Seven days now remain until the Jets' season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
The preseason, which concluded Thursday night in Philadelphia, wasn't pretty for the Green & White. But it might have been different had a few notable wide receivers not been sidelined with injuries.
Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley and Chaz Schilens all missed significant time during training camp and the preseason. Holmes and Kerley saw limited action against Carolina, while Schilens didn't play a snap in any of the contests.
Holmes, the former Super Bowl XLIII MVP, battled through back, rib and hamstring injuries. Kerley hurt his hamstring the opening day of camp at SUNY Cortland. Schilens encountered the same injury before later spraining his ankle.
"I've been running a couple of days this week so it's been feeling better and better every day," Schilens said Friday before the team broke for the weekend. "I'm just looking forward to getting back out and helping the team win."
The 6'4" 225-pound Schilens is familiar with injuries. While a member of the Oakland Raiders in 2009, he missed almost half the season due to a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot. The following year he played in only five games due to other physical setbacks.
"It's something I've dealt with for a while," he said. "But all I can do is, when I'm healthy, go out there and bust my butt. So that's what I'm going to do."
While it's clear that Holmes is the team's No. 1 receiver, Schilens, in his first year with the Green & White, isn't sure what his role will be. He stated that he plans to leave that decision in the hands of head coach Rex Ryan and his position coach, Sanjay Lal.
"I'm just going to be available," Schilens said. "Available to play special teams and try to help Mike Westhoff out in any way I can and just go from there."
All three are expected to be ready to go a week from today. And as they continue on the road back to full strength, they also understand that there are doubters regarding the Jets offense, based on what they witnessed during the preseason. But Holmes had a message for those naysayers.
"That's not one of my concerns. Neither should it be for anyone else that wears a green jersey," he said. "It's not how many people are doubting us, it's about what we believe in in this locker room, how hard we're going to go out and compete each and every week, and how badly we want to win every ballgame this season."
"Depending on how hard we work and how bad we want it, then I think all the details and results will show come gameday," Holmes added. "We have a lot to work on. At this point all bets are off and it's time is to get the ball rolling."