The NY Jets offensive line will be affected more than any other position as a result of this odd offseason and could suffer from a lack of chemistry early on as a result.
The NY Jets went into this offseason with a clear and obvious goal in mind — rebuild the offensive line.
After trudging through a miserable offensive season highlighted by abysmal offensive line play in 2019, general manager Joe Douglas made it his mission to reshape both the present and future of the team’s offensive line.
And for one offseason’s work, it’s hard to have any qualms about how he handled the situation.
The Jets are set to host a Week 1 offensive line that could very well feature zero returning starters from Week 1 of last season. Right guard Brian Winters is the only possible saving grace, but he looks to be the underdog in a preseason position battle with Greg Van Roten.
Of course, there’s Alex Lewis who seems to be locked into the left guard position and Chuma Edoga who will compete for the starting right tackle job, but the roster changes from last season are still extensive.
If Winters starts the year on the bench, the Jets will be starting five different players than they did a year ago. That type of turnover at the position is almost unheard of and it speaks volumes about just how poor the offensive line was last season.
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From the drafting of Mekhi Becton in the first round to free-agent additions in Connor McGovern, George Fant, and the aforementioned Van Roten, the Jets will have a new-look offensive line unit in 2020.
Unfortunately, this mass turnover could be both a blessing and a curse.
It takes time to develop chemistry on a team, but no position is that more evident than with the offensive line. The Jets saw this firsthand as the unit struggled when center Ryan Kalil was given only a month to mesh with his new teammates.
The prospect of lining up five guys next to each other who have never played together before was always going to be challenging, but the nature of this offseason will make it exponentially more difficult.
In a normal season, players would be with their teammates in training camp right now — building the chemistry it often takes months to capture. Instead, players are stuck at home participating in a so-called “virtual offseason.”
Players simply aren’t going to develop the same chemistry chatting with each other via their laptops that they would by taking actual reps on the gridiron. And at this rate, who knows if there even will be an in-person training camp.
Teams might be forced to enter the preseason/regular season with very little time spent actually practicing together on the field. And if that’s the case, few teams will be affected more than the new-look Jets.
From countless rookies to an abundance of new faces, the Jets could struggle to develop the same chemistry that other teams around the NFL already have the luxury of having. And the offensive line will be the most obvious example of the lost time.
It remains to be seen just how long this “virtual offseason” will last — it’s at least been extended through the rest of the month.
But each day that passes is another missed opportunity for the new Jets’ offensive line.