With Willie Colon's knee keeping him out of practice this week, Brian Winters is ready to step back in as a starting guard for the Jets against the Dolphins.
And he says that running into Miami's new DT, Ndamukong Suh, is just another day at the office.
"He's a good player, but I'm going to take it like any other game," Winters said after today's practice. "It's the same every week. You get someone else. I'm not worried about it."
Winters, of course, will be prepared for the big dude named Suh, who left Detroit for Miami as an unrestricted free agent.
Suh (6'4", 305) can be formidable, and Winters (6'4", 320) has had his ups and downs, but he's also had stretches of solid play as the strongman third-rounder out of Kent State in 2013. He became the LG starter in Game 5 as a rookie and made 18 straight starts until a knee injury ended last season in Game 6.
"Obviously it was a little rough, a little setback," he said of his ACL rehab. "But I am where I am now. I've grown as a player and gotten better."
Winters actually ran into Suh a bit in Game 4 at MetLife Stadium last season. Mostly Suh lined up on the Lions' left side over RG Colon, but LG Winters trapped him successfully on a run play and held him out on some pass rushes. For the game Suh was not prominent with a single tackle and no sacks or QB hits.
The Jets O-line — with Winters at his more comfortable right-side spot — now will try to neutralize the Dolphins' dangerous front four of Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon on the ends and Suh and Earl Mitchell (limited at practice with a back injury) inside.
Yet the Dolphins have not gotten off to the big rush one might expect with Wake and Suh — their one sack through three games is tied for last in the NFL.
"I've gone through this before," Suh said from Miami. "Teams don't want us to get sacks and I commend them for that. At the end of the day, we have to go out there and will ourselves to sacks. Nobody is going to give them to us."
Head coach Todd Bowles had a different W-word for Winters' challenge this week: "Eat your Wheaties."
But Bowles also had words of confidence in Winters, now in line to become only the third different Jets RG starter in the last 12 seasons, after Brandon Moore and, for the last 34 games, Colon.
"Brian's a tough guy," the coach said. "He'll fight."
Bailey Among Friends
It could have been a tough transition for S Dion Bailey, seeing that he made the Seattle-to-Newark redeye earlier this week to become the newest Jet and now, if he's active for the game, making another couple of 3,500-mile trips to London and back.
But Dion has a couple of friends on the roster to help get his feet under him. He played two seasons with rookie DT Leonard Williams at Southern Cal. "I was really excited to reunite with Leonard," Bailey told me. "I had a lot of good times with him in college."
Then there's the Ronald Martin connection. The Jets acquired Martin on waivers from Seattle before the start of the season, waived him to add Bailey on waivers from Seattle, and have since signed Martin to the practice squad.
"I was already in the system a whole year, so I helped Ronald a lot during training camp. He has a knack for the game. There's something about him," Bailey said. "I was extremely excited to hear he got picked up here when he did, and then I followed him here."
Now the question is: Can Bailey make an instant contribution to the Jets against the Dolphins on Sunday?
"I'm not having any problems picking up the scheme here," he said. "If the opportunity is presented to me, I'll do my best to take advantage of it."