Shell Makes Good Strides in First NFL Test

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The Jets' next-man-up mentality has weaved its way through the roster over the course of 2016. Against the Dolphins Saturday, rookie RT Brandon Shell made his first NFL start.

"It's preparation just like anything else," Shell told Eric Allen and Larry Hardesty on Inside the Jets. "You watch film, study film, watch a guy. You go through practice and do everything the best way you can, building a plan to block your guy. You just try to do everything the right way, do it perfect like sleep on time. The small stuff, things like that. And then just get ready to play on Saturday."

Shell's introduction to the league was rather daunting on paper as he was often matched up with defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake and Mario Williams. Following Saturday's 34-13 loss, head coach Todd Bowles assessed Shell's performance.  

"He did okay for his first game," Bowles said. "He missed some things, but he played tough. He played hard and did better than we thought he would. We helped him a little bit, but he held his own in there too. I was pleased with what he did."

The help Bowles referred to was OL Dakota Dozier, who helped seal off the right side of the line on 33% of offensive snaps.

"Dakota has helped me a lot since I've been here," Shell said. "We're both from South Carolina, he's up the road from Columbia. Just having a guy from your home state and helping me out with the playbook a lot is great. He knows every position on the offensive line because he plays them all. Why not pick a guy's brain that's trying to help you out?" 

Perhaps Shell's biggest help comes from his bloodline, great uncle Art. The South Carolina product described the Hall of Fame offensive lineman as a "football-savvy guy who always wants to talk ball."

"He helps me out watching film," Shell said. "We'll go over some stuff and he'll just ask me questions. When I went home for Thanksgiving last year, we were just sitting at the table and he started to quiz me when we were eating."

The fifth-round pick said he's never satisfied. Monday, he digested game film on his own time because there was no unit film review as a result of the short week ahead.

"I know there's stuff I still need to work on," Shell said. "You can't just go out there again and be satisfied, you want to get better and better. I'm very critical of myself and I like to correct the small things."

The 6'5", 324-pounder is honing in on improving his hand placement as he anticipates a matchup with Jabaal Sheard and Rob Ninkovich, who rank second and third on the Patriots in sacks.

"That's how you control a guy — you get your hands inside," he said. "Some plays my hands were wide and I couldn't control my guy like I wanted to. So I've been working on getting my hands inside and tight along with my feet, my cutoff blocks and things like that." 

Shell could make his second NFL start on Christmas Eve in Foxborough, MA. 

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