All signs point to Damien Woody starting at right tackle on Saturday against the Colts, but Rex Ryan stopped short of naming Woody as his starter on Thursday.
“He’s playing (but) we’re still rotating him and Wayne (Hunter) with the starting group," Ryan said of Woody, who has missed the last three weeks due to an MCL injury. "I’ll refer to (offensive line coach) Bill Callahan on that and we’ll go with who we think is the best guy.”
Woody hasn't played since undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair the MCL he injured against the Texans on Nov. 21. He practiced on a limited basis on Thursday, the Jets final full day of work before they fly to Indianapolis on Friday afternoon.
Wayne Hunter said on Thursday that he plans to back up Woody and left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Hunter started in place of Woody during his three-game absence. Outside of the Texans game, in which he struggled against Mario Williams (three sacks), Hunter has performed well.
Right tackle will be a key position against the Colts because that’s who Colts’ defensive end Robert Mathis usually lines up across from.
SMITH STARTING: S Eric Smith, who sat out the last three weeks with a concussion, said that he will start at safety on Saturday. Smith added that he hasn’t had a headache in the last two weeks and that he passed the NFL-mandated baseline test this week before returning to the practice field.
In other secondary news, Ryan said that Drew Coleman will play nickel corner but he expects Kyle Wilson, Marquice Cole and Dwight Lowery to rotate in the secondary as well. Lowery started in last year’s AFC title game and was torched for nine catches, 124 yards and a touchdown on balls thrown his way.
Also, injured S Jim Leonhard will see a doctor on Monday and hopes to get permission to ditch his crutches. Leohard broke his right tibia in a freak collision in practice three days before the Jets lost a 45-3 laugher to the Patriots in New England.
Leonhard, who gets around the practice facility in a motorized scooter, has helped break down opponents' tape with Jets defensive coaches during the week. He’s been sitting at home on game day though, watching Jets games from his couch.
"I feel pretty good actually," the safety said. "It's going to be five weeks tomorrow (since the injury). These guys need to keep winning because time flies during the season and I have a feeling it's going to slow down significantly when we're done playing. So I'd appreciate some wins out of these guys."
PUMP IT UP: In an effort to simulate the atmosphere at Lucas Oil Stadium, the Jets pumped crowd noise and music into the practice facility on Thursday while the offense went through plays. Ryan stated that the noise in practice facility was louder than it will be on Saturday night, before backtracking.
“I shouldn’t say that," he said. "It gets pretty loud in that stadium.”