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What the Kris Jenkins Injury Means

In some ways, the Jets are better off than they were after losing Kris Jenkins a year ago. At that point, it was not clear whether they had a suitable replacement at nose tackle, an extremely important position in any 3-4 base defense. As it turns out, they did. Sione Pouha did such a fantastic job at nose tackle that he kept the job and allowed the Jets to move Jenkins to end.

The most obvious man who will need to step up is Mike Devito. During training camp, Rex Ryan said he had four starting caliber linemen. Devito was the fourth. He was excellent last year and played very well last night. Instead of spelling the three linemen, he will now have to take a full time role. He is nowhere near the matchup nightmare Jenkins is at end, but he has the strength to do a good job at end in the 3-4 and inside in the 4-3.

While the downgrade from Jenkins to Devito will hurt, where the Jets will really lose is depth. Again, Devito was supposed to spell the three starters. He could take Kris' and Shaun Ellis' spot at end. He could have lined up on the nose in a pinch or allowed Jenkins to slide to the nose when Pouha needed a rest. He could have let the Jets limit snaps at a physically demanding spot.

The three starters will either have to play more downs, or the downgrade when the subs enter will be more pronounced. Matt Kroul and Vernon Gholston will see more time. Perhaps they will unexpectedly rise to the challenge like Pouha did last year. If they do not, defensive line just got a lot weaker.