The Packers were down to just one healthy running back today when both starting running back Aaron Jones and undrafted rookie third-stringer Emanuel Wilsonwere ruled out of today’s win over the Chargers after both sustained injuries in the team’s final drive of the first half.
After Jones exited the game with a knee injury, Green Bay’s big-bodied AJ Dillon came in to take over for Jones. A few plays later, Wilson came in to spell Dillon for two plays. On the second play, Wilson was pushed out of bounds, where he sustained the injury that would hold him out for the remainder of the contest. While not very effective, Dillon would take over the rushing load for the rest of the day. The rushing game did get a little extra boost thanks to a 32-yard touchdown run from wide receiver Jayden Reed before the two backs were knocked out.
After the game had ended, head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters that he didn’t believe the injury to Jones’ knee would be a long-term ailment, according to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic. If Jones or Wilson are forced to miss any time, though, the only in-house option is rookie practice squad running back Ellis Merriweather.
Here are a couple other injury updates from today’s games:
Chargers star pass rusher Joey Bosawas ruled out of today’s loss to the Packers with a foot injury. It was a dire-looking scene as Bosa was carted off the sideline in tears. While no official diagnosis has been released, Bosa was seen on the sideline later with crutches and a walking boot on his right foot, per The Athletic’s Daniel Popper.
In the afternoon slate, the Jets got off to a rough start in their divisional matchup when starting left tackle Mekhi Becton left the game, walking gingerly off the field on the team’s third drive. He would eventually be carted off to the locker room for further evaluation, per Brian Costello of the New York Post. According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Becton was ruled out for the remainder of the game with a suspected high ankle sprain.
The Jets had preferred to keep Vera-Tucker at guard, but the team’s long-running tackle problems will bring the 2021 first-rounder back to tackle. Becton spent the offseason insisting he would return to left tackle, his position as a rookie back in 2020. Becton criticized the Jets shifting him to right tackle last year but has been back at that post since midway through camp. This will be Becton’s first regular-season left tackle work since Week 1 of the 2021 season.
SEPTEMBER 23: Zach Wilson‘s second start in 2023 will come without the Jets’ starting blindside blocker in place. Left tackle Duane Brownhas been ruled out for Week 3, per a team announcement.
The Jets have since placed Brown on IR, meaning he will miss at least the next four weeks. New York’s plan at the blindside will become increasingly important with Brown’s replacement(s) now tasked with filling in on a medium-term basis.
Brown has been dealing with hip a injury, and the ailment kept him out of practice this week. In spite of that, head coach Robert Saleh had expressed optimism Brown would be able to suit up on Sunday against the Patriots. Now that the team will be shorthanded up front, questions have been raised regarding who will fill in at the left tackle spot, with Mekhi Bectonrepresenting an option.
Pointing toward a right-to-left tackle switch being unlikely, however, Saleh said “[Becton’s] been practicing a certain way this entire week, so to move him at the last second would be irresponsible on our part” (h/t ESPN’s Rich Cimini).
Becton was moved to right tackle on a permanent basis this offseason after tensions over his usage last year came to a (rather public) head. After dealing with a litany of injury issues, the former first-rounder has been able to play every snap so far, though, an accomplishment in its own regard considering the missed time which has dominated his Jets tenure. Given Saleh’s expectation Brown would play tomorrow, it would indeed come as a surprise if the team elected to shift Becton to the blindside (where he was originally drafted to play) on short notice.
Presuming the Jets keep Becton at the RT spot, Billy Turnercould find himself in the starting lineup tomorrow. The latter has 75 starts to his name, including seven last year with the Broncos. One of several players with ties to quarterback Aaron Rodgers and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Turner was brought in on a one-year deal to provide experienced tackle depth given the team’s uncertainty up front.
Turner last saw time at left tackle in 2020, though, so an adjustment period would be needed if he were to be called upon to man the blindside tomorrow. Likewise, swingman Max Mitchell‘s only time last season came at right tackle, so using him at the LT spot would mark a new endeavor for him. In any event, it will interesting to see how the Jets proceed along the O-line as they look to protect Wilson during his time at the helm.
