The Jets are poised to get a boost at the cornerback position ahead of Sunday's showdown with one of the best offensive units in the league.
Bless Austin has been designated by the Jets to return to practice and is eligible to come off the injured reserve this week. The second-year corner was placed on New York's IR with a neck injury on Nov. 21.
If Austin can prove in workouts this week that he's good to go this weekend, he'll be able to return for the first time since Week 9 against the New England Patriots.
"We’ve got a chance there, [with Austin] and [tight end Trevon] Wesco," Jets head coach Adam Gase said before Wednesday's practice. "We’ve got a chance to see how they look at practice."
In eight games (and seven starts) this season, Austin has made 43 tackles, two tackles for loss, he's deflected three passes in coverage and forced a fumble.
With Austin and fellow cornerback Brian Poole both out the last several weeks, along with New York's release of veteran defensive back Pierre Desir, rookies have been playing far more often in the Jets' secondary. That's paved the way for Bryce Hall and Lamar Jackson, among others, to increase their playing time in recent week and gather invaluable in-game experience.
Set to face an MVP candidate, quarterback Russell Wilson, along with a talented group of weapons (including team-leading receiver and physical specimen D.K. Metcalf), getting Austin back would be key for New York's struggling secondary.
Speaking of the secondary, Gase revealed on Monday that rookie safety Ashtyn Davis could miss the rest of the season with a foot injury sustained in the loss to the Raiders. Asked on Wednesday if there was any positive news on Davis' injury—as well as guard Greg Van Roten and safety Bennett Jackson—Gase didn't have an update.
"Not really," he said. "I’m just kind of waiting to see if any of these guys get put on IR."