With tight end C.J. Uzomah struggling, Jets head coach Robert Saleh said Jeremy Ruckert “deserves to play a little bit more.”
That could happen as soon as Sunday against the Bills, though that’s not saying much.
Ruckert, the second-year tight end out of Ohio State, has caught just five passes for 43 yards this season.
A week ago against the Raiders, he was on the field for just 23 percent of the Jets’ offensive snaps, his lowest since Week 3.
But the Jets have gotten next to nothing out of Uzomah, who had 21 catches for 232 yards last season and just eight for 58 yards this year. To make matters worse, Uzomah committed a key holding penalty versus Las Vegas.
Ruckert, selected in the third round in the 2022 draft, said Friday the possibility of increased playing time hasn’t impacted how he approached the upcoming game in Buffalo on Sunday.
“Whenever I get the opportunity, whether it’s for one play or 40 plays, I cut it loose and showcase why I feel I’m here,’’ Ruckert said.
Asked what he thought he could bring to the offense, Ruckert said he believed the tight ends as a group could be a significant part of turning the unit around.
“We can do a little bit of everything,” Ruckert said. “We can stretch out and make plays, but compared to other teams, we take pride in how we’ll stick our face in the fan, be physical and play hard, with constant effort and toughness.”
Ruckert added that aspect of his game “is my job. I do whatever we need and I want to make the other team feel me.’’
What he wants to avoid are the “self-inflicted wounds” that have hurt the Jets’ offense this season — and he noted that he made one on a false start against the Chargers.
“The past few weeks, we’ve been moving the ball well for the most part,” Ruckert said. “It’s just one or two things get us.”
Mekhi Becton was a full participant in Friday’s practice, but remained on the injury report, with a wrist issue added to his previously disclosed knee injury.
Fellow OL Billy Turner (finger) and LB Chazz Surratt (ankle) also are out.
Josh Allen was listed on the Bills’ injury report for the first time this week with a shoulder issue, though the quarterback was a full participant in Buffalo’s practice on Friday.
The star quarterback was among those Saleh referenced after the Jets beat the Eagles, when the head coach said following the win: “We’ve played a gauntlet of quarterbacks. And I know we haven’t gotten all wins, but we’ve embarrassed all of them.”
Saleh expressed remorse over the word “embarrassed” the following day and with Allen about to face the Jets again Sunday, the coach reiterated his regret.
“Like I said, ‘embarrassing’ was probably the wrong choice of words in the heat of the battle,’’ Saleh said Friday. “Josh is a phenomenal quarterback. He’s one of the top 10 quarterbacks in [football]. … He’s a one-man wrecking crew and a damn-near Superman on the football field.”
Dalvin Cook will “100 percent” have an increased role in the offense following the release of RB Michael Carter, according to Saleh.
The coach said he “had a really good talk” with Cook and likened the veteran’s situation to Josh Jacobs of the Raiders.
Both longtime running backs missed training camp and have looked better in recent weeks.
“Josh kind of started slow when you watched the early part of this tape, but when you watch him now, Josh looks really good, in terms of getting his legs underneath them,’’ Saleh said.
Cook also missed training camp before signing with the Jets and Saleh said the effects could be seen.
“You get to Week 1 and it’s just like that juice, that pop, there’s something missing,” Saleh said. “But you’ve kind of seen it over the last couple weeks, I feel like his legs are alive [and] he’s starting to see the field the way we know he can see the field. So getting him more of a role is definitely a priority.”
Former Jets WR Robbie Chosen — formerly known as Robbie Anderson — was waived by the Dolphins this week.
Saleh said because of his speed, Chosen is “always worth talking about.”
Chosen spent the first four seasons of his career with the Jets, but Miami was his third team in two years. He had just one catch on the season, but it was a 68-yard touchdown.
“I know Joe [Douglas, Jets GM], will always turn over every stone,’’ Saleh said. “I know [Chosen] can flat-out roll. … He’s got a fastball, and whenever a player has a fastball, he’s always worth talking about.’’