New York Jets LT Duane Brown did not practice on Wednesday
Seeing Wilson as a DNP on the injury report throughout the week was expected, but one unexpected name that popped up on Wednesday was left tackle Duane Brown, who did not practice with a shoulder injury.
Following the injury to starting right tackle Mekhi Becton, the Jets signed Brown on the 11th of August, a move which would see starting left tackle George Fant switch to right tackle. Brown signed a two-year, $20 million contract, and considering his experience at left tackle, it made sense for him to take over that role.
The last-minute nature of the signing resulted in the Jets offensive line having little-to-no time to gel as a unit. The Jets had to work to get Brown up to football shape and it wasn’t until the 24th of August that he made his debut in full 11-on-11 drills. In fact, the Jets starting offensive line played just 21 snaps together in pre-season action. Now Brown is not practicing due to a shoulder injury, resulting in more practice reps missed.
It’s too early to panic about Brown’s availability on Sunday, but if he missed more practice time this week and the Jets are forced to go to Plan B, there are really only two options.
On the depth chart, Conor McDermott is listed as the backup left tackle, but he’s also limited in practice with an ankle injury and may not be available to play. The Jets have just four tackles signed to the active roster and if two of them miss the first game that leaves you with George Fant and Max Mitchell.
Fant is coming off the best year of his career and that came at a left tackle. He allowed just 1 sack and 18 pressures over 594 pass-blocking snaps as the Jets’ starting left tackle.
While Mitchell was drafted to be a swing tackle, I can’t imagine the Jets will be comfortable starting a fourth-round rookie at left tackle who spent the last two years of his college career as a right tackle – especially when you consider the opposition and the fact the Jets have an immobile QB taking snaps.
The Jets can either:
- Start Mitchell at right tackle and move Fant back to left tackle to start the season with the understanding that he’ll move back once Brown is healthy, or
- Avoid any potential lineup questions by leaving Fant on the right side and starting a fourth-round rookie at left tackle, which is a bold but dangerous strategy.
Even if McDermott is healthy, we have to remember that he gave up 4 sacks on just 80 pass-blocking snaps last season. Giving up a sack every 20 snaps is absolutely awful. Mitchell is an unproven commodity at the NFL level, but he didn’t allow a sack over 82 pass-blocking snaps through the pre-season, with all of those snaps coming at right tackle.
If the worst happens and Brown can’t play this weekend, my preference is to move Fant back to left tackle for the game and put Mitchell in at right tackle.
We should find out more about the status of Brown today with the release of the Thursday injury report.