AUGUST 27: Becton has indeed won the starting RT job. Saleh made the announcement to reporters, including Connor Hughes of SNY.tv, following the Jets’ preseason victory over the Giants last night.
“He’s doing all of the right stuff,” Saleh said of Becton (via Eric Edholm of NFL.com). “He has a lot of energy. He’s speaking the right language. He has a lot of positive self-talk. He’s in the training room every day working on that knee and making sure that it’s always fresh and ready to roll. He just has to stay on it and he can’t get complacent with where he’s at now. He has a lot to play for. He has gotten better every single day. He has gotten more confident in his knee.”
September 11, the date of the Jets’ Week 1 matchup with the Bills, will be almost two years to the day since Becton last appeared in a regular season game.
AUGUST 22: Mekhi Becton‘s gradual return to first-string duty will lead to a preseason start. The former first-round pick has spent most of the Jets’ training camp as a backup, but Robert Saleh said (via ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini) he will start at right tackle in the team’s preseason finale.
While teams often sit starters in their final preseason tilts, Aaron Rodgerswill make his Jets debut in this one. Becton being summoned for a start points to the Jets giving serious consideration to the fourth-year veteran making a long-delayed return to the starting lineup.
Duane Brown remains on track — tentatively, at least — to reprise his role as the Jets’ left tackle. Brown is visiting a specialist in Houston on Tuesday, and The Athletic’s Dianna Russini notes the expectation is the 16th-year blocker could be activated off the active/PUP list as soon as today (Twitter link). Brown, 37, is in the final stages of his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. While Brown taking this long to return from an early-offseason procedure probably should set off alarm bells, the Jets have shown faith in the former Pro Bowler, who is tied to a two-year deal worth $20MM.
Brown only came to New York after Becton’s second major knee injury. Becton said his move to right tackle — to accommodate George Fant ahead of Gang Green’s 2022 training camp — played a significant role in the reinjury, placing blame on the Jets’ coaching staff for moving him from his natural left tackle position. But Becton has warmed up to the idea of returning to the right side. And the Jets have been proceeding cautiously with Becton during camp.
He only practiced at the position for the first time Thursday; that work preceded a 25-snap cameo against the Buccaneers last weekend. Becton’s agent told Cimini the Jets have limited Becton’s reps and workout time as he ramps back up from his second season-ending injury. This protocol included a delay in playing right tackle, which places more stress on Becton’s surgically repaired right knee. Doctors advised Becton to avoid right tackle early in camp, per Cimini, for this reason. But Becton’s agent said his client has been cleared to play this position again.
Becton has certainly not been a low-maintenance player since the Jets drafted him, and questions abound regarding his ability to hold up at either tackle post once the regular season begins. This has led to frequent concerns about the Jets’ batch of tackles, a group that also includes free agent pickup Billy Turner and 2022 fourth-round pick Max Mitchell. Neither player seizing the RT job opens the door for Becton to play opposite Brown in Week 1. At this point, Becton should probably be considered the favorite for the gig, SI.com’s Albert Breer adds. That said, Becton has not played right tackle in a regular-season game.
Elsewhere on the Jets’ offensive front, Connor McGovern still has the lead for the starting center role. The recently re-signed blocker, who manned this spot from 2020-22, will likely keep the job for Week 1, per Breer. The Jets drafted Joe Tippmann and gave interior O-lineman Wes Schweitzer more money than McGovern this offseason. But Schweitzer has played both center and guard during camp, potentially being groomed for a swing backup role. The Jets being open to moving Alijah Vera-Tucker back to right tackle — in the event the risky Brown-Becton plan does not hold up — could also open up a guard spot for Schweitzer.
As the Jets’ months-long issue along the offensive line moves into the mainstream, via a brief Hard Knocks segment, the team still has not turned to Mekhi Becton as a first-stringer during training camp.
