Jets' top CB Dee Milliner out vs Raiders
DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
Sep. 05, 2014
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets' top cornerback will start the season as a spectator.
Dee Milliner was ruled out for the regular-season opener against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday with a high ankle sprain. Coach Rex Ryan made the announcement, which was expected, after practice Friday.
That means Antonio Allen, a converted safety, and career backup Darrin Walls will be the Jets' starting cornerbacks for the game at MetLife Stadium.
Safety Josh Bush (quadriceps) and linebacker Ikemefuna Enemkpali (foot) were also ruled out for the game against the Raiders.
"I feel good about all three of them," Ryan said. "Hopefully they can play next week (at Green Bay), but for this week, all three of those guys are out."
Milliner injured his left ankle on Aug. 10 during training camp and hasn't practiced since. He said earlier this week that the ankle is giving him very little pain, and he appeared to be walking without any noticeable limitations. But he has yet to make cuts on the field, something he'll need to do before he gets into a game.
Allen was listed as probable after suffering a concussion in the Jets' preseason game against the Giants on Aug. 22. He has been practicing fully all week, and is set to make his first NFL start at cornerback after being solely a safety in his first two seasons.
"He seems to be coming along pretty good," Ryan said of Allen's development at cornerback. "But we're going to find out on Sunday because there's nowhere to hide when you're out on that field."
Ryan is confident Allen, who switched to cornerback during training camp after Milliner and a few others at the position were hurt, will be able to make the transition because he has "unusual ball skills."
"He can flat go up and catch it," Ryan said of the 6-foot-1 Allen. "So, if you're going to plan on running jump balls all day long, I like our chances. Is he still going to be a little bit of a work-in-progress? Sure. He's probably not as good now as he's going to be in the next couple of weeks, three weeks or four weeks down the road. But, for right now, he's doing a good job for us."
Walls has started four of his 27 career NFL games over three seasons with the Jets and Atlanta Falcons and has one interception.
"I think Darrin Walls is a much better player now than he was last year," Ryan said. "I don't think it's even close."
Backup linebacker Nick Bellore, a key special teams contributor, is listed as probable after dealing with a calf injury and will play.
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