Jets ‘numb’ to possibility they’ll be without starting guards

The Jets are in jeopardy of being without both of their starting guards Sunday against the Jaguars.

Right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and backup quarterback Joe Flacco became the 18th and 19th Jets (plus head coach Robert Saleh) to hit the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday.

Duvernay-Tardif, a doctor who opted out of last season to fight COVID-19 on the front lines, joined rookie left guard Alijah Vera-Tucker on the list, meaning the Jets could be forced to start backups Greg Van Roten and Dan Feeney on Sunday. Van Roten had started the first nine games of the season at right guard before Duvernay-Tardif took over for him.

Flacco, who is not vaccinated, will be forced to miss at least 10 days. Mike White, who spent nearly a month on the reserve/COVID-19 list before being activated on Tuesday, will be Zach Wilson’s backup Sunday.

“I’d say we’re numb to it, we’re used to it,” offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said before Duvernay-Tardif and Flacco joined the COVID-19 list. “You go out to practice and you’re like, ‘All right, who’s going to be out there today?’ We go through our rundown at our 7:30 [a.m.] staff meeting but things can change from 7:30 to noon. Things change every 10 minutes right now, just by a guy not feeling well, getting tested and boom, he pops. You just kind of run with it.”

The Jets could be without starting guards Alijah Vera-Tucker (left) and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (right) against the Jaguars.
Bill Kostroun, USA TODAY Sports

DL Quinnen Williams, who along with LB C.J. Mosley and KR/PR Braxton Berrios were named Pro Bowl alternates Wednesday, said he hopes he can finish out the season despite leaving back-to-back games with a shoulder injury.

Williams initially hurt his shoulder in Week 14 against the Saints but came back in. He was unable to finish last week’s game against the Dolphins.

“It’s one of those things [that’s] day-to-day, week-to-week,” Williams said after a second straight limited practice. “I just pray and go out there and put my best foot forward every single down.”

Williams declined to say whether he will need offseason surgery to address his shoulder issue, deferring to the team’s medical staff.

WR Jamison Crowder missed a second straight practice with a calf injury as the Jets are in danger of having another thin wide receiver corps Sunday with Elijah Moore and Corey Davis already on IR.

The group could be helped by a potential return from Jeff Smith, who along with special-teamer Justin Hardee worked out on a side field during Thursday’s practice. Smith and Hardee are on the reserve/COVID-19 list but appear to have a shot at playing Sunday if they pass conditioning tests. CB Bryce Hall (non-COVID illness) did not practice again. Mosley (back) and DL Sheldon Rankins (knee) returned to practice as limited participants after missing Wednesday.