While the injury bug bit the Jets O-Line this past season, LG Laken Tomlinson stayed injury-free and had a strong first season with the Green & White as one of the team's most-durable players.
"Man, it's been awesome," Tomlinson said. "Getting to work with these guys, there are a lot of great guys in the room, especially the young guys we have in the building. Super-talented young men. It was awesome working with these guys."
Tomlinson, signed in free agency in March from San Francisco, was a model of consistency trailing only his linemate C Connor McGovern in offensive snaps played. Tomlinson started all 17 games and played 1,112 (99.8%) snaps – missing only 2 plays
Besides Tomlinson and McGovern, the Jets O-line overall dealt with injuries all season. Eleven offensive linemen took snaps – with 10 players starting games. Notably, the Green & White lost RT Mekhi Becton during training camp and RG Alijah Vera-Tucker in Week 7 to season-ending injuries.
Tomlinson, however, found a way to build chemistry with each iteration, each play. According to Pro Football Focus, Tomlinson surrendered 1 sack and totaled 8 games with 1 or less pressures allowed.
"We put our livelihoods on the line every time we suit up in pads," Tomlinson said. "And you just never know. Freak things can happen. But I do appreciate every single one of the guys, especially in our room, coming to work every day and doing everything to try to win the games."
Tomlinson, in pass protection, surged late in the season with an average grade from Pro Football Focus of 63.2 in the final 8 games – including 3 performances of 67-plus – after averaging 55.2 over the first 9 games. In the run game, Tomlinson & Co. got off to a strong start averaging, 115.1 rushing yards per game. The unit struggled down the stretch, however, averaging 61 yards per game in the last 5 games.
"My first gut reaction I want to say there are always things I wish personally I can do better," Tomlinson said. "But I felt like I came out, gave it everything I got. I got to look at the film and see that just anywhere I can increase my game."
Tomlinson plans to refocus and help improve the run offense ahead of next season. But first, he intends to take some time away from the game and for some much-needed family time.
"I am just going to take some time to reflect on the experiences I've had with my teammates, and the coaches," Tomlinson said. "I look forward to spending some time with my family and kind of just get away for a little bit."