FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Suffering from injuries in the preseason, the New York Jets will be without a left tackle from Duane Brown for their opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
According to coach Robert Saleh, 37-year-old Brown, who signed a two-year, $20 million contract on August 15 to replace the injured Mekhi Becton (out for the season), suffered a shoulder injury in Monday’s practice And they could be taken to the wounded reserve. ,
The Jets are evaluating the test results and will soon make a decision on whether to place Brown on the IR, which will sideline him for at least four games.
The news comes just two days after the Jets announced that quarterback Zach Wilson would not play at least the first three games as he continues to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery. Early in training camp, Becton injured his right knee in practice, which required surgery.
Brown’s injury triggers another reshuffle in tackle positions, hardly an ideal position with the opener so close.
Right tackle George Fant, who started camp with left tackle, will return to the same position. Till this week, he had not practiced there since the first week of August, but that is his natural position and it should be a relatively seamless transition.
“I’m sure it’s frustrating for George — everyone just wants to settle down in their job — but the credit goes to George,” Saleh said. “He’s an uber-athlete, he’s got a lot of versatility and he’s always been a team-man first. … He’s going to the left this week, he’s making this transition a lot easier for him to happen. “
The big question is the right tackle. Rookie Max Mitchell, a Louisiana fourth-rounder, will get the start. Usually, this career would have gone to backup Conor McDermott, but he missed the president with an ankle injury. McDermott has practiced on a limited basis this week, but he is set to get rusty.
Mitchell was drawn to a developmental prospect, and the plan was to get Spice up for a year on the bench. The plan changed. He got a lot of work done in the pre-season (a team-high 117 offensive snap among linemen) and the coaches clearly feel comfortable with him in the lineup.
The concern with 6-foot-6 Mitchell, listed at only 307 pounds, is that he lacks the girth to handle the powerful pass rushers. His first assignment would be Ravens defensive end Kallis Campbell, a six-time Pro Bowl selection.
“Max is far ahead than we thought at this point,” Saleh said. “We are confident that he will be able to move forward and do his job.”
Brown had been a durable player for the Seattle Seahawks in recent years – with no games missed in 2020 and 2021 – but he was a risky acquisition because of his age. The Jets brought him along slowly, allowing him several days of conditioning before clearing to practice. He only participated in a few drills and one presidential game before the injury.
“The man walks around like he’s 29, so there’s a lot of life left in his body,” Saleh said. “You can always play the game visually, but there were no indicators with Duane.”