Jets could be without WR Anderson, CB Johnson, C Long
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets will be short-handed in Chicago.
Wide receiver Robby Anderson is doubtful for Sunday’s game because of an ankle injury that kept him out of practice all week. Receiver Quincy Enunwa was previously ruled out with a high ankle sprain.
That leaves rookie quarterback Sam Darnold without two top receivers.
“We’ve got a few guys banged up, but, I mean, we’ve got guys in here and they’ve been practicing,” coach Todd Bowles said Friday. “We expect them to play well on Sunday.”
Jermaine Kearse and recently signed Rishard Matthews could see lots of action , with Andre Roberts, Charone Peake and rookie Deontay Burnett also healthy.
“We’ve got all hands on deck this week,” Bowles said.
Kearse is third on the team with 16 catches and led the Jets with 65 receptions last year, so he’s used to being counted on in the offense.
“I don’t think pressure is what I would feel,” Kearse said. “I go out every week, regardless, with the same mindset and make the most of each opportunity. It’s no different this week. As far as pressure having to step up because we’ve got some guys out, I don’t think I would change anything I would do normally.”
Matthews was signed Monday, four weeks after he was granted his request to be released by Tennessee. He has been cramming in extra work on the practice field with Darnold and the other receivers, trying to quickly get up to speed.
“We’ll have a plan for him on Sunday if he plays and we’ll kind of go from there,” Bowles said. “I’m not expecting him to learn everything all at once, but we’ve got other guys that can play as well, so we’ll make that determination.”
Burnett was promoted from the practice squad last Saturday after the Jets released Terrelle Pryor with an injury settlement after he hurt his groin. Pryor recently posted videos of him working out, saying he was healthy and ready to go, but Bowles said re-signing him this weekend wouldn’t be in the team’s plans and the Jets would re-evaluate the situation next week. Pryor’s locker remained intact nearly a week after he was let go.
Burnett played against Minnesota last Sunday and caught his first regular-season pass, a 9-yarder from Darnold — who was his college quarterback at USC.
The speedy 6-foot, 186-pound speedster could help fill Anderson’s role as a receiver who could stretch the field for Darnold.
“You don’t want those guys out because they’re key contributors to our team, but it’s the next-man-up mentality,” Burnett said. “Practice this week has been good. As long as you prepare, you shouldn’t go out there with any doubts.”
The Jets’ backfield is banged up, too, with Bilal Powell out for the season with a neck injury. That leaves Isaiah Crowell and rookie Trenton Cannon as the only running backs on the roster, although Bowles said promoting De’Angelo Henderson from the practice squad is a consideration if they choose to add someone else to the mix.
Center Spencer Long is questionable with finger and knee ailments after originally being listed as doubtful. He has struggled in recent weeks with shotgun snaps, so Jonotthan Harrison or Dakota Dozier would replace him on the starting offensive line if he can’t play.
Harrison worked quite a bit at center with Darnold in training camp, so he would appear to be the likely choice.
“If that were to be the case on Sunday, I know we’re more than prepared,” Harrison said.
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum is questionable with a back injury, but participated on a limited basis at practice Thursday and Friday after sitting out Wednesday.
The secondary got a boost with cornerback Buster Skrine cleared from the concussion protocol after he missed two games.
It was the fourth concussion suffered by Skrine in the last three years, but he isn’t concerned about possible long-term effects.
“I feel good,” he said. “If I felt like I couldn’t play, then I wouldn’t go back out there. ... You can’t worry about things day-to-day or down the road. You’ve got to live for now.”
Skrine is usually the Jets’ slot cornerback, but could see work on the outside, too, against the Bears. Fellow cornerback Trumaine Johnson (quadriceps) is doubtful and Morris Claiborne (shoulder/foot) is questionable.
Safety Marcus Maye is also questionable with a broken thumb that sidelined him last week. Doug Middleton, his replacement, is out for the year after tearing a pectoral muscle, so Maye’s return would be a big help. The Jets also signed former Cowboys and Browns safety Ibraheim Campbell this week to add depth.