FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Jets’ defensive line has uncertainty heading into Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. At least four defensive linemen were on Thursday’s injury report, and backup defensive end Kony Ealy missed the last two days of practice with an excused absence.
Starter Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder) didn’t practice for the second straight day, and fellow starter Leonard Williams (wrist) was limited in Thursday’s practice.
There was some good news as defensive tackle Steve McLendon was listed on the report with a hamstring issue, but he was a full participant.
Coach Todd Bowles didn’t seem concerned about the health of his line citing backups, Lawrence Thomas and quite possibly David Bass, who is an outside linebacker but has played end in a 3-4 scheme before, as possible replacements.
Wilkerson and Williams have each said they expect to play against the Jags, but Ealy’s status is in question. Bowles said he wasn’t sure if Ealy could play Sunday if he misses practice on Friday.
“We’ll see, he’s got something that he’s dealing with right now,” Bowles said of Ealy. “We’ll get the other guys reps and if they have to play they’ll play.”
Winters returns, Forte still out
Starting right guard Brian Winters practiced fully for the first time since injuring his abdomen in the Week 2 loss at Oakland. Dakota Dozier replaced him in the lineup for the Dolphins game. Winters is expected to start Sunday. Starting running back Matt Forte (toe) walked with a limp in the locker room after he didn’t practice on Thursday. If the Jets don’t play Forte, a rotation of backs would involve Bilal Powell, rookie Elijah McGuire and newly signed Travaris Cadet. Offensive coordinator John Morton said Cadet gives the team some flexibility where he catches balls out of the backfield and is pretty good in pass protection.
Safety Rontez Miles (eye) was a full participant in practice for the second straight day and should be ready to contribute on special teams Sunday . . . Bowles said he’s open to playing three safeties — Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye and Terrence Brooks — at the same time based on certain situations. Brooks picked off two passes against the Dolphins — one on defense, the other on special teams.