Florham Park, NJ – Two weeks ago, Jets practice squad wide receiver Patrick Turner was earning rave reviews from Jets head coach Rex Ryan for his imitation of Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Turner was part of the scout team that emulated the Lions offense and due to his 6’5 and 220 pound frame, the second year wide receiver was chosen to play the role of the physically imposing Johnson. So for one week, the practice squad player had the roles and responsibilities of an All-Pro receiver.
“He’s a young man we picked up from Miami. He’s on our practice squad. He has size, that kid,” Ryan said the Monday after the Detroit game. “[Turner] went at it last week [in practice with Darrelle Revis]. I mean, they were going at it, full-speed.”
But this Sunday, Turner will be shedding the practice squad label and strapping it on for real. A third round pick in last year’s NFL Draft, the former USC wide receiver was cut this September by Miami, the team who drafted him. Now he has his chance on Sunday to potentially step in for Jerricho Cotchery, who suffered a slight groin tear in the Jets Week 10 win at Cleveland.
On Friday afternoon, the Jets announced that they will be moving Turner to the active roster for at least the Week 11 game against the Texans.
“I hope I’ll be on the active roster on Sunday,” Turner told GreenAndWhiteReport.com. “It’d be a great opportunity if I can get it, I’m not sure if I will have that chance or not.”
The fact that Turner, a highly regarded receiver out of USC and one of Mark Sanchez’s favorite targets during his time playing college ball there, can go against the Jets defense every day in practice. That fact, in and of itself, is a good thing for the player’s development. As part of the practice squad, Turner has been going up against Antonio Cromartie and Revis every day on the field.
He’s been going up against them, and they’ve been going against him.
Ryan said on Friday that Turner’s physical play two weeks ago when mirroring Calvin Johnson resulted in an incident where Revis and Turner “almost got into a fight with each other.”
Revis ended up shutting down Johnson, in large part due to the physical play of Turner in the week ahead of Detroit. The Jets gave turner a game ball for his efforts.
“I thought it was great,” Ryan said. “I’m not going to say that he was exactly Calvin Johnson, because if I did, every single team in the league would claim him, but he gave a great look and I think it really helped us.”
And for Turner, the chance to play on Sunday remains something special. Even though he will be replacing Cotchery on the roster, a player who is the longest tenured wide receiver on the Jets and a fan favorite, he said Sunday against Houston is the chance he’s been working for.
“All I want is the opportunity to play; I’ve been playing and practicing hard to get here,” Turner said. “So if Sunday is my chance, so be it.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012