Jets LT Duane Brown is entering his 17th NFL season. While he's been a member of seven playoff teams, the 2023 Jets have something special that stands out to the veteran.
"This is probably the most excited I have ever been to get a season started, for multiple reasons," Brown said. "For personal reasons, playing most of last year injured and being able to recover and come back and feel more confident in my game. Obviously, having a guy like Aaron [Rodgers] come in, the type of caliber player and person he is, he elevates everyone. You have to elevate your standards and your level of play. And across the board, we have so much talent. It is probably the most talented team I have been on and a great mixture of youth and veteran leadership."
Last season, Brown played in 12 games after he missed the first four on the IR with a torn rotator cuff he suffered late in camp. Brown had offseason shoulder surgery and was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on Aug. 23. Back at practice, Brown pointed out that the Green & White's offense and defense have a chance to be elite.
"It has been great, just getting back the last couple of weeks and knocking off the rust," Brown said. "In a new offense and with new personnel, I have just been getting the chemistry back with the rest of the O-Line and it has been going great. Going against our defense — there are really good players on their side of the ball that are speeding up the process. Both sides have a chance to be special."
See the top photos of the Jets during Tuesday's practice of Bills week leading up to the 2023 season-opener.
Along the O-Line, Mekhi Becton returned from knee injuries that derailed his 2021-22 seasons and secured the starting job at RT opposite Brown. In addition, right guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, who sustained a season-ending torn triceps in Week 7 last season, was a full participant in camp. Add in center Connor McGovern, who started all 17 games last season, and Pro Bowl left guard Laken Tomlinson, and it's a talented mix up front. Entering his second season with the Jets, Brown is a grizzled performer who is confident good things are on the horizon.
"We have the makings of a great team," Brown said. "We all hold each other accountable. We all work extremely hard to make each other better. And you could feel it in the preseason game at home. And I know the fans are ready, it is going to be a special year."
That year will start when the Bills, fresh off a third consecutive AFC East crown, visit the Jets in Week 1. The two teams split last year's matchups with the Jets earning a 20-17 victory at MetLife Stadium as Brown helped the Jets rush for 174 yards and a touchdown in the win. For the opener on Sept. 11, the Bills will be without All-Pro defensive end Von Miller, who was placed on the PUP list after tearing his ACL in Week 12. Miller had 8 sacks in 11 games last season.
"They have a great team," Brown said. "When you look at the roster, across the board, they have a lot of talent. Von Miller is a special player and has been throughout his career. But without him, they still have Greg Rousseau, who has come on as a great player on the edge, and Leonard Floyd, who has been playing big-time football his entire career. They also have depth, Shaq Lawson as well. They have some guys that are going to present some challenges for us."