As left tackle Mekhi Becton seeks a second opinion on his knee, which could lead to surgery that would keep him out longer than the initial 6-8 week timeline, the Jets’ shuffling on the offensive line has begun.
George Fant, who started at right tackle in Sunday’s loss to the Panthers, is expected to shift to the left in Becton’s absence. After serving as the Jets’ starting right tackle last season, Fant came into training camp and had to beat out Morgan Moses for the starting job after the organization signed the 6-foot-6 tackle to a one-year, $3.6 million deal in late June. Moses will now slot in on the right.
Though Fant and Moses didn’t have the usual ultracompetitive battle for a starting spot, the two developed an even stronger relationship.
“I think the part that made it so cool, we worked out a lot together [in] previous offseasons,” said Fant, who started 14 games in his first season with the Jets after signing a three-year, $30 million deal in April 2020. “Man, I learned a lot from him. Another thing that made it cool is like it wasn’t one of those competitions where we weren’t speaking to each other. The whole time we were coaching each other up, like, ‘What did you see here? What did you see there?’”
While losing Becton is a huge blow to the team and the 22-year-old’s development, Fant and Moses are two veterans that head coach Robert Saleh seemingly feels comfortable inserting. Fant, however, acknowledged it will be difficult switching from right tackle to left — specifically mentioning his unfamiliarity with the hand placement.
The offensive line’s struggles were glaring in Week 1, as rookie quarterback Zach Wilson was sacked six times. It was an area general manager Joe Douglas set out to improve, though it appears nothing has changed.
“I think the most important thing is that, you know, we got that out of the way,” Moses said. “We look at the film, we know the corrections that we need to make and we need to be all on one accord. I think the biggest thing is knowing you have a young quarterback, you want to keep him upright, you want to keep them from being on the ground because at the end of the day, as much as a person wants to say it doesn’t affect them, it does affect them.”
WR Jamison Crowder has one more day before he clears the COVID-19 list. … WR Keelan Cole (knee) returned to the field Wednesday as a limited participant. … The hope is that LB Jamien Sherwood (ankle) will be ready to go next week.
With safety Lamarcus Joyner likely out for the season with an elbow injury he sustained in Sunday’s loss, Saleh said Sheldrick Redwine, Adrian Colbert and Jarrod Wilson, who was recalled from the practice squad, will be considered as replacements.