New York Jets 2015 Training Camp: Grading Offensive Line


Since the departures of Brandon Moore and Damien Woody, the New York Jets and their offensive line has had its fair share of up and downs. When you think of Gang Green’s line, veterans D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold will always come to mind. These two have been the core of this unit ever since they were drafted, and they have always been on the field in good health. As first-round picks of the same 2006 draft class, Mangold has missed only 4 games in his nine seasons while Ferguson has missed none. The issue with the Jets’ offensive line has been the pieces surrounding Ferguson and Mangold which has kept it from being as dominant as it was five years ago. However, New York has made some additions in the off season to definitely make improvements from the 2014 line.

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On the first day of the free agency period, new general Mike Maccagnan made the decision to sign ex-Seahawk James Carpenter on a year 4-year deal worth $22 million.

This move solidifies a huge hole at left guard that has kept quarterback Geno Smith under pressure these past two seasons. Even though Carpenter has not lived up to expectations as a former first rounder, the Jets only invested $7.5 million in guaranteed money into his contract. Essentially, it’s a low risk, high reward deal that fills a huge hole for the next four years.

To additionally aid the line, New York drafted Jarvis Harrison in the 5th round of this year’s draft. Harrison played his college ball at Texas A&M, so experience in the SEC may come in handy as he makes his transition into the NFL. To go along with the acquisitions, Breno Giacomini will once again start at right tackle as well as Willie Colon and Oday Aboushi to compete at right guard. The Jets may have the right pieces on their line in 2015, but the production must show when the season hits.

Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets tackle Breno Giacomini (68) against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

According to, the Jets’ tackles produced at a decent rate in 2014. Ferguson finished 24th out of 44 tackles who received at least 75% of snaps while Giacomini ranked 32nd in that same group. Ferguson received a positive grade as a pass blocker (+3.1), but a negative grade as a run blocker (-5.3). He also had just 2 penalties on the season. Giacomini received negative grades in both categories with a -1.4 in pass blocking and -2.8 in run blocking to go along with 8 penalties (one was declined). These grades aren’t necessarily bad for the former Seahawk, but he does have to step up as an experienced veteran on New York’s line this upcoming season.

Charles Brown and Ben Ijalana are the two other tackles on the Jets’ roster, but they may be cut when September comes around. Brent Qvale is considered to be another one, but he actually got first team reps at right guard during OTAs according to If need be, Dakota Dozier can play both guard and tackle for Gang Green as well. Ferguson and Giacomini are two players the Jets should feel secure with starting at tackle, but the depth at the position seems to be the main concern.

Dec 21, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks offensive guard James Carpenter (77) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Seahawks defeated the Cardinals 35-6. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike the situation at tackle, the guard position is a different story for the Jets. New York has plenty of depth at guard, but no one has emerged as a starter besides of course Carpenter. According to PFF, he ranked 38th out of 55 guards who received at least 60% of snaps.

He received a positive grade as a pass blocker (+1.4), but a negative one as a run blocker (-6.3). With him starting on the left side, that leaves the competition on the right open to just about everyone else. Although, the competition seems to be realistically between Colon, Aboushi, Qvale, and Brian Winters.

Colon may have a Super Bowl ring under his belt and he may be a great pass blocker (+6.9 on PFF last year), but he has become a huge liability in the run game. Last season, he was ranked the 4th worst run blocker in the league on PFF with a -16.3 grade. What the Jets are looking for is obviously someone who can pass block as well as pave the way for the backs. Aboushi may not protect the quarterback as well as he’d like to, but he does produce when New York runs the football. A +2.4 as a run blocker shows that he may be the only guy who can effectively run block for the Jets besides Mangold.

Nov 17, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Brian Winters (67) during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 37 to 14. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

As for Winters and Qvale, both have quite the uphill battle in this competition. Winters is coming off of a torn ACL injury and really no true bright spots in his career. Qvale has yet to play a snap in the NFL outside of the preseason, so it’ll take a lot of work for him to snag the starting spot.

When it is all said and done, both could wind up being camp casualties before the season gets started because Dozier, Harrison, James Brewer and Wesley Johnson are still on the roster. Harrison is a safe bet to make the roster and the Jets would be hard pressed to cut Dozier after just one year.

The Jets are pretty secure at center with Mangold coming off of arguably the best season of his career. People are even saying that backup Dalton Freeman is good enough to start on most teams. When the Mangold era is over, it will be very interesting to see what New York does at the position. Although, for now, center is the strongest part of the Jets’ line and it will be until Mangold hangs it up.

Overall, Gang Green’s offensive line can finally come together in 2015. The only question is at right guard, but if someone emerges during training camp, the Jets might finally be able to call their offensive line a strength of the team once again.

Grade: B

Next: EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Nick Mangold of New York Jets

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