NFL Nation: Willie Colon
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Key free agents: RT Austin Howard, PK Nick Folk (franchise player), TE Jeff Cumberland, LB Calvin Pace, RG Willie Colon, S Ed Reed.
Where they stand: The Jets are trying to re-sign Howard before he hits the open market. He's not a household name, but he's a massive blocker with surprising athleticism. Howard has two years of starting experience and he's only getting better. They've expressed an interest in re-signing Cumberland and Pace, although it's unclear if deals will get done by Tuesday. Pace produced a career-high 10 sacks last season, playing for the minimum salary, but he's 33 -- and the Jets won't throw significant money at a player that old. The Jets are rebuilding at tight end, so Cumberland's role is undefined, which could affect negotiations. Colon and Reed are fallback options. In Reed's case, way, way back. Colon is recovering from biceps surgery and won't be healthy until the spring.
What to expect: With an anticipated $30 million in cap space, the Jets could be aggressive buyers if they so choose. They need a wide receiver (or two), a tight end and a veteran quarterback to push Geno Smith. There aren't any true No. 1 receivers on the market, so they'd better be careful not to overpay for the second-rate talent. Emmanuel Sanders and Golden Tate could be on the radar. They're likely to have interest in QBs Josh McCown and Michael Vick, who'd be ideal because he already knows Marty Mornhinweg's system from their days together in Philadelphia. If they strike out with free agents, the Jets could retain former starter Mark Sanchez, contingent on his health and a massive pay cut. The Jets could have 12 draft choices (counting possible compensatory picks), so they don't have to overpay to fix every need in free agency.
Colon's situation is complicated by a torn biceps in the final game. He will miss a good chunk of the offseason, but he should be good to go by training camp. Colon, who will be 31, is a good hold-the-fort player, certainly worth another one-year contract. He won't draw interest now, but he could be a factor in the secondary free-agent market.
Projected offseason plan: The Jets will make a strong push to re-sign Howard, but they will take a wait-and-see approach at right guard. They have Oday Aboushi and Will Campbell waiting behind Howard and Colon, respectively, but neither player saw action last season. They were inactive for every game, basically rookie red-shirts. They were deemed developmental players, especially Campbell, a former college defensive lineman. It would be a stretch to think they would be ready for starting duty early in 2014, but general manager John Idzik kept them around for a reason. Aboushi and Campbell will be a good barometer of the Jets' scouting and player development.
Free agency: Slim pickings at right tackle. Zach Strief (New Orleans Saints) would be the best option. There is not much at guard, either. Some scouting services rate Richie Incognito (Miami Dolphins) are the top free-agent guard, but do the Jets really want to go there?
Draft: After drafting three offensive linemen last year, the last thing the Jets want to do is go back for more. But if they were to lose Howard, they would be able to replace him in the first round (18th overall). ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has six tackles rated among his top 32 players. At 18, they could be in position for Zack Martin (Notre Dame) or Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama). But with other needs on offense, they would be just spinning their wheels if they to use a premium pick to draft a Howard replacement.
Scott's heat-of-the-moment reaction, in an on-field interview with ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, is worthy of the trash-talking Hall of Fame. It's worth a replay:
Scott: "To all the non-believers! To all the non-believers, especially you, Tom Jackson. Way to have our back, Keyshawn [Johnson]. Anybody can be beat!"
Paolantonio: "So how did that just feel?"
Scott: "It felt great. Poetic justice. We know we were a much better team than we came up and represented ourselves [on Dec. 7, a 45-3 loss]. We were pissed off. We were ready to come back and show what type of defense, what type of team this was, what type of character we had. We take a lot of slack. People gave us no chance, like we barely made the playoffs. We're a good football team."
Paolantonio: "It looks like this team played with anger all day. Why, Bart?"
Scott: "For all you non-believers, disrespect us, talk crap about the defense. We're the third-best defense in the league. All we hear about is their defense [the Patriots]. They can't stop a nosebleed, 25th in the league and we're the ones that get disrespected."
Paolantonio: "Congratulations. See you in Pittsburgh."
Scott: "Can't wait!"
