Alijah Vera-Tucker, NY Jets, Offensive Line, 2021
Alijah Vera-Tucker, NY Jets, Getty Images, Jet X Graphic

New York Jets offensive line finally protects competently

At long last, the New York Jets‘ offensive line gave Zach Wilson some time and space to work with – and the entire team reaped the rewards.

After absorbing 5.0 sacks and 3.7 knockdowns per game over the first three weeks of the season, Wilson was sacked just once and took zero additional knockdowns against the Tennessee Titans in Week 3.

Improved performances were had from blockers all over the line.

George Fant had another good game in pass protection at left tackle as he allowed only one pressure across 38 pass-blocking snaps. Fant has given up four pressures over three starts at left tackle in relief of Mekhi Becton.

Right tackle Morgan Moses bounced back from a rough outing against Von Miller in Denver. He gave up two pressures over 38 snaps in protection. Moses helped limit Titans left defensive end Denico Autry to three pressures after he had averaged 6.5 over his previous two games.

The Jets’ skill position players – who have been an enormous part of their protection woes this season – stepped it up. Tyler Kroft (8 protection snaps), Ryan Griffin (7), Michael Carter (4), Ty Johnson (3), Tevin Coleman (3), Trevon Wesco (1), and Daniel Brown (1) combined for 27 protection snaps and allowed just one pressure (yielded by Griffin).

There is no doubt that the star of the show was rookie left guard Alijah Vera-Tucker.

The 14th overall pick in this year’s draft allowed zero pressures over 38 snaps in protection, becoming the Jets’ first offensive line starter to enjoy a zero-pressure game in pass protection this season.

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It was an important step forward for Vera-Tucker, who had been struggling as a pass blocker over his first three starts. His total of 12 pressures allowed ranked second-most on the team behind Greg Van Roten.

Speaking of Van Roten, he continued to be the line’s weak link. Van Roten gave up a team-high three pressures, including the lone sack.

Connor McGovern also had a mediocre game as he allowed two pressures, which is subpar for a center. There were still some issues with blitzers and stunting defensive linemen crashing through the middle.

Despite the overall pass-protection improvements, there is still a ton of work to be done in the run game. The Jets’ running backs gained a measly 10 yards before contact over 20 carries against Tennessee (0.5 per carry). That simply is not going to cut it.

For now, the Jets will have to settle for a great outing in pass protection. A unit that has struggled as much as this one cannot fix everything overnight.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at] - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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1 year ago

It’s clear over the past two seasons the “McGovern/Van Roten combo” is a disaster. No offense can function with the middle of the OL getting bowled over play after play. The only hope here is to “survive” the season and get that fixed pronto. I saw Corey Linsley mauling Raiders last night and can’t help but think he would have been worth the money. Not sure he would have come here but the way Van Roten is playing I’m ready to give someone else a try. I know Feeney isn’t good but can it get worse? Maybe some continuity will help. Which brings me to the next concern, the line needs to work together, it seems they are improving, when Becton comes back any chance he moves to RT?

1 year ago

Short yardage is a nightmare. Possibly the reason for Wilson’s disastrous goal line bootleg. But the story is AVT’s development.