Jets injury report analysis

Defensive end Bryan Thomas (hamstring-probable) should be able to play his normal role as the Jets third defensive end.

He rotates in quite a bit with starting ends John Abraham and Shaun Ellis. Expect the Jets other backup end, rookie Trevor Johnson, to see action as well.

Jets backup fullback, and special teams player B.J. Askew (shoulder-probable) was added to the injury report on Friday. He has been bothered by this shoulder injury for about three weeks. While Askew is primarily a special teams player who doesn't play much of offense, he does sometimes serve as a goalline fullback. If he can't go, the Jets might use defensive tackle James "Tank" Reed in this role. Reed had a nice block on an Ian Smart touchdown run in the Jets preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Free safety Jon McGraw (groin-questionable) was downgraded on Friday. He was listed as probable on Wednesday and Thursday. If he does play, he will not start, with veteran Reggie Tongue, taking over his spot. Tongue was battling rookie Erik Coleman for the starting strong safety job. Coleman won that job. But the Jets safety spots are interchangable, so Tongue shouldn't have a problem sliding over to free safety.

Defensive tackle Josh Evans (probable-back) should play. He backs up Dewayne Robertson at the three-technique tackle spot, but the two basically split the game. Evans is a better pass rusher than Robertson. Evans' back has improved over the course of the week. He was questionable on Monday.

Offensive tackle Brent Smith (bicep strain) was released on Friday. The Jets might bring him back after the first game. With a vested veteran like Smith, the team would owe him his entire 2004 salary if he was on the roster for the opener. With Smith off the roster, unproven and raw rookies Adrian Jones and Marko Cavka are the only backup tackles. If there is an injury at offensive tackle, the Jets could be in trouble. It's possible that if there is a tackle injury, guard Pete Kendall could move out there, and Jon Goodwin could move in at guard. Kendall was an offensive tackle in college.

Nickel back Ray Mickens (knee-IR) is done for the year. Either rookie Derrick Strait or veteran Terrell Buckley will take over Mickens' nickel back role. Buckley was signed this week.

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