Reaching into the New York Jets' mailbag, Week 2:Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins. On paper, they appear to be three solid teams, but they're winnable games for the Jets. Only one of these opponents -- the Dolphins -- has a formidable defense, so you'd have to assume the Jets would be struggling on offense if they can't generate enough points to win one of these games. So does that mean Ryan Fitzpatrick would be benched coming out of the bye week? I wouldn't jump to that conclusion.
First of all, the organization is firmly behind Fitzpatrick, who has galvanized the offense with his understated leadership. Secondly, I don't think Smith would be ready in Week 6 to start and play an entire game. He's still not practicing; all he's doing is throwing in 7-on-7 drills. Todd Bowles has said Smith, coming off the broken jaw, will miss four games. As Bowles said Friday, "It's going to take a while." I don't think it would be prudent to toss Smith into the starting lineup in his first game in uniform. Plus, that Week 6 game happens to be at home (against the Washington Redskins), and we all know Smith isn't Mr. Popularity at MetLife Stadium.
Devin Smith is ready to make his NFL debut. It'll be a game-day decision, according to Bowles. Smith has been practicing for two weeks without any restrictions, so if not now, when? They could use a deep threat on the field. Yes, the Jets played well on offense last week, but they didn't have anyone to stretch the defense. Sooner or later, especially against aggressive defenses, you need that guy. Otherwise, you end up playing on a 20-yard field, and that can be problematic.
In the opener, Ryan Fitzpatrick was 1-for-5 on passes that traveled at least 20 yards in the air, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The lone completion was a 43-yarder to Chris Owusu. I'm not knocking Owusu, who did a solid job as the No. 3 receiver, but the Jets have a lot invested in Smith, a high second-round pick. He was working at the No. 3 receiver early in training camp, when he busted his ribs, and I suspect he'll be deployed in that role on Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts, if he plays.
In three-receiver packages, they'd have Smith and Brandon Marshall on the outside, with Eric Decker in the slot. Obviously, Smith hasn't done anything on the NFL level, but people know his college track record. At Ohio State, he averaged 28.2 yards per catch and scored 12 touchdowns last season. All it takes is one successful deep shot to change the dynamic, forcing the opposition to adjust its approach.
I could see the Jets activating six receivers on Monday night. Remember, Owusu is the kickoff returner and Jeremy Kerley, despite having no role on offense, is the punt returner. Smith has been returning some kickoffs in practice, but he's never done it in a game. Nevertheless, he'd have a role on special teams as the gunner on punt coverage. Bottom line: I say activate the kid. Let's see what he can do.