"There is some talk about bringing other guys in," said Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson. "If Abraham can't go, why not bring in somebody else?"
It's hard to find free agent defensive ends, especially this year with so many injuries at the position around the league. The Jacksonville Jaguars have lost five defensive ends for the year, and the New York Giants have lost three.
So where do the Jets turn? The logical choice is the Jets 2003 fifth round pick Matt Walters. After being cut by the Jets on the final cutdown this summer, he was been out of football. Walters makes sense because he knows the system. Another possibility is Joey Evans, also a late cut in training camp. He has some pro experience in NFL Europe, and knows the system as well.
The Jets don't have any defensive ends on their practice squad, but they do have a defensive tackle – Tim McGill. There is a small chance they might elevate him, but he's strictly an inside player at 6-2, 310 pounds, so it's a long-shot.
One idea being floated around by the Jets defensive coaches is to have Dewayne Robertson play some defensive end. He has played the spot at times when the team switches to the 3-4 defense. He's not particularly effective as a pass rusher from this spot because he tends to get engulfed by the much taller offensive tackles. However, he's decent against the run as a defensive end.
If the Jets don't make any moves, they will go with Shaun Ellis and Bryan Thomas at the end spots with Trevor Johnson rotating in for them.
The Abraham injury didn't hurt the Jets against the Texans. It actually helped them because they changed their defense in the second half, and the new approach caught the Texans off guard.
But they might not be lucky this week with Pittsburgh getting a week to prepare for the Jets sans Abraham. This injury is going to put a lot of pressure on Ellis, who is going to see a lot more double teams than he's been facing. Remember last year when Abraham missed half the season with a groin injury, Ellis' sack totals went way down with all the extra attention focused on him. The Jets think Thomas is a lot better this year, so this should help Ellis. Only time will tell. In his first three years, Thomas has proved to be a much better run defender than pass rusher. He has just three sacks thus far in his career.