The Jets practiced without left tackle Mekhi Becton on Wednesday because he’s in the concussion protocol after a blow to the head on Tuesday and that’s a less than ideal development for an offensive line trying to gain cohesion before the regular season.
Line play has been a weakness for the Jets in recent years and word from the team’s practices this offseason has been mixed about how well this year’s group is protecting Zach Wilson. Head coach Robert Saleh said at a Wednesday press conference that he’s not overly concerned about the unit.
Saleh said “timing and rhythm” for the whole offense is a factor in pass protection and that a lot can be blamed on the line when other factors are in play.
“A lot of things come into play, there’s route running to gain separation,” Saleh said. “There’s play call, there’s obviously protection and then finally the quarterback being in rhythm, getting rid of the ball, staying within the timing of the play. I know a lot of times we can point at the offensive line but it’s not just them, it’s all 11 making the play work. Obviously, I was with the defense so, I’ll see the tape. What I bet you’ll see is more separation from receivers, obviously a little bit firmer up front, quarterback getting rid of the ball in rhythm, play calls being more advantageous for the quarterback to get rid of the ball. All of it comes in the play when we’re studying tape which is why I’m not as nervous as you guys, as you guys watch practice.”
Wilson said that practices can provide an unrealistic view of offensive line play because defenses know what’s coming and “we’ll have different situations, scenarios, we throw at them whether it’s screens, quick passes, play actions, draws” in the regular season. Whatever the Jets opt to do, making sure the rookie remains upright will be a key to their offensive success in the months to come.