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The New York Jets, in their recent encounter with the Carolina Panthers, have left fans and critics pondering over the efficiency of their offensive line. This article aims to dissect the performance of the Jets offensive line and shed light on the challenges that lie ahead.
The Jets Offensive Line: First Impressions
The Jets offense, led by the seasoned Aaron Rodgers, had their first bout against an opponent during a joint practice with the Panthers. The results, however, were far from impressive. The major concern that surfaced was the inability of the offensive line to keep pace with the game, causing Rodgers to be frequently pressured and triggering questions about the unit’s potential for improvement.
In a practice session, quarterbacks are immune to physical contact, but if the rules were otherwise, Rodgers would have been sacked at least twice, and perhaps more. The two-minute drill that concluded the practice was a particular low point, with the Jets’ offense failing to make any progress and instead, going three-and-out.
“I sensed frustration from everybody — everybody on the O-line, the coaches, Aaron. You can’t go three-and-out in a two-minute drive like that,” said center Connor McGovern, echoing the sentiments of the team.
Jets Offensive Line: The Tackles Conundrum
The offensive line’s performance has raised concerns, primarily around the tackles. At this stage, it is still uncertain who will be the starting tackles. The leading candidate for the left tackle position, Duane Brown, continues to be on the physically unable to perform list. The head coach, Robert Saleh, claims that Brown is close to returning, but this has been a recurring statement for weeks now.
In the meantime, Max Mitchell and Billy Turner are getting the reps as starters. But their performance against Panthers pass rusher Brian Burns, who raced past Mitchell several times, hardly inspire confidence.
Among the potential candidates for the tackle position, Mekhi Becton is the most talented but has not played a game in two years. He had to leave the Hall of Fame Game after playing only seven snaps.
Rodgers: An Optimistic View
Despite the evident issues, quarterback Aaron Rodgers remains optimistic about the state of the line. He believes that once Duane Brown returns, the line will perform well. The challenge, however, lies in determining the first five. He observes that the tackles are being switched almost daily, seeking consistency.
“I feel like the interior has been a bright spot, pretty consistent for us both the first and second group, we just need a little more consistency on the edge,” Rodgers opined.
Rodgers also felt that the Jets lacked the required energy at the start of the practice. He, however, believed that the Jets handled the front pretty well in the run game, although there were issues in the pass game.
Four Weeks to Season Opener: A Race against Time
With only a month left for the season opener against the Bills on “Monday Night Football”, the Jets have a mountain to climb to resolve their issues. The two-minute drill, which concluded the practice session, was particularly poor. Rodgers completed a short pass to Michael Carter on first down, following which, he had two incompletions under pressure. This ended the day for the starters.
“I think it could have been better,” said McGovern, reflecting on the practice session. “It’s a little bit different, first time we’ve seen more of a read style. They were firing off. They’re a good team. They came out playing hard. I think they might have surprised us for a second and then we picked it back up a bit. Obviously, two-minute, we’ve got to finish better than that. That’s 100 percent on the O-line, on protection in that two-minute drive.”
The Jets offensive line has clearly fallen short of expectations in their first face-off against the Panthers. However, it is essential to remember that these are still early days. The team has four weeks to address the issues and improve before the regular season begins. The coming weeks will undoubtedly be a test of their resilience and ability to adapt. Only time will tell if they can rise to the challenge.