— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 17, 2016
After suffering a knee injury last week, Matt Forte will return to action tonight against the Miami Dolphins. Forte said he believes he’s been playing with a torn meniscus. Either way, between Forte being injured and Bilal Powell’s performance last week, Powell should have a significantly increased workload. Both Steve McLendon and Lorenzo Mauldin remain inactive this week. Neither practiced this week, McLendon is dealing with a hamstring injury while Mauldin has an ankle injury. Both players were solid contributors to the defense, and the Jets are running thin in the front seven. Brent Qvale, who isn’t on the inactives list, is also out today. The rookie Brandon Shell will take his place.
Other inactives include: Christian Hackenberg, Khiry Robinson, Buster Skrine, Mike Catapano, and Jalin Marshall
Jalin Marshall practiced fully on Friday, but he will be a healthy scratch. Marshall was returning punts in practice, but he’s had issues with fumbles throughout the season. Nick Marshall will likely resume handling the returning duties.
Mike Catapano and Buster Skrine are out today. Their absence will also be felt on the defense. Skrine was the starting cornerback opposite Darrelle Revis, but he was shaky at times and often drew unnecessary penalties. Marcus Williams will fill in for him, with Juston Burris likely seeing some time as well. Catapano was the edge rusher stepping in for Mauldin. The Jets are glaringly thin at that position with Mauldin and Catapano out.
Bringing back Khiry Robinson is beginning to look like an unwise decision seeing as Robinson hasn’t been able to practice since returning. Robinson was listed as doubtful after missing practice all week. That leaves Brandon Wilds as the third string running back.
Christian Hackenberg will be inactive again today, making Ryan Fitzpatrick the backup for Bryce Petty. Bowles said Hackenberg could be elevated to backup for the last couple of games this season.
The Jets will begin their three game stretch against division opponents to finish the season. Aside from seeing what they have in their younger players, the Jets are also looking to play spoiler for their division rivals. The Dolphins are looking for a wildcard berth, and the Jets could significantly hurt their chances with a win tonight.