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Jets OL Coach Keith Carter Charging Ahead With 'Great Group of Guys'

Young Tackles Olu Fashanu and Carter Warren Have an ‘Unbelievable Opportunity’ to Learn from Tyron Smith


It's hardly ideal for any offensive line coach when your team is forced to start 13 different line combinations over 17 games. But after a turbulent first season with the Jets, Keith Carter got some much-needed reinforcements this offseason when GM Joe Douglas signed T Tyron Smith and LG John Simpson in free agency, acquired veteran T Morgan Moses via trade with Baltimore and took Olu Fashanu with the No. 11 overall selection in the NFL Draft.

"We're excited," Carter told reporters after a recent OTA session. "Great group of guys, and they are just coming to work every day. They're here, they want to get better. It's been really good."

From left to right, Carter was asked about several projected starters for the Jets in 2024 along with Fashanu. Smith, an eight-time Pro Bowler and five-time first-team and second-team All-Pro, was lauded by Carter for his "work ethic" and "attention to detail".

"The leadership you get from him, just how hard he works for somebody who's been doing it at his level for so long is invaluable," Carter said of Smith. "And then you take these young tackles we have and he can teach them things I can't, honestly. It is an unbelievable opportunity for those young tackles to learn from him."

After breaking out with the Ravens in 2023 and appearing in a career-high 1,119 snaps, Simpson (6-4, 330) signed a two-year deal with the Jets in March.

"Great dude, smart," Carter said. "Same thing. Works his butt off, loves football. He's fun to be around. And then of course, the traits he has. He's athletic, he's long and strong."

After cross-training at guard and center as a rookie, Joe Tippmann, a second-round pick from Wisconsin in 2023, is ready to command the pivot in his second season.

"He's really starting to own that playbook and for us, the center, it all starts there, outside of the quarterback obviously," Carter said. "But in offensive line, the center handles almost everything and it's an inside-out mentality, meaning the center has the control to guards, tackles. And he's showed so much growth and he's starting to become a leader. He's more comfortable speaking up and all those things in front of the room. He's doing a nice job."

See all of the best photos from OTA No. 8 during the 2024 offseason program.

Alijah-Vera Tucker, who has worked off to the side during OTAs, is returning from an Achilles tendon injury he sustained in a Week 5 win over the Broncos in Denver. After starting his career at LG in 2021, he lined up at RG, LT and RT in 2022 before going down with a torn triceps at Denver in Week 7. Last season, Vera-Tucker started at RG and then shifted to RT in Week 3 because of injuries. The Jets want to find him a permanent home and the plan is for Vera-Tucker to stay at RG in 2023.

"I'm excited for him to have that opportunity to play guard," Carter said. "Not have to worry about nothing else and know who's going to be next to him for the most part and grow as a unit because he's always been really good."

With RT Morgan Moses also working his way back from offseason pec surgery, second-year pro Carter Warren has benefited from reps with the first team this spring.

"He has really mastered this playbook in a really cool way," Carter said. "He is attentive to details. He comes to work with the right mindset every day. He's really shown really good growth."

When Robert Saleh was asked about Carter in March at the NFL League Meetings, the fourth-year HC talked about his approach with the players and track history.

"Is he hard charging? For sure," Saleh said. "Not everything is always going to be falling for words here, but he's a hell of a football coach and sometimes messaging can get lost in tone. So, I know he's working on all that stuff, but I'm not concerned about his ability to coach his football team. He's proven to have a lot of success. I do feel like we finished the season strong, especially in the run game. I felt like he handled last year really well. They had him to deal with all the different offensive linemen in and out of the roster. Fully expect him to continue to grow not only as a football coach but as a person."

Last season, the Jets were 14th in rush yards per play (4.24) and Breece Hall finished fourth in the NFL with 1,585 yards from scrimmage. With Aaron Rodgers returning to the lineup, the Jets must maintain the ground momentum and keep their star QB healthy. It all starts up front and Carter is working on his delivery with his group.

"We got to be men of our word," he said. "If we're asking the players to constantly improve and get better, so do we as coaches. And so, I'm a hard-charger. I'm a yeller, even sometimes when I don't mean to be. So I am, I'm focusing on making sure my timing is right and I do it the right way."

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