New York Jets DL Quinnen Williams out for OTAs and minicamp (Report)

New York Jets, Quinnen Williams

Per NFL Network, the New York Jets’ 2019 first-round pick is set to miss considerable time with a foot injury.

Per Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, New York Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams will miss 8-10 weeks after breaking a small bone in his foot while working out at the team’s Florham Park facility. The injury effectively wipes out Williams’ participation in OTAs and minicamp.

According to Garafolo, Williams was doing on-field work when the injury occurred. Both reports from Pelissero and Garafolo indicate that Williams should be ready to go for training camp in August as well as the Jets’ Week 1 contest in September.

Nevertheless, the injury is a hard blow for a Jets team coming off the good vibes of a sizable yield at the NFL Draft in Cleveland. Williams, chosen third in the 2019 proceedings, enjoyed a breakthrough season last year, putting up 55 tackles, including seven sacks, and forcing two fumbles. As a rare silver lining in the Jets’ disastrous 2020 season, Williams received an All-Pro vote from the Associated Press for his efforts.

Under new head coach Robert Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, the Jets are expected to implement a 4-3 defense for the first time since the Herman Edwards days. Williams moved from tackle to end in 2020 and could be replaced on the first team by incoming veterans Vinny Curry and Sheldon Rankins. An opportunity could also be presented for Kyle Phillips, who returns after missing most of last season with an ankle injury. Phillips made the 2019 squad as an undrafted free agent and earned 39 tackles, nine for a loss, during his debut campaign. The Jets mostly focused on the secondary during their defensive splurge in the final day of the draft on Saturday but did welcome in tackle Jonathan Marshall with their final pick of the sixth round.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Jets to open Athletic Care and Performance Department

New York Jets

The New York Jets are seeking new ways to conquer the rash of injuries, opening a new Athletic Care and Performance Department.

The New York Jets announced the ongoing development of an Athletic Care and Performance Department on Thursday. Proceedings will be overseen by Dr. Brad DeWeese.

“After a thorough review of our sports performance areas, it became clear that in order to maximize our player’s health, safety, and effectiveness on the field, we needed to establish a centralized group that would better position our team for success,” Jets general manager Joe Douglas said in a team statement. “During our search for the right person to lead this group Dr. Brad DeWeese impressed us, not only with his proven track record, but also with his vision, insight, and strategic approach to maximize athletic care and performance.”

Dr. DeWeese, having earned his Doctorate degree at North Carolina State University, will end his tenure as the Assistant Athletic Director for Sport Performance at East Tennessee State’s athletic program. He has closely worked with the United States Winter Olympics preparation program in Lake Placid, having overseen athletes from three sports en route to 21 medals in the Games and World Championships.

Dr. DeWeese listed some lofty goals upon his arrival to One Jets Drive, declaring “I want us to be the model for other NFL teams to develop their system by”.

“We are sincerely going to take an objective approach to training and performance first,” Dr. DeWeese said of his goals in the same statement. “Our job is to make sure when Coach Saleh looks down the sideline, he has the maximum number of players available and that those players are going to be strong and they’re going to be fast. And we are going to look under every rock and make sure everything we do is sound. We’re going to maximize the training from the weight room with what I call a sprint-based model.”

Injuries have been a major concern for the Jets over the past few seasons. Data obtained by Kristian Dyer of Sports Illustrated, for example, revealed that the Jets lost a jaw-dropping 273 games man-games to injury during the 2019 seasons, the second-worst rate in the NFL.

Jets reporter Eric Allen also unveiled other names added to the Department’s staff, which include Mike Nicolini, (head strength & conditioning coach), Dr. Matt Sams (director of sports science), Dr. Robert Sausaman (assistant director of high performance), and Dr. Omar Ahmad (assistant strength & conditioning coach).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

The curious case of C.J. Mosley and the New York Jets

The New York Jets’ $85 million man has played in only two games in the past two seasons, but there’s hope that the investment will pay off.

From a human standpoint, C.J. Mosley’s tenure with the New York Jets, which began during the 2019 offseason, can’t realistically be called a bust. Medical calamities, exacerbated by the star-crossed nature of Jets football, have marred his two years in green, necessitating long layoffs. A groin injury limited him to two games in his debut year before he opted out of last season entirely in the wake of the ongoing health crisis.

