The Jets were back out practicing yesterday and one key player went down with an injury of unknown severity.
The official team website also released the “unofficial” depth chart, I’m not sure how that works but there you go, we’re going to read far too much into that chart.
Finally, the Jets launched an official UK Jets Website which you can check out by clicking HERE. I’ll be writing a monthly column there, so make sure you get signed up.
On the 2nd play of team drills, Jets tackle Mekhi Becton went down with an apparent leg injury. He was down for a short time before he was helped off the field, limping significantly. Becton is coming off a season-ending injury suffered in week one of the 2021 season, this will be a key injury to monitor as it’s being reported that it’s more serious than first thought. More on that below.
Coach Saleh confirmed that the Jets starters will play around a quarter of football against the Eagles in their pre-season opener on Friday night. It’s good to see them on the field in a competitive environment but I know I’ll be sitting watching with my fingers crossed there are no injuries.
Backup OT Conor McDermott is dealing with a lower ankle injury and is not expected to miss significant time. Saleh said that he has faith in the Jet’s backup offensive tackle situation even without Duane Brown, but considering Zach’s been running for his life a lot this camp when McDermott/Edoga have been in the game, I don’t share the same confidence.
Ethan Greenberg tweeted the following which absolutely made my day: “Jermaine Johnson living in the backfield. Sure looked like three sacks in a row”. He’s going to be a problem, I back him in year one but he’s only going to get better with his work ethic.
If you thought the kicker competition was over, think again. Greg Zuerlein missed two field goals in a row and Eddy Pineiro made all three of his, including a 54-yarder. There’s life in the young gun yet.
Zach had a very positive practice again today, despite the defensive line living in the backfield. He had a couple of notable throws to Moore, Conklin, and a touchdown dart to Corey Davis. Zach is starting to stack solid practices and while there are still errors, they aren’t as frequent as they were this time last year.
Sauce Gardner confirmed that he’s added around 10lbs since the draft and he feels comfortable at his new weight of 200lbs. The one knock on Sauce was he was relatively lean, those 10lbs will certainly help with that, and it’ll help him match up with some of the bigger receivers he’ll face this season.
The air of positivity around the Jets took a sour turn last night as it was revealed that a knee injury suffered by offensive tackle Mekhi Becton was more serious than first thought.
It was reported by ESPN that the Jet’s concern level was elevated on receiving the results of the initial MRI and that Becton would be receiving further testing today, but the expectation is that he’ll miss significant time.
An ex-NFL team doctor of 17+years who runs the Twitter account @ProFootballDoc tweeted: “Fracture/chip of kneecap won’t end his season, but the inevitable patella realignment procedure will” - That’s unconfirmed at this point, but if we hear today that Becton will miss the 2022 season, nobody will be surprised.
According to multiple reports, Becton looked uncomfortable in individual drills but remained in practice for the team drills. 2 players into the team drills, and Becton went down under pressure from JFM. Mekhi had started wearing a knee brace towards the end of last week, which may indicate that he was starting to feel some discomfort, but that is pure speculation.
Becton has started just 14 games for the Jets over the first two years of his career and that includes a number of games he started and never finished, and if he does miss significant time with another knee injury, that will raise concerns about his potential to stay healthy. Two serious knee injuries to the same knee on a big man is usually cause for concern in terms of longevity.
The Jets made a small move on Monday night signing Caleb Benenoch to a one-year deal. The 28-year-old has made 23 starts over the course of his career, including one start last year for the Saints against the Miami Dolphins, a game where he allowed a sack and 5 pressures.
I don’t know a great deal about Caleb, but his PFF grades over the years don’t paint a pretty picture. The last time he started consistently was in 2018, and that year he allowed 10 sacks and 42 pressures. See this signing as someone who may replace McDermott more than be expected to start.
The Jets hosted Duane Brown over the weekend and the former pro-bowler should now become even more of a priority. Saleh said yesterday that he was comfortable with the backup tackle depth and that Brown would be a luxury. Well, that luxury just became a necessity and priority. I imagine the comment on being happy with the backup depth was more posturing.
The official unofficial depth chart.
The Jets released their first unofficial depth chart of the season yesterday and I’m here to break it down and read far too much into it.
There are some notable placements of players, here are some that stood out to me.
Tight End - The Jets have Uzomah as #1, Conklin as #2, Wesco as #3 and then everyone else including Ruckert at #4. Nobody expects Ruckert to be below Wesco, but when you haven’t been able to practice as a rookie you often find yourself at the bottom of the depth chart. I think we all know that Conklin is TE1 on this team and his camp performance proves that, but Uzomah will have a huge part to play so I wouldn’t read too much into that.
