Mekhi Becton discusses comments made by Mike LaFleur regarding his performance in practice
New York Jets left tackle Mekhi Becton‘s pass-protection struggles in practice throughout the 2021 offseason have been well documented. He frequently struggled to handle teammate Carl Lawson and then had a rough time against the Green Bay Packers’ edge rushers in joint practices held at the Packers’ facility in Wisconsin.
On Aug. 19, Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur talked to the media about Becton’s struggles.
Mike LaFleur on Mekhi Becton:
"He's not playing at his best, and he knows that. He's a good dude and he's going to work through all this stuff." pic.twitter.com/ZlOlnE2WPg
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) August 19, 2021
“Mekhi’s going through some things right now, you know? He’s not playing at his best and he knows that … Mekhi, he didn’t have a training camp last year. He didn’t have an OTAs last May and June. He’s still working through some things.”
LaFleur provided his vote of confidence for Becton’s future.
“I got all the confidence in the world in Mekhi. Because one, I know how talented he is, and two, he’s a good dude. And he’s going to work through all this stuff. We got a long way to go across that whole front, across this whole offense, and myself included … every day there are still slight improvements that he’s making, and we’re just trying to take it one day at a time right now.”
On the Friday ahead of the Jets’ season opener against the Carolina Panthers – nearly one month after LaFleur’s comments – Becton was asked about his reaction to LaFleur making those statements publicly and whether he thought he had gotten over the things LaFleur was referring to.
Mekhi Becton was "confused" when Mike LaFleur said he was going through some things in Green Bay.
Did he speak with LaFleur after? "Nah, I didn't talk to him" pic.twitter.com/WcTT7MrWxi
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) September 10, 2021
“Not going to lie, I was a little confused about it. But I mean, it is what it is. I’ve [overcome] it.”
Becton also said that he did not talk to LaFleur about his comments.
The second-year left tackle out of Louisville is aiming to climb into the upper echelon of the NFL’s left tackles at just 22 years old. Over the final seven weeks of the 2020 season, Pro Football Focus graded Becton as the NFL’s ninth-best left tackle in pass protection and 10th-best left tackle in the run game.
Becton shrugged off his practice struggles and performed excellently over his short stint of action in the preseason. Playing 44 snaps over two games, he earned an overall PFF grade of 76.5 that ranked finished as the third-best among qualified left tackles in the preseason. Most importantly, he was sublime in pass protection, posting an 81.5 pass-blocking grade that ranked third-best.
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LaFleur and the Jets will be hoping Becton can translate that performance to Sunday, when he will be tasked with blocking Panthers edge rushers Brian Burns and Haason Reddick. Burns and Reddick ranked seventh and 11th, respectively, among edge rushers in total pressures last season.
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