FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Trenton Cannon is ready for an increased workload.
Bilal Powell’s season-ending neck injury has moved Cannon up to the No. 2 running back spot behind Isaiah Crowell. Cannon is looking to build off his best game as a pro when the Jets play in Chicago on Sunday.
The speedy rookie caught a 35-yard pass on a wheel route and led the Jets with four catches and 69 receiving yards against the Vikings. Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates believes it gave Cannon a huge confidence boost.
“I think he feels like he belongs in the league now,” Bates said Thursday. “I was excited to see him go in there and feel like he belongs in the National Football League. Once you make that mark for yourself, the sky’s the limit. You’re in the National Football League for a reason. You’ve got to believe in it. He showed he believed.”
Cannon, a sixth-round pick out of Virginia State, said he always believed. Now he wants to show he can do more when asked to do more.
“I feel good, especially to be able to play and get the opportunity to do so,” he said. “My job is to be ready when my name is called. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Jets special teams coach Brant Boyer believes Cannon eventually can become an explosive and dynamic returner in the mold of the Bears’ Tarik Cohen. Cannon dropped or muffed too many punts in camp and the preseason, so that’s been put on hold. The Jets need him to fill a void in the backfield, and Cannon has shown he can run and catch the ball. “Anything within the offense,’’ he said, “I can do it.”
The Jets hope Cannon can provide a spark for a banged-up offensive unit.
“I feel like he’s a game-changer” receiver Jermaine Kearse said. “He has tremendous speed and explosive ability. We got to see a little bit of him this past game. So it will be pretty cool to see what aspect he can bring to the game this Sunday and see how he can change it for us.”
Todd Bowles said there was a “misunderstanding” and that Powell’s neck injury is not career-threatening. Powell has a bulging disc in his neck and will undergo surgery, but Bowles said, “He is expected to recover fully next year.” Quincy Enunwa had the same thing and missed all of last season.
Center Spencer Long (finger/knee) didn’t practice for the second straight day. He left Sunday’s loss with the knee issue. If he can’t play Sunday, Bowles said Jonotthan Harrison or Dakota Dozier will replace him . . . Trumaine Johnson (quadriceps) did not practice and is trending toward missing his fourth straight game . . . Marcus Maye (thumb) and Buster Skrine (concussion) were limited. Maye still hasn’t tested it out. Skrine remains in concussion protocol.