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Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Jets with, without S Jim Leonhard

By James Walker

The New York Jets are in an eerily similar spot this year without starting free safety Jim Leonhard.

The quarterback of New York’s secondary will miss the final stretch of games for the second consecutive season following a knee injury Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Leonhard was put on injured reserve.

In 2010, Leonhard broke his shin in practice before Week 13 and things didn't go well for New York's defense. The Jets were just 2-3 without Leonhard and, according to ESPN's Stats and Information, allowed 5.4 more points per game.

The difference this year is the Jets (8-5) did not get off to a fast start. The Jets are fighting for their playoffs lives and cannot afford to lose three games down the stretch like they did last season. New York controls its own playoff destiny but has to win out to guarantee the sixth seed in the AFC.

Beackup safety Brodney Pool has the important assignment of filling in for Leonhard the rest of the year. Pool is the team’s most athletic safety. But the team loses versatility and deep knowledge of the defense without Leonhard.