Man, things have gotten dire for the Jets.
"Whoever’s got a pulse right now" has to be ready to play, Adam Gase said about the Jets’ game at Indianapolis on Sunday.
The Jets’ injury report on Thursday had 17 names on it. The Colts had four.
Fantasy team owners should pick up the Colts’ defense if they haven’t already. The Jets will be without their lead running back, top three receivers and perhaps two starting offensive linemen.
"We’re down to whoever’s available," Gase said.
Indianapolis (1-1) has the NFL’s No. 1 defense and the Jets (0-2) have the worst offense. It’s hard to see them improving on Sunday.
Gase hasn’t ruled out anyone yet. But wide receiver Breshad Perriman (ankle) isn’t expected to play. Gase classified slot receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring) as doubtful. Running back Le’Veon Bell and rookie wide receiver Denzel Mims remain on IR with hamstring injuries.
Connor McGovern (hamstring) hasn’t practiced this week, and right tackle George Fant suffered a concussion during team drills on Wednesday. He’s now in the concussion protocol.
If Fant can’t go, Chuma Edoga would start. Josh Andrews would slide in for McGovern. Frank Gore, 37, will be the lead back. The starting receiving corps will be Chris Hogan, Braxton Berrios and Josh Malone, who was signed from the practice squad to the active roster this week.
Lawrence Cager, an undrafted rookie free agent receiver, likely will be elevated from the practice squad this week. The Jets had only four healthy receivers last week and then lost Hogan for series due to a rib issue. Hogan was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but he’s expected to play.
"As a team it’s about coming to work every single day, not letting it faze us and it’s not going to faze us," Sam Darnold said of all the injuries. "It’s the next-man-up mentality. That’s how we look at it."
The Jets went into this season with optimism, but they have started miserably – all the way around.
They’re winless. They have been outscored 42-6 in the first half. Teams have run all over their defense. Two veteran defensive players said practices are slow and sluggish. Gase has come under fire for how poor the offense has played. All the injuries to key playmakers have just exacerbated the situation.
It was that way for the Jets in Gase’s first season as coach. They lost C.J. Mosley in Week 1 to a groin injury. Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa suffered a neck injury in that game and was lost for the season. Darnold was diagnosed with mononucleosis before Week 2 and was out for three games.
But Gase doesn’t want to play the "Woe is us" card, and say he and the Jets are snakebitten.
"I look at it as if we’re the only team going through this it would be one thing," Gase said. "You’re seeing guys going down left and right whether it be in practice or games. We’re having soft-tissue things happen to us. It seems a lot of these other teams are going through major, major season-ending type injuries."
Gase wondered whether these injuries are happening because the players are "not hardened enough" because camp was different and there was no preseason due to COVID-19.
Other Jets who didn’t practice Thursday were Gore (rest day), rookie safety Ashtyn Davis (groin), cornerback Quincy Wilson (concussion) and defensive tackle Steve McLendon. He had to undergo COVID testing after missing practice Wednesday for personal reasons.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Jets after Sunday. They host the Broncos next Thursday. Gase hopes Crowder can return for that game. He doesn’t think Perriman will. Bell and Mims will miss those games as well, but both are eligible to return for Week 5 against the Cardinals.
"We’re trying to do different things to protect soft-tissue injuries," Gase said. "Right now, it seems like we’re having one every week or we’re having a couple in a game. We’re going to keep working and trying to find the answer to it."