The New Vladimir Ducasse?

By Alan Schechter

Nov 11, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Jets tackle Vladimir Ducasse (62) stretches prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated New York 28-7. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Jet Press is nothing if not fair, ladies and gentlemen.

For all of the criticism we have heaped Vladimir’s way, for all of the time that we have begged for Vlad to be cut, it’s time to give credit where credit is due. After Thursday night, credit is due to be sent Vladimir Ducasse’s way.

Guess who had the best Pro Football Focus along the Jets’ offensive line, by far?  Vladimir Ducasse, that’s who. Pick your jaws up off the floor now, because it’s true. Vladimir graded out with a 3.0 overall, with the next best grading received by Nick Mangold(1.3).

Where he really excelled was in the run game, where Vlad graded a 2.6. He was only at a 0.1 in the passing game, allowing one sack and one quarterback hurry. This is still where people get scared when they watch Vladimir Ducasse play, as he does still put his quarterback in danger in the passing game. However, this is clear evidence of his improvement, as this was his best grade since a 3.2 during his rookie season.

The most important point on his game from Thursday, is who Ducasse took out in the process. Vince Wilfork is one name that we heard very little of on Thursday night, and Vladimir Ducasse had a lot to do with that, and that showed in the grades as well.

When was the last time Vince Wilfork graded out at a -4.1? Hard to remember as it doesn’t happen very often. He was -3.0 in run defense, and -1.3 in pass rush. Wilfork was, for the most part, a non factor in the football game. Vladimir Ducasse had a great deal to do with that, and he did it in one on one battles.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still much room for improvement here. The offensive line is not doing a good job at keeping Geno Smith upright. No quarterback is going to succeed consistently when he is running for his life.

However, this group will get better. They will gel, and Vladimir will gel with them. He is already far better than he was, and he deserves credit for it. Keep it up big Vlad.