What Is the Jets O-Line's No. 1 Priority?

Veteran O-Line Coach John Benton Working on Chemistry; Excited to Reunite with Duane Brown 


The Jets starting offensive line needs a chemistry answer and offensive line coach John Benton has a solution.

"That's the No. 1 priority," Benton said Wednesday. "You accelerate it by creating the situations. I think it's one of the things that we do really well. The situations in practice promote game-type situations as opposed to practice-type situations. … At the end of the day, it just becomes time on task for the most part. I'm confident we can get it done in three weeks."

The Jets have three new starters compared to last season's opener at Carolina -- C Connor McGovern is the only returning player at his position. Alijah Vera-Tucker moved from left to right guard when the team signed Pro Bowl LG Laken Tomlinson.

Mekhi Becton, who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, was named the starting right tackle at the start of training camp. He hurt his knee Aug. 9, the same one that caused him to miss 16 games in 2021. George Fant, who started 14 games in Becton's place at LT in 2021, is now back at RT, where he played in 2020, after the addition of five-time Pro Bowl LT Duane Brown.

"The good news is both with Laken and Duane, they came in with good familiarity with the scheme," Benton said. "I was even surprised how much Duane recalled from our time together in Houston of which this offense, particularly the run game, is based. I haven't felt that disjointed thing. In a normal year, if you told me four new parts in a five-man line, you'd be nervous. I haven't felt that at all."

See the Green & White on the practice field in full pads during week four at training camp.

Benton and Brown were together with the Texans from 2008-13. Their Texans group finished top-10 in rushing four times, including 2010 when RB Arian Foster won the rushing title. Brown was named a first-team All-Pro (2012), second-team All-Pro (2011) and two-time Pro Bowler (2012-13) under Benton's tutelage.

"He's got that real short-area explosion that you're really looking for," Benton said of Brown. "He'd be a really good scheme fit for a lot of schemes, but I think this scheme really suits what he does very well."

Brown has yet to practice in team periods for the Jets since signing Monday, but HC Robert Saleh said he could practice as early as Thursday.

The OL has just over three weeks to gel before the season opener against the Ravens at MetLife Stadium. While Benton doesn't know what the whole looks like yet, he's encouraged by the "new" parts.

Tomlinson: "He brings in that stability in terms of the room and probably the best thing is the straight up work ethic that Laken brings day-to-day-to-day. … He's been outstanding in reminding the group that every rep matters, every practice matters."

Vera-Tucker: "He's picked right up where he left off last year. He's always been a very good player but continues to get more consistent with what he's doing."

Fant: "He's always been a great teammate, team-player type guy and this just fits right into it. The ultimate success of the group is more important to him than which side he's playing."

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