New York Jets Getting Dangerously Thin at Edge Rusher

Jets Edge Rushers

On Tuesday, August 31st, NFL teams around the league will have to cut down their rosters to 53 players. In other words, teams must provide their first official roster for the 2021 17-game regular season. And for the New York Jets, it is getting more and more complicated by the day.

The New York Jets, like any team, have suffered injuries this off-season. It is just part of the game. Unfortunately, the biggest blows have all come from the same unit – the edge rushers.

New York Jets Getting Dangerously Thin at Edge Rusher

Hits Keep Coming At Edge Rusher

Last week, the Jets lost defensive end Carl Lawson to a season-ending torn Achilles. This coming as a massive blow, given Lawson was the team’s prized defensive addition of the off-season. Especially when considering how reliant their defense is on a strong pass rush.

It already left the Jets rather inexperienced at edge rusher. John Franklin-Myers and Bryce Huff have stood out this off-season but are both still on rookie deals. Luckily the team has veteran Vinny Curry to rely on.

Or so they thought.

Tuesday afternoon the Jets placed the 33-year-old Curry on their Reserve/Non-Football Injury list. Obviously, Curry is not the same caliber player as Lawson. But for a young team like the Jets, losing his presence along the front is a big loss.

Younger Players Need to Step Up

All off-season, Jets fans have wondered if General Manager Joe Douglas would add help late in training camp to their young cornerback room. Instead, he and Head Coach Robert Saleh elected to give their younger players a shot, and they have stepped up. Now, Bryce Hall and Blessuan Austin will likely start, as strong performances from sixth-round pick Brandin Echols, Javelin Guidry, and more have them in line for bigger roles.

Do not be surprised if this is the same route they go at edge rusher. Saleh and Douglas want to test the talent they have on the roster and are not afraid of throwing rookies into the fire. Thankfully though, they will not need to do that with their pass rush.

Ronald Blair provides a solution, given his past experience playing under Saleh with the San Francisco 49ers. Then 28-year-old has played in 47 career games, registering 13.5 sacks and 88 total tackles. Then again, Blair didn’t play last season after a season-ending knee injury of his own.

The Jets could turn to Franklin-Myers or Huff, who have both stood out since training camp. Franklin-Myers is a true breakout candidate, after flashing in a situational role last season and consistently getting to the backfield in practice. The same can be said about Huff, who as he enters his second season, has been a monster this pre-season. Huff recorded two sacks against the New York Giants and had another quarterback hit against the Green Bay Packers.

Optimistic, But Worrisome Outlook

With the losses of Lawson and Curry, the Jets lost their biggest and most experienced talents off the edge. There is no way to sugarcoat it – it’s a big blow to the team. Nevertheless, it will force the Jets to take on the “next man up” mentality, giving their younger rushes an opportunity to make a name for themselves. Even so, the uncertainty off the edge makes one wonder if the young cornerbacks are ready in case the rush goes silent…