Much has been of the New York Jets’ wide receiver corps this season, and most of the discussion has portrayed them as one of the worst units in the NFL. That reputation is both undeserved and inaccurate, although the heavy toll that injuries have taken on the position have forced the Jets to use a patchwork group the last few weeks.
Yesterday against the New Orleans Saints, the Jets were without Santonio Holmes and Jeff Cumberland, then lost Jeremy Kerley to injury. That left the team with a cast of unknowns, but they turned in a solid performance, making catches and picking up first downs when the Jets needed them most.
Things are looking up for the Jets at wide receiver and tight end as well, and they will be close to full strength after the bye week. Holmes and Cumberland will both be healthy and ready to go, and Kellen Winslow will make his return from a four game suspension. That will give Geno Smith three of his top four receivers for the remainder of the season. It remains to be seen how long Kerley is out, but even if he misses an extended period of time, the Jets will still be healthier at the position than they have in weeks.
Even the players the Jets do have are better than they are being portrayed. David Nelson has emerged as a solid No. 2 receiver for the Jets, and he was considered a very promising receiver with the Buffalo Bills, catching 61 passes for 658 yards and 5 TDs in his second season before tearing his ACL and missing most of last year.
Greg Salas will be Kerley’s replacement, and he was a record setting receiver in college and a fourth round pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2011. He was unlucky to be the odd man out in the Rams’ crowded receiving corps, but he has the ability to become a solid slot receiver. Stephen Hill was the Jets’ second round pick last season, and Josh Cribbs is a nine year veteran with plenty of experience and versatility.
Point is, the names on the Jets’ depth chart may not be the most well known, but there is definitely talent there. They are about to get some serious reinforcements after the bye week, and the Jets’ passing game should make some big improvements down the stretch.
Greg Sulik is a New York Jets writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GregSulik or add him to your network on Google