When you lose a 6'4", 360-pounder, you're not going to replace him with just one guy. The Jets know that the absence of Kris Jenkins on the field creates an obvious hole in the defense, and they're going to take the committee approach in replacing him.
Sione Pouha, Marques Douglas, Mike DeVito and Howard Green, among others, will fill the gap on the D-line starting Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
"He's such a great player and I've learned so much from watching him," DeVito told newyorkjets.com. "The confidence level with him out there, you realize that's a big link missing, so all of us will have to step up and try to fill those shoes."
"He will be sorely missed," said Douglas. "We have guys here who might not be as large as him in stature, but they can play the game also. One guy's downfall is another guy's opportunity."
With Jenkins in the lineup, the Bills ran 13 times for 49 yards. After he went out with 5:19 remaining in the second quarter, they carried 29 times for 93 yards.
The Raiders are expected to turn to their ground game as well.
"They are going to try to test us on the run," said Green, released last week and re-signed this week. "Everybody is going to try and test you on the run to see where you are at and see where you stand and then gauge you from there. I think we just have to go out there, knock them off the ball, play our technique, play our gaps and we should be fine up front."
The Raiders are still playing without starting RB Darren McFadden (ankle), who is listed as out for the Jets. They have replaced him with RBs Michael Bush and Justin Fargas, but have only been able to put up 88.5 yards per game on the ground all-year (28th in the NFL). Pouha still sees the two-headed attack as a threat.
"They rotate them but they basically have their own little niche," he said. "They're hard runners, they're fast runners, they're guys that are not afraid to hit the hole or take it out and speed it up."
Last week the Raiders beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 13-9, at Oakland Coliseum, running 35 times while passing 28.
"I think they'll use the same approach. They came in with their game plan and they executed it," said Pouha. "They just took advantage of the opportunities they had, their big playmakers, No. 80 [TE Zach Miller] and [JaMarcus] Russell. They just made the right plays at the right time, their big-time players made the big-time plays, and they were able to come out with that win."
Miller is Russell's most utilized target in the passing game, leading the Silver & Black with 21 receptions for 354 yards.
Green knows Russell personally, having met him during one summer working out at their alma mater, LSU. Russell, the NFL's first overall draft pick in 2007, is a big guy to take down at 6'6", 260, but he's been sacked 17 times already through six games and has lost four fumbles, three against New York's NFC representatives a few weeks ago in a 44-7 defeat.
But he would like to build off of the momentum from last week's victory against the Eagles in which he went 17-for-28 for 224 yards and a TD.
"He's getting his confidence level up and we can't afford to let him get his confidence level at a point where he's comfortable," said Green. "We have to keep somebody in his face at all times because with any quarterback if you give them time and they get comfortable, they will complete balls. We just have to make him stand back there and hold the ball."
With Big Jenks out for the first time all season, the four defensive linemen will have a tough task at hand. But that's where No. 77's leadership skills can come in handy.
"Kris is a big influence, he's a mentor, he's a tutor, he's a big brother, he's a big bear, he's a big everything," said Pouha. "His spirit is probably just as big. We can still feel him."