FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Muhammad Wilkerson has “played OK” so far, according to Todd Bowles. But the Jets coach expects to see an improved Wilkerson down the stretch.
The defensive end’s lack of production — 21⁄2 sacks in 10 games — is glaring. But it was Wilkerson’s lack of explosiveness that initially caught Bowles’ eye.
“Early in the year I saw a little bit of it,” he said on Monday. “He’s still getting the kinks out of it sometimes. But he’s feeling a lot better now, so I expect to see a lot better Mo.”
Wilkerson had a career-high 12 sacks in 2015 before breaking his right fibula in Week 17. This season, he admitted playing through pain in his right ankle. After recording 11⁄2 sacks in Week 1, he didn’t notch another one until Week 8.
Bowles doesn’t think the ankle injury is still affecting him though. “I asked him and he said it wasn’t,” said Bowles, adding that Wilkerson is still “trying to get in a groove” and has so far “played OK.”
Sheldon Richardson’s production is also down — 11⁄2 sacks in 10 games after posting five in 11 games last season. Bowles, however, isn’t too alarmed. “The ball is coming out quicker. Obviously, [he and Wilkerson] get paid attention to a lot more. The double teams are there. The outside linebackers have got to win some. It’s just part of it. They’re playing hard. I’m happy with the way [Richardson and Wilkerson] are playing. We just haven’t had a chance. Disrupting the quarterback sometimes is just as important as getting the sack. We just haven’t gotten sacks.”
Luck practices fully
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (concussion) participated fully, telling reporters: “[I] feel great.” Though he still needs to be cleared by an independent neurologist, he’s expected to play.
Nick Mangold (ankle) participated in position drills, but when asked about the center’s progress, Bowles said: “We’ll see how the week goes with him. It’s early.” . . . Former Panthers OT Donald Hawkins was signed to the practice squad.