As if injuries to Jets quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith weren't enough, Todd Bowles' rookie season as head coach has been complicated by a sudden spate of injuries at other key positions.
The availability of center Nick Mangold, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, safety Calvin Pryor and nickel cornerback Buster Skrine is uncertain against Jacksonville on Sunday.
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Mangold (neck) and Pryor (ankle) still are on the mend from injuries that kept them out of Sunday's loss in Oakland. Marshall came out of that game nursing painful right toe and left ankle injuries, and Skrine (shoulder) left the game and did not return with his injury.
Playing without Mangold, who essentially is the quarterback of the offensive line, and without Fitzpatrick was a blow, but Bowles was satisfied with the performance of backups Smith and Wesley Johnson.
"I didn't think it was that damaging because Geno has played in games," Bowles said. "He's a starting-caliber quarterback. I thought he did some good things. I thought Wesley fought. We didn't drop off too much there. It's damaging if you let it be damaging, but I thought those guys fought pretty hard."
Tackling a problem
Tackling was a big problem for a Jets defense that ranked among the NFL's best before yielding 333 yards passing to Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and 113 yards rushing to running back Latavius Murray. "The effort was poor all the way across the board," linebacker David Harris said. "We had way too many guys not hustling on every play, and it hurt us.
"Yeah, it alarms everybody. We know we're not that defense . . . We watched the film, and it was disgusting to look at. Everybody in that room had the same feeling. I can promise you it won't happen again."
Bowles said the Jets still can work on tackling in practice. "We can clean that up," he said. "And we will."
For the second straight game, the rushing attack went nowhere as running backs Chris Ivory and Zac Stacy combined to gain only 28 of the Jets' 74 rushing yards. "Obviously, we have to get better," tackle Breno Giacomini said. "All 11 guys have to be on the same page for something to work. It starts with us upfront. We have to communicate better and just put a hat on a hat."