S Marcus Maye (foot, DNP) is doubtful for #NYJvsCLE
TE Neal Sterling and OLB Josh Martin (concussions) are both OUT pic.twitter.com/C0xrXPzNdi
— New York Jets (@nyjets) September 19, 2018
Safety Marcus Maye did not practice again at all this week, so even though he is listed as doubtful, he is almost certainly not going to play, especially with 4 other safeties on the team besides himself. Third year player Doug Middleton will start again in his place. Middleton has been solid yet unspectacular in Maye’s absence. In week one against the Lions, he had 4 solo tackles, 5 total, and 1 pass deflected. Against the Dolphins, he had 5 solo tackles, and 7 total. He is not quite the dynamic player Maye is, but he has played well so far with plenty of room for improvement, considering he has only played 6 total games so far in his career.
Outside linebacker Josh Martin is still in concussion protocol and did not practice at all this week.as he remains in the concussion protocol. Brandon Copeland has gotten the majority of snaps at OLB in Martin’s absence, and he is making the most of it. Over the first 2 weeks, he has 4 solo tackles, 5 total, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, and 3 hits on the opposing QB. Josh Martin had only 1.5 sacks in 14 games last season, and Copeland’s 5 total tackles is about a third of his total for 2016 and for 2017 already. He is trending in the right direction, and hopefully he can keep this up and finally give the Jet’s a real pass rushing presence from the outside linebacker position. There is also Frankie Luvu, who has looked good as a rookie so far, with 4 solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass defended, and 1 hit on the opposing QB. Copeland has gotten the majority of snaps so far through 2 weeks, but if Luvu comes on, that could change.
Considering how often new OC Jeremy Bates likes to use his tight ends, the biggest blow is probably not having Neal Sterling. Sterling had an excellent camp and preseason, and was really starting to solidify himself as the Jet’s top tight end. He left the Dolphins game with an injury however, that we now know is a concussion that he is still suffering from. Rookie tight end Chris Herndon had a couple of mental lapses last week, but looked to be getting more involved in the offense, catching 2 balls on 4 targets for 30 yards, averaging 15 per catch. With Sterling out, it could also open the door for Jordan Leggett to get his first meaningful action of the season.