Times have changed. Once known for their loose lips, the Jets have toned it down, including the bombastic Rex Ryan. The culture is different because general manager John Idzik, hired last January, frowns upon trash talking. There's a sense of paranoia, as people in the organization -- players and non-players -- are afraid to speak their mind. They still have some in-game trash talkers, most notably guard Willie Colon, and they still have a few players that provide juicy quotes to the media (namely defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson), but it's not the way it used to be.
On a scale of red (not allowed), yellow (within reason) and green (go for it), Ryan's approach has changed from green to a red/yellow combo.
In January 2011, Rex Ryan conquered his nemesis, the New England Patriots, creating a big, loud and cocky green monster that figured to wreak havoc for seasons to come. But instead of the Incredible Hulk, they turned into Shrek -- ugly and goofy.
On Sunday, the Jets completed their third consecutive non-playoff season. It's their longest postseason drought since the dark ages of the 1990s, when they failed for six straight years under four different coaches. Their record since 2011 is just 22-26.
Without question, they overachieved in 2013, squeezing eight wins out of a young roster devoid of stars. Ryan did a commendable job in a rebuilding year and will return in 2014, the team announced after a season-ending 20-7 victory in Miami.
For GM John Idzik, the honeymoon is over. It's on him, and he faces an offseason with many challenging issues. Such as:
Augment the quarterback position: This is the biggest decision facing the Jets. They have to decide if Geno Smith is a true No. 1 quarterback or whether they should hedge their bet by bringing in legitimate competition. They have 16 games on tape to evaluate.
While Smith's late-season rally reduces the need to make a major acquisition, the smart play would be to add a competent veteran. Problem is, it's hard to find that guy, a No. 1/No. 2 quarterback.
Mark Sanchez fits the description, but there are health and salary-related questions, not to mention the entire issue of whether they'd want to re-create last summer's competition. Been there, done that.
An interesting target would be Kirk Cousins, who probably will be dangled in trade talks by the Washington Redskins. He wouldn't come cheaply in terms of compensation, maybe a second-round pick. That's a lot to surrender for a possible backup, but they have to look at the long view. He'd be an asset that appreciates in value.
They could go for Matt Schaub, the 2006 version of Cousins. Schaub would bring some baggage to the party, assuming he's released by the Houston Texans, but he’s still only 32 and would be a worthwhile reclamation project/insurance policy.
What about the draft? Unless Idzik absolutely falls in love with someone (Johnny Manziel, anyone?), it wouldn't make much sense to sink a first-round pick into a quarterback, one year after using a No. 2 on Smith. Jay Cutler could be the big fish in free agency if the Chicago Bears let him hit the market, but he'd be a disaster in New York.
Rebuild the offense: The Jets' skill-position talent has deteriorated steadily since 2010. Since 2011, they're ranked 26th in scoring, due largely to a lack of playmakers and poor quarterback play. They've ignored this side of the ball under the defensive-minded Ryan. It's time to pour money and resources into the offense so they compete in an offense-obsessed league.
They need a new tight end and two new wide receivers, preferably a game-breaker. Stephen Hill was supposed to be that guy, but he can't be counted on after two disappointing seasons.
The free-agent market for receivers is thin -- Eric Decker of the Denver Broncos might be the best -- so look for Idzik to address the need in the draft. There are a couple of good ones, Sammy Watkins (Clemson) and Marqise Lee (USC), assuming they turn pro. The top free-agent tight end is Jimmy Graham, but there's little chance he gets away from the New Orleans Saints.
In theory, the Jets could stage their biggest spending spree since 2008, the year they acquired Alan Faneca, Kris Jenkins, Calvin Pace and Damien Woody, but Idzik believes in building through the draft. He owns eight choices, a total that could grow to 10 or 11 with expected compensatory picks.
This is "go" time for Idzik, a chance to show his acumen as a team-builder.
The first thing they should do is take care of couple of their own free agents, namely right tackle Austin Howard and kicker Nick Folk. Both earned long-term deals with their play in 2013. Linebacker Pace and guard Willie Colon are B-list free agents who have value for the short term.
Out with the old: Sanchez, Holmes and Antonio Cromartie -- key players on the 2010 team that reached the AFC Championship Game -- are highly paid players with injury questions. It's possible all three could be playing elsewhere in 2014.
Holmes is a goner, for sure. They would've cut him two years ago if it weren't for $24 million in guarantees, one of the contracts that got Mike Tannenbaum fired. Sanchez fits the profile of what they need, but he's due a $2 million roster bonus in March -- and there's no way that will be paid. He'd have to agree to a massive pay cut, and that's unlikely to happen. Chances are, he'll be released.
