It looks like the Jets will be heading into the 2017 season without one of their key players on offense, Quincy Enunwa.
There was initial concern surrounding Enunwa when he aggravated a neck injury during the Jets green and white scrimmage over the weekend.
Well that concern was justified Monday afternoon when the Jets confirmed Enunwa will be out up to nine months with a bulging disc in his neck. He’s been placed on injured reserve and is out for the season.
The injury is not believed to be career-threatening, but neck injuries are nothing to mess around with. It’s a tough setback for the emerging 25-year old, he worked his way up the depth chart as a 2014 sixth-round draft pick.
The Jets haven’t even been cleared for takeoff yet and they already have their first major setback. Losing Enunwa is a major blow for a team coming off a massive roster overhaul in the offseason.
Veteran receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker were let go after last year’s 5-11 finish. However, Enunwa was one of the few bright spots in 2016.
He racked up 857 receiving yards on 58 catches with four touchdowns. It was enough to convince the Jets they found their potential lead receiver for the future.
While Marshall and Decker have moved on to new homes, with the Giants and Titans respectively, the Jets are now forced to regroup and figure out who’s the next man up.
And who exactly is the next man up?
Robby Anderson, Jalin Marshall, and Charone Peake are familiar names already in camp. But Marshall will be serving a four-game suspension to start the season because of violating the performance-enhancing drug policy.
The Jets do have a couple of rookies on the roster, Ardarius Stewart and Chad Hansen, but it is safe to conclude general manager Mike Maccagnan will be scouring the free agent market for someone likely with more NFL credibility on their resume.
“We’ll look into it,” said Bowles, when asked if they’ll add another body. “We’ll see how our young guys develop. But, we’ll have our eyes open and see what’s out there.”
Going into training camp, the Jets were hoping Enunwa would be their go-to guy in the passing attack while one or two of their other receivers developed into potential keepers for the future. That plan’s not out the window entirely, but adjustments will have to be made.
It’s not the news a team trying to rebuild wants to hear, especially when the preseason hasn’t even began yet.
Head coach Todd Bowles has yet to officially name a starting quarterback, although all signs point to 38-year old Josh McCown getting the job.
The Jets are not expected to light up the scoreboard this year, but there still needs to be enough of an offense that can threaten to score points.
It won’t matter if it’s McCown or Christian Hackenberg, there has to be a number one receiver to get the football to. How the Jets handle this will be crucial to any success the offense can find this season.
Filling Enunwa’s shoes won’t be easy, but the Jets will have to figure it out quickly because it’s almost time for takeoff.