New York Jets safety Eric Smith has been ruled out by head coach Rex Ryan for the home opener this Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Buffalo Bills. Eric Smith has been bothered by knee and hip injuries since the first preseason game versus the Cincinnati Bengals, but the Jets were hopeful he would return in time to start the regular season. The Jets will have to get through week one without the services of Eric Smith.
Eric Smith is a vital part of the New York Jets defense and special teams, but will be missing this Sunday when the Jets host the Buffalo Bills. Eric Smith was maligned last season and ate a ton of the criticism for the Jets' issues covering tight ends, but he has been leaned on to bring new arrivals LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell and Josh Bush up to speed on the back end of the defense. Rex Ryan has said in the past that Eric Smith is the most intelligent player on the team, an valuable trait for the main communicator in the secondary.
Expect LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell to start at safety together, with Josh Bush popping in from time to time to pace Landry. The Jets are being cautious with LaRon Landry to minimize the risk of injury, something that has plagued his career. From an ability standpoint there's no question that the Jets will be just fine at safety without Eric Smith since they can plug in two talented veteran safeties and spell each with Josh Bush.
Eric Smith will be sorely missed by Mike Westhoff and the special teams units, as Smith plays some of the most important roles on each team. A very good tackler, Mike Westhoff likes to employ Eric Smith on coverage teams at the vital tackling positions. That role will have to be filled, probably by a younger player.
The Jets are still awaiting a final decision on the availability of Sione Pouha and Dustin Keller for Sunday's game.
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