FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - As expected, Jets star defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (hamstring) has been ruled out of Friday night's preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons.
"I've seen progress, but he still has some work to do," Jets coach Todd Bowles said Wednesday. "A tweak to me means you're out a day or two then you come back, but obviously it's been bothering him longer than that, so he's getting the necessary help and he's getting better."
Defensive lineman Ronald Talley also sat out Wednesday's practice with a groin injury and there's a good chance he won't play, either. If that's the case, then Stephen Bowen and Leonard Williams will take their place. The absence of Wilkerson and Talley also means Bowles likely will be forced to give Sheldon Richardson reps with the first-team defense.
Since news of his arrest last month in Missouri, the Pro Bowler and 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year has been relegated to mostly second-team work in practice.
Against the Lions last Friday, the defensive tackle played just five snaps with backups. But Bowles said Richardson will "probably play a little bit more in this game. He might play a little bit with the ones. We're down a few people. If they're not back, we're going to have to play people a lot longer."
No sideline for Geno
Geno Smith attended meetings at the Jets facility for the second straight day. But Bowles made it clear that Smith won't be spotted on the sideline during Friday's game. "All the injured players won't be on the sideline, that's just policy. That's my policy," the coach said, referring to Smith, whose jaw was broken by former teammate IK Enemkpali last week in the locker room.
Last week, Wilkerson flew to Detroit in hopes of suiting up for the game. But Bowles said Wilkerson, like Smith, won't be on the sideline Friday either. "We've already got 90 guys in camp. Everybody is in the way," the coach said. "If we run a gunner on the punt team and he gets pushed into the sideline and somebody can't get out of the way, they're going to get hurt. We just err on the side of caution and just eliminate the problem."