Secondary help is on the way.
Jets top cornerback Trumaine Johnson is expected to return Sunday against the Bills after missing five games with a quad injury. Johnson, the team’s top free-agent signing this offseason, practiced fully on Thursday for the first time since getting hurt Sept. 30 in Jacksonville.
“I feel good,” Johnson said Thursday. “It’s a daily process… I’m definitely ready… I’m anxious to get out there.”
Johnson was shelved for a similar injury when he was with the Rams, so he admitted that he wasn’t surprised that it took five weeks to heal.
“He’s running around better,” Todd Bowles said. “We’ve just got to see what his conditioning is for the next couple days and see on Sunday.”
Darryl Roberts did a solid job in Johnson’s absence.
SAM WON’T START
Bowles confirmed that Sam Darnold, who didn’t practice for a second consecutive day due to a foot strain, won’t start against the Bills on Sunday. Bowles said “it’s possible” that Darnold could be the backup to Josh McCown. When Darnold is officially ruled out, the Jets will bring up Davis Webb from the practice squad.
The Jets believe that Eli McGuire can boost a slumping run game. The second-year running back flashed his dual-threat skills in his first game back from a foot injury suffered early in training camp. McGuire finished with seven carries for 30 yards and three catches (on five targets) for 37 yards in last week’s loss to the Dolphins.
“I was really fired up about him last year,” offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates said Thursday. “For a young kid, he’s a true pro. He reminds me of Kevin Faulk as far as just understanding the game. He’s a special player and he loves the game. He played basketball in college, so he knows how to get open (and) knows how to move defenders. I thought he played really well.”
McGuire’s running and catching skills only tell part of the story. His high football I.Q. should help him get on the field plenty for the rest of the season.
“Last year… I’ve never seen a rookie running back handle protections like him,” Bates said. “A lot of times when you have a young back, protections are one thing that keeps him off the field. They can run, they can catch, but (they struggle with) the protection. There are a lot of different schemes defensively and he picked that up extremely fast last year. Some guys just see 11 defenders and understand football. It’s almost like some people can play chess and checkers. He can play football mentally in his head and it makes it easy for him.”