The decimated Jets offensive line got a major boost this week, as Duane Brown has returned to practice after suffering a shoulder injury just prior to the season opener.
Brown took the field during Wednesday’s practice for the first time since he found himself on the injured reserve list on Sep. 10, one day before Gang Green’s season opener against the Baltimore Ravens.
The five-time Pro Bowler signed with the Jets in the offseason after spending 15 years of his illustrious NFL career with the Houston Texans and the Seattle Seahawks.
He came to MetLife stadium in an effort to replace Mekhi Becton at left tackle, after he suffered a season-ending knee injury during training camp.
After Brown joined Becton on the IR, the team started George Fant to protect the quarterback’s blind spot, but he subsequently suffered a knee injury that will keep him out for at least another three weeks.
The problems continued after that for the Jets offensive line, as fellow tackle Max Mitchell was carted off the field on Sunday during the team’s win against the Steelers, also with a knee injury. He will reportedly miss several weeks.
With four tackles that have sustained major injuries, the pass protection at MetLife Stadium has been shattered, and it has reflected on the field.
The combination of Gang Green’s two starting quarterbacks this season, Joe Flacco and Zach Wilson, have been sacked 10 times already through four games, and the both signal callers have faced significant pressure nearly every time they’ve dropped back to pass.
Meanwhile, the running game has suffered, as they’ve failed to rack up over 100 yards on the ground in any contest thus far this year. They have the fifth-least rushing yards of any team in the NFL with just 350, and the 11th-least rushing yards per attempt at 4.1.
Getting Brown back would be a huge boost to both Wilson (who is slated to start his second game of the season on Sunday), and the running game (led by rookie Breece Hall and Michael Carter).
Whether he will be able to suit up remains a question, and Brown gave no solid indication about this availability after practice on Wednesday.
“We’ll see,” Brown said. “It was a really good step forward in the right direction.”
Brown reportedly rejected the option to have surgery on his shoulder, and instead opted to give himself the best chance to return as early as possible.
“I want to play,” he said.
Head coach Robert Saleh said Wednesday that he would hold off on making a final determination until just before the game against the Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 9.
“We’ll see, we’re gonna get a lot of information today and tomorrow,” he said. “I’m gonna hold that till Sunday again.”