How the hell am I supposed to know who these are? - Emergency Safety Edition

In an occasional feature, we're going to briefly highlight any of the lesser-known players that make an unexpected impact during camp or in the season. Today, we focus on the emergency replacements coming in at the safety position:

What they did:

Basically? They were available when everyone else wasn't.

The Jets have a bunch of players on Covid-19 reserve for Sunday's game, but they've had so much disruption already this season that, at most positions, there's unlikely to be anyone starting that hasn't already started a game this year or seen significant playing time.

The exception is at safety where with Elijah Riley, Ashtyn Davis and Sharrod Neasman have all been ruled out, so the Jets will have two new starters. That's unless Davis or Neasman is activated but Robert Saleh said that's not likely.

So, who's coming in? The most likely candidates seem like rookie cornerback Jason Pinnock at free safety and the recently-claimed Will Parks as the strong safety.

The Jets have played it coy during the week but Jeff Ulbrich noted that Pinnock should have better scheme familiarity than some of the other options that haven't been here very long with Parks bringing experience and being a good fit in that box safety role.

Alternatives would be to use Kai Nacua - who only arrived a few days ago but does have familiarity with the system having played for Saleh in San Francisco - or Elijah Benton - who is on the practice squad but at least has been here for two and a half weeks; longer than Nacua and Parks.

Benton has never played any defensive snaps in a regular season game and Nacua has only played three since 2017, so both of these options lack the experience of Parks, who has started 18 games, including three last season.

Alternatively, they would have to consider playing someone else out of position - perhaps Javelin Guidry, Rachad Wildgoose or Isaiah Dunn - but bearing in mind that one of those will need to fill in for Deuce Carter in the slot.


In the case of Pinnock, he's been a bit of a disappointment this year and has only been on the field for 27 defensive snaps. All of these have been as an extra defender in the Jets' dime packages, albeit that he's often in a direct coverage matchup.

Playing him as a deep safety would be a completely new position for him though, although Jets fans have seen cornerbacks like Darryl Roberts and Art Maulet at least attempt to make that move in recent years.

Parks is excellent at coming up into the box to play the run and has experience of dropping deep in case Pinnock needs to match up in coverage closer to the line of scrimmage, so they could complement one another well if employed situationally.

The Jets could end up doing something unexpected - or making a swift change if the original plan isn't working. It will be interesting to see if the rest of the defense can pick up the slack.

More on Pinnock:

Here's the in-depth scouting report on Pinnock.