Veteran offensive tackle Ben Ijalana likes the energy of new offensive coordinator John Morton and he hopes the Jets' new-look offensive line can get rolling quickly out of the gates.
"J-Mo. He's intense," Ijalana said during the spring. "He's very fiery and I like that. When we started Phase Two of OTAs, he was running with us, which was kind of bizarre. There are certain plays where he wants you to score, so we all sprint through the line, and he's hauling butt like the rest of the players. That was kind of interesting to see."
Ijalana took mostly first-team reps at left tackle in OTAs and minicamp on a line that looks different than what Jets fans are used to. For the first time since 2006, the trenches will not feature D'Brickashaw Ferguson or Nick Mangold. Entering his seventh season, the 27-year-old Ijalana is the second-longest tenured player on the unit.
"We're gelling," Ijalana said. "We've got new guys and more new people than previous years. But at the end of the day, we're all professionals. The more time we spend together, the more practice we have together, the more reps we take as a unit, the more we'll congeal. I think we're well on our way to developing that chemistry."
Ijalana re-signed with the Jets in March after he started 13 games last season and appeared in all 16 contests. The 6'4", 322-pounder began the season in a rotation at RT with Brent Qvale before flipping to LT once Ryan Clady landed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. The Villanova product totaled 868 offensive plays and 925 overall snaps, ranking fourth most on the offense and fifth most on the team respectively.
"Personally, work on my craft, technique and take the proper steps to master this offense," Ijalana said regarding his goals entering training camp. "As an offense line, get that chemistry. We need to start rolling early and quickly. As soon as possible to be a tone setter on our offense. If we get going, then the running backs get going and the passing game gets going. So as an offensive line, it's up to us to get things started."