Having a sturdy, productive and reliable offensive line can work absolute wonders for a quarterback and an offense as a whole, which is why Jets GM Joe Douglas went to work this offseason to build a new line. In free agency and the Draft, Douglas added seven new talents to the squad who joined returning veterans Alex Lewis, Jonotthan Harrison and Chuma Edoga. Now, with changes implemented, the next step is to establish a rhythm up front — a task Connor McGovern says comes with repetition and time.
"Obviously, the hardest part is the cohesion and so many guys on the starting line are learning a new offense," said McGovern. "But the nice thing is we have all played a lot of football. Football is football, you can only run and protect the ball so many ways. Coach [Frank] Pollack had a great example where it's like learning a new language. It's the same thing, you're trying to communicate, but it's just a different way of doing it. The nice thing is, I think everyone has come in really hungry."
McGovern, the 6'4", 306-pound former Denver Bronco, is heading into his fifth season in the league and has had three years of starting experience at both right guard and center. The former Missouri product was the first unrestricted free agent lineman to join the squad, and although he has been with the Green and White for a limited time, the energy inside the locker room is what he was looking for.
"I know a lot of the guys that have been here previously, like Sam [Darnold], just keep talking about how there's a different vibe in the air," McGovern said. "I think a fresh start like Joe Douglas has done and revamped stuff brought in a new crew and energy, and a lot of high-quality guys that want to win football games. They handle their job and they take advantage of the mental and on the field reps. We want to win. I don't think there's any guy in the locker room, especially on that offensive line, that is just here for a paycheck. Everybody is here to win some football games and I agree with Sam. It's different here and has a good feeling. There's a real want to in the air."
The men in in the trenches will now have to utilize the minimal time of training camp to begin gelling together as one cohesive unit. As Douglas has said in the past, the O-line is the "ultimate judged-as-a-unit group" and will serve as the leading protectors for quarterback Sam Darnold, whom McGovern is already forging a strong bond with.
"It's funny because I know some people view him as a young quarterback, but the way he acts and the experience I've seen, he's a veteran QB," McGovern said of Darnold. "He carries himself like he's played in a lot of football games and like he's won a lot of football games…With a new regime, there definitely can be a change of tide. I think my goal and when Joe Douglas brought me in, he told me he wanted to bring me here to win football games. That's what I want to do. I don't do this for the paycheck, I do it because I love it. Sam was part of a little speech to the team recently and he talked about how at the end of the day, it's all about winning here. You can honestly 100% feel it."