Laurent Duvernay-Tardif optimistically discusses possible future with New York Jets
Veteran offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is set to hit free agency after a solid second half of the 2021 season with the New York Jets. The 31-year-old guard recently spoke about his future in an excellent interview with Justin Melo of The Draft Network.
When asked about potentially returning to New York, Duvernay-Tardif seemed quite hopeful, sounding like a player who absolutely wants to be back.
“I am definitely hoping to play for the Jets in 2022,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “I could talk about it for a long time but for me, I really enjoyed playing in an offense that best suited my strengths as a player … It’s a young team and I feel like I possess the experience necessary to help us. It represents the best fit for me.”
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Duvernay-Tardif spoke about the Jets in a very positive tone throughout the interview. Most notably, he broke down his fit in the Jets’ offensive scheme under Mike LaFleur and shared his thoughts on the development of quarterback Zach Wilson.
“I thought the offensive system in place lined up beautifully with my strengths as a football player,” Duvernay-Tardif said regarding New York’s offensive scheme under LaFleur.
But the Quebec native admitted that the adjustment was not easy.
“I won’t lie to you, it’s a system that takes some getting used to,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “I still haven’t 100% mastered the system. The approach is totally different. You’re not just trying to get the right angle and block the man in front of you in the running game. Instead, you’re trying to get off the snap as fast as you can and always gain ground. It’s really different from what we ran in Kansas City.”
Regarding Wilson, Duvernay-Tardif said, “I arrived midway through the season but the difference in [Wilson’s] character and leadership between Week 10 and Week 16 was extremely noticeable to me. I think he’s getting there. Like you said, it can be tough in a big market when there’s a new coaching staff and a lot of pressure on everyone involved. I’m sure he’s going to get there.”
Duvernay-Tardif is optimistic about the Jets’ future, drawing parallels to the early days of his tenure in Kansas City.
“It took a while for everyone to get used to the new system and once we did that, we really started to see how good we could be,” Duvernay-Tardif said in reference to the Jets’ improved offensive finish.
“It was pretty cool and hopefully it’s very telling for next season … I can compare it to my experience with the Chiefs. I first got there in 2014. It was coach Reid’s first season and we missed the playoffs. We knew how good we could be, though. I’m getting the same vibe here with the Jets.”
Duvernay-Tardif’s arrival was a spark for the Jets offense. Prior to Duvernay-Tardif’s starting debut with the Jets against the Miami Dolphins in Week 11, New York had rushed over 100 yards in just one of its first nine games. After Duvernay-Tardif entered the lineup, the Jets ran for over 100 yards in five of their final eight games.
Improved ball security was another piece of the Jets’ late-season offensive progress. The Jets had only five turnovers over their final eight games after giving the ball away 22 times in their first nine games. Wilson became especially good at protecting the ball, tossing two picks over his final seven games and none over his final five.
A big reason for New York’s ball-security turnaround was the pass-protection improvement from former starting right guard Greg Van Roten to Duvernay-Tardif. While the team’s pass protection was still far from perfect near the end of the year, things were a tad steadier with Duvernay-Tardif in there, helping Wilson to settle down and play cleaner football.
The NFL’s legal tampering window opens on March 14 at 12 p.m. ET. At that point, Duvernay-Tardif and other unrestricted free agents can begin negotiating contracts with teams.
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