FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Quincy Enunwa is ready for prime time — anybody who’s watched the Jets for the first two weeks of the season can attest to that. But Sunday afternoon’s game against the Chiefs might test whether or not the wide receiver has the chops to be a leading man.
Brandon Marshall is still not practicing with what’s now being listed as a foot injury (he appeared to twist his knee rather gruesomely against the Bills last week, but returned to the game) and Eric Decker has been limited with a shoulder injury. While Decker said he’s confident that he can play, the focus now shifts to Enunwa. He’s led the team in receiving yards this year, but has done so with some formidable protection, courtesy of the Jets’ top two wideouts.
Todd Bowles, though, didn’t seem overly concerned. The Jets haven’t ruled out Marshall completely — it will likely be a game-day decision, he said — and even if he’s limited on Sunday, the team seems confident that Enunwa can handle the extra load.
“This thing [that’s improved] is his offseason work ethic,” Bowles said of Enunwa, who has 13 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown this year. “He was trying to get better with his hands, with his feet, and running routes, and I think he’s cleaned a lot of that stuff up. He’s learned the offense another year so he’s gotten a lot better that way.”
Enunwa has always been a top-rate blocker — at this point, he’s tired of being asked if he’s as much a tight end as a receiver, he said — but his route running has shown considerable improvement and his knowledge of the offense has “freed him up” this season, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. Gailey isn’t sure if Marshall will be healthy enough to play, either, but he noted that Enunwa’s adaptability works well with the Jets’ current uncertainty.
“He’s done an excellent job with what we’ve been asking him to do,” Gailey said. “I think if you ask him to do something this week, he’ll respond the same way . . . I think he’ll do well.”
Enunwa takes it all in stride. His job is to be a playmaker, he said, in whatever capacity the Jets need him to be. He doesn’t predict any significant changes in how he prepares and the Jets have a bevy of other offensive options — Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Forte proved that well enough in last week’s 37-31 win over the Bills.
“I don’t think that’s really going to affect anything that happens in the game,” he said. “We’re going to kind of work the same way we have.”
Even if defenses now target him more specifically, “we have so many weapons,” he added, “so I don’t know how much they can do.”
While he’s certainly noticed some of the hype, he says — more than once — that “it’s only been two games.”
“I think that I knew with my work, some good things will happen and it’s kind of been coming to fruition,” Enunwa said. “I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable. I’m having a lot more fun and I think when you think less, it’s a lot easier to go out and do what you’re supposed to do. When you’re out there and you can just play freely, it makes the game so much better.”