Cromartie is a tough call, with a lot depending on his bad hip. His contract, which runs through 2014, is prohibitive -- a $15 million cap charge, including a $5 million roster bonus. He says he wants to retire a Jet, but let's see if he changes his tune when they propose a pay cut. Chances are, they'll cut him, letting him establish a market price before deciding whether to bring him back on a new deal.
"I see this team going in the right direction, and I think this is an opportunity to see how accurate that statement is," the embattled New York Jets coach said Tuesday.
The pro-Ryan platform is built on progress, demonstrating late-season improvement with a young team. Ryan has been hammering that theme for several days, describing the Jets as an "ascending" team.
On Sunday, the Jets (7-8) face the team that crippled their playoff chances in Week 13. It was a complete meltdown, as the Dolphins won, 23-3. Ryan called it the lowpoint of the season. Now his team has a chance to the return the favor, as the Dolphins (8-7) need a win (and help from other teams) to make the playoffs.
"We'll see if we're better, and we'll see how much better we are," Ryan said.
Ryan is trying to convince Woodzik he's still the right man for the job. Naturally, it's possible that Ryan's fate already has been determined. If not, he's making a strong push.
The Jets have exceeded outside expectations and it's possible they could finish in an 8-8 tie for the final wild-card spot -- although we all know they're mathematically eliminated because of various tiebreakers. Anybody who knows anything about football recognizes he's done a nice job with this team, considering he has a turnover-prone rookie at quarterback and a roster in transition.
There are two primary factors working against Ryan: Idzik, hired last January, may want to bring in his own coach. The Jets have missed the playoffs for three straight years, going 21-26 in that span.
"That's a huge thorn in my side and everybody else's," Ryan said of the playoff drought.
Ryan has declined in recent days to discuss his future (excluding, of course, the team meeting that made headlines), but he has managed to state his case without actually saying he's stating his case.
"I understand that (wins and losses) are how we all get evaluated," he said. "I get it, no question about it, but I think there are steps to it that we're attaining. ...This week will be a testament to that. Let's see where we're at."
The Jets downplayed the revenge and spoiler angles, insisting they have other incentives -- trying to finish .500, winning on the road (they're 1-6) and winning two straight for the first time.
"We understand we let this (season) slip away, but that's life," guard Willie Colon said. "We have to clean it up and finish on a strong note."
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If Rex Ryan gets fired, it means his only chance of survival was to make the playoffs. It means his new boss, general manager John Idzik, never was interested in grading him on a curve.
Ryan has done enough with the New York Jets to justify a one-year contract extension. Seven wins in a rebuilding year is solid work, deserving of another chance. Clearly, the Jets are still playing hard for Ryan, evidenced by Sunday's 24-13 win over the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium.
But that's the view from inside the vacuum. Unfortunately for Ryan, the law of the NFL jungle isn't as forgiving. When you've missed the playoffs for three straight years and the new general manager has his first chance to hire his own coach ... well, it usually means you're done.
The word around the organization is that owner Woody Johnson would like to keep Ryan, but Idzik is undecided. After the game, Ryan was aglow, chirping about the team's bright future.
"I told you this team is on the climb, on the rise," he said, stating his case after what may have been his final home game. "It was pretty clear, at least to me, that's what we saw today."
Ryan, who has one year left on his contract, said he hasn't received any word regarding his status, which will likely be revealed the day after the season -- Black Monday.
Sources confirmed that Ryan mentioned his uncertain status Saturday night in the team meeting, as Fox Sports reported, but it wasn't a "Win one for me" motivational tactic. He used it in the context of how everyone in the room faced a cloudy future, how they could be scattered across the league next year and how they should go down fighting for each other.
It would've been a cheap ploy if Ryan had made it all about himself, but he was said to be "pissed" by rumors that the organization could be looking for a replacement.
Ryan wouldn't address the report, and neither did his players, who were told to keep it in-house. Obviously, it's on Ryan's mind. Ditto, the players.
"Rex is The Guy, and he needs to be The Guy," said linebacker Calvin Pace, one of the many players who expressed strong support for the embattled coach. "I think everyone rallies around him."
