With Jim Leonhard not expected to play after thumb surgery on Monday, the Jets need a new punt returner. Leonhard, Dwight Lowery, and Darrelle Revis took reps back there last game, but Jerricho Cotchery will get the job against New England because he had the surest hands in practice.
No argument here. Cotchery is the Jets' #1 receiver (sorry, Braylon), but the season is still too much in jeopardy to risk putting a lesser player back there. And putting Revis back there is different than Cotchery because at this point, Revis is the player the Jets can most ill-afford to lose.
As for Leonhard, while he hasn't been expected to play all week, Rex Ryan has stressed how tough he is all week, so Leonhard is listed as questionable and even went through limited practice Friday. If he can't go, David Harris will call the defensive signals.
Someone who will not play is LB Vernon Gholston who is out with a hamstring injury. About time the Jets had an excuse to sit him down. Let's face it, the guy hasn't even shown flashes in a year and a half. I hate calling guys busts so early in their careers, and Gholston could still one day turn out to be a decent NFL player, but there is no way he will ever live up to the #6 draft pick.
Eric Mangini gets the blame for the Gholston pick, and while he may have been Gholston's main proponent, the Jets can't lay all the blame for the pick on him. It's fashionable to blame Mangini right now. He's done a bad job in Cleveland, though the complete dearth of talent at the skill positions haven't helped him out. Tacking Gholston on Mangini is the easy thing to do, and I'm not totally buying it.
As for the Patriots game, it's eerie how quiet things have been from both sides. The Jets can't do much talking after a going 1-5 in their last 6 games against poor opposition. Rex Ryan is still the same guy, but it's nice to not hear so much out of this team before the game. Actually, they can talk all week, they can shut up all week, I don't care, just show up on Sunday and get the job done. The time for excuses ended a while ago, yet they keep coming.