Florham Park, N.J. - The New York Jets received crippling news Friday as head coach Todd Bowles announced wide receiver Eric Decker suffered a partial tear in his rotator cuff. It is not good news for the Jets, who get the pleasure of playing a ball-hawking Seattle Seahawks defense that is ranked tops in the NFL in total defense and second in the league in scoring defense.
"He will be week-to-week," said Bowles. "He will try to rehab it."
Decker initially sustained a shoulder injury in the Week Two victory over the Buffalo Bills - a game that saw the seven-year veteran explode for six catches for 126 yards and a touchdown. He complained about soreness during the week of practice prior to playing the Kansas City Chiefs and was nearly invisible during the subsequent 24-3 rout, catching one pass for 31 yards. Decker did receive an MRI during the week and the results revealed the bad news.
"I'm not sure," Bowles responded when asked if the Decker's injury is season ending. "We will have to monitor it. Some people play with it over the course of time so we will see how it goes. It's too early to tell (if he needs surgery)."
This week, Decker was held off the practice field in Florham Park. He was limited to mere warm ups but was noticeably behind the rest of his teammates without a helmet. Once the team split to their respective areas, Decker walked to the sideline to stand next to coaches, Breno Giacomini, Jalin Marshall and Devin Smith. The similarity between Decker and the aforementioned three players - all dealing with injuries and will not play Sunday.
The Jets will now have to face a tough Seahawks team shorthanded. Ryan Fitzpatrick loses one of his reliable red zone targets - an area of the field that the quarterback threw three interceptions in last week's debacle - and Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson must take an extra step forward in their progression. This does not mean that the Seahawks - who have their own injuries especially with Russell Wilson - will blow New York out of the water; it means the road to victory will be that much more difficult.
New York must be 100 percent better than the way they played in Kansas City. The offense that seemed lost last Sunday still has tremendous weapons in Brandon Marshall, Quincy Enunwa, Matt Forte and Bilal Powell. But, without Decker lining up at scrimmage, the unit takes a huge blow as Seattle's secondary led by Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas can make the necessary adjustments to restrict Ryan Fitzpatrick's options.
"Fast, tough, aggressive," were words Bowles used to describe Seattle's defense.
That may mean more touches out of the backfield for Forte and Powell against a Seattle front seven that has allowed close to 90 yards rushing through the first three games. The Seahawks unit looked vulnerable last week against the San Francisco 49ers, allowing Carlos Hyde to run wild for 103 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. They also struggled to contain quarterback Blaine Gabbert who ran for 22 yards out of the pocket.
A win is not out of the question but it will definitely be more challenging to accomplish it without Number 87. The deck of cards was dealt. If the Jets bluff long enough, maybe they will get Seattle to bite too soon. But, this is an injury that causes extreme concern for the team for the remainder of the season.
Joe Barone is a staff writer for JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@28JoeBarone), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).null