FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Reinforcements are coming. Well, at least a few.
The New York Jets are expected to get wide receivers Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole back this week, with both possibly able to play in the home opener Sunday against New England after they sat out Week 1.
Crowder has been on the COVID-19 list, while Cole is dealing with a knee injury.
“It's going to be huge, man,” said fellow wide receiver Corey Davis, who had five catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns last week. “Jamison and Keelan, they're a big presence in our offense and they both do different things and bring different things to the table, which elevates our offense.”
Crowder, the Jets' leading receiver the past two seasons, went on the COVID-19 list on Sept. 3 after testing positive for the coronavirus. Crowder, who's vaccinated, has been working through symptoms. He should be cleared Thursday, which will put him on track to play Sunday.
“He’s got to clear one more day today,” coach Robert Saleh said. “So he’s progressing along fine. We’re expecting him to progress.”
Before he tested positive for COVID-19, Crowder was also dealing with a groin injury that Saleh said the receiver has no issues with now.
Cole tweaked his knee in practice last Thursday and was scratched for the game. He was back practicing Wednesday on a limited basis, an encouraging sign he could be ready to play against New England.
That's good news on the injury front, which has been mostly dismal lately with left tackle Mekhi Becton, safety Lamarcus Joyner, linebacker Blake Casman and punter Braden Mann all going on injured reserve this week. The Jets also lost defensive end Carl Lawson for the season in training camp.
Along with Davis and rookie Elijah Moore, Crowder and Cole are two of the Jets' top four wide receivers. So having all of them available for rookie quarterback Zach Wilson should help an offense that struggled in the first half of its 19-14 loss at Carolina last Sunday.
“Those guys do things the right way, they’re where they’re supposed to be,” Saleh said of Crowder and Cole. “They’re all gas, 100% of the time and they’re reliable. So, for a quarterback you can’t ask for much more than that. To have two more options on the football field for that quarterback is priceless.”
Even without Crowder and Cole, Wilson finished with respectable numbers in his debut. The No. 2 overall pick threw for 258 yards and the two TDs to Davis. But he was also chased all game, with the offensive line giving him little protection, especially in the first half. He was hit 10 times, sacked six and pressured 14.
Having a few more veteran receivers on the field should help open up things downfield for Wilson.
“Yeah, for sure, because it still comes down to everybody being on the same page,” Saleh said. “We talk about quarterback pressures and all that, it’s everybody being on the same page and collectively working within the timing of a play. That’s how it all works. From offensive linemen blocking, first and foremost, but receivers running the right routes, being where they're supposed to be, and the quarterback delivering it when he needs to deliver it. So, it’s all encompassing.”
DECISION FOR BECTON
Becton, who dislocated his right kneecap at Carolina, is still evaluating whether he will have surgery.
NFL Network reported Tuesday that Becton also has a sprained MCL and would have surgery to remove damaged cartilage.
“He’s still going through it,” Saleh said. “They’re still going through their second opinion.”
The Jets' first-round pick last year is expected to miss a minimum of four to six weeks. If he elects to have surgery, it could push the timetable on his return into November.
“It depends on the second opinion,” Saleh said. “So yeah, obviously, if surgery happens, it would require a little bit more.”
With Joyner out for the season with a torn triceps, the Jets need someone to step up and take his starting spot opposite Marcus Maye.
Sheldrick Redwine filled in for Joyner last Sunday after he was injured, but New York signed Jarrod Wilson from the practice squad. The Jets also have Adrian Colbert, who played at Carolina, on the practice squad.
“All three of them have history in our system,” Saleh said. “And all three of them will have a shot at it.”
NOTES: Rookie LB Jamien Sherwood (ankle) didn't practice and Saleh said he'll probably need another week or so to return. ... The Jets waived CB/KR Corey Ballentine from the injured reserve list. ... Saleh on making his home debut with the Jets playing in front of fans at MetLife Stadium for the first time Dec. 22, 2019: “I think I speak for everybody, fans included, that it’s exciting, it’s going to be awesome,” Saleh said. “It’s been a long time since the building had Jets fans in it and I’m really excited to be on the right sideline when the chant gets going and when things start rolling. It’s going to be electric, it’s going to be awesome.”
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL