The Jets’ first regular-season game isn’t for another five weeks. Their first training-camp practice in full pads is Tuesday.
So, we don’t really know a lot about anything, beginning with whether the rookie quarterback, Zach Wilson, is NFL-ready, what Robert Saleh will do as a first-year head coach or whether the revamped (again) offensive line will be able to block anybody.
That even goes for recently signed right tackle Morgan Moses, who spent the past seven seasons in Washington, where he started the last 96 consecutive games.
The early returns on the 6-foot-6, 330-pounder, though, are that general manager Joe Douglas found a potential steal when he signed Moses last month for $3.6 million.
Moses is the favorite to win the starting right tackle job from 2020 starter George Fant, who’s expected to return to practice from the reserve/COVID list Tuesday. Fant may be better served as a swing tackle to back up both sides, and Moses is simply a more-seasoned starter.
Moses, too, has quietly conducted himself like an assistant coach on the field. He acts and speaks like a seasoned veteran with a lot of wisdom to impart to his younger teammates.
During Monday’s practice, with the Jets in the throes of an 11-on-11 drill, the 30-year-old Moses pulled 24-year-old defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers aside after a play and gave him some advice that can’t help but make him better.
Moses noticed a tendency in Franklin-Myers’ pre-snap set that could tip off an opposing offensive lineman.
“I was like, ‘I didn’t even know I was doing that; let me fix that,’ ’’ Franklin-Myers said. “That’s in the middle [of practice]. That’s a guy who I go against every day. And for him to do that speaks for his character.
“He literally said, ‘Man, if you get 10 sacks, you make us better. We’re all going to get better. If I know what you’re doing each and every play, I don’t get better. And if I don’t get better, you don’t get better.’ ’’
Moses said he told Franklin-Myers: “We might be practicing against each other, but at the end of the day we’re getting ready for somebody else.
“As a veteran guy, if I can make myself a little bit better every day then I’m moving in the right direction,’’ Moses said. “If I can bring somebody else along with me, then that’s two people that are getting better out of the 53. That’s how you create that brotherhood and chemistry on and off the field with teammates.’’
Teams need more players like Moses.
Douglas is an offensive line guy. He played the position through college and still looks like a lineman.
That, however, hasn’t made him an expert on putting together a great line with the Jets, as evidenced by the 17 different starting combinations the team has employed the past two seasons. And, don’t forget the ill-fated last-minute overpayment to sign center Ryan Kalil in 2019.
The moves Douglas has made, with his offensive-line background, have resembled those made by John Elway, a Hall of Fame quarterback, in his repeated futile attempts to find a starting quarterback in Denver while he ran that organization.
Elway departed Denver inexplicably having never found a quarterback the Broncos could ride with into the future.
Maybe Douglas’ drafting of tackle Mekhi Becton last year and guard Alijah Vera-Tucker this year and now the signing of Moses will be a turning point for his legacy as it relates to building a consistent, possibly dominant, offensive line.
Before a game has been played, it looks like Douglas hit on this signing.
“[Moses is] a pro,’’ Saleh said Monday. “He does things exactly the way you want. He takes care of his body, he doesn’t miss practice, he doesn’t miss games. He’s reliable and he’s always doing the right thing.’’
Obviously, Moses needs to be able to block, to protect Wilson and to open holes for the running game, but nearly as important as those things is the way he embraces helping those around him.
“He’s got this million-dollar smile on his face,’’ Saleh said. “He’s very upbeat, very positive, very personable. We’re still learning him too, but from everything we’ve gathered he’s a pro’s pro and a man’s man in terms of just wanting to be around and give us much knowledge and information as he can.’’
That quiet moment in the heat of Monday’s practice with Franklin-Myers was Exhibit A.