FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP)New York Jets starting cornerbacks Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed cleared the concussion protocol and will play against the Giants on Sunday.
Coach Robert Saleh announced Friday both Gardner and Reed are “good to go” after practicing fully this week.
Gardner missed New York’s 20-14 victory over Philadelphia two weeks ago after being a late addition to the injury report with what was first called an “illness” by the team. But symptoms worsened for last year’s AP Defensive Rookie of the Year and it was determined he had a concussion.
Reed sat out two games after being injured in the Jets’ 23-20 loss to Kansas City on Oct. 1. He said Friday he was hurt early in that game, but didn’t report it and kept playing.
“It didn’t feel right, but just the selfish part of me just wanted to play ‘Sunday Night Football,’” Reed said.
The symptoms worsened after the game – “just dizziness, sensitivity to light, a little bit of being nauseous – and didn’t clear until the bye-week break last week.
“Going back and looking at it, any time you get a concussion, you’ve got to pull yourself out,” Reed said. “Talking to the doctors, that could have been bad. Something terrible could have possibly happened, so definitely a lesson learned.”
The return of both Gardner and Reed is a big boost for the Jets’ defense, which had Bryce Hall, Craig James and Tae Hayes help replace them. The backups played well, but Gardner and Reed form one of the league’s top cornerback duos when healthy.
“It does allow flexibility on the defense and it allows you to do some things you normally wouldn’t without those two guys,” Saleh said.
Rookie offensive lineman Joe Tippmann, the Jets’ second-round pick in April, was ruled out for the game with an injured quadriceps. He started the last four games at right guard and will likely be replaced by either Billy Turner or Wes Schweitzer.
Wide receiver Irvin Charles, a special teams standout, is doubtful with a shoulder injury.
Cornerback Michael Carter II (hamstring, wide receiver Randall Cobb (shoulder) and rookie defensive lineman Will McDonald (back) were listed as questionable. McDonald was added to the injury report Friday, but he fully participated in practice.
Saleh wasn’t surprised by running back Dalvin Cook acknowledging Thursday he’s having a tough time adjusting to his reduced role in the offense.
“I’m actually happy that he’s a little frustrated because it means he’s all in and he wants to be a part of it,” Saleh said. “He wants to get reps, he wants to play. He’s not here to just collect a paycheck. So if he wasn’t frustrated, then I’d think something was wrong.”
Cook, whose name is mentioned in trade rumors, has just 109 yards on 39 carries. His 2.8 yards per carry is by far the lowest of his NFL career.
Meanwhile, Breece Hall has 426 yards rushing on 66 carries – a league-leading 6.5 yards per attempt among qualified players – and two touchdowns.
“To Breece’s credit, it feels like every time he touches the ball, something cool is happening,” Saleh said. “So he’s been the hot hand, he’s been getting the bulk of the carries.”
SPECIALS OF THE DAY
Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett had a tasteful comparison when talking about preparing for the Giants’ defense under Wink Martindale, whose schemes tend to change from snap to snap.
“There’s a lot of different things you have to prepare for because you don’t know what he’s going to select out of his large menu,” Hackett said this week. “It’s like The Cheesecake Factory – you’ve got a little bit of everything that can happen. For us, we have to concentrate on our rules, on how we handle things, because we don’t know what we’re going to see.”
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