After showing promise as a rookie, Becton saw extensive injury troubles and weight issues sidetrack his career. The 2020 first-round pick has not played since Week 1 of the 2021 season, but he lost around 50 pounds this offseason. Becton criticized the Jets’ coaching staff for moving him to right tackle last year, a switch he believes led to his knee reinjury. But the talented blocker is now believed to be onboard with playing on the right side. The Jets are trying Becton at right tackle Thursday, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets, marking the first time that has taken place during this year’s camp.
The Jets still have not used Becton as a first-stringer this year. Despite Duane Brown remaining on Gang Green’s active/PUP list, Becton has worked behind Billy Turner and Max Mitchell at tackle. Even as the team’s depleted front has struggled in joint practices with the Panthers and Buccaneers, Saleh is waiting on giving Becton extended run.
“The biggest thing for Mekhi is to show that he can play a game without having to be spelled out,” Robert Saleh said, via the New York Post’s Brian Costello. “It’s unfair to the team to prepare a guy to start if you are not sure he can make it through a game. He is moving in the right direction.”
While Becton brings a much higher ceiling compared to Turner and Mitchell, his injury baggage is among the most extensive in recent NFL history. Missing nearly two full seasons, Becton also missed practice time earlier in camp and asked out of the Jets’ Hall of Fame Game. He did return to play 27 snaps against the Panthers last weekend, marking a good sign. The Jets may soon have no choice but to bump Becton into their starting lineup, given the state of their line. But Saleh continues to proceed cautiously.
As injuries mounted last season, the Jets shifted emerging guard Alijah Vera-Tucker to right tackle. The 2021 first-rounder suffered a season-ending triceps injury while at that position, but the team returned him to guard this offseason. The team is again considering Vera-Tucker at tackle, Saleh said (via Costello), though the third-year HC reminded that the team loves the USC alum at guard. Vera-Tucker has also missed recent time due to injury, along with the Jets’ other guard starter — Laken Tomlinson. Neither practiced against the Bucs on Wednesday.
Should the Jets try a “best five” scenario in Week 1, Cimini offers that Wes Schweitzer — who is competing withConnor McGovern at center — could be shifted to guard as Vera-Tucker slides back to right tackle. Although Schweitzer is competing at center, the ex-Atlanta and Washington starter has extensive guard experience. He started at right guard against Carolina last weekend. The Jets also have second-round rookie Joe Tippmann in the mix, rounding out a deep O-line interior on a team that has faced tackle questions for months.
While Saleh has said Vera-Tucker has All-Pro potential at guard, urgency to place a competent line in front of Aaron Rodgers may supersede the team’s long-term plan for the third-year blocker. As for Brown, Saleh said the team’s preferred left tackle option is moving closer to a return from offseason shoulder surgery.
On shaky ground at tackle for months, the Jets are looking into additional help at the position. Veterans Ty Nsekhe and Zach Banner worked out for the team Monday, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 tweets.
Nsekhe spent last season with the Rams, while Banner was once eyed as a Steelers starter. Banner spent last season out of football, seeing a September 2020 ACL tear sidetrack his career. The Jets are also dealing with injuries at tackle, though their situation has been murky for months.
Since the Steelers hopped in front of them to draft Broderick Jones at No. 14, the Jets have seen the injury issues affecting Duane Brown and Mekhi Becton qualify as bigger problems. Finishing off his rehab from offseason shoulder surgery, Brown remains on the team’s active/PUP list. Becton, who has missed 33 games since a September 2021 knee injury, took himself out of the Jets’ Hall of Fame Game matchup. But the former left tackle starter played 27 snaps in the Jets’ second preseason game Saturday, providing hope this comeback can lead to a regular-season role. Even considering this and Becton’s significant weight loss, the 2020 first-round pick has been one of the NFL’s least reliable players this decade.
