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Jets' trip to Kansas City turns into cornerback tryout

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Without having practiced at all this week and officially listed as doubtful, New York Jets starting cornerback Darrin Walls is unlikely to play Sunday in Kansas City. If he does go, Jets coach Rex Ryan said it would be so he can continue to get treatment on his ankle and calf.

"It's really doubtful," Ryan said.

And just like that, the Jets' lamentable cornerback situation went from bad to black-cat-crossing-your-path awful.

The Jets will be starting Antonio Allen, a player converted from safety this season, and either Marcus Williams, Josh Thomas or Phillip Adams -- three players who weren't in training camp with the Jets.

Defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, the man paid to know Phillip Adams from Rontez Miles, wasn't all too familiar with the journeymen cornerbacks now on the Jets roster.

"I know a couple of their numbers, 41 [Thomas] and 22 [Williams]. There's Antonio, there's Walls, there's Kyle [Wilson]," Thurman said. "We're trying to put the best combination we can put out there. So, that's about [it]. I can't even tell you who's going to start this week."

The most veteran corner, Wilson, will probably stay in the slot as he has all season. As for the rest, it might look a little like a tryout for Adams -- who said he has already started two games since arriving in September -- and Thomas and Williams.

"We feel confident in our guys and that's why I think we might play all of them," Ryan said.

Not that the Kansas City Chiefs could be poised to exploit the Jets' cornerback by committee. The Chiefs have attempted a league-low 30 passes downfield farther than 15 yards, and their receivers have caught a league-low 57 passes this season according to ESPN's Stats & Info. If any team is going to exploit the Jets' Swiss cheese of a secondary, it's not Kansas City.

Last week, the corner with the biggest play in the game was wide receiver Saalim Hakim, who was tapped to play a little corner and ran down Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins as he was starting to celebrate a touchdown a few yards short of the end zone. Hakim said he's happy to play situational corner this week as well if needed.

Walls had played more reps than any other corner this season with 46. The Jets' defense did marginally better with Walls on the field than with him off, according to Stats & Info, but this is a team struggling to defend the deep pass. The Jets have allowed a league-worst 17.2 yards per attempt on passes thrown longer than 15 yards downfield.

And that was with Walls.

On the bright side, three new-ish cornerbacks have a chance to make an impression -- and try to make Thurman remember their names.