Jets starting O-Line willing to do “whatever is necessary” to help team in 2023

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New York Jets’ Mekhi Becton, left, talks with Connor McGovern during a practice at the NFL football team’s training facility in Florham Park, N.J., Thursday, July 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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FLORHAM PARK — As tricky as August has been for the New York Jets offensive line, they are about as whole and healthy as they’ve been in the last two seasons. 

After dealing with a rash of injuries throughout camp, the Jets have their entire starting offensive line together with two weeks to go before the start of the regular season. 

“I counted last week too. We always want more but three weeks is plenty” Jets head coach Robert Saleh explained before Tuesday’s practice. 

The return of Duane Brown off the PUP list, along with Laken Tomlinson and Alijah Vera-Tucker from minor injuries has allowed many of the group to begin to feel confident about the outlook of the upcoming season.

“Luckily for myself, I’ve played with all of them,” center Connor McGovern told AMNY. “I have a lot of experience with all four of the guys which helps a lot…We have a Monday Night game so it gives us this week and next week to build this cohesiveness, and put it all together.”

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Connor McGovern prepares for training camp battle at centerNew York Jets

McGovern may not be the oldest offensive lineman in the room this year for New York, but his experience should be beneficial for the Jets for 2023 and the future. Gang Green drafted his replacement, Joe Tippmann in the second round of this year’s draft. With the understanding that his time as a starting center in New York may be limited, that hasn’t deterred the 30-year-old from helping out the organization in any way he can.

It also helps that his skill set matches exactly what the offense wants to do with top playmakers like Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook running behind him.

“The way this offense is built, the O-Line tracks and our angles mirror that of the back, and when the O-Line and runningbacks are tied in everything goes a lot smoother. To have those guys who have run in this system, it makes our job easier,” McGovern explained. 

Becton’s resurgence

McGovern has been penciled in as the starting center for almost the entirety of training camp. The same can not be said for the team’s starting right tackle. Becton was named the starter on the right side following Saturday’s preseason game against the New York Giants. 

For him, the tough part now is making sure he shows exactly why the team has been so high and welcoming to him.

“It was pretty cool. It was a great moment,” Becton explained. “I have no choice but to be ready. Even if I didn’t play a full game in the preseason, I feel I’m still ready. 

Becton has fully healed from the knee injury that has cost him the last couple of seasons and tributes the number of reps as the reason his confidence has grown at the right tackle position. 

That wasn’t always the case though. Before camp had begun, the former first-round pick had made it clear that he wanted to play solely on the left side and that his knee injury came from playing right tackle. Becton has since walked that claim back but still had people concerned that he would not be as effective on the right side. 

So why did the Louisville product decide to welcome the OLine switch? Because it guaranteed that he would be on the field.

“Sometimes you have to do what’s best for the team. I just want to be on the field with my teammates,” Becton stated. 

Offensive linemen have to be selfless together and put their egos aside for the better of the team. McGovern and Becton have already done so to the benefit of the organization. Add in the sacrifices that Brown has already shown to be willing to give dating back to last year, and the Jets have a reason to feel supremely confident in their starting line. 

And it’s incredibly important that they all be on the same page heading into Week One against the Buffalo Bills.

For more New York Jets news, turn to AMNY.com