Neither of Mosley’s absences can be registered as excuses. Football is a violent game and injuries happen. A whole separate conversation can be had over whether oft-injured names like Sam Bradford, Robert Griffin III, and Ki-Jana Carter can rightfully be labeled disappointments as well. As for 2020, Mosley was one of many throughout the world who simply chose not to go head-to-head with a disease lacking data, a decision he was well within his rights to make.

Nonetheless, these factors far beyond the Jets’ control have nonetheless placed Mosley’s contract on countless “worst of” lists through the football press. Mosley inked a five-year, $85 million deal in March 2019 and has partaken in only two games since. Only adding to the awkwardness of the situation is the idea that Mosley feels like a relic, a hand-me-down from a forgettable era of football as the last big contract Mike Maccagnan dealt.  But, despite a small sample size, it’s not hard to be seduced by Mosley’s potential The Jets have seen what Mosley is capable of at full strength, as his one shining moment in a green uniform saw him earn six tackles, a fumble recovery, and an interception of Josh Allen taken back for a touchdown, opening scoring for the 2019 campaign. When Mosley left with the aforementioned groin ailment, the Jets blew a 16-0 to Buffalo and have won only nine games since then. 

Mosley’s status is a subplot that’s buried in an offseason rife with questions and one that’s likely going to end with the Jets’ roster looking drastically different. Cutting him would incur an $8-12 million cap penalty, while a trade would net back $1.5 million toward the cap (albeit with $6 million in dead money). But that doesn’t appear to be the approach the Jets plan on taking. There’s hope amongst the new Jets brass that one of the final big deals from the Maccagnan era can make an impact and live up to the hype of his deal.

When Robert Saleh took to the virtual podium for the first time since his hiring last week, he was sure to point out that Mosley does have a future in the organization after Mosley stopped by his office upon a visit to One Jets Drive.

“It was awesome to get to meet him…My expectation is no different than any other player that’s here,” Saleh said, per notes provided by the Jets. “For C.J., (the goal is) to continue to be the pro that he’s been since the day he was drafted and the leader that he’s been and find ways to get better every single day. C.J. definitely has that mindset and just a pleasure to have been able to have gotten a chance to meet him.”

During his time as the defensive overseer in San Francisco, Saleh gained a slight reputation as a coach that could provide redemption to aging name-brand veterans who have struggled to regain their elite status. Richard Sherman, for example, reintroduced himself to the national picture under Saleh’s watch and was among his hiring’s biggest praisers. Jason Verrett got his career back on track through a strong 2020 campaign after playing only two games over the prior couple of seasons due to injury. Their union could prove beneficial on both sides: Saleh has an accomplished, veteran lump of clay that can make an immediate impact in a desperate locale, particularly in a 4-3 set, while Mosley has a strong mentor that can help him reclaim the narrative on his New York career.

Mosley has kept mostly quiet as he continues to work his way back, with Saleh and fellow linebacker Blake Cashman keeping the green masses updated on his status. But those who feel like Mosley is content to take the money and run should recall his comments prior to his opt-out. Simply put, the former Baltimore Raven was sick of rehabbing.

“It’s been annoying, honestly,” Mosley said of sitting out, per team reporter Olivia Landis. “You set a timetable up and you’re not ready and you feel like you’ve had a setback. But you’ve just got to be patient. I just have to make sure I trust the process as far as therapy and training and take it one day at a time.”

“Mentally and physically, I feel great. It’s just a matter of getting on the field and doing it.”

With any luck, he’ll finally get that opportunity come the fall.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Buffalo Bills sign ex-Giants RB Devonta Freeman to practice squad

New York Giantsm Devonta Freeman

The Buffalo Bills made a pair of roster moves as they prepare for their Divisional matchup against Baltimore on Saturday.

The Buffalo Bills announced a series of roster moves prior to Saturday’s night AFC Divisional Playoff matchup against the Baltimore Ravens (8:15 p.m. ET, NBC). In conjunction with the placement of running back Zack Moss on injured reserve, the team added rusher Devonta Freeman to their practice squad and activated offensive lineman Jordan Devey to their 53-man roster.

Freeman, 28, partook in five games with the New York Giants earlier this season, picking up 172 yards over five games (four starts). The two-time Pro Bowler was placed on injured reserve in November with an ankle ailment before landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He was outright released on January 7.

