In his second season with the Jets, C Connor McGovern witnessed a culture shift that was unlike anything he experienced in his previous four professional seasons.
"The way we meet, the way we practice; I've never been around a team that does it so diligently and with so much effort," McGovern said. "The culture change is there. We don't have a locker room with bad apples, we have a lot of guys that want to win and will do anything to win."
A Broncos' fifth-round pick out of Missouri in 2016, McGovern signed with the Green and White prior to the 2020 season and started all 16 games while pacing the offense with 969 snaps (98%). This past season, McGovern appeared in 15 games and finished third on the club with 972 snaps. The Jets made significant ground gains over the second half of the season under the direction of OL coach/run game coordinator John Benton, ranking second in the NFL with 5.19 yards/carry over the final eight weeks.
"Coach Benton and I get along really well, I really like the way he teaches things and his technique," McGovern said. "Coach [Mike] Lafleur and the way he runs an offense also really meshes with my skill set. I think it's something that a lot of fans don't realize, is how different a similar play can be coached between coaching staffs. I mesh really well with how these coaches do it and I think this coaching staff, in my opinion, does it the right way and does it the way that allows me to be successful."
McGovern started all 15 games he appeared in before sustaining a knee injury in a win over the Jaguars and subsequently was placed on injured reserve. Pro Football Focus gave McGovern a grade of 75.8, which ranked ninth among centers who took 80% of his team's snaps. After appearing in 78 games and starting in 67 in Denver (2017-19) and with the Jets (2020-21), McGovern continues to bring an "every day counts" mentality to the table.
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"I try to bring just consistency, an attitude every day to get better," he said. "No matter what happened on Sunday, try to flush it come Wednesday, improve your craft personally, improve your team and your position group throughout the week to really make the most of the next Sunday."
Already having snapped to a lot of quarterbacks in Denver and his two seasons with the Green & White, McGovern saw a lot of growth out of rookie QB Zach Wilson down the stretch and is excited about what's next for the talented young signal-caller.
"I think [Wilson] is going to be a special player and he has the attitude and the confidence for it," McGovern said. "I've been around a lot of young quarterbacks and I've never seen somebody grow so much in a year. It's been awesome to see, and again, I hope I'm a part of it for a long time because he's a guy that I think is going to be very special."
When McGovern returns for the 2022 season, he knows there is a new standard as the Jets have already begun their climb and wins will follow.
"I'd love to be around when this thing changes because it will change," he said. "Everybody in this building believes it, feels it, and everybody wants to be a part of it. There would be no better place to be than in New York when the Jets are winning a lot of football games. It's an incredibly loyal fan base and obviously it's always fun to win, but I think there'd be no better feeling than winning a lot of football games here."