Laurent Duvernay-Tardif replaces Greg Van Roten
One of the big storylines heading into the New York Jets’ Week 11 clash with the Miami Dolphins was the benching of starting right guard Greg Van Roten, who led all NFL right guards with 32 pressures allowed over the first 10 weeks of the season.
Just hours before the game began, it was announced that Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (widely known as “LDT” for short) would be taking Van Roten’s spot at right guard.
The 30-year-old longtime Chiefs guard was recently acquired from Kansas City in exchange for tight end Daniel Brown, who has already been waived by his new team. Duvernay-Tardif made his true Jets debut with three special teams snaps in Week 10 against Buffalo, but Week 11 would mark his first appearance on the offensive line.
Duvernay-Tardif was healthy throughout the season for the Chiefs but did not appear in a game for them while serving as a backup interior lineman. He last played in 2019, as he opted out of the 2020 season to aid in providing medical care in his come country of Canada. The Quebec native graduated from medical school in 2018 with a Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery.
When the world last saw him play, Duvernay-Tardif was a good starter for Kansas City. He was the Chiefs’ starting right guard throughout their run to a Super Bowl title in 2019. That year, Duvernay-Tardif allowed pressure on just 3.4% of his snaps in pass protection, which ranked seventh-best among right guards. Duvernay-Tardif started 57 games over five seasons with the Chiefs.
Two years later, the doctor’s first assignment since protecting Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl 54 was to give Joe Flacco and the 2-7 Jets better protection than the league-worst Van Roten could.
Unfortunately, Duvernay-Tardif’s pass protection looked rusty – which is to be expected for a man who is easing into a new environment and had not played any snaps on the offensive line (even in the preseason) in 658 days.
Duvernay-Tardif was credited with allowing a team-high seven pressures against Miami’s blitz-heavy defense. That ties the worst single-game total allowed by Van Roten this year (Week 2 vs. New England). No other Jets offensive lineman allowed more than two pressures in the game.
It wasn’t all bad. On the positive side, Duvernay-Tardif proved to be a big upgrade in the run game. He earned a run-blocking grade of 78.0 from Pro Football Focus, which led all Jets offensive linemen and is better than any single-game mark posted by Van Roten this season. His efforts helped the Jets’ rushing attack average a season-best 5.7 yards per carry.
Duvernay-Tardif (#72) can be seen maintaining his block on Michael Carter’s 39-yard scamper below, preventing his man from chasing the play down from the back side.
*Weekly Michael Carter is a stud tweet* pic.twitter.com/21bsnTGYcT
— NYJ MIKE (@NyjMike) November 22, 2021
Keeping back-side defenders at bay is something Van Roten has struggled with. Van Roten allows his man to cross the line of scrimmage and make a play on this run to the left side.
I don't blame LaFleur for calling the run on 4th & 1. Should be an easy play for an NFL offense to execute.
And everybody did execute it well – except GVR who allows the 4-tech to cross his face so easily and quickly that he can make the play in the opposite C gap pic.twitter.com/aiFOWhsD8p
— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) October 26, 2021
Expectations for Duvernay-Tardif are low. All the Jets need is for him to be “less bad” than Van Roten was. Even if he is comparable to or worse than Van Roten, it is difficult to complain considering that the Jets essentially got him for free, and you have to respect their effort to at least try something new considering how consistently poor Van Roten was.
These were Duvernay-Tardif’s first live snaps as an offensive lineman in nearly 22 months. He has only been familiarizing himself with his new Jets teammates and the Jets’ offensive scheme for slightly under three weeks. While his seven-pressure total is disappointing, it would be silly to criticize him harshly for his performance in these circumstances.
Let’s give Duvernay-Tardif some time and see if he can iron out his protection to the point where he proves himself as a solid short-term upgrade.