Four years after he suffered a gruesome season-ending ankle injury against the Browns, Jets QB Trevor Siemian will start against Cleveland for the first time since the injury with hopes of replicating last week's success on offense in front of the Dawg Pound.
"It was bad," Siemian said about the injury. "I think my diagnosis wasn't as bad as it looked, I didn't break anything, so kind of got lucky there. I was trying to go back in that game, just couldn't do it. I was back early in the next year, so I don't think it was as bad as it looked, because it did look pretty gnarly, but yeah, I'm alright and it is good to be back."
Midway through the second quarter of the Jets' Week 2 matchup with Cleveland in 2019, Siemian rolled out to his right and took a big hit from All-Pro DL Myles Garrett. The seven-year veteran's leg bent backward as he hit the ground and he sustained a Grade 3 ligament tear in his ankle.
"It's part of the game, obviously, but not a lot of great memories from that night," Siemian said. "I think I played a quarter and then that happened. Yeah, not one of the highlights of my career, for sure."
The injuryended Siemian's first stint in New York after one start. He was ruled out for the season and signed with theSaints the next year. Back with the Jets in 2023, Siemian earned redemption with his first win as a starter since Week 15 of 2017, helping New York to a 30-28 win against the Commanders in Week 16.
Siemian completed 27-of-49 pass attempts for 217 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception and led an 8-play 31-yard drive to set up a 54-yard game-winning field goal by K Greg Zuerlein.
"It was good, and we had a good rhythm in the first half," Siemian said. "Obviously had some short fields, but like everyone else, we're just trying to find that consistency and stay in flow, and if we do that, we have a chance."
With Zach Wilson still in the concussion protocol, Siemian will start for the second straight week and get another opportunity to rewrite history. It will be no small task.
After going against a Commanders defense that ranked last in points and yards allowed last week, on Thursday night, the Jets' offense and Siemian will have to find to a way to score against a Cleveland D that ranks first in yards allowed (260 per game) and first downs allowed (14.3 per game).
"They're good at all three levels," Siemian said. "Upfront, obviously with the two edge guys, their whole front is great, they have players at linebacker, and then their DBs are sticky, so a great challenge, they do a lot of things really well, so there's a reason for the success they've had this year."
Garrett, a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, leads the unit with 13 sacks, 26 QB hits and 32 pressures. LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is atop the team in tackles (90) and third in the NFL with 18 tackles for loss.
"He can do everything," Siemian said of Garrett. "Speed, power, they move him around. Sudden. When you think he's running the corner, he'll bull rush, so it's important to know where he's at for sure. He's a problem."
Last week, Siemian found a rhythm with the talented second-year skill players WR Garrett Wilson and RB Breece Hall. The duo combined for 21 receptions and totaled 267 of the Jets 381 yards last Sunday.
Siemian plans to keep pushing the ball to Hall and Wilson when the Jets visit FirstEnergy Stadium, but within the confines of the gameplan.
"There's sometimes you tell yourself it's not that hard to get those guys the ball, but obviously you have to play the game," Siemian said. "And things happen and sometimes they're taken away or a play doesn't call for them getting the ball, so it's a combination, but certainly good things happen when those two guys touch the ball."