FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Jack Frost may bring with him frigid temperatures as January swoops in, but the Jets need this time to get hot. With two games left in the season, one in the chilling winds of Soldier Field and the other at home against the Bills, the Jets—in particular the offense—needs to become more fluid before the playoffs begin.
And all of it starts with the quarterback.
After suffering a right shoulder injury against a physical Steelers’ defense, speculation has been swirling around Jets camp that Mark Sanchez may not be able to start in the pivotal Week 16 match-up against the Chicago Bears.
“I felt good at practice,” Sanchez said. “They kept me limited, just to be smart, but if we were playing today, I’m definitely in there. I’ll be ready for Sunday.”
As a precaution however, the coaching staff has been monitoring Sanchez and has kept him limiting in practice, while preparing back-up quarterback Mark Brunell to take over the reins if Sanchez can’t go.
When offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was asked if Sanchez has been taking the majority of the snaps, he answered with an emphatic “absolutely”. “I don’t know the exact number,” he said. “But he took the majority of them I would say.”
Despite the injury to Sanchez’s throwing shoulder, Schottenheimer seemed happy with his progress throughout the week. “I thought he looked really good. The way he played after he fell on his shoulder [during the game], I felt good about it. I think he’ll be fine. I really do.”
But when it gets to be this late in season everyone is hurting in some way, shape or form. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who was very quiet in his homecoming last week against Pittsburgh, sat out of practice Wednesday with a toe injury and was limited Thursday with the same problem.
“I think he’ll be fine,” Ryan said. “He looked great when he was in there, but he had that toe [injury]. I expect him to play.”
While he has been leaned on by Sanchez as the sole playmaker on the offensive side of the ball, the Jets were able to tread water on offense without an effective Holmes against Pittsburgh. But he will need to be, at the very least, on the field as a presence the defense must respect, so they don’t load up defensive backs against Braylon Edwards.
Moving to the defensive side of the ball, safety Jim Leonhard spoke to the media yesterday regarding his rehabilitation process. “[Everything] feels really good right now. It will be three weeks out from the surgery [Friday]. I was able to get the splint off a week ago and get in here and do a lot of rehab. Hopefully the bone is healing the way it’s supposed to.”
There is still a long way to go in his recovery, but the initial recommendation for the time before he can practice again is roughly three-to-four months.
The cold weather is not going to help speed up the recovery process of Darrelle Revis’ sore hamstring. Revis, who gave up seven receptions for over 70 yards against rookie wideout Emanuelle Sanders, is definitely a cause for concern. The Bears receivers may not have the skill sets that the Steelers’ receivers carry with them, however they do have an abundant amount of speed to burn with Devin Hester and Johnny Knox. It will be imperative for Revis and Antonio Cromartie to stay with the speedy receivers and not let Jay Cutler cash in on any big plays.
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