The Jets offensive line has begun to take shape now that Pro-Bowl tackle Duane Brown has officially signed with the team, and they look to be much-improved over last year’s lackluster squad.
Brown signed as a free agent with the Jets after a season-ending injury from Mekhi Becton, who suffered an avulsion fracture of the right knee cap, and comes in adding a veteran presence to the line in front of signal caller Zach Wilson (whenever he returns from his own injury).
The team answered a major question this week, when they announced that Brown, the 15-year veteran who most recently played for the Seahawks, would suit up as the left tackle on the line (usually considered the more important of the 2 tackle spots).
That pushes George Fant to the right tackle slot — but coach Robert Saleh brushed off the notion that such a move was a demotion for Fant.
“George’s curse is also a blessing in that he is extremely versatile, very athletic,” he said. “He’s the ultimate team guy. I know he is going to put in the work, and he’s going to do everything he can to be the best right tackle he can possibly be.”
Brown also told reporters that there was no love lost between him and Fant when the move was made, as the pair have a long and productive history together dating back to their time as teammates in Seattle.
“We’ve been in communication throughout this process, and I have all the respect in the world for him. He’s a great player,” Brown said during training camp on Tuesday. “The situation, the way it played out, it’s not easy for anybody. But he’s handled it greatly, and I’m grateful for it.
“It hasn’t been that awkward for us. We’re on great terms. We’re friends before anything.”
The line will now consist of: LT Duane Brown, LG Laken Tomlinson, C Connor McGovern, RG Alijah Vera-Tucker, and RT George Fant.
For more coverage of Duane Brown and the Jets, head to amNY.com.
Offensive line coach John Benton will have his work cut out for him, as the team’s squad was not great last season.
Jets passers were sacked 53 times last season, which was the 4th-most in the NFL. That can partially be attributed to then-rookie quarterback Zach Wilson holding the ball too long in the pocket, but the offensive line certainly did no favors for the young signal caller.
Meanwhile, the Gang Green rushing offense was nothing special, as their 1,667 total yards last season ranked as the 6th-least in the NFL.
Now, with Wilson entering his 2nd season, and the addition of 2nd-round rookie Breece Hall at running back, the offensive line could be the key to unlocking the improved offense fans have been hoping for this season.