Rarely does a team lose its two best players for the season in the same game
The New York Jets received some more devastating news today.
Offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, arguably the team’s best offensive player, tore his triceps in the victory over Denver and will miss the remainder of the season.
#Jets HC Robert Saleh announced both Breece Hall and Alijah Vera-Tucker, the team’s two best and most consistent offensive players, are done for the year.
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) October 24, 2022
This news came mere hours after Breece Hall‘s injury was confirmed as a season-ending torn ACL. The double whammy leaves Jets fans in shock and, no doubt, general manager Joe Douglas scrambling for backup plans.
Saleh said that Cedric Ogbuehi will slot into the starting right tackle spot. Ogbuehi replaced Vera-Tucker in Denver and allowed one pressure on 23 pass-rushing snaps, per Pro Football Focus.
When asked about George Fant, who is eligible to come off injured reserve this week, Saleh said that it is highly unlikely that will happen. The Jets are prepared to roll with Ogbuehi.
Regarding Corey Davis, the other injured offensive player for the Jets, Saleh said that he’s not sure if Davis will play Sunday. It was reported earlier that Davis has an MCL sprain.
Corey Davis (knee) is day-to-day. His status is "up in the air" for Sunday.
— Ethan Greenberg (@EGreenbergJets) October 24, 2022
Saleh also stated that Elijah Moore is back with the team and is expected to play on Sunday.
Elijah Moore is back with the team, per Saleh. He said he has not spoken to Moore today. But he expects him to be active this week.
— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) October 24, 2022
For a Jets team that surprisingly finds itself at 5-2 and in a possible playoff push, the injury to Vera-Tucker looms as possibly the biggest blow that could have happened. The team has been dodging bullets all year, from Zach Wilson‘s preseason knee injury to several key defensive players leaving games. But until now, despite the rash of longer-term to their offensive tackles, the team had escaped mostly unscathed.
Now, the Jets’ run on protecting their offensive tackle position may have run out. Vera-Tucker has played right guard, left tackle, and right tackle this season, and performed admirably at each position after starting all of last season at left guard. He has already become one of the leaders in the Jets’ locker room in his second season and looks like a perennial Pro Bowler and All-Pro, as the Jets expected when they traded up to take him No. 13 overall in the 2021 draft.
Robert Saleh has preached a “positive vibes only” mentality, but even he seems to have lost his mojo. The Jets will endeavor to continue with their “next man up” approach. It’s difficult to replace an Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl candidate, though.
As I said in the Hall article, this is certainly a trying time for the New York Jets’ souls.