Wide Receiver - We’ve been hearing a lot about Irvin Charles this off-season but he’s listed as the 4th option at the x receiver position behind Davis, Mims, and Rashard Davis. With Tariq Black listed as the 3rd option at the other outside spot, it seems that Charles still has some considerable work if he hopes to make this 53-man roster. He’ll get plenty of opportunity through pre-season.
Running Back - Have a little chuckle at this one. Breece Hall is listed at #3 for the Jets behind Michael Carter and Tevin Coleman. It’s obvious the Jets want their rookies to have to prove their worth, but have no doubt about it…Breece Hall is #1 and Michael Carter is #2 and then there is a huge gap to #3. Coleman is there at the minute, but if that ends up being Zonovan Knight, don’t be shocked. He’s listed at #4 with La’Mical Perine and Ty Johnson.
Full Back - Nick Bawden is listed at #1 and it’s interesting that the Jets have Wesco at TE on the depth chart and not the #2 option at full back.
Defensive End - The Jets have chosen to list John Franklin-Myers as a defensive end, although chances are we see him more inside this year than outside. Jermaine Johnson is listed #3 on one side of the field behind Carl Lawson (#1) and Vinny Curry (#2). Again this is the Jets making their rookies earn their spots, nobody actually believes that Johnson is behind Curry on the depth chart. On the other side the Jets have Jacob Martin ahead of Bryce Huff backing up JFM.
Defensive Tackle - Here is an interesting one, the Jets have Quinnen Williams and Solomon Thomas listed as their starters and not Sheldon Rankins who is listed #2 behind Quinnen. Nathan Shephard is backing up Thomas with Jonathan Marshall listed as the #3. I’ve been saying all off-season that I wouldn’t be shocked to see Rankins cut because of his subpar play last year and the lack of guarantees on his contract. We’ll see what happens with this, but it’s clear the Jets like Solomon Thomas.
Linebacker - Right now the Jets have Quincy, CJ, and Marcell Harris listed as the starting linebackers. I think we all appreciate that the starting linebackers will be Quincy, CJ, and Kwon Alexander. Kwon only got here last week so it’s not surprising to see him listed as a backup here, but I’m not sure Marcell Harris will even make the roster, let alone start in the base 4-3 defense…although the Jets played so much sub last year, the base defense is really a 4-2-5 formation.
Cornerback - The Jets listed DJ Reed, Sauce Gardner and Bryce Hall as starters on their depth chart, Sauce is still technically in a competition for that starting outside corner spot but everyone expects him to win it. Micheal Carter II is listed as the starting slot corner which is unsurprising and Brandin Echols is listed as DJ’s backup, again that’s not surprising.
Safety - There was a surprise here but not with the starters. The Jets have listed Joyner and Whitehead as the two starting safeties as many expected. However, they have Jason Pinnock listed as the backup-free safety and Ashtyn Davis as the backup strong safety. As we’ve spoken about this off-season Pinnock had his best games at free safety, and the fact he seems to be considered a backup there ahead of Davis is noticeable.
Kicker - Just like the Jets have done with cornerback, they have listed both Eddy Pineiro and Greg Zuerlein as #1 on the depth chart. That battle is raging on as we speak and it’s twisting and turning every which way.
Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins has passed his physical and was activated from the PUP list yesterday. It’s still not clear when he’ll return to the field, but that’s a great first step.
New Orleans Saints QB Jameis Winston rolled his ankle yesterday and is undergoing further evaluation to discover the extent of the injury. If Winston is forced to miss significant time then Andy Dalton will replace him.
The Baltimore Ravens and All-Pro kicker Justin Tucker agreed to terms on a new 4-year extension that pays him $24M, with $17.5M guaranteed. That makes him the highest-paid kicker in football. Well deserved
According to multiple reports yesterday, the belief is that Baker Mayfield has the inside track on the starting QB job in Carolina, even though he’s still in competition with former Jet Sam Darnold.
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I’ve been firmly in Mekhi Becton’s corner from the start…last seasons injury and the 6-8 week return projection weren’t his fault…all the speculation about his weight, no-one actually knew other than those that needed to…he came into camp looking great and looking to prove a point…it would seem now, suffering a second injury to the same knee, that things look bleak…If it is (and I hope for his sake it isn’t) a season ending injury, were he to come back for ’23 he wouldn’t have played a game in 2 years and his spot on the roster will have to have been filled by then…good luck Mekhi but it’s starting to look like you won’t be the franchise Left Tackle many of us hoped you would be.
As to a replacement for now…everything I read about Caleb Benenoch tells me he is a Guard so that isn’t the answer…Duane Brown might be a luxury but as you say is now a priority…But, he’s never taken an NFL snap as anything other than a Left Tackle is what I am reading, which creates a problem of it’s own…what was looking like a good OLine has now been thrown into chaos…
Lastly…the depth chart…Michael Clemons in 4th spot…the only way is up MC, the only way is up…