His best performance in blue was a 60-yard output on 17 carries in an October loss in Dallas. Freeman scored the first and only Giants touchdown in that same game. Previously, Freeman led the league with 11 rushing scores during the 2015 season as a member of the Atlanta Falcons. He reached two Pro Bowls as an Atlanta representative and has appeared in five postseason games, scoring a touchdown through the air or on the ground in each of them. Freeman was notably a member of the Falcons’ 2016-17 squad that reached Super Bowl LI.

With Moss placed on injured reserve, his postseason is over thanks to the required three-week stay that comes with such placement. Moss had 47 total yards during the Bills’ Wild Card win over the Indianapolis Colts in Orchard Park. Devin Singletary will likely shoulder a larger load, while other reserve rushers on the active roster include T.J. Yeldon and Taiwan Jones. Freeman joins Week 17 star Antonio Williams on the practice squad, with the latter scoring twice in the blowout win over Miami.

Devey, who celebrated his 33rd birthday on Monday, joins the Bills’ active roster after spending most of it on their practice squad. He was previously activated for the Bills’ October visit to East Rutherford to take on the Jets. Devey previously started six games during the 2014 New England Patriots’ run to Super Bowl XLIX and also has earned a playoff start with Kansas City. He has partaken in 43 games overall (21 starts) since entering the league in 2013 as an undrafted free agent out of Memphis.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Buffalo Bills RB Zack Moss possibly out for rest of the postseaon

The Buffalo Bills’ Wild Card victory was marred by the loss of the rookie running back, who was injured in the second half.

The Buffalo Bills may be missing one of their youngest contributors as their postseason run continues.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, there’s fear within the organization that rookie running back Zack Moss may miss significant time with an ankle injury sustained during Saturday’s victory in the AFC Wild Card playoffs. Moss put up 47 yards (21 rushing, 26 receiving) before leaving due to an ankle injury. Dr. Matthew Provencher, the injury analyst for Fox Sports’ NFL coverage, had a slightly more optimistic outlook, forecasting that Moss could return in time for a possible appearance in the conference title game should take victory in their Divisional round contest next weekend.

Moss, 23, was chosen in the third round (86th overall) in April’s draft out of Utah. He would split the top rushing duties with Devin Singletary, tallying 481 yards and four scores on the ground. Moss also established himself as a short-yardage receiving threat of the backfield with 95 yards on 14 receptions, one of which went for a touchdown. Overall, 35 of Moss’ 126 touches went for first downs.

With Moss out, the Bills will likely rely on Singletary in the run game, and could potentially use one of their reserve rushers in an expanded role, including T.J. Yeldon or Taiwan Jones. Antonio Williams, who has been on and off the Bills’ practice squad all season, could likewise be an option after he scored two touchdowns in his NFL debut in the Week 17 regular season finale against Miami.

With their 27-24 win over Indianapolis on Saturday, Buffalo (14-3) will now await the results of Sunday’s action to see who they’ll host in the Divisional round. They will take on the highest-remaining seed from the Wild Card aftermath, which puts any team except seventh-seed Cleveland on the table.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Liberty: Paris Kea undergoes successful knee surgery

The New York Liberty’s in-season addition was injured while playing overseas in Israel, but she is expected to make a full recovery.

The New York Liberty announced on Thursday that guard Paris Kea has undergone successful anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery on her left knee earlier this week.

Kea sustained the injury during her overseas endeavors with Maccabi Haifa, an Israeli club. At the time of her injury, she ranked second on the squad with 19.0 points and 2.5 steals per game. Her procedure was performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery under the watch of Dr. Riley Williams III. Rehabilitation begins next week and Kea is expected to make a full recovery.

A North Carolina alumna, Kea joined the Liberty in the middle stages of the WNBA’s bubble season in Bradenton. Entering the league as a third-round pick to Indiana in 2019, Kea averaged 6.9 points over 11 games (five starts), her best output being a 21-point tally against her former team in September. Kea is set to enter free agency, but the Liberty maintain her rights. During her time at Chapel Hill, Kea earned consecutive first-team All-ACC honors, honored alongside current New York teammate Asia Durr.

Elsewhere on Thursday, the Liberty also announced a collaboration with the National Women’s Hockey League, which is set to begin a bubbled season in Lake Placid, NY. In support of the Metropolitan Riveters, cardboard incarnations of Sabrina Ionescu, Layshia Clarendon, Jazmine Jones, Jocelyn Willoughby and Amanda Zahui B. will appear in the bubble at Herb Brooks Arena. The Liberty are one of two WNBA teams partaking in the NWHL union, joining the Connecticut Sun and their union with the Connecticut Whale. Normally playing their games at Barnabas Health Hockey House in Newark, the Riveters won the league’s Isobel Cup in 2018. The New York Rangers will likewise be “sending” some representatives.

