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New York Jets: The offensive line shouldn’t be a concern — yet

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 08: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets looks to hand off the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the at MetLife Stadium on September 08, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 08: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets looks to hand off the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the at MetLife Stadium on September 08, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
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The New York Jets offensive line struggled in their Week 1 outing against the Buffalo Bills. But the unit’s struggles shouldn’t be too concerning just yet.

The New York Jets are a franchise in a state of disarray.

After blowing a 16-point second-half lead at home in their season opener, they learned that wide receiver Quincy Enunwa would miss the rest of the season with a neck injury and found out that reserve defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd would be suspended six games for PEDs.

And to top it all off, it was determined on Thursday that quarterback — and hopeful franchise savior — Sam Darnold would be out indefinitely while suffering from mononucleosis, or more colloquially known as ‘mono.’

It’s been a rough few days for the Jets and fans are looking for any semblance of optimism going into Monday night when the team will take on the Cleveland Browns in front of a national audience.

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And given what we saw on Sunday and in the following days, that could prove challenging.

The team’s cornerbacks struggled mightily on Sunday and it likely won’t get any better from here. The offense looked anemic under Adam Gase’s tutelage and it’s doubtful that improves with Trevor Siemian under center.

But out of all of the issues facing the Jets at the moment, the struggles of their offensive line in Week 1 should be the least cause for concern — at least just yet.

The starting five of Kelvin Beachum, Kelechi Osemele, Ryan Kalil, Brian Winters, and Brandon Shell had never participated in a simulated game together before. In fact, the fivesome had barely even practiced together this summer.

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold ruled out for the foreseeable future. Trending

Kalil was coerced out of retirement late in the summer and didn’t join the team until August rolled around. Meanwhile, both Osemele and Winters were dealing with injuries throughout a lot of the preseason with the latter only suiting up for the first exhibition game of the summer.

For this reason, it’s reasonable that the unit struggled on Sunday. Offensive lines need time to develop chemistry with each other, and that doesn’t just happen overnight.

Rather, the best offensive lines are able to get in-sync with each other through trials and tribulations. The more the five play alongside each other, the better they will be at communicating.

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And the biggest positive to take away from this was that most of the Jets struggles up front on Sunday came as a result of the dreaded miscommunication. The line wasn’t simply getting beaten across their face by the players in front of them.

They simply weren’t communicating well. They didn’t have that chemistry yet.

To make matters worse, they were going up against one of the more feared defenses in the NFL led by the blitz-happy Sean McDermott. Expecting the unit to play up to their potential, under those circumstances, would have been foolish.

This week presents an equally challenging matchup against the Browns star-studded defensive line. The foursome of Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi, Sheldon Richardson, and Olivier Vernon could prove to be too much to handle for a Jets offensive line still getting their bearings with one another.

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Garrett is a dominant edge rusher while Vernon is certainly no slouch himself. Ogunjobi is one of the most underrated interior presences in the league while the Jets will welcome home a familiar face in Richardson who has revitalized his career in a way over the last couple of years.

We very well could see a similar outcome with the offensive line this week. And now with Darnold out, it will be Siemian who bears the burden.

But as the line becomes more comfortable playing alongside each other, the group has the potential to be a top-15 unit in the NFL — provided they stay healthy, of course.

And even so, the Jets are built to withstand injuries along the offensive line with the likes of Alex Lewis, Jonotthan Harrison, Tom Compton, and Chuma Edoga all looking like above-average, quality backup linemen.

Not starters, but quality backups.

Next. New York Jets Offensive Report Card: Week 1 vs. Buffalo Bills

The Jets should have a ton of concerns as their season has slowly spiraled out of control less than one week into the year.

But fortunately, their offensive line shouldn’t be considered an issue — yet.

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