Every NFL game is a homecoming for someone. When the Jets travel to Cleveland for Sunday's game against the Browns, Nick Mangold, Brian Winters and Darron Lee (although Lee is out for the game with an ankle injury) will return to their home state, and Buster Skrine played his first four seasons with the Browns.
For rookie wideout/returner Jalin Marshall, the relationship is more complex. Being from Middletown, near Cincinnati, and having played two years at Ohio State, he has a Buckeye state of mind.
"It's a good feeling, to be able to go home and for my family to be able to drive and see the game," said Marshall, who's lined up about a dozen tickets for family and friends. "You always want to share your accomplishments with the people that helped you get to where you're at."
But there won't be any childhood conflicts about trying to beat the Browns. Marshall, who's been the Jets' punt and kickoff returner for five of the seven games this season, never woofed with the Dawg Pound and was never a fan of the Browns or Bengals.
"I liked the Vikings growing up," he said. "They were my favorite team because of Cris Carter."
Why Carter? Well, CC had 1,101 pro catches for 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns before he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013. Oh, yeah, and Carter grew up in Middletown.
We get the impression Marshall is close to busting loose with a big game of returns and some big receptions just like his hometown hero. But Jalin's being patient with his own unfolding pro career.
"Things are good, man. We got a good win last week," he said. "As long as we keep winning, I'll be good."
Shell Throws His Weight AroundIf you watched the replay of Matt Forte's 1-yard touchdown run against the Ravens, you might have had one lingering question: Who was that Number 72?
That was Jets rookie tackle Brandon Shell, who lined up at TE in the Jets' "heavy" goal line package. Then he plowed Matt Judon back and into the pursuit path of two other Baltimore 'backers while TE Brandon Bostick kicked out S Anthony Levine, opening the gaping right-side hole for Forté.
"Yeah, it felt great," Shell said, "just being out there for my first NFL play."
True enough. Shell, who's the great nephew of former All-Pro T Art Shell, got a lot of action in all four preseason games and made the active roster, but had yet to play a down until making like a Raven roadgrader.
"I was kind of juiced up just to play. I just went out there and did my job," Shell said. "We practice goal line every week and I said I hope we get in goal line so I get a chance to play, and it happened."
Shell also appeared on five field goal/extra point plays. So his Jets career has been cleared for takeoff.
The Jets Practiced Indoors in Florham Park on Thursday
Injury ReportThe Jets' injury report was only slightly better today. Ten players didn't practice, eight from Wednesday's DNP list — Bruce Carter, Ryan Clady, Lee, Nick Mangold, Brent Qvale, Sheldon Richardson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Buster Skrine — plus two who were limited the day before — Forté and Antonio Allen. Four Wednesday DNPs were limited today — Kellen Davis, Brandon Marshall, Bilal Powell and Muhammad Wilkerson.
Coach Todd Bowles doesn't have to declare game status until Friday but he said LBs Lee and Carter and OL Qvale won't play Sunday. For Mangold (ankle), he said, "It doesn't look good right now ... but we'll hold out another day or so." Forté's knee is not an issue and Richardson (non-injury), who missed two practices, is expected back Friday.