Sunday’s game saw the New York Jets lose receivers Stephen Hill to a concussion and Santonio Holmes to a hamstring pull, leaving Geno Smith without his two favorite targets. Both players are expected to miss Monday’s game with the Atlanta Falcons, so the Jets have decided to bring in veteran David Nelson for depth.
Nelson spent the first three years of his career with the Buffalo Bills, and he was actually a productive receiver before tearing his ACL in last season’s opener, ironically played against the Jets. If Nelson can digest the playbook quickly, he could play a fairly significant role Monday.
Jeremy Kerley is the only proven threat the Jets have left, and he will have to step up big time on Monday. Kerley is excellent out of the slot, and expect Smith to target him heavily. The Jets should also move him around and try to get him the ball in space, as he is their best playmaker on the outside without Holmes and Hill.
Ben Obomanu and Clyde Gates will be the two outside receivers, and rookie Ryan Spadola may get a chance to prove himself. Obomanu is the most reliable of the bunch, and he will have to have a good game for the Jets to be successful offensively. Gates will have a chance to fill Hill’s role as the top deep threat, and he needs his hands to match his incredible speed.
Nelson should be able to get some work because he is a good route runner and has reliable hands. He is very good at working the middle of the field, and he could prove useful on third downs. Nelson should treat this game like a tryout, and he will want to prove he’s worthy of staying on the roster.
Losing their top outside threats is a big blow to the Jets, and they will have to hope that this patchwork group of receivers can step up and fill the void. If not, Smith could be in for a very long day.