NY Jets Monday Mailbag: Offensive line alignment, Braxton Berrios, more

NY Jets (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets Monday Mailbag is back and this week, we’ll be discussing the offensive line and much more.

The NY Jets Monday Mailbag is back again this week and I’d first like to start by thanking you all for making the return of this beloved series such an amazing one.

Thank you to each of you that has submitted a question or even just tuned in to read — your efforts are greatly appreciated.

Just a reminder, if you’d like to submit a question for the mailbag make sure to follow us on Twitter (@TheJetPress) and be on the lookout for a tweet each Saturday or Sunday. We will also extend this to our followers on Facebook so be sure to check there as well.

As mentioned last week, I’ll try to make this a bi-weekly series at least while news is slow over the coming months. As long as the questions keep coming, the answers will too!

Now on to this week’s edition.

We didn’t receive quite the array of questions this week, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still some good talking points. From expectations for the offensive line to some under-the-radar dark horses to watch for, I’m excited to get into this week’s batch of questions.

So without further ado, let’s jump in!

NY Jets Questions

“With so many OL additions, who is your projected starting 5? Will the NY Jetsbring in Warford or any other guys to add to this group?” – via @ganggreen82 on Twitter

I’d say there are three starting spots already essentially locked up. Connor McGovern will be your Week 1 starting center, barring injury, and Mekhi Becton and Alex Lewis most likely have the left tackle and left guard jobs solidified.

The real competition will come on the right side of the offensive line.

Greg Van Roten will be competing with the incumbent Brian Winters at right guard while free-agent signing George Fant and Chuma Edoga will battle it out for the right tackle job.

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Van Roten is probably the favorite for the right guard job and unless he looks overwhelmed in training camp, I’d expect the Jets to roll with him. As for right tackle, that remains a toss-up.

The Jets want Edoga to show up in the preseason and win the job — they still see him as the right tackle of the future. But they also won’t hesitate to place Fant in the starting lineup if they don’t think Edoga is ready yet.

After all, Fant will be getting paid $10 million in 2020 — that’s not someone they’re going to have on the bench unless they feel that Edoga won’t be overwhelmed as he was last year.

If I had to guess right now, I’d say the starting five for Week 1 is Becton, Lewis, McGovern, Van Roten, and Fant. But I’d be very surprised if Fant started all 16 games.

As for Larry Warford, it doesn’t seem as though anything is imminent and there’s been no reported interest on the Jets’ part. Perhaps that’s a financial thing, perhaps it’s a talent thing, or perhaps it’s a medical thing.

Either way, don’t hold your breath on seeing Warford in green and white this year.

“How do you think the OL will do this year?” – via @kurtludden19 on Twitter

More stuff about the offensive line here, this time discussing how they might perform in 2020. As always, I think it’s best to temper any optimism we might have about the unit.

On paper, the offensive line looks improved. But we were saying the same thing last August and we all know how that turned out.

Becton will no doubt have his fair share of growing pains, but I expect him to do big things in the running game early on. As for his pass-protection, the most important thing with him is just remaining patient.

He absolutely mauls dudes and I think he let’s that get to his head sometimes. He lunges to engage too quickly in pass sets rather than letting the play develop and come to him.

That’s coachable, but expect to seem some of those growing pains in year one.

Lews is a below-average starting guard and possibly the weakest link of the offensive line, but it’ll help playing alongside McGovern who is probably the team’s best offensive linemen out of the gate.

Van Roten is a question mark. Was last year just a fluke or is he actually a pretty solid right guard that just took years to develop? That remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, right tackle remains the most volatile position on the line. If Edoga can take a huge second-year leap on par with someone like Kolton Miller, then the Jets might be on to something. If not, Fant is an acceptable, albeit below-average starting option.

I’d like to say that it’ll be better than last year, although that’s obviously a low bar to set. But if I’m predicting right now, I’d still say bottom-10 units in the league — at least that’s an improvement!

“Give me a dark horse who is flying under the radar now but will win their position battle and have a big impact this year?” – via @ganggreen82 on Twitter

I love these kinds of questions. I think you’re going to see someone (or multiple someones) step up at the edge rusher spot simply out of necessity. After Jordan Jenkins, who do the Jets really have at that position?

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Watch for Tarell Basham to make the most of a golden opportunity he should have to earn the starting job in training camp. Basham was a pretty productive pass rusher in limited snaps last season ranking as the No. 32 edge defender out of all qualifiers by Pro Football Focus.

Compare that to Jenkins who was ranked No. 53 and you see the potential Basham has to be a solid contributor this year. If not him perhaps someone like undrafted rookie Bryce Huff can step up as well.

Elsewhere, I think you’ll see someone make an impact at receiver. The trendy pick right now is Vyncint Smith and that’s not a bad choice. But I’ll say one of the undrafted guys — Lawrence Cager is definitely someone to keep an eye on.

Ultimate dark horse, look for Patrick Onwuasor to be used a ton as a blitzer on defense and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up with four or more sacks this season.

“Will Braxton Berrios see playing time????” – via @taylaz on Twitter

Braxton Berrios is one of a few depth receivers who saw playing time at receiver last season, but his greatest impact came on special teams. Berrios was second in the NFL in average yards per punt return last year and will look to fill the same role this year.

He’ll have some competition in the form of third-round pick Ashtyn Davis, was Davis was more of a kick returner than a punt returner in college. I’d expect the sure-handed Berrios to have that job unless something goes awry.

As for his role on offense, that’s a little less defined. Berrios will serve as the Jets’ backup in the slot in case anything happens to Jamison Crowder. Out of the likes of Breshad Perriman, Denzel Mims, and Vyncint Smith, he’s the only one who has really any experience in the slot.

But if the Jets are fully healthy at receiver, I wouldn’t expect him to see many snaps. There are probably at least four or five players ahead of him on the depth chart right now so don’t expect to seem him much on offense unless a couple of players miss time with injuries.

“Why is it year after year since our lone Super Bowl [that] we stink?” – via @FredJetup on Twitter

Way to end things on a positive note, Fred.

I understand the frustration here, and I’m sure you, my friend, are a long-suffering Jets fan who’s been following this team for decades. And if that’s the case, then you must know that your question is a little misstated.

Yes, the Jets haven’t made it back to the Super Bowl since 1969. But that doesn’t mean that they have “stunk,” per se, in every season after that.

There were some years in the 80s that the team looked like legitimate Super Bowl contenders. With the “New York Sack Exchange” on defense and guys like Freeman McNeil and Wesley Walker on offense, the Jets had some pretty good teams back then.

The early-to-mid 90s were less kind but then Curtis Martin came to town and the late-90s and early-2000s were pretty good. The Jets made the playoffs in five of nine seasons from 1998 to 2006 — that’s nothing to scoff at.

And, of course, there were the back-to-back AFC Championship Games in 2009 and 2010 with Rex Ryan at the helm.

Next. NY Jets Monday Mailbag: Playoff odds, Ashtyn Davis expectations, more

I understand the frustration and much of it is warranted. But let’s give credit to some of the post-Namath teams that found success as well.

Let’s try and spread some positivity, my man.