Safety Eric Smith, the most experienced and longest-tenured defensive back on the Jets roster, exited the game with a knee injury and will miss the rest of the preseason.
Smith, who had offseason surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, injured the very same knee on Friday, but the Jets hope it’s nothing that’ll keep him out too long.
Nevertheless, the 29-year-old Smith will sit out at least the rest of the preseason and he and the Jets are hoping he’ll be ready in time for the Jets’ regular season opener against the Buffalo Bills on September 9.
The Jets signed veteran safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell this offseason, (formerly of the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins, respectively) and they’re going to need both of them to come up big.
There are rumors that the Jets planned on using all three of Landry, Bell and Smith as starting safeties, so losing any of them for any significant amount of time would be a crushing blow to Rex Ryan‘s defense.
The depth beyond those three is young and inexperienced, which is a concern when you have a defensive system as complex as Ryan’s. Rookies Josh Bush and Antonio Allen will have to answer the call if Smith can’t go.
Eric Smith has been a much-maligned player in his Jets career, especially in recent seasons. He’s played well at times, and not so well at times. But bottom line: the Jets need his experience and his presence on the field.
Only time will tell if Smith is able to come back in a reasonable amount of time. In the meantime, the Jets will have to make due with the depth they have.