The Great Wall of New York: How the Jets Have Rebuilt their Offensive Line
The reason that the Jets’ hiring of Coach Robert Saleh made so much sense was due to the fact that he and GM Joe Douglas shared the same vision: building the team from the inside out. Like any good structure, you need to start off with a strong foundation. In this case, that foundation is the offensive line.
The 2021 Jets look like a completely different football team compared to their 2019 counterparts. A big reason for this being their new and improved offensive line.
While Saleh is entering his first year with the organization, Douglas has been working on building this wall since he was handed over the reins of the roster in 2019.
Jets Offensive Line: 2020 Offseason
In his first legitimate offseason as GM— Douglas signed tackle George Fant, center Connor McGovern, and guard Greg Van Roten.
In addition, Douglas used the 11th overall pick in the 2020 draft on big ass Mekhi Becton. Thus beginning the start of an offensive line that isn’t completely laughable like it had been in years past.
The Jets offensive line was still hot garbage in the 2020-21 season. However, it was improved. The “revamped” offensive line allowed 43 sacks in 2020, a decrease from the 52 sacks they allowed in 2019. Tiny improvements like that are what tells you a team is heading in the right direction.
Fast forward to 2021. Douglas selects arguably the best guard in the draft in Alijah Vera-Tucker at 14th overall. Drafting offensive linemen in the first round in two consecutive years tells us where Douglas’ priorities lie. IN THE TRENCHES.
Most recently, the Jets have signed tackle Morgan Moses from Washington. Moses is projected to take over Fant’s job at right tackle.
With the additions this year and last year, we’re looking at the following starting OL: Becton, Vera-Tucker, McGovern, Van Roten, Moses.
When all is said in done, it seems Douglas has put together a relatively solid front 5 guys. This an absolutely essential piece of the offense when it comes to rookie Zach Wilson’s development.
Disclaimer: The Jets Will Not be Good in 2021
Now before anyone gets any ideas— let me add a disclaimer here: I DO NOT think the Jets are going to be a playoff-caliber team this year. They have a first-year head coach, a first-year quarterback, and an extremely inexperienced NFL roster.
As a Jets fan, I have learned one thing and will stand by it: only expect the worst. I say that because this is the Jets we’re talking about. I’ve seen it a million times. One day some butt-fumble bullshit is going to happen and they are going to be the laughing stock of the NFL yet again.
With that being said, there is a small glimmering of hope.
Just look at the 2010 season, four years after Nick Mangold and D’brickashaw Ferguson were both selected in the first round. The Jets made it to the AFC championship, led by rookie QB Mark Sanchez, and their two former first-round offensive linemen (and their defense).
Building this team through the offensive line will give us that hope. Just a small glimmering of hope….
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-Tom D (@ThomasDiRusso on Twitter)
Feat. image courtesy of newyorkjets.com/
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