One possible explanation for Washington gaining a three-point halftime lead over the Jets last Sunday before losing, 34-20, was the loss of nickel cornerback Buster Skrine to a first-quarter concussion. But hey, it was the Redskins, and the Jets got by with backup Dexter McDougle.
Facing the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots at Gillette Stadium this Sunday is a far more complicated problem, which is why the Jets were heartened to see Skrine practice Friday on a limited basis for the second straight day.
Although he still had two more steps to complete in the concussion protocol, Skrine is listed as probable and is expected to play against Tom Brady and Co.
"I've been running around the past two days," Skrine said. "I feel good . . . My second year, I got a concussion in Dallas, and I came back the next game. I knew what it was all about. I was just going to make sure my head was good so I can come back."
Asked if it's a risk to return so quickly, Skrine smiled and said, "No risk, no risk."
Trying to contain a multi-faceted pass attack that features slot receiver Julian Edelman, tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back Dion Lewis is risky business no matter how you slice it, but the degree of difficulty would go up without Skrine's availability, especially to cover Edelman in the slot.
"He carries a fire about himself," Skrine said of Edelman. "I like the way he plays. He's a real shifty guy. He has a lot of misdirection routes, and he can go deep. He's a complete receiver. That's why he's their No. 1 receiver. I've got a lot of respect for him.
"It's going to be a good challenge for them, too, against our defense. It's the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense."
The Jets are first in the NFL in total defense, allowing 269.2 yards per game, and the Patriots rank second in total offense (422.4). In terms of scoring, the Jets allow the fewest points in the NFL (15.0) and the Pats score the most (36.6).
After getting banged by Washington receiver Pierre Garçon and having his head knocked awkwardly to the left, Skrine immediately knew he had suffered a concussion.
Describing the symptoms, Skrine said, "Everything is just real cloudy, the game is real cloudy. I couldn't register what play was being called, so I came out."
Skrine worried that he might miss the New England game. "Yeah, I didn't know if I was going to play or not," he said. "I was just hoping every time I woke up I felt better. I felt better on Tuesday, so I came in and we started going through the protocol."
"If he's healthy," Jets coach Todd Bowles said, "we're happy to have Buster."