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Jets looking for right combination at starting cornerback

Jets defensive back Bless Austin defends on defense

Jets defensive back Bless Austin defends on defense against Kansas City on Nov. 1 in Kansas City, Mo. Credit: AP/G. Newman Lowrance

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Jets are young and inexperienced in the cornerback room and have been rotating different players with the first-team defense.

Robert Saleh said he’s looking for something very specific in his two starters.

"Can you win on third down?" the first-year head coach said. "That’s pretty much it. It’s that simple."

Third-year corner Bless Austin and Bryce Hall, a fifth-round pick last year, have spent the most time with the starters. But rookies Brandin Echols and Isaiah Dunn have gotten some first-team run over the last couple of days.

Saleh said they’re being rewarded for their work and performance thus far, and the coaches are looking at and evaluating everyone and how they do in different situations and against different players.

"They come in all shapes and sizes," Saleh said, "but the dog mentality, the ability to win in man coverage, the fearlessness to get up there in press and win one-on-ones, that’s what matters. At the end of the day, when it’s crunch time and you’ve got to win in football."

Right now, second-year players Javelin Guidry, Elijah Campbell and rookie Michael Carter II are competing to be the starting slot corner.

Down and out

Defensive end John Franklin-Myers left practice Thursday with a shoulder injury. Left guard Alex Lewis was being evaluated for a concussion. Tight end Daniel Brown suffered a left hamstring injury.

Left guard Alijah Vera-Tucker (right-pec strain) worked out on the side for the second straight day. The Jets are thin at left guard. Dan Feeney has been working with the first team.

"The O-line has taken a little bit of a hit in terms of nagging injuries," Saleh said. "There’s nothing long term. You never want it to all happen at one position, but it’s getting thin pretty quick."

Two-minute drill

Special teams coordinator Brant Boyer said the Jets cut kicker Sam Ficken and signed Matt Ammendola "because the whole building just thought it was time to get a guy in here, another young leg to compete for the job." Ammendola, undrafted in 2020, is competing with undrafted rookie free agent Chris Naggar for the kicking spot.

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