The New York Jets offensive line has taken a major step back this season after a disappointing performance last year. But who is to blame for the unit’s struggles?
New York Jets fans thought the offensive line could have never got worse than last year, but it somehow has.
There is disfunction everywhere from the inside out, including communication to quarterback Sam Darnold. It does not seem like any addition to the line could solve the problem, which means it is a combination of issues.
The Jets picked up a former Pro Bowler Ryan Kalil for one year in the offseason. It seemed like he could solve the center position temporarily. Unfortunately, not only is the defense still getting penetration, but Kalil is now having injury issues to make it worse.
Gang Green fired Rick Dennison and hired Frank Pollack to be the new offensive line coach at the end of last season. Dennison now has a case that it was not his fault because Pollack is doing even worse than he did if you even thought that was possible.
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The offensive line is the second-worst in the entire NFL behind the 0-8 Cincinnati Bengals. There have been no positives or improvements seen with the line throughout the season, which causes more concern.
To make matters worse, Kelechi Osemele got cut due to injury disputes. He did not want to play for the team because of medical reasons. Even the good linemen for the Jets do not want to play for the team, which goes far beyond a player personnel issue.
The best lines in the league all are directed by some of the best coaches with a clear correlation. The San Francisco 49ers are 8-0 and pounding the rock successfully because they have John Benton, one of the best offensive line coaches in the entire league.
A main issue for the Jets has been the difficulty of keeping the same starting offensive line group together on the field at the same time without frequent injuries.
The team is paying $45.4 million for the players that make up the line, which is good for third in the league, and they can’t even stay on the field.
The Dallas Cowboys have had injuries to their best players on one of the top lines in the league, but they still find success running the ball with only one of the good linemen healthy.
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All Le’Veon Bell needs is time so he can implement his patient running style effectively. No running back can be useful if they are hit one yard behind the scrimmage almost every time they carry the football.
The offensive line is not any better blocking for passing as opposed to running plays. Part of the reason Sam Darnold said he was “seeing ghosts” was that the line was allowing the pass rushers to get to him in one second.
Any quarterback that has to escape the pocket in less than a second will not have any time to evaluate the offense.
A conglomeration of issues exists for the Jets offensive line and the coaching is of no help. If the team wants any chance in the future, they need to improve it fast so they can provide Darnold with a formula for success.
It would be a blessing to have just a league-average line in New York.