The state of the Jets OL

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At the Jets mini-camp, Rex Ryan gave us his thoughts on the current state of the Jets’ offensive line. Let’s look at what he said, and respond . . .

“Obviously, it’s quarterbacked by Nick Mangold, and we’ve all become accustomed to the type of player he is,” Ryan said. “I think he’s stepped up his leadership. Whether it’s now kind of being the elder statesman, I guess, him and (D’Brickashaw Ferguson), I see that more from Nick right now. (He’s) always been a sharp guy. He’s going to have two new guards playing with him so that certainly will be a challenge. But you have two veterans with Willie Colon – (I’ve) really been impressed with Willie, same thing with (Stephen) Peterman. We’re flipping all those guards. (Brian) Winters as well, I’m expecting big things from this young man. So I feel pretty good about where we are with those guys.

“I think (Brian) Winters has been impressive. We’ve worked Winters with [the first] group as well, really rotating all three of them throughout the OTAs. I’m not ready to say those two are the definite starters. I think Winters deserves a shot and I think he’ll definitely get one.

“The best thing [Austin Howard] does is come off with a flat back and knock people back. I think until you have the pads on you don’t necessarily see that. But I think he’s working hard on his conditioning. I think he’s working hard going against edge pass rushers. He’s an unusual guy, a guy with that kind of size, but very athletic. He’s more of a prototype left tackle as far as his feet are concerned. He has left tackle feet as a right tackle. That’s impressive. Obviously, he has the size and the power you want out of a right tackle.”

A couple of takeaways from this.

First off, Rex wants “Nick and Brick” to step up as leaders. They are both good players, but pretty laid back, not forceful personalities. These two players make a lot of money, and are very important players on the team, and Rex wants to see more leadership from these two long-time pillars on the offensive line.

The Jets have had significant leadership issues the last couple of years, and Rex wants these two guys to help out in this area. It’s kind of interesting. Rex rarely challenges players publicly, but he made it pretty clear in that quote, he feels Nick is attempting to improve his leadership, but Brick has a ways to go.

At guard, there are three players battling for two starting spots – Willie Colon, Stephen Peterman and Brian Winters. I think that Colon is a lock to start, and Peterman might keep the seat warm, at the other guard spot, until Winters, a college left tackle, is ready to start at guard on the NFL  level.

I think Vlad Ducasse is toast with this team. Barring injury, he will likely be playing elsewhere next year.

As for Howard, there is no question he’s a road-grader as a run blocker – he has a great motor, and uses his massive frame to push defenders back. But I just don’t know if I agree with Rex that he has left tackle feet. He gave up double-digit sacks last year on the right side, so it’s hard to say, with those kind of issues against speed rushers on the right side, that he has left tackle feet.

July 3, 2013

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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