Friday, September 27, 2013
Green Day: Jets coping with injuries
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Barring a dramatic change, cornerback Dee Milliner and running back Chris Ivory -- both dealing with hamstring injuries -- probably won't play Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. Time to analyze the contingency plans.
As of Thursday night, the Jets still were holding out hope for Ivory. If he's ruled out, they could wind up dressing only three running backs -- Bilal Powell, Alex Green and rookie fullback Tommy Bohanon. That sounds like a dangerously low number, but they believe Bohanon is capable of playing tailback in a pinch. They can also use third-string tight end Konrad Reuland as a fullback; he lined up in the backfield at times last season, when he was deployed as an H-back.
They will get some help next week, when Mike Goodson returns from his suspension. The Ivory situation has to be frustrating for the Jets, but his durability issues weren't a secret. That was the knock on him with the New Orleans; the Jets knew exactly what they were getting. Sure, he has talent, but talent doesn't help the team from the trainer's room.
Milliner appears worse off than Ivory. At cornerback, Rex Ryan hinted that he'd like start Darrin Walls in the base defense, with Kyle Wilson playing in nickel situations. Wilson will play a lot because the Titans will be in a three-receiver package for most of the game.
Ryan bristled when it was suggested that Milliner, who missed half the preseason with an Achilles' injury, is prone to injuries. Also remember, he missed the offseason recovering from shoulder surgery.
"How many games did he miss in college?" Ryan asked. "Yeah, exactly, I think it was one game."
But Milliner also underwent surgery five times in college. Obviously, the Jets weren't concerned because they drafted him ninth overall, paying him a fully guaranteed $12.6 million. Still, I recall what one longtime NFL coach told me the first time he met Milliner. He was stunned by the rookie's relatively slight frame, wondering how he'd handle the wear and tear of the NFL.
Maybe we're starting to find out.
ICYMI: You have to like Powell's story. Once considered an afterthought in the backfield, he has emerged as the workhorse back. ... Defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman offered some advice to Wilson on how to handle situations like the one that came up last Sunday with Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson: If you seek revenge, the football gods shall provide you with that chance.