NOVEMBER 2: As expected, Brown has indeed returned to practice, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport notes. That means Thursday will mark the beginning of his 21-day activation window. It will be interesting to see how aggressive the Jets are in activating him, knowing his injury history and the implications it will have on Becton. In any event, New York will receive a boost along the offensive line in the near future.
NOVEMBER 1: Duane Brown‘s hip injury caused the Jets to reconfigure their offensive line. Mekhi Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker changed positions, and second-round rookie Joe Tippmann entered the starting lineup. With the Jets in a worse place injury-wise weeks later, Brown’s return figures to help a 4-3 team.
Robert Saleh said Wednesday (via the New York Post’s Brian Costello) the team is planning to open Brown’s practice window this week. Brown has been on IR since before Week 4, which would have made last week his first shot at coming back. The Jets, however, believed they rushed Brown back from rotator cuff surgery late this summer (he returned August 23). That could point to caution when bringing him back from the hip injury he sustained in September.
Signed in an emergency circumstance to be the Jets’ left tackle last year, Brown returned to that post to start his age-38 season. The NFL’s second-oldest active O-lineman — behind the Seahawks’ Jason Peters — Brown is likely to take his job back from Becton once he returns. Labeling Brown one of the Jets’ best five O-linemen, Saleh pointed (via ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini) to Becton being moved back to right tackle — where he began the season — in order to ensure both were on the field. While Saleh called Becton a freakish athlete and indicated he would “love” to keep him at left tackle, the Jets’ injury situation points to Brown returning to the blind side.
Brown played through his shoulder injury last season and gained respect from the coaching staff for doing so, but Pro Football Focus assigned Brown by far the worst grade of his career. The advanced metrics site slots Brown outside the top 60 at tackle this season, with a worse grade than 2022, but Saleh viewed the 16th-year blocker’s early-season performance as likely impacted by injury.
Considering the two injuries Brown has sustained as a Jet, he is no longer a particularly safe bet. For a team that has lost Vera-Tucker, center Connor McGovern and swingman Wes Schweitzer in the weeks since (with Tippman missing Week 8), depending on Brown will be a risky proposition. (The Jets placed McGovern and Schweitzer on IR this week, but Saleh noted both have a chance to come back this season.) But the Jets having Brown and Becton back at tackle will be an improvement compared to their current setup, so long as the five-time Pro Bowler is healthy. The Jets will have three weeks from Brown’s practice return to activate him. Gang Green has seven injury activations remaining.