In Brown, the Jets already roster the NFL’s oldest tackle. The former Pro Bowler will turn 38 this season. But so will Nsekhe, who will turn 38 in October. The longtime swing tackle/spot starter entered last season without a gig, but the Rams added him amid injury trouble on their O-line. Nsekhe started eight games for the battered defending champions last season. Despite the former UDFA not signing until mid-October, the eight starts marked a career-high total. Pro Football Focus viewed Nsekhe as a decent option there, ranking him 33rd among tackles in 2022.
Banner, 29, played seven Steelers games in 2021 but did so at less than 100%. The Steelers planned to use the 6-foot-9 blocker as their starting right tackle in 2020, but the knee injury removed him from that equation. The Steelers drafted Dan Moore in the 2021 third round. Moore and Chukwuma Okorafor have been Pittsburgh’s starting tackles since, though Jones is attempting to make his way into the lineup as a rookie.
The Jets signed Billy Turner this offseason and have Max Mitchell, a 2022 fourth-round pick, coming back from a blood clot issue that ended his rookie season. The team also circled back to its tackle need in the draft, selecting Carter Warren in Round 4. Still, the team has serious questions at tackle ahead of Aaron Rodgers‘ first season in New York.
No matter who’s calling the offense, a team with Aaron Rodgers behind center is going to be influenced by his presence. The Jets appear to be no different as new wide receiver Allen Lazard called the Jets’ system “the Aaron Rodgers offense.” Rodgers backed off that claim a bit in a press conference a couple weeks ago, but he clearly has some influence.
“Well, listen, I’m not going to say it’s ‘my’ offense,” Rodgers told the media. “It’s one I’ve had success in, for sure, but back in 2020, it was a conglomeration of what Matt (LaFleur) wanted to run, what (Nathaniel Hackett) had run in the past, and what I had run in the past. So, we just fit together. And this is kind of an offshoot of that with maybe a little more West Coast flavor to it. But this is really Hackett’s offense that I’ve been able to collaborate with him on. And I love it, but there is a lot of teaching, for sure.”
LaFleur was calling plays as head coach during the period Rodgers was referring to, during which he won back-to-back MVP awards. Hackett was the offensive coordinator, though, at the time. Now reunited with Hackett, Rodgers and his old coordinator appear to be picking up where they left off, collaborating on an offense that has won awards in the past.
Here are a few other rumors surrounding Gang Green in training camp:
The Jets have a potential starter breaking out in training camp as Tony Adams makes a push to start at free safety. An undrafted rookie out of Illinois last year, Adams surprised when he made the roster in 2022. A year later, he’s on track to start, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. Last year Lamarcus Joyner spent most of the season starting next to Jordan Whitehead but didn’t do much to impress at the position. After free agent addition Chuck Clarktore his ACL, a starting spot opened up in the defensive backfield. New York signed free agentAdrian Amos as an immediate remedy to the loss of Clark, but it appears that Adams is well on his way to beating him out for the starting job at free safety to start 2023.
In a report this week, Costello’s colleague at the Post, Ryan Dunleavy, speculated that offensive tackle Mekhi Becton is starting to veer further from “fighting for a starting job” and closer to “fighting for a roster spot.” He may have confirmed as much by changing his stance on sticking at left tackle and allowing some run at right tackle, where the Jets are looking for a starter. He would almost certainly be second string behind free agent additionBilly Turner on the left side of the line, but he has a chance to compete for the job on the right side. Dunleavy claimed that Becton was scheduled to get about 20-25 snaps in the Hall of Fame game this past week and that, if he struggled, New York might begin to wonder just how many tackles they can keep on the roster. Unfortunately, Becton left the game after only seven snaps, citing caution while playing on turf. If he can earn a starting spot through the rest of the preseason, Becton should have a chance to prove he’s finally healthy and ready to contribute. If not, he may find himself looking for a new team.
