CB Lowery gets start for Jets S Smith

The Jets' Dwight Lowery, left, will start his second straight game on Sunday against the Bears. Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- The New York Jets announced prior to Sunday’s game that cornerback Dwight Lowery will start at safety in place of Eric Smith, who is out with a concussion.

That means there’s a good chance the exotic blitz packages of Jets coach Rex Ryan will be scaled back because of relative inexperience in the last line of defense. It also means there’s a chance Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz tests Lowery by dialing up a deep ball or two.

A three-year veteran, Lowery starts in his second consecutive game for the Jets. Having spent time as a cornerback, a nickel back and dime-coverage substitute, Lowery hasn’t been able to focus solely on one position, which could lead to potential confusion on the back end against Chicago.

However, the fact the Bears don’t throw deep often could mitigate Lowery’s inexperience.

Lowery has expressed a desire to play safety for the Jets since the team drafted him in 2008 in the fourth round out of San Jose State. A two-time all-American in college, Lowery was drafted as both a cornerback and a safety.

Lowery has played in 12 games this season, starting last week for the first time in the Jets’ 22-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Lowery contributed three tackles and a pass breakup against the Steeers. On the season, Lowery has registered 15 tackles, two sacks, four pass breakups and an interception returned for a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings.

Count on Martz testing the waters at least once on a deep ball from Jay Cutler thrown Lowery’s way. The Jets typically utilize overload blitzes on passing downs out of dime packages which feature six defensive backs.

The blitzes will leave Lowery in man coverage against a tight end or running back, or -- depending on the Bears’ formation -- place the safety in a man-free situation where he’s assigned to help out other Jets defenders in coverage.