Morgan Moses is building chemistry with his new offensive line and providing a veteran presence as he competes for a job.
The 2021 version of the Jets offensive line doesn’t just encompass young faces, such as rookie guard Alijah Vera-Tucker and second-year tackle Mekhi Becton.
A veteran presence is at hand as well, partly provided by Morgan Moses.
The 30-year-old tackle was cut by Washington this offseason prior to inking a one-year deal with the Jets last month. After spending his first seven NFL seasons in the nation’s capital, Morgan is building chemistry with his new offensive line counterparts and providing a veteran presence all while competing for the Jets’ starting right tackle job.
It’s unclear whether he’ll earn that role for the Week 1 matchup, but regardless, the chemistry is seemingly coming to fruition.
“It’s a great offensive line already,” he told the media Monday. “Just being able to get in the room with the guys and share my veteran presence and just being able to just go around the course again — new team, new everything. It’s a blessing, so I can’t complain.”
The mentorship Moses can provide as a veteran will be huge for the left side of the line, which is set to include the two aforementioned individuals, Vera-Tucker and Becton.
While the former — the 2021 No. 14 overall draft pick — will need time to develop, the latter is coming off a strong rookie season and has proven to be one of the top young offensive tackles in the NFL. The jaw-dropping size paired with the impressive athleticism widen the eyes of onlookers, and these qualities will help Becton protect rookie signal-caller Zach Wilson.
There is, however, still room for improvement, and Moses is prepared to assist in the further enhancement of Mekhi’s on-field talent.
“Just seeing Mekhi, I’ve known him for years…just being able to see his development pattern over the years has been great,” Morgan said. “If there’s anything that I can do to help that with the knowledge of the game that I’ve played…I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help the guys get to the next level.”
“I thought I was a big dude. On the sideline, I was like “Damn, he’s blocking the sun from me.” I think having [defensive end] Carl [Lawson] challenge him every day as a young player — it’s iron sharpening iron,” he later added. “When you get some guys out there competing every day, making each other better…it elevates everybody’s game and allows everybody to get better.”
But as was previously mentioned, supplying that veteran presence and building the chemistry within the offensive line can’t be all that Moses focuses on.
He will additionally attempt to win a job.
While George Fant isn’t the worst option at that right tackle spot, he’s certainly not the best. In his first season with the Jets last year, Fant recorded an underwhelming 61.6 Pro Football Focus grade — a mark notably weaker than Becton’s 74.4 and Moses’ 80.6.
The on-field issues are possibly what prompted New York to initially consider Moses’ acquisition.
A competition is thus slated to take place, but will it affect the relationship between the two vets?
“I think when you bring awkwardness into it, it kind of separates the room. And the last thing, from my standpoint, that I want to do as a professional, is divide the room,” Moses stated. “At the end of the day, I think our play will reflect who will get the job, and that’s up to the coaching staff. For us, as players, it’s to go out there and push each other to the best of our abilities.
“When [George] gets here [after being on the Reserve/COVID-19 list], I think [Tuesday], I expect him to come in full force and allow me to learn from him and him to learn from me as well. He’s been in the league for a while as well. I think it’s a great situation — at the end of the day, to have depth in the offensive line room is very key.”
Whether Moses or Fant earns the spot, depth will allow for the Jets to employ two serviceable options for the right tackle role. The loser of the position battle could additionally serve as a swing tackle in the event Becton experiences a health-related issue.
Depth will also help the offensive line stay fresh for its most overwhelming task — keeping Wilson upright.
Everyone likes to boast about Zach and the talented offensive weapons the Jets possess, such as receivers Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, and running back Michael Carter. It would be a shame if offensive line injuries coupled with unreliable reserve linemen prevented those individuals from maximizing their own potential.
The organization, as a whole, is ensuring that won’t be the case.