New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) passes as New England Patriots defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (93) tries to fight through the block of Jets guard Willie Colon (66) first quarter an NFL football game Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
The Jets got back to work on Monday, following a rare three-day break. One of the first orders of business was releasing one punter, Robert Malone, and replacing him with another, Ryan Quigley.
“I think with Robert, it’s just the consistency,” coach Rex Ryan said Monday after practice. “That’s the thing that bothered us. Let’s face it, he had one of the best punts in Jets history in Week 1 and then he had some others where the hang time wasn’t where we wanted to be. With Quigley, it was a tight competition before, but we did think he gives a little more consistency.”
The addition of Quigley marks the return of a familiar face, as he had been beaten out for the job by Malone during the preseason.
New York is hoping Quigley isn’t the only one coming back for their Week 3 matchup against the Buffalo Bills. Injured wide receiver Jeremy Kerley missed last week’s game against the New England Patriots with a concussion but is making strides in his recovery and could play on Sunday.
“Hopefully Jeremy is playing because he’s a weapon for us as a slot receiver primarily,” Ryan said. “It gives you some matchup issues because he has quickness and change-of-direction skills. The other thing is he’s an excellent punt returner, so I think that helps also.”
The Jets, who suffer from depth issues at receiver, sorely missed Kerley last week and his presence alone would fill a huge void.
Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson had to be carted off the field with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s loss but practiced on Monday and should play against the Bills.
“I’m fine, just a little soreness,” Wilkerson told the Daily News. “Just a sprain.”
The team avoided another huge loss as the league decided to hand down fines rather than suspensions for Nick Mangold, Willie Colon and D'Brickashaw Ferguson, three offensive linemen facing discipline after Thursday’s loss.
A fight broke out after Mangold was fouled for a hit below the waist. Colon and Ferguson were both ejected in the ensuing brawl. Colon made contact with an official while Ferguson was seen throwing punches.
Rookie cornerback Dee Milliner’s status remains up in the air after being benched due to poor play. Ryan wouldn’t say whether Milliner would start in Week 3.
“I just want to let this week play out and then we’ll put the guy in there that we think will give us the best chance to play well,” Ryan said.
Lastly, because a day can’t go by without questions regarding the team’s quarterback situation, the Jets head coach danced around questions about whether rookie Geno Smith is their guy for the foreseeable future.
“Everything we do, every bit of our focus is on the present, on our situation right now which is playing Buffalo and preparing for Buffalo,” Ryan said. “That’s where it is. Anything beyond that, we’re not looking at.”
With the loss to the Patriots and possibly a few injuries and roster moves behind the Jets, the focus has clearly shifted to Sunday’s matchup with the Bills. A winnable home game against a division foe can be just what the doctor ordered in getting the season back on track.