Guard Willie Colon, one of Ryan's most ardent backers, said, "I think Rex needs to be back. This team is headed in a great direction. He's our general. We love him. We bleed for him and he bleeds for us."
Unfortunately for Ryan, he's probably developing this rookie class for the next coach -- unless Idzik pulls a surprise and opts for the status quo. If Ryan gets a pink slip, he can walk away knowing he did a credible job with a roster that included more holes than the FDR Drive.
"If he finishes 8-8, you could make a strong case to keep him," said an AFC personnel director, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "I thought they'd win three or four games."
Pace echoed that sentiment, saying, "To have seven wins after we were predicted to be the worst team in the NFL, it says a lot about our character and the way we rallied around Rex."
But they didn't rally around him last month, when the Jets dropped three straight after the bye week. That, ultimately, could be what dooms him. They went from 5-4 to 6-8, rendering the final two games meaningless.
On Sunday, they rallied from a 10-0 deficit, showing heart. Colon noted that, in several previous games, there wasn't that fight-back mentality. Ryan used a colorful analogy, saying, "It kind of reminds me of that UFC fighter that's turning purple, he's choked out, but he still fought, found a way to get out and win."
It makes for a nice story and it speaks to Ryan's motivational skills (although, if the players were so fired up by his Saturday night speech, why did it take 23 minutes before they woke up?). But if Idzik is thinking the way most GMs do in his situation, he's not giving out medals for trying.
Idzik, joined with Ryan in a shotgun wedding, has spent almost a year evaluating the entire operation. It was a honeymoon year for the first-time GM, who must ask himself if he wants to be joined at the hip with Ryan. Firing Ryan wouldn't be a popular decision in the locker room, but we know Idzik isn't afraid of criticism. He traded Darrelle Revis, didn't he?
When it was over Sunday, Ryan made sure to milk the moment. He joined the players on a victory lap, exchanging high-fives with the fans. They did the same thing at the end of the 2009 season, when they clinched a wild-card berth by routing the Cincinnati Bengals.
"This was our AFC Championship Game," Pace said. "We play our Super Bowl [next week] in Miami."
But that isn't the Super Bowl that Ryan promised when he was hired.
Bills' defense keeps it simple: The first matchup between the Bills and Jets this season, back in Week 3, was assumed to be a chess match between two defensive minds: Rex Ryan and his former assistant, Mike Pettine. Both coaches are known for a scheme that uses multiple defensive fronts, so this quote from defensive end Mario Williams stood out after Sunday's game: "We really didn't do anything too special. We lined up and played ball. We were in the same defense the majority of the time and that allowed guys to go out and put it on their shoulders and step up and make plays." For all the shifting and complexity seen from the Jets' offense early in the game -- they even threw in some "Wildcat" looks at times -- you have to wonder if the simplicity of the Bills' approach helped dictate the one-sided affair.
Meanwhile, in the Jets' locker room ... As much of a much-needed win this was for Buffalo, it was a significant setback for the Jets. Offensive lineman Willie Colon was among those who expressed his frustrations in the Jets' locker room afterward. "We're not a playoff team until we're in the playoffs," Colon said. "Right now, we just lost to the f---ing Buffalo Bills." On the other end of the spectrum, Jets wide receiver David Nelson -- who played three seasons in Buffalo -- took to Twitter to thank Bills fans. "Congrats on the win," Nelson tweeted. "[I]t was a pleasure playing in front of you today."
Bills on a bye: Monday begins a three-day stretch in which Bills players will report to the team facility during their bye week. It's the latest possible off week, and the Bills will join three other teams -- the Eagles, Seahawks and Bengals -- in a pre-Thanksgiving reprieve. You'd have to bet the Bills would've liked their bye week to come about a month or so ago, when injuries seemed to be hitting nearly every position. Right now, only receivers Stevie Johnson (groin) and Robert Woods (ankle) are sidelined with injuries. Their status for Week 13 will come into focus after the break.
"I don't know why that's added motivation," Rex Ryan said after the 37-14 loss Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. "We do different things when we're on the road. We did different things in Atlanta, did different things wherever, so I don't know how that would give added motivation. Your players go out in groups or whatever. We went out as a team."
