It was just a week ago when the Jets had question marks at both offensive tackle spot and two injured guards in Laken Tomlinson and Alijah Vera-Tucker.
Gang Green, exhale.
The Jets’ offensive line appears back on track. Mekhi Becton impressed Saturday against the Bucs and will be earning first-team right tackle reps. Now the Jets might not need to choose from unproven Max Mitchell and veteran Billy Turner for that role after all. And almost coinciding with Becton’s promotion is the return of Duane Brown, who will be activated off the physically unable to perform list Wednesday according to SNY. Brown will retain his starting left tackle role as long as he remains upright.
Tomlinson and Vera-Tucker additionally returned to practice Tuesday while Connor McGovern settles in as the starting center. So with Aaron Rodgers under center and a slew of offensive weapons now including Dalvin Cook, the line finally looks to have a consistent group of faces.
But don’t be purchasing those tickets to the Big Game just yet. While there’s a chance the Jets finally have their starting group for Week 1 against Buffalo, various setbacks are still possible. We saw how disastrous it got for this group early in camp before these few breaks, right? The line could crumble just as quickly as it’s come alive.
Don’t forget: Brown isn’t just returning from shoulder surgery. He’s returning from shoulder surgery while turning 38 years old next week. With guys like Joey Bosa, Myles Garrett, Von Miller, Micah Parsons, Haason Reddick, and Maxx Crosby all on the schedule.
Becton doesn’t have any regular-season experience at the right tackle position. And the aforementioned challenges won’t be anything like what he faced against the Bucs if he maintains his current starting role. Plus it’s where he suffered his second of back-to-back knee injuries in last year’s camp, so there’s also that concern.
Tomlinson struggled last year and is 31. Vera-Tucker is coming off a triceps injury and could be asked to play right tackle should Becton struggle or get hurt. And the Jets have no choice but to start McGovern given Joe Tippmann’s slow initial development and short-term knee injury. After they were seemingly uninterested in re-signing him at the start of free agency.
No getting excited just yet. This line is only just starting to take shape. And there’s really no telling if it’ll remain consistent.
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