The Jets lost two of their best players in Week 7 at Denver when RB Breece Hall sustained a knee injury and OL Alijah-Vera Tucker went out with a torn triceps. With the two players on season-ending injury reserve, Jets GM Joe Douglas told reporters this week that he expects them to be 100 percent for the 2023 season.
"I know neither one has had surgery yet," Douglas said. "Obviously, tough second quarter there in Denver, because you're talking about two young players that were having Pro Bowl-caliber seasons, you could argue All-Pro caliber seasons. So, we love those guys, and we love their approach, and we love how they handle themselves. But again, our docs [doctors] are very optimistic that these guys are going to come back full-strength next year and hit the ground running."
In seven games, the dynamic Hall averaged 6.9 yards a touch while totaling 681 yards and 5 TDs. The versatile Vera-Tucker started at RG, LT and RT his sophomore pro campaign and was solid at all three spots. The Jets have faced continuity challenges since the offseason at offensive line due to several injuries, beginning with Mekhi Becton going down early in training camp with an avulsion fracture of his right kneecap.
"Mekhi had the procedure out in L.A. with Dr. ElAttrache," Douglas said. "He stayed out there for a few weeks. He's been back in the building since I want to say early last month. He's been back, he's been rehabbing every day in our training room, and I know his focus is coming back next year in the best shape he can be and as healthy as he can be. We feel really optimistic that he's going to be full strength for OTAs."
While Douglas made two pre-trade deadline deals and he "canvassed" the league for talent, he elected to stand pat at offensive line with reinforcements on the horizon. Veteran George Fant, who started the regular season at LT, and rookie Max Mitchell, the team's fourth-round pick from Louisiana who started the first four games at RT, are eligible to come off the injured reserve list and that could happen when the team returns from its Week 10 bye. Against Buffalo on Sunday, the Jets starting lineup from left to right is expected to be LT Duane Brown, LG Laken Tomlinson, C Connor McGovern, RG Nate Herbig and RT Cedric Ogbuehi.
"Ultimately, we felt good about the depth that we've added," said Douglas, who since Aug. 10 has signed Brown, Ogbuehi and Mike Remmers. "You talk about having a guy like Nate Herbig step up and play good football at right guard. Cedric Ogbuehi, coming in from Houston's practice squad, played good football [and] adding a guy like Mike Remmers who has played in a ton of meaningful games. And then also we still have the opportunity to bring Max and George back soon here, so we'll see how their rehab progresses over the next few days and weeks, but we feel like we have really good depth along the offensive line."