This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Help is on the way for New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson.
Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole, two of the Jets’ four best wide receivers, are expected to return for Sunday’s lineup for the team’s home-based opener against the New England Patriots.
Crowder, who tested positive for COVID-19, will be allowed to resume training on Thursday, coach Robert Saleh said on Wednesday. Cole, who sustained a knee injury in the run-up to week 1, was already back in training.
Saleh said Crowder and Cole along with top receiver Corey Davis will deliver Wilson’s “veteran presence”.
“Those guys are doing things the right way,” Saleh said. “They are where they need to be. They are all gas 100% of the time. They are reliable. For a quarterback, you can not ask for much more than that. Having two more options on the field for the quarterback is invaluable.”
Wilson (20-for-37, 258 yards, two touchdowns, one interception) was uneven in his NFL debut, in part because he was under heavy pressure (six sacks). He was successful in throwing to Davis and Braxton Berrios, who made five catches each, but there was not much balance in the passing attack.
Crowder, the Jets’ leading receiver in 2019 and 2020, is likely to replace Berrios in the slot machine. Davis and rookie Elijah Moore are starters on the outside. Cole has the ability to play inside and out.
Moore, a second-round pick, had a tough debut. He lost a long pass and caught only one ball for minus-3 yards, but the Jets love his upside.
The Patriots are known for their ability to neutralize the opponents’ best weapon – in this case Davis – so the Jets will need to be able to adjust.
“This is where chess matches with a coach [Bill] Belichick always happens, “Saleh said. You have to pick and choose your matches and stay healthy and committed to what you do and get ready to play chess with one of the best chess players in the world. “
The recall of Crowder and Cole is likely to mean that 2020 second-round pick Denzel Mims will be a healthy scratch. I only played three snaps in week 1, none of them on special teams. Mims, who showed promise as a rookie, has slipped into the depth chart. Saleh said Mims needs to have a good grip on all three receiving positions to get a consistent role.