The last week of August is the cruelest week in the NFL for players as rosters have to be cut down from 80 to 53 players. Eliminating obvious talent and players who are on the “bubble” never is an easy job for a team front office and coaching staff but remember after all that the National Football League at its core is a business.
What is an NFL practice squad?
For 15 Jets players who were cut from the final 53 man roster, there is a sort of a silver lining at the end of the tunnel. With expanded rules allowing for more players including veterans to stay on the practice squad, the Jets have been able to keep a number of talented individuals in a Jets uniform-sort of. The role of a practice squad is exactly that – they play the scout team role in weekly practices and give the Jets starters a chance to see what their opponents will do next week by running their plays offensively and defensively. While this may seem to be an unglamourous and tedious role for football players, the practice squad gives them a vital lifeline to an actual NFL team and keeps them on the team payroll.
As an old high school coach, we used scout team players to help our starters get prepared for upcoming games. At the same time, the scout team players could develop by going up against older, more experience players and learning the game of football. For some of these scout players, hard work and dedication many times led to promotions to getting playing time on Friday nights and eventually the young scout players became your varsity starters as they matured.
Who made the Jets practice squad this season?
The marquee player who made his way to the Jets practice squad this training camp is none other than QB Chris Streveler. Even head coach Robert Saleh had to tip his hat to Streveler who had probably the greatest Jets training camp experience in recent memory. Jets fans shouldn’t forget about Streveler as he led the Gang Green to no less than three comeback victories in a row in the preseason. Yes, it’s the preseason and yes these wins didn’t necessarily come against starters but what Steveler did do will be talked about for quite awhile in the Jets organization.
With three QB’s already on the roster, its’ safe to say that Streveler will remain on the practice squad for most of the season with a “break glass in case of fire” ability to be promoted to the active roster at any time. Remember, how many QB’s did the Jets use last year when Zach Wilson and then his backups went down? Streveler is popular in the Jets lockroom and he could find himself in a regular season game somewhere down the line.
Other players staying on the Jets practice squad include the following:
WR Tariq Black: played in two preseason games with four receptions.
WR Irvin Charles: played in all three preseasong ames with four receptions.
WR Calvin Jackson: undrafted free agent, had two TD catches from Chris Steveler to pull out preseason wins against both the Eagles and the Giants. I expect to see him on the Jets sidelines on Sundays soon.
TE Kenny Yeboah: played in all three preseason games with four receptions.
T Chris Glaser: played on 67 snaps on offense in three preseason games.
T Grant Hermanns: played on both offense and special teams during the preseason.
DL Bradley Anae: third year in the NFL, had big fumble recovery for a TD against the Falcons in the preseason.
DL Jonathan Marshall: 2021 sixth round draft pick, had a productive preseason and again could be one of the practice squad players promoted quickly.
DL Tanzel Smart: Another veteran NFL player who had a productive preseason and could be called upon quickly to dress out on Sundays and make his way to the active roster.
LB Hamsah Nasirildeen: another 2021 sixth round draft pick who played last year. Nasirildeen earned most of his playing time this preseason on special teams and could find himself promoted to that role on Sundays soon.
LB DQ Thomas: Thomas had two tackles on special teams in the preseason and may find himself in that role on the active roster if needed due to injuries.
S Will Parks: Veteran player picked op on waivers from the Dolphins; Parks may soon be needed in the Jets secondary.
CB Craig James: James: James has bounced around the Eagles, Vikings and Jets organizations and may find himself a home with the Gang Green. James has actual regular season playing experience and that experience may be called upon quickly.
LB Chazz Surratt: selected by the Vikings in the third round last year, Surratt is out of North Carolina and was team mates with Jets RB Michael Carter in college. Surratt also played in nine games last season for the Vikings and has some game time playing experience under his belt.
Each NFL team is allowed to have 16 players on their practice squad at any time and as of right now the Jets have filled 15 of their positions. Many of these players have real NFL game experience and can be called upon to fill an active roster spot each Sunday. Injuries and ineffectiveness on the 53 man roster are sure-fire ways that practice squad players can rejoin the Sunday ranks so remember these names since there’s a good chance they will be playing in the regular season at one point or another.