After agreeing to terms with veteran tackle Duane Brown and with his signing imminent, the Jets have shifted George Fant back to RT. Fant was named the team's starting left tackle at the beginning of camp, but Mekhi Becton's potentially season-ending knee injury coupled with the addition of Brown brought about a switch across the line.
"For George, his curse is also his blessing in that he's extremely versatile, very athletic," head coach Robert Saleh said of Fant following Sunday's non-padded practice. "He is a team guy and tremendously talented."
Fant, who started the 2021 season at RT, had a career year in '21 after Becton went down with a knee injury in the opener at Carolina. Fant (30) started 15 games, lining up in 887 snaps, and according to Pro Football Focus, he posted the third-best pressure rate (3.03%) among left tackles.
"Obviously, he's a competitor, he just wants a home," Saleh said. "But at the same time, he's the ultimate team guy. I know he's going to put in the work and do everything he can to be the best right tackle he can possibly be. But it was a very good, productive conversation. But again, sometimes a player's greatest blessing is also a curse. But I think he's going to be great out there."
Fant, who played both tackle spots and even joined some personnel packages as a third tight end in Seattle, signed with the Jets in 2020 and started 14 games at RT. With a new zone blocking system employed by OC Mike LaFleur and offensive line coach/run game coordinator John Benton, Fant excelled on the left side and wanted to remain there. But Becton went down and Brown, a five-time Pro Bowler, has made 203 career starts — all at left tackle.
"You still want to put your best five forward," Saleh said. "That is the No. 1 responsibility for all of us is to protect the quarterback and you can argue George's left tackle production was better than when he played right tackle. But that was different scheme. We think he'll be fine playing right tackle in our scheme; he hasn't had a chance to play right tackle in our scheme."
As Saleh pointed out Sunday, the Jets haven't had continuity along the offensive line throughout the spring and summer. Becton, a new father, missed spring workouts; and Fant, who had an offseason knee procedure, has gradually increased his workload throughout camp. After the Jets started rookie Max Mitchell and Chuma Edoga at RT and LT, Friday in Philly, Fant went to RT when team reps commenced Sunday and Edoga was back at LT.
"We just want five guys to play together and build some continuity," Saleh said.
See the Green & White on the practice field in full pads during week four at training camp.
Lawson to Fly Against Falcons
The Jets played many of their starters against the Eagles, but Saleh decided to sit Mike LB C.J. Mosley and DE Carl Lawson. Lawson, returning from an Achilles tendon tear, hasn't played in any game action in exactly one calendar year. Lawson last got game reps in the Jets' preseason-opening 12-7 victory over the crosstown Giants last Aug. 14.
"The intent was to play them both and I woke up that morning and said I'm going to let them go through the mental aspects of it to get their bodies right," Saleh said. "So, they were mentally preparing themselves to play, and we were in the locker room before kickoff, and I told them to leave their helmets in the locker room."
Lawson is slated to make his preseason debut in front of nationally televised ESPN audience against the Falcons on Monday night, Aug. 22
"They cleared the emotional hurdle, especially for Carl more so than C.J.," Saleh said. "But clear the emotional hurdle, and next game he'll play for sure, for sure, for sure, for sure, for sure."
With Zach Wilson on his way to Los Angeles to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his knee, the QB rotation was Joe Flacco, Mike White and Chris Streveler. These were Streveler's first team reps in practice, and they came after a terrific performance against the Eagles as he ran for 31 yards and threw a pair of late TDs in the Jets' 24-21 win.
"Just a great example for every professional throughout all 32 teams that you can either complain and dwell on what your opportunities are or what your circumstances are when you get your opportunity, or you just go dominate," said HC Robert Saleh. "And that's what he demonstrated, and I thought that was really cool to see."
RB Ty Johnson, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury, returned to team drills. … D.J. Reed (hamstring) remained sidelined, so the Jets again lined up with CB Sauce Gardner and Bryce Hall on the outside. Hall recorded his second INT of camp, leaping to snare a Flacco pass that looked to be intended for TE C.J. Uzomah. … Jason Pinnock got first-team reps at safety with Lamarcus Joyner was out with an illness. … Grant Hermanns got some run at LT with the first team and exchanged a few haymakers with DE Carl Lawson following a play. … At the end of practice, DT Nathan Shepherd and WR Garrett Wilson got in each other's faces, but cooler heads prevailed. "I want to celebrate Shep because Old Shep would have been punching and swinging," said Saleh. "He remained composed, which was awesome."