Has head coach Todd Bowles ever experienced a practice as a coach in which he had one healthy running back?
"I think this is the first," Bowles said after today's practice.
And that one back, Brandon Burks, the 5'9", 208-pound rookie called up from the practice squad this week, was happy to help tide the Green & White over till some of the injured/ill backs return.
"Things have happened so quickly," Burks told me after practice, assuring that he's feeling OK if he's called on to carry the load again Friday. "I was thinking about the practice squad, trying to finish out the year. But when you're number's called, you've got to be ready."
Bowles is not counting Matt Forte (knee) or Bilal Powell (knee/illness) out for the Bills in Sunday's season finale, but both have sat out both practices this week. Khiry Robinson was placed on Injured Reserve on Wednesday. And Brandon Wilds, a practice-squad callup earlier this month who has six carries for 18 yards in 20 offensive plays over three games, missed today's practice with a hamstring injury.
"I haven't seen too much yet," Bowles said of Burks. "He's just been running scout team and we haven't been in pads. But he's got some quickness, and he's got some good hands."
Burks, a 1,000-yard rusher with 4.55 speed as a Troy senior who was originally signed by Green Bay after this year's draft, could make his pro debut vs. the Bills. depending on the other backs' health. He talked the talk about what Jets fans will see if No. 26 gets in the game.
"I'm just going to try to fit in so you can't even notice that no one is missing," he said. "I'm just trying to showcase my skill, go out there and do what I do to help the team get a win."
The Jets Practiced Indoors in Preparation for the Week 17 Matchup Against the Bills on Thursday
Josh's Special AssessmentJosh Martin makes no bones about the Jets' special teams play this year.
"Overall, as a unit, it was a very disappointing year," Martin said. "We gave up a bunch of blocked kicks, a bunch of touchdowns. so that's disappointing. That's kind of what you hang your hat on as a special teams player. You play for the team understanding you're not going to get the accolades that a player might get on defense or offense. So it was a very disappointing year for me personally."
That's the shame of a difficult team season, that the work of players like Martin get drowned out. Martin's a fourth-year LB who said he never played teams before until he went from Columbia University to the Kansas City Chiefs and ST coordinator Dave Toub in 2013. Ever since, he said with a smile, "I'm a special teams aficionado."
It showed in Brant Boyer's system with the Jets. Special teams tackles are not standardized around the league and therefore not official, but in unofficial pressbox stats, Martin has totaled 14 ST tackles this year, the most on the Jets and tied for fifth-most in the NFL.
"There's definitely a foundation here as far as the scheme," said Martin, who as a pending free agent may or not be here in 2017. "Coach Boyer's scheme is a new scheme, it's not an easy scheme to pick up. It was very effective earlier in the year, in preseason. So there is that foundation, and I think that'll show next year for sure."