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Jets’ rash of linebacker injuries could come with huge payoff

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https://nypost.com/2020/05/23/jets-rash-of-linebacker-injuries-could-come-with-huge-payoff/

Part eight in a series analyzing the New York Jets.

The inside linebacker position may be the deepest on the Jets. Part of the reason is several of them got more experience than anyone expected last year due to injuries.

The Jets were ravaged by injuries at this spot in 2019. Starters Avery Williamson and C.J. Mosley were barely factors. Williamson tore the ACL in his right knee during a preseason game and missed the entire season.

For three quarters, Mosley looked like he was worth every bit of the $85 million contract the Jets gave him last year. Then he suffered a groin injury in that Week 1 loss to the Bills and only played one more game in the season.

Even backups Neville Hewitt and Blake Cashman suffered injuries. At one point the Jets were playing their fifth and sixth inside linebackers.

The injuries led to increased playing time for Hewitt, Cashman and James Burgess, who are all back this season. General manager Joe Douglas added Patrick Onwuasor from the Ravens, who was a starter for a time in Baltimore. It gives coordinator Gregg Williams a room stacked with experienced players.

Ideally, the Jets don’t want to test that depth, though. The hope is Mosley is back to 100 percent and can anchor the defense. The team gave him that monster contract in 2019, believing he could lead their defense on and off the field. He was all over the field against the Bills in Week 1 with a pick-six, a fumble recovery and six tackles. Then, it was over. Mosley had surgery late last year and has said he expects to be ready for training camp.

Williamson is an interesting player to watch this summer. He was viewed as a possible cap casualty this offseason because he has a cap number of $8.5 million, and the Jets would save $6.5 million by cutting him. His knee injury may have complicated matters and Williamson remains on the roster. The question is: What happens when he is fully healthy? Will the Jets look to shed his salary before the season?

Williamson played very well in 2018 and is a good locker room presence. But if someone else emerges during training camp, Williamson may be viewed as expendable.

Hewitt was impressive in the 12 games he played last year, and even dating back to 2018 when he replaced a suspended Darron Lee late in the season. He had two interceptions and three sacks. The Jets re-signed him in free agency to a one-year, $2 million deal.

 

Onwuasor is an interesting addition. He also got a one-year, $2 million contract. The Ravens had high hopes from Onwuasor after he played well down the stretch for them in 2018. They wanted him to be Mosley’s replacement last year after Mosley departed for the Jets. But Onwuasor struggled and lost his starting job midway through the season. Onwuasor is a very good blitzer, and Williams may find creative ways to deploy him and get him after the quarterback, especially with the Jets having a weakness at edge rusher.

Cashman was raw as a rookie but showed some promise. A shoulder injury ended his season in October. He can be a strong special teams contributor this season and give the Jets some depth at linebacker.

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I've been thinking this all offseason. I'm still worried JD might cut Williamson, and if he does, I think that changes things a little. But this is an area where the Jets are actually in pretty good shape surprisingly. The Jets still need n edge rusher badly, but I really like this group. Possibly a suitable edge rusher rises from this group. At ILB the Jets are stacked.

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9 hours ago, Aaron Hernandez said:

Darron Lee was a ******* safety with horrible coverage skill we drafted to play LBer. He was barely bigger than Adams

He should not have been drafted at all. He played football like old people f*ck.

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2 hours ago, Dunnie said:

I am so beat down by the baseless venom thrown this guys way that I almost want to see him traded and win a few rings elsewhere.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using JetNation.com mobile app
 

Really f*cling stupid isn't it? I'm convinced the fanbase is as much of the problem as the front office the past 50 years. A bunch of DUMB people.

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3 hours ago, SAR I said:

You mean Gregg Williams.

SAR I

I mean ADAM GASE. In fact, this season is much more about a referendum on Adam Gase than it is anyone else. Gregg Williams doesn't have anything to prove. He's already proven he's a great defensive coordinator. Not to mention on the Jets the defense is the best unit on the team. The Jets offense sucks and it's Gase's job to get the offense going.

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