Duane Brown, New York Jets
Duane Brown, New York Jets, Getty Images

Brown is the second Jets tackle down before the season even begins

The New York Jets have lost another key player for perhaps a significant period of time.

Left tackle Duane Brown, signed in the wake of Mekhi Becton‘s season-ending knee injury, will miss Sunday’s season opener vs. Baltimore with a shoulder injury.

Head coach Robert Saleh stated that Brown hurt his shoulder in practice on Monday and is a potential injured reserve candidate. Such a move would mean that Brown misses a minimum of four weeks.

Update: The Jets placed Brown on IR and elevated Grant Hermanns from the practice squad.

The news is a huge blow to an offensive line that was already razor-thin at tackle. The Jets will now move George Fant back to the left tackle spot and start rookie fourth-round pick Max Mitchell at right tackle. The team had hoped to keep Mitchell on the bench for Year 1, as he is a developmental prospect who could use some more weight in muscle to contend with the strength of NFL edge rushers.

Brown’s injury further spotlights the decision by general manager Joe Douglas not to acquire more tackle depth. Douglas had the opportunity to draft Ikem Ekwonu or Evan Neal with the No. 4 overall pick, but he chose to go with Sauce Gardner in the hope that Becton would be healthy. However, the real question is why the GM left the cupboard so bare after Becton’s injury. Whereas Brown had been a swing tackle option prior to the injury, having him start at tackle meant that the team was still down a swing tackle.

Now, the Jets are forced to start a raw rookie against a hungry defense, led by second-year rusher Odafe Oweh. Baltimore will be licking its chops to get after the quarterback, especially since said QB is the statuesque Joe Flacco.

A year that showed so much promise not too long ago is already taking some big blows in the injury department. In what was already a tough matchup for the Jets, the additional loss of Duane Brown may be too much to overcome.

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Rivka Boord has followed the Jets since the age of five. She is known locally for her in-depth knowledge of football. She hopes to empower young women to follow their dreams and join the sports conversation. Boord's background in analytics infuses her articles with unique insights into the state of the Jets' franchise and the NFL as a whole.
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Jim G
Jim G
17 days ago

I am not a Joe Douglas hater or admirer. It appears that the Joe Douglas approach is to flood positions with good candidate, then select the best 5 or more of the group. Not a bad approach to target a position, flood it with talent and cut what you don’t need. This year we ended up with too many defensive lineman and wide receivers, but there is no doubt that both positions are well staffed.

We should also keep in mind that Joe Douglas has only a certain amount of salary cap space and roster space available. And he has many, many roster holes to fill. He could not be expected to fill all the holes in one or two or probably even three off-seasons. Some of his draft picks have not worked out, that is on him. But with so many needs and limited roster size, he can only do his best to address them all.

mlesko73
mlesko73
17 days ago

As usual, Rivka hits the nail on the head. I am a huge Joe D supporter, but he blew it on the OT situation.
Glad we have Sauce and the rest, but we didn’t move in FA as we should have for another OT.
As an aside, I think Joe will be fine in terms of having enough mobility to run a waggle heavy WC Offense.

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Eyada
17 days ago

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Psi
Psi
18 days ago

The second guessing of JD comes down to our situation (losing on the risky Becton situation) or having Sauce on the team. In the draft I wanted Ekonwu, but having gone thru all the off-season I’m glad we we have Sauce. Post draft, the problem is not supplementing the OT depth. Pickings may have been slim but veteran options are likely still available. I suspect one will be signed after Week 1 when contracts are no longer guaranteed for the full year. Mitchell can fix it all by being competent. Fant has every right to be ticked off at his contract situation. Feel for him.

DFargas
DFargas
18 days ago
Reply to  Psi

From what I have read, Fant is still the best LT on the team, even including Brown who is little overrated. He should never have been moved to RT to begin with, and it may even be a stroke of luck that he is back there now. I would like to see the Jets pick up a serviceable RT and have Brown be the quality depth swing tackle (although he might need practice at RT).

Psi
Psi
18 days ago
Reply to  DFargas

One way of looking at this is, this starting 5 were specifically selected by JD for this type of offense. Brown and Moses before him were emergency acquisitions. Becton was drafted for Gase’s offense and imo is ill suited for this one. Mitchell is starting well before they envisioned, but he won’t be the first to ever do so. This is supposedly an athletic OL built for LaFleur’s kind of offense. At this stage of the rebuild and with a very veteran QB, I say let’s see how it develops.