New York Jets’ defense is preparing for a boost
Reinforcements are starting to arrive.
The New York Jets have dealt with a plethora of injuries this season, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Three projected starters who were added in free agency – Carl Lawson, Lamarcus Joyner, and Vinny Curry – will miss the entire season (save for a handful of Joyner snaps in Week 1). Numerous other key contributors have missed time as well.
But things are starting to stabilize. Second-year safety Ashtyn Davis made his season debut in Week 4 after missing the entire offseason while recovering from foot surgery. Solid veteran backup safety Sharrod Neasman also returned in Week 4 after beginning the season on injured reserve.
Two big additions are on their way as the Jets prepare for a rematch with the Patriots in Week 7.
Starting safety Marcus Maye (ankle) and starting linebacker Jarrad Davis (ankle) are on a day-to-day status. Head coach Robert Saleh said it is looking “promising” that both return this week.
Maye played every snap over the Jets’ first three games but was placed on injured reserve after Week 3 due to an ankle injury that was expected to keep him out three to four weeks. Upon his return, he will certainly be grilled with questions about the trade rumors that began surfacing following his injury.
The fifth-year Florida product returns to a safety unit that has been operating with a rotational approach during his absence. Sharrod Neasman played 79% of the defensive snaps from Weeks 4-5 while Jarrod Wilson played 63% and Ashtyn Davis played 42%.
Jarrad Davis was set to start at linebacker next to C.J. Mosley after signing a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Jets in free agency. He suffered an ankle injury in the team’s second preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on Aug. 21 and was given a two-month recovery timetable.
Saleh’s initial prognosis was that Davis would return “around the bye week,” so it seems the former Lion’s recovery is on schedule.
Davis’ starting spot as the second every-down linebacker beside Mosley was filled by Quincy Williams, who has been a highlight-reel machine.
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Williams’ splashy plays are often balanced out by quite a few big mistakes, but he has been committing fewer blunders each week. His Week 5 game against Atlanta was his best from a consistency standpoint.
Jamien Sherwood has served as the No. 3 linebacker over the past three weeks, playing 36% of the defensive snaps on average. He typically enters the game when the Jets use their base 4-3 package.
It appears that Davis will take back his starting spot beside Mosley once he returns. On Oct. 11, Saleh said Davis will get “full game reps” when healthy.
“When healthy, he’s a starter in this league,” Saleh said of Davis.
Davis’ insertion into the starting lineup would likely knock Williams down to the No. 3 role and relegate Sherwood to a special teams role.