The Liberty will choose first in the 2021 WNBA Draft, set to be held later this spring.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Jets: RB Frank Gore to miss finale in New England

After making history on Sunday, top rusher Frank Gore will miss the New York Jets’ season finale against New England.

Frank Gore’s season, and potentially his NFL career, has come to an end after making history.

The veteran rusher will not play in the New York Jets’ season finale on Sunday against the New England Patriots (1 p.m. ET, CBS). His season in green ends with 653 yards on 187 carries, two of which went for scores. Gore took on a larger workload this season following the release of Le’Veon Bell, starting the past 14 games.

Gore left last weekend’s win over Cleveland with what was initially reported to be a chest injury. Head coach Adam Gase later revealed that Gore had instead suffered a lung contusion.

“That’s going to be one of those ones where he will not be available for a few weeks, which obviously with one game left, he won’t be able to finish that last game,” Gase said, per notes from the Jets. As for Gore’s NFL future, Gase remarked that he hasn’t had those types of conversations with the running back yet. “I think Frank’s always going to kind of worry about that when the time comes and if he wants to play again, he may try to do it.”

During Week 16’s win over Cleveland, Gore, 37, hit the 16,000-yard mark for his career, joining Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton as the only rushers in NFL history to reach that plateau. Gore holds the NFL record for most games played as an NFL running back (241) and Sunday’s finale will mark only the third time since 2011 that he has had to miss due to injury.

Speaking about his future to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Gore said “I’ve got to be real with myself, how teams think about my age. They might not want a 38-year-old running back on the team”.

Gase has faced criticism for increasing the aging Gore’s role in the offense, often at the expense of ignoring younger rushers like La’Mical Perine, Ty Johnson, and Josh Adams. Gore’s 187 carries are his most since 2017 but his average of 3.5 yards per carry is a new career-low.

Nonetheless, Gase praised Gore for his veteran leadership and the calming effect he has had on some of the younger players.

“I think as far as what he’s done this year, helped keep these guys together, showing guys the right way to do things,” Gase said. “I think he’s been great for that running back room, with the amount of young players we have in there.”

“I think the young players just in general on the whole team, seen him working day in and day out, understanding no matter what your record is, how you’re supposed to come to work, how you’re supposed to go through practice, how you’re supposed to play the game, I can’t say enough as far as what he’s done leading by example.”

Gore entered the league as a third-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2005, one of seven active picks remaining from those selections. He has also spent time with Indianapolis, Miami, and Buffalo. Gore’s finest performance as a Jets likely came against the Los Angeles Rams earlier this month, when he capped off a 59-yard day with a touchdown that proved to be a major role in the winning margin and a fourth-quarter reception that helped the Jets (2-13) seal the deal.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Quinnen Williams’ breakout 2020 set to end on IR

The New York Jets’ Sunday victory couldn’t stop the bad news from rolling in, as breakout star Quinnen Williams is done for the year.

The bad news keeps rolling in for the New York Jets.

Head coach Adam Gase announced on Wednesday that the second-year defender was “probably be done for the year”. Williams has enjoyed a breakout season after a tough rookie year, leading the Jets in sacks with seven, and has appeared at or near the top of several analytical lists documenting efforts from interior defensive linemen.

“Quinnen is in the concussion protocol and also has a neck (injury), he won’t participate (in practice),” Gase said on Wednesday, per notes from the Jets. The head coach further elaborated that he wasn’t exactly sure what the issue was, but Williams will probably go on injured reserve once he clears concussion protocol. This season’s injured reserve rules require players to sit out at least three weeks and there are only two games left in the season.

Gase did take the time to praise Williams’ development in year two. Williams was chosen third overall in the 2019 draft after only Kyler Murray and Nick Bosa.

“He’s done a good job. Obviously, Sunday you saw what kind of impact that he had, made a ton of TFLs, was in the backfield, created pressure,” Gase said. “I felt like he had a good run of games. I felt like his consistency was pretty good.”

