pick plays, Javelin Guidry is likely in line start at nickel in place of Carter II.
"Jav has gotten a lot of work through OTAs and training camp," Saleh said. "He's been playing our dime, he's a very smart young man. He has great football IQ and that versatility has really helped us get through a lot of moments. Ideally he is a nickel-, dime-type player. Obviously we've used him some at corner, but he's a pretty darn good nickel too, so him sliding in is probably more in his wheelhouse."
ST Coach Brant Boyer: Eddy Piñiero 'Hits a Consistent Ball'
Eddy Piñiero will become the Green & White's third placekicker in the past three games. After dropping Alex Kessman (two missed PATs vs. Eagles) and signing Piñiero, the Jets also brought back Matt Ammendola to the practice squad. Ammendola was released after making only 3-of-6 field-goal attempts in games against Miami and Houston.
Piñeiro made 88% of his field-goal attempts in his two seasons at Florida (38 of 43) and converted 82% of his FGAs when he played for the Bears (23 of 28) in 2019. Across those three seasons he was 7 of 7 from 50-plus yards and had a better than 50% touchback rate in the Windy City, which should bode well kicking in the often swirling conditions at MetLife Stadium.
"I think that he hits a consistent ball, he's a proven player who's made kicks in this league," Boyer said. "I think if he goes out there we have confidence in him, I really do." He added: "I think everybody in this building is frustrated with the position. It's been a position that hasn't done a good enough job. We've got to do whatever it takes."
What has been consistent in the Jets' kicking game has been the performance of long snapper Thomas Hennessy (who has been with the Jets since 2017) and holder/punter Braden Mann (in his second season in green and white).
"Thomas has done a nice job, always solid," Boyer said. "I think he's in the top three in the league. And Braden's an outstanding holder. They take a ton of reps that's really not seen. They're just seamless."
Mann is preparing for his fifth game back, after sustaining a knee injury in the Week 1 loss at Carolina. He punted twice against Philadelphia, averaging 39 yards a kick, the same average he had in the previous game against Houston. In 2020, his rookie season, Mann punted 82 times and had a 43.9-yards per punt average.
"He knows that he needs to be better," Boyer said. "With Braden, sometimes he gets in a hurry. He'll dig his way out of it. I have confidence in that. He had [good] back-to-back weeks, some of best since camp. We're relying on him big this week."
See the Top Practice Images Leading Up to the Sunday's Game at MetLife Stadium Against the Saints
Robert Saleh Offers Praise for Demaryius Thomas
Demaryius Thomas, 33, died on Thursday in Roswell, GA, from an apparent medical issue. He played 10 seasons in the NFL, including the 2019 season for the Jets when he played in 11 games, made 36 receptions for 433 yards. His last touchdown came on a 14-yard pass from Sam Darnold in a 22-21 win over the Dolphins.
"An absolute tragedy," Saleh said. "He was an unbelievable pro, he produced a lot for Denver and there were a lot of wars with Seattle [where Saleh was an assistant from 2011-13]. "I'm sure there are a lot of hurt hearts in the football community."
Thomas was a four-time Pro Bowler for the Broncos, helping Denver defeat Carolina in the 50th Super Bowl. In all, he caught 724 passes for 9,763 yards and 63 touchdowns. Denver signed him to a one-day contract in June so he could retire as a Bronco and he was honored during halftime of the game against the Jets in Week 3 this season.
In a statement, the Broncos said he "established himself as a dominant record-setting wide receiver who was an instrumental part of two championship runs and our victory in Super Bowl 50."