After dropping three of their first four on the road, Ryan decided to shake up the travel routine. Instead of afternoon offensive and defensive meetings at the team hotel, they traveled by bus to a nearby Dave & Busters. They returned to the hotel in time for the evening team meeting. Team trips happen a lot in training camp; it's unusual during the regular season.
"The fact is, we haven't been doing well on the road and you have to try different things to figure it out," tackle Austin Howard said. "I applaud Rex for trying to do something different, trying to figure out why we haven't been doing as well on the road as we have at home."
Guard Willie Colon said, "Rex wants us to stay together and we're trying to build team camaraderie. Rex wants to break the monotony of us being on the road and he wants guys to get to know each other. It was a team-bonding moment, that's all it was."
But the Jets were sensitive about the trip and didn't want it to become public, perhaps fearing it would create the perception they were taking the Bills lightly. It was first reported by the New York Post. On Saturday night, a team spokesman refused to confirm or deny the trip.
The Bills could've perceived it as a slight. Coach Doug Marrone said he was aware of it, but claimed he never mentioned it to his team until after the game. Several players said they had heard about it before the game. Bills wide receiver T.J. Graham said they do similar things on the road.
"We go out before games when we travel," Graham said. "Anytime you can travel to a new city and do something different, (it's OK). There's a time for work and there's a time for play. If you have time off, you get to free your mind. No disrespect on that one."
Graham said his initial thought was "it was kind of lighthearted and they kind of took it easy (Saturday) night, but it's not disrespectful. They tried to free up their minds and get away from the game."
The Jets (5-5) have other problems, mainly a lack of consistency. They became the first team in history to alternate wins and losses through its first 10 games.
"We're running out of time," Colon said. "However we want the season to end, we have to turn it around now."
Wide receiver David Nelson attributed the up and down nature to "a lack of maturity. We have to grow up, especially on the road. It seems like whenever we're on the road, our intensity drops off."
The Jets are 1-4 on the road, including losses by 25, 40 and 23 points. The bad news is, they still have three away games, starting Sunday at the Baltimore Ravens.
"I'm tired of answering that damn question," he told reporters at his locker. "I don't want you to ask me that no more. We're not a playoff team until we're in the playoffs. Right now, we just lost to the f---ing Buffalo Bills. I'm tired of answering that question, so please don't ask me that." At least he said "please."
Somber Rex: Curiously, reporters were kept out of the postgame interview room until Jets officials gave the go-ahead to a security guard at the door. It should be noted that the interview room is adjacent to the locker room, and a yelling coach could be heard through the old walls at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Maybe the Jets didn't want reporters to gauge Rex Ryan's decibel level. If Ryan ripped into his team, he expressed none of that anger in his news conference. He was downcast, almost matter-of-fact as he tried to explain the embarrassing performance.
"We've bounced back before," Ryan said. "We've got some wins over some quality teams, and I think if we take care of the football and we do a better job in coverage, I think we'll have a chance to compete with anybody. But, obviously, if we play like today, we're not going to beat anybody."
Calm Geno: Rookie quarterback Geno Smith was relatively calm for someone who just committed four turnovers and registered a 10.1 passer rating. He beat himself up, admitting he was "awful," but he did it in his usual, even-keeled manner.
"This isn't who I am or who I want to be," he said.
"I would just say he's a jokester kind of guy," Garrard said of Incognito, adding: "It's unfortunate. You never want it to get to a point where guys want to leave the team. You would hope other guys in the locker room would help police it. It's one of those situations that's sad to see."
"I remember Martin when I was there," he said. "He was quiet. He never really said much. Good player. I'm not sure exactly what happened in their locker room down there, but from what I've seen and read, it seems like it went too far and lasted a little too long. He's not a rookie anymore, but they're still doing the same pranks and jokes on him. He's just fed up."
Tight end Konrad Reuland played with Martin for three years at Stanford. He described his former teammate as, "Just another one of the guys. He's a completely down to earth, normal guy in every sense of it."
Reuland said he has no idea what allegedly occurred with Martin, whom he usually sees in the offseason.
"I just hope everything is all right with him," Reuland said.
Several players said they haven't experienced or witnessed any bullying in the Jets' locker room. There was a well-documented incident of rookie hazing in 2010, when several players tied a rookie defensive back named Brian Jackson to a goal post in training camp and doused him with ice, Gatorade and powder. It was captured on HBO's "Hard Knocks."