The past few years in San Francisco have seen a procession of running back injuries. One such player who has been at the center of that issue the past two years is third-year back Elijah Mitchell. Unfortunately, Mitchell isn’t in quite in the clear going into Year 3 for the 49ers. According to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, Mitchell has suffered an abductor strain that will hold him out for a bit.
Injuries have been a bit of an issue for Mitchell to start his career. While playing as an injury replacement in his rookie year for Raheem Mostert, Mitchell was forced to miss six games due to injury himself. Things went further downhill in his sophomore season as he suffered a sprained MCL in the first game of the season. He was able to return in mid-November, but by the time he was back, Christian McCaffrey had arrived and staked his claim atop the depth chart. Mitchell would only play in five games last year.
Now, for the first time in his career, Mitchell will not be expected to carry the weight at running back. With McCaffrey firmly leading the group, Mitchell should be able to take his time coming back from the strain. Head coach Kyle Shanahan told the media that Mitchell should be back “in a week.” While that’s an encouraging timeline to hear, Mitchell’s injury history warrants a bit of cautious optimism from fans.
Here are a few other injury updates from around the league:
We saw Saints linebacker Andrew Dowellland on injured reserve earlier this week. Thanks to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football, we now know that he was placed on the injured list after suffering a torn ACL. After only missing one game in the past two seasons, Dowell is now likely to miss the entire 2023 season.
Another player who unfortunately went down with a torn ACL this week is Vikings defensive lineman James Lynch, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Lynch was a tied for the fourth-most snaps on the defensive line for Minnesota last year, a defensive line that is also playing withoutDalvin Tomlinson this year. Lynch has missed games in each year of his young career, but 2023 will see him miss the entire season.
After only two years in the league, Seahawks edge rusher Darrell Taylor has already established himself as a main contributor on the Seattle defense with 16.0 sacks over his first two seasons. According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, Taylor showed up to practice on Thursday with his left arm in a sling. Head coach Pete Carroll informed the media that he was dealing with a sprained shoulder. A recovery timeline was not provided.
The Seahawks held a scrimmage tonight and saw two rookies sustain injuries in the simulated game. The team’s injury woes in the running backs room continue as rookie seventh-round pick Kenny McIntosh suffered what Carroll is calling a sprained knee, according to Brady Henderson of ESPN. Luckily, they will be getting another rookie rusher back, as Carroll told the media that second-round rookie Zach Charbonnet will return “full-go” following the team’s off day tomorrow. The other rookie to go down with an injury was undrafted cornerback Andrew Whitaker. The diagnosis is unclear, but Whitaker was carted off the field after sustaining an injury in the contest, according to Condotta.
Jets offensive tackle Mekhi Becton missed the entire 2022 season after suffering an avulsion fracture in his right kneecap. The veteran made his return to the field in last night’s Hall of Fame game but left after only playing seven snaps. He reported today that, while he didn’t feel like there was any setback with his surgically repaired knee, he decided to be overly cautious with playing on turf, according to Andy Vasquez of NJ.com. In recent years, many non-contact injuries have been attributed to turf fields around the league. With this in mind, Becton got a good sense of where his knee was at and decided to work the rest out in practice. The team plans to test him more as camp progresses and the season draws nearer.
His place as one of the NFL’s most injury-prone players notwithstanding, Mekhi Becton made some pointed comments when insisting he was a left tackle in May. This forced Robert Saleh to address said comments. Several weeks after predicting he would return to his former spot and win the job, the fourth-year blocker now said (via the New York Post’s Brian Costello) he would be fine playing right tackle again. Becton, who has missed 33 straight regular-season games, said he underwent the wrong surgery to repair his September 2021 knee injury. He indicated he was not fully healed when he went down again, shortly after being moved to right tackle, during the Jets’ 2022 training camp. Becton, who missed time during this year’s camp with more knee trouble, has returned to the field and is expected to play in a limited role in Thursday’s preseason opener, Saleh said.
