The New York Jets have seen their offensive line depth ravaged this season. And as it stands now, they cannot afford another injury to an offensive lineman.
The New York Jets, contrary to popular belief, actually came into the 2019 season with some solid offensive line depth. While their starters struggled more than anyone could have imagined on the field, they actually had reliable depth behind them.
And all it took were a few injuries to the team’s starters for that fact to be revealed.
Players like Alex Lewis, Jonotthan Harrison, and Tom Compton all had starting experience coming into the year and in a league where offensive line play is the worst it’s ever been, the Jets had some of the best backups in the NFL.
Seriously, just look at some other rosters around the league if you need a reference.
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In fact, many of the Jets’ backups have outperformed the starters that they initially replaced — a testament to the incredible depth on the roster. Unfortunately, essentially all of the team’s depth has been decimated as a result of injuries to the starters.
None of the original starting five offensive linemen have played every game for the team and the only one that remains a true starter is left tackle Kelvin Beachum.
Left guard Kelechi Osemele was injured and later released, center Ryan Kalil struggled and then was placed on the injured reserve, right guard Brian Winters is done for the year, and right tackle Brandon Shell was benched in favor of rookie Chuma Edoga.
But with Edoga out for a number of weeks, Shell has once again been thrust into the starting lineup.
Lewis, Harrison, and Compton all began the year as backups with Shell joining them midway through the season. Now, all four have been asked to start.
And surprisingly, the Jets offensive line has actually been playing its best football of the season over the last few weeks. But one thing’s for sure, the team can ill-afford another injury to an offensive lineman.
The Jets now have only two healthy offensive linemen on the bench and neither exactly has the same experienced that the others did.
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Conor McDermott and Leo Koloamatangi represent the only healthy options on the bench with the former the only one with any prior NFL experience. McDermott previously played for the Buffalo Bills and the former sixth-round pick has played in just 10 career games with no starts.
Meanwhile, Koloamatangi has spent the last couple of seasons on the Detroit Lions practice squad never appearing in an NFL game.
If Harrison were to go down, it would be Koloamatangi who would be inserted into the game. Rather if one of the two tackles were to go down, McDermott would be tasked with filling in.
Both McDermott and Koloamatangi have experience playing guard but it’s likely the Jets would opt for the former to take snaps at the position simply because he has more experience. Either way, the Jets wouldn’t be in good shape if another injury were to occur.
The Jets had the luxury of having some very reliable offensive line depth heading into the season. But that depth has run out, and the Jets better be hoping that their current starting five holds up.
Or else we might see the offensive line revert to the state it was in just a few weeks ago.