"There's a fair line for making a guy earn his right of passage and then there's another guy of harassing a guy and making a guy feel degraded," said guard Willie Colon, who signed with the Jets last offseason. "We're all men, we're all professionals, we all come from different walks of life, and I was always taught respect the practice-squad guy to the starter. Treat them all the same. Any time a guy feels disrespect and feels like he can't go to work and is uncomfortable, you can't have that in the locker room. At the end of the day, he's playing and he's playing for you. You have to take care of him."
It's traditional for rookies to take veterans out to dinner and foot the bill. Martin was reportedly asked to pay $15,000 for a trip to Las Vegas.
"It's a culture that's changing, that needs to change because you're messing with a guy's way of living," Colon said. "Nobody can kick up 15 grand and have to pay rent and God knows what else he has to do. I think it's irresponsible his teammates and everybody else. You got to be accountable for how you treat people, and it's tough he had to go through that. I feel sorry for him or whatever."
Jets guard Brian Winters, a rookie, said the most he's told to do by the veterans is buy burgers from a local fast-food joint.
Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said he has been subjected to "a little bit" of rookie hazing.
"Don't take it to heart, just laugh it off," he said. "Or you could be like me and Dee (Milliner) and talk back a little bit. There might be a little consequences that go along with it, but I can deal with it at this point in my life. It's all fun and games, and the vets know not too take it too far and they keep it all in perspective."
Richardson has been asked to buy food before away games and bring donuts on Fridays for meetings. In camp, he and Milliner got angry when their mattresses were flipped over and everything was on the floor. He still doesn't know who did it.
"Cold case right there," he said.
The good news for the Jets is that RG Willie Colon (calf), also listed as questionable, is active and will start.
Aside from Cumberland, the Jets' inactive players are QB David Garrard, WR Santonio Holmes, RB Alex Green, G Will Campbell, T Ben Ijalana and OT Oday Aboushi. WR Greg Salas and rookie S Rontez Miles, signed from the practice squad Friday, are active for the first time.
The news for the Saints is that WR Marques Colston (knee) is inactive. So, too, are safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper. That will put a dent in Rob Ryan's game plan because he likes to use three-safety packages. Rafael Bush is expected to start for Jenkins.
Rookie Kenny Stills is listed as the replacement for Colston, but the Saints will use all four receivers that are active.
Their other inactives are QB Ryan Griffin, RB Khiry Robinson, T Terron Armstead and DE Tyrunn Walker.
Wide receivers Stephen Hill (foot) and Jeremy Kerley (illness), and guard Willie Colon (calf) were in uniform and back on the field. Wideout Santonio Holmes (hamstring) was on the field, too, participating in wide-receiver drills for the second consecutive day.
Tight end Jeff Cumberland (concussion) was not practicing, making it even more likely he will not play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
Hill, unlike Holmes, did not participate in wide-receiver drills. He was riding an exercise bike on the side. The same goes for wideout David Nelson, who did not appear on Wednesday's official injury report, but had a hamstring issue last week.
We'll have more information for you later this afternoon, after interviews and the release of the official injury report.
The New York Jets' top three wide receivers -- Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley -- all did not practice, and the same goes for starting tight end Jeff Cumberland.
Cumberland suffered a concussion last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, so his status for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints is very much in question. Holmes did run some routes in position-group drills, but is more likely to return in two weeks, following the Jets' bye. Hill said he expects to play against the Saints. And Kerley wasn't spotted at the practice facility Wednesday.
Right guard Willie Colon also missed practice because of a calf injury.
Here's the full injury report:
Did Not Participate
G Willie Colon (calf)
TE Jeff Cumberland (concussion)
WR Stephen Hill (foot)
WR Santonio Holmes (hamstring)
WR Jeremy Kerley (illness)
C Nick Mangold (ribs)
S Antonio Allen (finger)
WR Josh Cribbs (knee)
CB Antonio Cromartie (hip)
DT Kenrick Ellis (back)
LB Garrett McIntyre (knee)
TE Konrad Reuland (knee)
WR Greg Salas (knee)
CB Darrin Walls (shoulder)
G Brian Winters (ankle)
Did Not Participate
WR Marques Colston (knee)
G Jahri Evans (hip)
S Malcolm Jenkins (knee)
S Kenny Vaccaro (concussion, back)
DT Tyrunn Walker (knee)
TE Jimmy Graham (foot)
S Roman Harper (knee)
LB David Hawthorne (ankle)
WR Kenny Stills (knee)
CB Rod Sweeting (hip)
DE Akiem Hicks (knee)
DE Cameron Jordan (ankle)
CB Keenan Lewis (foot, knee)
Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was not working with his teammates Wednesday, during the portion of practice open to the media. Wilkerson was doing some running on the side. But it's unclear why he wasn't practicing fully.
