Joe Douglas laid out his blueprint for the Jets on the day he was launched because the crew’s new basic supervisor.
“It is a recreation of wills, and we’re going to attempt to construct a crew that may impose their will on different groups,” Douglas stated that day. “To do this, you must be robust up entrance, not simply the offensive line however the line of defense.”
Two years later, Douglas continues to be trying to find the suitable elements on that offensive line. His newest swing got here Friday when the Jets agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent tackle Morgan Moses. That transfer drew reward from most individuals, as Moses is an improve over George Fant, final 12 months’s beginning proper sort out. However Moses is 30 years previous and was simply dumped by Washington.
Including a big-name veteran has not labored lately for the Jets alongside the road. Douglas’ predecessor, Mike Maccagnan, tried it with a commerce for Kelechi Osemele that blew up within the Jets’ faces after simply three video games in 2019 with accidents and an ensuing dispute. That very same 12 months, Douglas lured Ryan Kalil out of retirement with a one-year, $8.4 million contract to play heart, and that experiment failed miserably.
Fixing the offensive line has been a high precedence for Douglas, nevertheless it has confirmed elusive, partly because of expertise and partly because of damage. The Jets have had 17 completely different beginning offensive line combos over the previous two seasons.
Douglas inherited a unit of Osemele, Kelvin Beachum, Jonotthan Harrison, Brian Winters and Brandon Shell. All had been gone earlier than the 2020 season when Douglas overhauled the group. He signed Fant (three years, $27.3 million), Connor McGovern (three years, $27 million) and Greg Van Roten (three years, $10.5 million) in free company in 2020 to hitch Alex Lewis, whom he acquired in a commerce from the Ravens in August 2019 then re-signed after the season.
None of these strikes labored out significantly effectively of their first season, and the Moses signing is an admission that signing Fant was a mistake.
The place it seems Douglas might have struck gold was within the 2020 draft when he chosen Mekhi Becton with the No. 11-overall decide. Becton had a robust rookie season with loads of highlight-reel blocks. He was dominant at occasions within the run recreation and performed effectively in opposition to some high move rushers.
The most important query with Becton is sturdiness. He missed two full video games and huge parts of 4 others with accidents as a rookie. This spring he practiced as soon as earlier than a foot damage sidelined him for the remainder of OTAs and the minicamp. Becton’s weight is clearly an issue with the team and could possibly be a wrestle for him all through his profession.
Even with these questions, Becton seems like he will probably be a long-term star. The Jets hope they added one other one subsequent to him with the decide of guard Alijah Vera-Tucker at No. 14 general this 12 months. They traded lots to maneuver as much as get Vera-Tucker, hoping that he can play alongside Becton on the left aspect of the road for the subsequent decade.
The Jets are additionally hopeful that the brand new teaching workers will pay dividends alongside the offensive line.
It has been years for the reason that Jets have had a great offensive line. The times of D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold have lengthy been over. Final 12 months, Professional Soccer Focus ranked the Jets’ offensive line because the twenty ninth finest within the NFL. It allowed 43 sacks, and the dashing assault was nonexistent.
The scars of seeing Sam Darnold’s improvement stunted as he ran for his life in lots of video games are recent for the Jets. Douglas is aware of the group can’t do to Zach Wilson what it did to Darnold. That was clearly within the GM’s thoughts this offseason, and he added playmakers and safety for Wilson whereas pushing off different priorities (cornerback anybody?) into the long run.
Douglas confirmed he stays dedicated to getting the offensive line mounted once more with the Moses signing, an early-summer cut price transfer that would repay massive.
It’s time for the Jets to start imposing their will on opponents, as Douglas promised, as an alternative of getting pushed round.