“I mean, there were a few games where it was like, he kind of disappeared, but it didn’t happen a lot. Last year, I felt like there would be a couple of games in a row where you kind of didn’t really feel him, but this year I felt like the high majority of the games that you felt him. If you were on the other team you felt him, whether you’re playing quarterback or in the run game.”

Williams had four tackles, including one sack, in his final game of the season, a 23-20 win over the Los Angeles Rams last weekend. He left the game in the second and the seen vomiting as he walked off the field toward the locker room.

In other injury news, Gase announced that Harvey Lagni, another defender with a neck ailment, would likewise be placed on IR. Cornerback Javelin Guidry (knee) was likewise held out of Wednesday’s practice. The Jets (1-13) did receive some good news with Folorunso Fatukasi emerging from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Fatukasi did not test positive but was deemed to have come in close contact with someone who did.

New York will partake in their final home game of the season on Sunday afternoon against the Cleveland Browns (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Buffalo Bills: WR John Brown set to return from injured reserve

As the Buffalo Bills close in on a playoff berth, they’re set to welcome back one of their veteran receiving options this holiday season.

The Buffalo Bills (10-3) have gained their share of supporters and believers as they continue their trek towards the NFL postseason. Now, it appears they’re going to gain back one of their most experienced receiving options as the playoffs approach.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott mentioned this week that the team will test Brown in practice with the intention of having him play in Saturday’s visit to Denver (4:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network). Brown is eligible to come off injured reserve after spending the past three weeks on the list with an ankle injury sustained during the November 15 loss in Arizona.

McDermott said that while Brown will practice during this short week, he mentioned that “we’ll have to see how it goes” when asked if the receiver will suit up at Mile High, per Thad Brown of RochesterFirst.com.

Injuries have prevented Brown, 30, from building on the best season of his career, which began in 2014 as a third-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals. Last year, his first in Western New York, Brown earned personal bests with 1,060 yards on 72 receptions, also scoring six touchdowns. Separate calf and ankle ailments have limited Brown to only eight games so far this season, during which he has earned 29 receptions for 386 yards and two touchdowns. Brown did rise to the occasion during the Bills’ November win over Seattle, picking up a season-high 99 yards on eight grabs in the 44-34 triumph. His most renowned moment in Buffalo came in the team’s playoff cameo last January, when he threw a 16-yard touchdown pass against Houston in the AFC wild-card round.

Bills receivers have certainly risen to the occasion in Brown’s absence, winning each of their three contests played with Brown on injured reserve. Stefon Diggs became the second receiver in Bills history to reach triple-figures in receptions, currently leading the NFL with 100. Cole Beasley also took advantage of an increased workload, posting a career-best showing (9 receptions, 130 yards) in a Monday night win over San Francisco earlier this month.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: Jordan Jenkins, Saquon Hampton done for season

New York Jets, Jordan Jenkins

Two New York Jets defenders will see their season end prematurely, as Jordan Jenkins and Saquon Hampton have been placed on IR.

The New York Jets announced on Wednesday that defenders Jordan Jenkins and Saquon Hampton will be placed on injured reserve. With visits to IR lasting at least three weeks, their seasons are effectively over.

Jenkins (shoulder) had partaken in 12 games this season, missing last weekend’s visit to Seattle. His fifth season as a Jets ends with 32 tackles, including a pair of sacks, after earning 15 quarterback takedowns over the last two seasons. The linebacker, 26, joined the team as a third-round pick (83rd overall) in 2016. He is set to become a free agent this offseason after inking a one-year, $3.75 million deal.

Hampton, 25, returned to New Jersey after starring in his native Hamilton and later in college at Rutgers. A member of the secondary and former sixth-round draft pick in New Orleans, Hampton joined the Jets in November after he part of the Saints’ final training camp cuts. He made his New York debut on Sunday in Seattle, partaking in five special team snaps before leaving with an Achilles injury.

As the Jets (0-13) prepare to partake in their final games of the season, they’ll be missing some crucial names on defense. Jenkins becomes the sixth opening day starter to not finish the year on the active roster, whether it’s through injury or transactions. His role at outside linebacker will likely be filled by rookie Jabari Zuniga, who has mostly been used as a defensive end but maintains experience from his days at Florida.

Earlier this week, the Jets partially prepared for the medical departures by signing Trevon Coley on Monday, two days after he was released by the Arizona Cardinals.

New York continues to play out the final stretches of their schedule out west, as they’ll wrap up their interconference slate on Sunday at SoFi Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags