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How Jim Leonhard's Injury Really Hurts The Jets

The New York Jets announced yesteday that starting safety Jim Leonhard will undergo season ending surgery to fix a broken fibia he suffered in practice on Friday. This couldn't come at a worse time, as the Jets will faceoff against the Patriots on Monday Night with first place in the East on the line.

But while injuries happen in the NFL all the time, some worse then others, this injury could be a crushing blow for the Jets defense. As some people may not know, Leonhard is the Jets defensive play caller. Any adjustments or play calling done from the sidelines goes through Leonhard, meaning the Jets will have to fill a huge hole against one of the best passing offenses in the NFL.

ESPN.com also talked about Leonhard's punt returning skills. Leonhard is currently the Jets leading punt returner, averaging 11.3 yards per return with 0 fumbles. Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery will take over the return duties, but with the winds swirling in Foxborough on Monday night and Cotchery's catching issues this season, we may see some turnovers occuring on special teams.

Depth at safety isn't a strong point for the Jets either. With Leonhard going down for the year, there are only three safeties remaining on the active roster: James Ihedigbo, Brodney Pool, and Eric Smith. The Jets are expected to use Leonhard's roster spot by signing long time Jet reciever Laveranues Coles, explaining that the Jets wouldn't have time to get whichever safety they sign up to speed for the New England game (Plus, signing Coles is a great move and shows how classy the organization is, if you ask me).

Gang Green is going to have to have players step up this week, ideally James Ihedigbo, if they want to take first place in the East against New England. The Patriots are just as hot as the Jets, and Tom Brady is coming off a four touchdown performance on Thanksgiving. This has the makings of being one of the best games between the two teams in many years, but the Jets must make adjustments if they have any chance of winning this game.

 

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