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New York Jets: What offensive line changes could we see the team make?

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 22: Luke Falk #8 of the New York Jets hikes the ball against the New England Patriots during the first quarter in the game at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 22: Luke Falk #8 of the New York Jets hikes the ball against the New England Patriots during the first quarter in the game at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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The New York Jets offensive line has been an absolute mess this season. Here are a few changes that the team could make if the unit continues to struggle.

It’s no secret that the New York Jets offensive line has been probably the worst unit on the entire team this season. And after a disappointing 0-3 start to the season, it may just be the single greatest thing holding the team back.

That includes injuries to defensive stalwarts such as C.J. Mosley, Quinnen Williams, and Avery Williamson. That includes the absence of offensive playmakers like Quincy Enunwa and Chris Herndon.

And that, of course, includes the fact that the team has been starting third-string quarterback Luke Falk following Sam Darnold‘s bout with mononucleosis and Trevor Siemian‘s subsequent season-ending ankle injury.

Despite all of that — on top of a struggling Adam Gase in his first year with the team — there has perhaps been no bigger detriment to the team than the offensive line.

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And that’s a shame too considering the optimism surrounding the unit heading into 2019.

The Jets traded for former All-Pro guard Kelechi Osemele in the offseason to replace the likes of James Carpenter and later Spencer Long at left guard. And another former All-Pro in center Ryan Kalil was coaxed out of retirement to upgrade the middle of the offensive line.

They were joined by the returning Kelvin Beachum, Brian Winters, and Brandon Shell to fill out the remainder of the line. While not a top-10 unit on paper, the Jets offensive line had and still has the potential to be at least around league-average.

But through three games, we’ve seen pretty much the opposite.

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Communication issues, schematic flaws, and an overall step-back in the quality of play has left the offensive line somehow worse-off than it was last season despite the offseason additions.

That’s left the team and fans alike wondering, where do we go from here?

When asked about the offensive line’s struggles in his Monday press conference, Gase sounded non-committal to the starting five insisting that the team would play the best five and that they “don’t know who that’s going to be yet.”

Kalil could be the first domino to fall as the former Carolina Panthers stalwart has looked like a shell of his former self and was even benched in favor of backup Jonotthan Harrison in the team’s Week 2 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

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Don’t be surprised to see Harrison assume the starting center role — a role he filled for eight games last season — if Kalil continues to struggle.

But the 34-year-old is far from the only player whose job is in jeopardy.

Left tackle Kelvin Beachum has struggled quite a bit throughout the early portion of the season including a particularly poor showing in Week 2 in which he was abused by star pass rusher Myles Garrett.

The Jets drafted Chuma Edoga in the third round of this past draft and the rookie reportedly looked good in training camp and in the preseason. The Jets could also opt to play veteran Tom Compton at that spot as he has experience playing both tackle and guard.

And given the fact that Beachum is on the final year of his contract, it’s unlikely he remains with the team past this season. Edoga was drafted to be his heir-apparent and we might see the future come sooner rather than later.

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Another player who could surprisingly find himself on the bench is right guard Brian Winters. Winters has regressed each of the last few seasons to the point where he’s likely a below-average-quality starter at this point.

The Jets traded for former Baltimore Ravens lineman Alex Lewis in August and he could be a candidate to step in and start if Winters continues to struggle. We could also see Compton in this spot depending on the direction the team is looking to take.

And while it seems unlikely given that they’ve likely been the team’s two best offensive linemen this season — not that that’s saying much — Osemele and Shell shouldn’t be considered safe either.

No one is safe. Not after this start.

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The New York Jets need a reboot or a refresh with their offensive line and something is going to have to give. Unless we seem major improvements over the next week or two, changes are going to be made.

And those changes will start in the trenches.

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