FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Not a surprise here, but Rex Ryan said Thursday that backup S Eric Smith (hip, knee) won't play Sunday against the Bills.
"It's pretty much official," Ryan said.
This is a semi-significant loss for the Jets. Not only is Smith a valuable contributor on special teams, but he plays in different sub packages on defense. He plays in the 'Big Nickel," when they go to a three-safety look, and he plays in some dime packages on passing downs.
Against the Bills' spread offense, the Jets figure to be in nickel and dime most of the game. Smith's absence elevates rookie S Josh Bush, the only other backup safety on the 53-man roster.
Smith was injured in the first preseason game.
INJURY UPDATE: TE Dustin Keller (pulled hamstring), who didn't practice Wednesday, is unlikely to practice Thursday. He did some side work Wednesday and looked "decent," according to Ryan, who added: "I'm still hopefull he'll play, but we'll see." We should know more on NT Sione Po'uha (back) later in the day; he was limited Wednesday.