FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Jets will go into Sunday’s game in Cleveland minus key starters and reserves.
Starting running back Matt Forte, ruled out with turf toe, will miss his second consecutive game and be replaced by Bilal Powell.
Backup defensive end Kony Ealy suffered a shoulder injury in last week’s victory over the Jaguars and didn’t practice this week. “Listen to the coaches and get ready for next week,” Ealy said after Friday’s practice. “Just taking precautions and make sure nothing is nicked up.”
Ealy underwent tests for the shoulder, got a second opinion and is expected to play Oct. 15 against the Patriots. He is coming off his best game, having intercepted a pass and knocked down four more.
The Jets also ruled out cornerback Darryl Roberts (hamstring), who had taken over the starting job from Juston Burris. Burris, who didn’t practice, is questionable with a foot injury suffered in practice this week. Outside linebacker Josh Martin will miss his second consecutive game with an ankle injury.
The loss of Martin limits what the Jets can do with their defensive packages. Usually a 3-4 team, the Jets could start in nickel coverage. However, with cornerbacks Burris and Roberts hurt, it raises questions about who will play where. The Jets could move Marcus Williams to nickel and insert rookie Derrick Jones, who has yet to play this season, on passing downs. With Martin out, they could switch fullback Law rence Thomas back to defensive end. He was moved to fullback this week, even changing his jersey from No. 97 to 44.
“Regardless of everybody being healthy or one man, two men being down, everybody got to step up,” backup defensive end/linebacker David Bass said. “Got to step up any time your number is called. It’s unfortunate we got a couple of guys injured or out, whatever the case.”
The offense is not without its own issues.
“It’s week to week; I don’t look at none of that hype,” Powell said. “I just go about what I’m coached [to do] throughout the week and try to learn the game plan and learn my opponent and just go out and try to execute on Sundays.”
Powell and rookie Elijah McGuire totaled 256 rushing yards last week. “Every week is different,” coach Todd Bowles said. “Obviously, we try to run the ball every week. Just got to see how the game goes. We just got to establish it.”
Notes & quotes: Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder) is questionable but is expected to play . . . The Jets have a roster spot available and might promote wide receiver Jalin Marshall, who is eligible to come off his four-game PED suspension. They also could use the roster spot for a defensive end.