Florham Park, N.J.– In a bit of surprising news today the Jets announced that right tackle Damien Woody has been placed on IR (the injured reserve), with an Achilles injury not a reoccurring knee injury, ending his season.
“Damien Woody is going to be placed on IR. He’s got an Achilles injury in the other leg.” Rex Ryan said, “It’s really unfortunate, he played almost the whole game. He came up, as I mentioned a little wobbly, well there’s a reason for it, it wasn’t his knee it’s an Achilles tendon so he will be placed on IR today.
“Well, actually he never finished (the game), it (the injury) was on the last drive then he came out. I never knew the extent of the thing and obviously he didn’t, I guess he’s going to have surgery later this afternoon.”
Luckily for the Jets and their fans Rex Ryan believes they have the best backup tackle in football, which is something Ryan has boasted about numerous times.
“We’re fortunate, I’ve always said that I felt like we have the best backup tackle in football in Wayne Hunter.” Ryan said.
Ryan isn’t the only Jet that has faith in Hunter to get the job done, the anchor of the Jets offensive line, Nick Mangold, also expressed his confidence in Hunter.
“Wayne’s doing a fantastic job of making sure he’s prepared every week and that’s a difficult task as a backup. To stay focused to really understand what we’re doing and following it on the field, but he’s been doing a fantastic job all year and that showed when he came in and was able to step in and played pretty well.” Mangold said, “So we have all the confidence in trust in the world that he’s going to get the job done and I’m excited to see him out there playing.”
Replacing Woody is no easy task, but Hunter is up to the challenge and will lean on the experience and success he had starting for the last few weeks of the regular season while Woody was out. Hunter said, “It’s just a carry over from Pittsburgh and Chicago, when he was out, it’s no different I just got to go watch some game film and get ready.
“D-Wood, in my opinion and a lot of guys opinion, he’s one of the best offensive tackles out there, if not the best right tackle. So I think it always messes up the chemistry a little bit, but since I’ve been playing I don’t think it will be that much of a change.”
The obvious jump to make would be to say that the Patriots will focus on attacking Hunter on the line, but Hunter doesn’t see it that way. He thinks the Patriots will try what they want to try regardless.
“I’m not expecting more than what I see on film.” Hunter said, “If they do then so be it, I’ll be ready to step up to the challenge.”
Both Brad Smith (groin) and Brandon Moore (back) were also held out of practice today, but Ryan anticipates both of those players to be ready.
“We expect Brad to play, if he doesn’t play then obviously we won’t have the ‘Wildcat,’ like you would if he’s in there, because he’s such a threat back there in that role.” Ryan said, “He can throw it, he can run it, he can do all those types of things.
“I think if Brad can go, he led the league in kickoff returns I believe, so I would keep Brad in that role if he’s 100 percent.”
“I hope to play, yeah.” Smith said, “You got the pain and then you got, as far as function goes, being able to have the strength and power to generate from the groin. So that all comes into account, but I’m just preparing myself mentally by doing everything I can physically to get better.
“Yeah, definitely from day-to-day it’s improving, I can’t say I feel the best I ever felt to be honest with you, but I’m definitely progressing well.”
Moore joined Woody and Smith on the did not practice list, but it appears it’s just a minor injury that will heal in plenty of time for Sunday.
“I think Brandon will be fine.” Ryan said, “He kind of tweaked his back in the weight room, so I know every one’s going to say ‘oh there’s another weight room injury’, but he was just doing some exercise for his back and he tweaked it.”
Assuming this is like the other weight room injuries Ryan was referencing, that have occurred this season, Moore should have no problems being ready to play by Sunday. Of course if it’s more than just a tweak that could spell trouble for the Jets especially considering Woody’s injury.
Injuries are never good news, but they are especially bad news when a team is preparing for a healthy Patriots team, the loss of Woody will be a problem, but it’s not one the Jets can’t overcome.
If the Jets were to lose Moore and Smith as well, then that might be one too many obstacles for them to hurdle, so it’s good thing for Jets fans that this seems an unlikely scenario at best.
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