Duane Brown, 37, has been viewed as the favorite to win the Jets’ left tackle position. But the 16th-year veteran, who underwent shoulder surgery this offseason, remains on the team’s active/PUP list. Billy Turner had received first-team left tackle reps in front of Becton earlier in camp, though the ex-Packers and Broncos right tackle has also been working on the right side with Max Mitchell.
Here is the latest from the AFC East:
The Bills have made a concerted effort to put Stefon Diggs questions in their rearview mirror. The Pro Bowl wide receiver said he is not angling for more say in the team’s play-calling. “For me to just want more say in the offense, it’s crazy because I play receiver,” Diggs said recently. “I don’t care what play is called. I can’t get up there and say, ‘Call this.’ It’s a lot of outlandish, obvious things where people [are] throwing out there or people were saying as far as my role.” A report suggested Diggs was unhappy with his role in Buffalo’s offense. Although Diggs did not say what caused Sean McDermott to send him home from a minicamp day, the ninth-year veteran has since said he was never at odds with Josh Allen and said he and the Bills are on good terms. Diggs’ $24MM-per-year contract runs through 2026.
Although it would seem Mike White had a virtual guarantee to become the Dolphins‘ backup quarterback, he entered camp in a battle with 2022 third-stringer Skylar Thompson for the gig. White signed a two-year, $8MM deal ($4.5MM guaranteed) in March, and the Dolphins were believed to be enamored with the ex-Jet asTua Tagovailoa insurance. Thompson has extended a promising offseason into training camp, per the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, who adds last year’s QB3-turned-emergency starter is being given a legitimate opportunity to become the backup. Considering Tagovailoa’s injury history, Miami’s QB2 post stands as one of the league’s most important reserve spots.
Dolphins target Cedrick Wilson Jr. has been connected to trade rumors. Multiple reports indicated the team was willing to part with Wilson, who signed a three-year deal worth $22.1MM in March 2022. Dolphins GM Chris Grier said the team is not shopping Wilson, despite reports to the contrary, and the sixth-year receiver said (via Jackson) he is not seeking a trade. Wilson’s $5MM guarantee for 2023 will complicate a trade; the Dolphins would save $7MM by moving him. Wilson did not live up to his contract last year, totaling 136 receiving yards in 15 games. While Trent Sherfield is no longer in the mix, the Dolphins have added Chosen Anderson and Braxton Berrios this offseason.
Despite serving as a capable starting center for the last four years, Connor McGovern — who just completed a three-year, $27MM deal that he signed with the Jets in 2020 — did not find much of a market for his services this offseason. In April, McGovern signed a modest one-year, $1.92MM contract to remain with New York, and he watched the team draft Wisconsin snapper Joe Tippmann several days later.
While Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic (subscription required) recently reported that McGovern will get every chance to retain his starting job, he ultimately believes the club will hand the reins over to Tippmann for the start of the regular season. Rich Cimini of ESPN.com likewise believes McGovern is merely an “insurance policy” for the rookie.
In the eyes of Pro Football Focus, McGovern finished as the 10th-best center out of 36 qualifiers in 2022, with solid scores for both his pass-blocking and run-blocking. PFF was similarly high on the Missouri product in 2021, but Gang Green clearly believed an upgrade was in order. As Cimini notes, McGovern ranked near the bottom of the league in ESPN’s pass- and run-block win rate metrics, and as the Jets are eyeing a deep playoff push, they are obviously trying to field the best lineup possible and will not give McGovern a boost because of his tenure with the team or the locker room respect that he enjoys.
Whichever player wins the right to snap the ball to Aaron Rodgers will be sandwiched by Laken Tomlinson and Alijah Vera-Tucker at the guard positions. As Jets fans know all too well, however, there is plenty of intrigue surrounding the OT slots.
Mekhi Becton, a former first-rounder who was initially drafted to be the team’s franchise left tackle, has been plagued by knee injuries and conditioning problems, and after playing in Week 1 of the 2021 season, he has missed the last 33 games. Becton has lost a signficiant amount of weight in an effort to get his career back on track, and he has made it clear that he wants to return to the blindside. But recent reporting suggests that veteran Duane Brown — who has five Pro Bowls on his resume and who signed with New York last August when it becamse clear that Becton would miss the entire 2022 campaign — has the inside track to remain in that role.
