- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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Jets coach Rex Ryan said the team would be cautious in Keller's first game back, and that the tight end would not play as many snaps as he normally would.
For both players, the hamstrings and various setbacks were the first sustained stretch when they didn't play. Keller hadn't seen action for four weeks.
"It's the first time I've really missed a practice or a game," Keller said. "It's one thing if you know [you] have a timetable, OK, you're going to be out for four or five weeks and you know that. So you go into these games knowing you're not going to be playing, but each and every week when it's like, 'OK, I think I'm going to go,' and it comes to game time and it's like, 'Not today.' And that's for like four or five weeks. It's miserable but you've got to do what you've got to do."
Keller was limited but took 30 to 50 percent of the snaps with the first-team offense. He has been optimistic in the past only to be told during the pre-game that he isn't playing.
"I felt that way before but I'm very confident this week," Keller said. "Everything has been handled almost perfectly and I feel good about it."
Center Nick Mangold said he was preparing to play even though his ankle might not be 100 percent. He had enough reps in practice that he felt he could handle the work load a game requires.
"It's getting better each day," Mangold said. "Hopefully, it continues through the weekend."
Eric Smith will miss the game with a sprained knee, and the Jets will put Darrelle Revis on IR and use the roster spot to bring up a safety. NT Sione Pouha (low back), NT Kenrick Ellis (knee) and WR Clyde Gates (shoulder) are doubtful.