One of the most consistent storylines for the Jets since the beginning of training camp has been the chemistry among the refurbished offensive line. With only one returning starter -- Alex Lewis -- and minimal team training time, the O-line's progress is critical.
"I think we're gelling really well," said OL Connor McGovern. "The biggest thing was the cohesion part and we're working on that. It's a lot easier now that we're around each other a lot more and doing that stuff in person. I think that's been moving along really nicely. The offense has been moving along nicely, especially the ones and twos. No one is making a lot of mental errors and they have assignments down. I think most of that initial rust has been knocked off and I think we're ready to go."
Throughout training camp, four new players (and returning starter Lewis) have taken the majority of first-team reps and are expected to line up at Buffalo in Week 1 on Sept. 13: T Mekhi Becton, G Greg Van Roten, C McGovern and T George Fant. Although their time together has been limited, McGovern is confident in the group's efforts.
"Every day we get a little better and keep improving, and we keep fixing those little things that you miss by not having OTAs," McGovern (6-4, 306 pounds) said. "I'm really excited for it. I know everyone is ready to go and ready to get after somebody that isn't in a green helmet."
One player who will benefit from the O-line's improvement is seventh-year RB Le'Veon Bell. In his first season with the Green & White, in 2019, the 6-1, 225-pound running back averaged a career-low 3.2 yards per carry. One of his most efficient seasons was in 2017 with the Steelers when he recorded 1,291 rushing yards on 321 carries and 9 rushing TDs. Bell, 28, is hoping to surpass his best season in 2020.
"I think we've got the offensive line for him," McGovern said. "We've got the offensive weapons on the outside to help. The defense is going to have to respect our pass game, which will open up the run game. They're going to have to respect the run game, which will open up the pass game. We're an extremely well-balanced offense and I'm excited for this year. Once everyone is back and ready to go for Week 1, I think we're going to be a pretty dangerous offense."
With Bell in the backfield and a sturdy offensive line up front, the Jets' offense is gearing up to face the Bills, an AFC East rival. And the captain of the ship — third-year quarterback Sam Darnold — is leading the way.
"As a leader, he's one of the best," McGovern said. "I can't speak for how he was the previous years, but to me, he's extremely confident and playing to what I feel like is a veteran. I feel like he's a vet because he plays with confidence, he knows what to do, and he's not out there second guessing himself. If I wouldn't have known he's 23 years old, I would have had no idea. He's playing like a true vet right now."