New York Jets’ offensive line dominates with backups
The New York Jets as a team rushed for a combined 273 yards against the Jaguars on Sunday, the most by any NFL team in a single game throughout the 2021 season.
New York was able to produce this staggering total with both of its starting guards, Alijah Vera-Tucker and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, out of the lineup. Backup Dan Feeney and former starter turned backup Greg Van Roten replaced “AVT’ and “LDT” inside, and the results speak for themselves.
Feeney and Van Roten – yes, that Van Roten – deserve a heaping amount of praise for their play against Jacksonville. Both players were vital cogs in the Jets’ monster rushing output, each laying the key blocks to spring big runs on multiple occasions.
New York’s running backs were rarely touched behind the line of scrimmage, gaining 108 of their 175 combined yards before first contact, per Pro Football Reference. Rookie running back Michael Carter had his best day as a pro, rushing for 118 yards on only 16 carries.
Carter, usually a tackle-breaking machine, didn’t have to do much work himself as 70% of his yardage came before contact. That is his highest percentage since Week 2 against New England.
The offensive linemen did most of their damage in the run game, but they were no slouches in pass protection either.
Quarterback Zach Wilson was pressured only five times, hit only once, and sacked only once against the Jags. Wilson responded with arguably the best game of his career, looking calm, cool, and collected executing the offense.
In an almost poetic fashion, Wilson’s longest completion of the day, a 22-yard deep over route to tight end Tyler Kroft, occurred after his offensive line held in protection for over four seconds, an eternity for pass blocking in the NFL.
Wilson and Carter stole the spotlight against Jacksonville with their usual flare and play-making ability. However, the real stars of the Jets’ offense were the big uglies up front, especially Feeney and Van Roten.
The film of the game shows just how dominant Feeney and Van Roten were against the Jags, from the opening whistle until the very end of the game.
Could Feeney return in 2022 ? Looked horrible early a FA bust. But two starts at Center could require the Jets to revaluate . Opportunity knocks.