The problem is that Brown is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and is presently unable to practice. That would seem to open the door for Becton to at least narrow the gap between himself and Brown on the left tackle depth chart, but as Brian Costello of the New York Post recently tweeted, Becton is currently taking LT reps with the second team, while free agent addition Billy Turner is working with the first-stringers. Connor Hughes of SNY.tv, meanwhile, says Becton is not a full participant just yet (Twitter link).
The fact that the Jets are taking it easy with Becton does not necessarily mean that he has suffered some sort of setback; at this point, any sort of participation on his part is encouraging. Still, it appears that the only way in which Becton will open the season as the starting left tackle is if Brown is unable to play, so Becton’s quickest path to a starting gig may be at right tackle (much to his chagrin). Turner, who worked under new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett in Green Bay and Denver, will also be in the mix for that job, and Rosenblatt believes Turner will be the team’s Week 1 RT, with Becton or 2022 fourth-rounder Max Mitchell getting the nod later on.
Becton affirmed his strong preference to return to left tackle, and predicted he would regain the job early in training camp, but Robert Saleh has not ruled out keeping the injury-prone blocker on the right side. With Brown having 15 years’ experience and winning over Saleh and other Jets staffers by playing through a shoulder injury last year, the New York Post’s Brian Costello views the five-time Pro Bowler as having the inside track to the job protecting Aaron Rodgers‘ blind side.
“You guys know I love Duane,” Saleh said. “Like I said, last year his money was guaranteed, didn’t have to play a down … and he didn’t have to subject his body to what he did, but he stepped on the field, played as many games as he possibly could with torn rotator cuffs and did a really nice job, so he’s going to fight for it.
“He doesn’t believe he’s entitled to anything. He believes he’s got to earn everything, and there’s a reason why he’s played for so long and has had so much success. I mean, look at him: He’s a brick house. He can still play as many years as he’s willing to play.”
Saleh has been asked to respond to two Becton salvos about his positional preference, and Costello adds the former first-round pick blaming the Jets coaches for his second major knee injury understandably did not go over well with the staff. Becton spent a second offseason out of commission due to knee surgery, and while he has dropped upwards of 45 pounds this year and is expected to be healthy by the time camp starts, Brown’s experience may still win out.
Brown, 37, is the league’s oldest active O-lineman and has 215 career starts on his resume. That sits in the top 10 all time for pure tackles. Pro Football Focus assigned Brown a career-worst grade last season, placing him barely inside the top 70 at tackle, but it has been made clear the former Texans and Seahawks left tackle played hurt. Brown underwent shoulder surgery this offseason. While it does not sound like the Jets are entertaining a late-summer cut, which would save them $9.7MM, Brown is not a lock to be ready by the time camp starts. (The Jets are not holding a minicamp this year, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets, with Saleh having canceled it. The team is set to report to training camp a week early due to its booking in this year’s Hall of Fame Game.)
Becton, who has missed 33 straight games since a September 2021 knee injury threw his career off track, was not due to participate in the since-canceled minicamp. The Jets planned to make Becton their starting right tackle last year — prior to his second major knee malady — and Costello expects that scenario to play out this year. He will still need to beat out Nathaniel Hackett favorite Billy Turner, who has now worked with Hackett in three cities (Green Bay, Denver, New York), and second-year pro Max Mitchell for the gig.
With the much-discussedBroderick Joneswhat-if in the rearview, Becton’s position will be one of the top Jets storylines to follow at camp. Seeing as the Jets’ tackle situation will garner more attention thanks to Rodgers’ arrival, how Saleh, Hackett and new O-line coach Keith Carter divvy up snaps between Brown, Becton and Turner will certainly be worth monitoring later this summer.