New York Jets will have two new starters along the offensive line in Week 5
By Justin Fried
The New York Jets are set to have two new starters along the offensive line in Week 5 according to a report by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
The New York Jets offensive line has been an absolute mess so far through three weeks this season — so much so that it’s arguably been the worst unit on an 0-3 Jets team.
And that’s saying quite a lot given the team’s all-around struggles.
Fortunately, it appears as though changes are set to be made up front. However, only one of those changes is being made by choice.
Per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the Jets are set to start Alex Lewis and Chuma Edoga this week in place of Kelechi Osemele at left guard and Brandon Shell at right tackle, respectively.
The decision to start Lewis is strictly injury-related as Osemele injured his shoulder during individual drills in practice on Wednesday. The veteran lineman has already been nursing a knee injury but hasn’t missed any time before this week.
While he is officially listed as “doubtful” for Sunday’s game, Osemele is not expected to play.
His replacement, Lewis, was acquired in early August in a trade with the Ravens which sent a conditional seventh-round pick to Baltimore. Originally selected in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Lewis has made 18 starts over three seasons with the Ravens.
However, the more interesting replacement will come on the right side of the offensive line as the Jets’ third-round pick, Chuma Edoga, is set to start at right tackle. The team’s typical starter, Brandon Shell, will reportedly be benched as a coach’s decision.
Shell has started 32 games for the Jets over the past four seasons and has served as the team’s everyday right tackle for the past two seasons. While he’s never been an All-Pro caliber tackle, he has served as a reliable starter over that time.
However, after three weeks of horrid offensive line play, the coaching staff clearly decided that it was time for a change.
Shell likely hasn’t been the biggest culprit of the line’s mishaps with veterans Kelvin Beachum and Ryan Kalil struggling the most. Even right guard Brian Winters has been a shell of his former self.
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That said, something obviously needed to change. And the Jets have been encouraged by what they’ve seen from Edoga thus far in the preseason and in practice.
Replacing Shell instead of Beachum perhaps is a good indicator of the Jets’ future plans.
Both Shell and Beachum are set to be free agents after this season and it’s widely presumed that Edoga will take over one of the two starting tackle jobs next year. While the Jets could still opt to move on from both, this seemingly ensures the team’s plans to let Shell walk.
This will be a huge opportunity for Edoga as he looks to solidify his place in the starting lineup going forward. An impressive showing will likely lead to him maintaining this role for the foreseeable future.
The Jets needed to shake things up on the offensive line and the team will be doing just that in Week 5. Here’s to hoping that the necessary changes generate better results.