Wide receivers Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill were not doing any work. Kerley wasn't even on the field. Hill stretched with the team, but did not have pads on.
Tight end Jeff Cumberland also wasn't on the field, after suffering a head injury last Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. And right guard Willie Colon wasn't working either, after injuring his ribs against the Bengals.
On the bright side, Santonio Holmes was participating in wide receiver drills, and even appeared to be going full speed at least a couple times. Holmes looked smooth doing so, raising the possibility that he could make his return against the Saints, prior to the bye week.
We'll know more later this afternoon, after coach Rex Ryan's news conference and the release of the official injury report.
Before the season, I spoke to several personnel experts, and the consensus was that it was a six-win roster. A former Jets player, someone who understands the pulse of the team, told me in the preseason, "They're going to be terrible."
Without further delay, our midseason awards:
Offensive MVP: QB Geno Smith. Not much competition here. Yeah, I know, he cost them a couple of games with turnovers, but he also won games with his deep-throwing ability (Buffalo Bills), poise in the clutch (Atlanta Falcons) and mobility (New England Patriots).
Defensive MVP: DE Muhammad Wilkerson. A no-brainer. He already has a career-high seven sacks, along with one interception and one forced fumble. He's a lock for his first Pro Bowl. If he keeps it up, he could get some votes for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Special-teams MVP: PK Nick Folk. You can't quibble with perfection. The man is 19-for-19 on field goals, including three game winners. Next to Wilkerson, he's the team MVP.
Most Improved: RB Bilal Powell. He began training camp as an afterthought, but he worked his way up to the starting job. He has become a more elusive runner than in past years.
Least Improved: NT Kenrick Ellis. He was expected to make a big jump in Year 3, but he was slowed by a preseason back injury and hasn't come close to being a dominant run stuffer.
Biggest Surprise: NT Damon Harrison. "Big Snacks" came out of nowhere last year and Wally-Pipped Ellis in the preseason. Harrison is one of the reasons why the Jets are No. 1 against the run.
Biggest Disappointment: CB Antonio Cromartie. Coming off a Pro Bowl season, Cromartie already has allowed five completions of at least 46 yards. His uneven play has made it harder for the defense to deal with the Darrelle Revis void.
Best Offseason Acquisition: RG Willie Colon. Plagued by injuries in recent years, Colon hasn't missed a play and has added an element of toughness to the offensive line.
Worst Offseason Acquisition: RB Mike Goodson. Because of his embarrassing arrest and the subsequent suspension, he was a disaster before he stepped foot on the field. Maybe next time the front office will put more stock in its background checks.
Best-kept Secret: CB Ellis Lankster. He's not the leading tackler on special teams (he's second, behind Nick Bellore), but Lankster is the most dynamic player on the coverage units.
Best Coaching Move: Ryan decided before the season to take control of the defense, running it on a day-to-day basis. Ryan is at his best -- ditto, the defense -- when he's in charge.
Worst Coaching Move: The decision to insert Mark Sanchez in the fourth quarter of a preseason game, behind a backup offensive line, was a brainlock for the ages.
Biggest Concern: There's not enough offense. In their four losses, the Jets have managed only two touchdowns. They have to face four top-12 defenses in the second half. Uh oh.
Key to the Second Half: Continued improvement from Smith. His passer rating in Games 5-8 (75.2) was better than Games 1-4 (68.6), meaning he's moving in the right direction, albeit with baby steps. The struggling pass defense is another key, but luckily for the Jets, they face only one top-10 passing offense -- Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
The Jets will make the playoffs if: They win at least five of their remaining eight. Take a look at the AFC standings; a 9-7 record could be good enough for the second wild-card spot.
Player Ready to Emerge: RB Chris Ivory. He showed flashes against the Patriots. With the weather beginning to turn, Ivory's power-running style will be critical down the stretch.