Rehabbing from shoulder surgery, Jets starting RG Brian Winters is adjusting to field work during the team's offseason workout program.
"I'm about 85% right now," Winters said. "It was tough the first month or so, but I'm doing well with [head athletic trainer] John Mellody. I actually worked out at Kent and did some rehab there."
The 6'4", 320-pounder started the first 13 games of 2016 before landing on Injured Reserve after Week 15 against Miami. Since, the Jets have undergone a number of changes, releasing a handful of veterans that included two-fifths of the starting offensive line from last year (C Nick Mangold and RT Breno Giacomini). The Green & White also hired a new offensive coordinator in John Morton.
"Right now it's more of a learning process," Winters said of the offseason workout program. "This phase, we're on the field and in the meeting room for 45 minutes each. We can't go against each other, so we're going against trash cans or the air. We're really just learning new things and working together. As far as calls, they're sort of the same, but the plays are different. Everyone is learning together with snap counts and all that, so it's a process."
Along with T Ben Ijalana, Winters is the longest-tenured Jets offensive linemen and he'll have new neighbors up front in 2017 as both the RT and C jobs are up for grabs. Some names in the running include T Brandon Shell, T Kelvin Beachum, C Wesley Johnson and OL Jonotthan Harrison. Winters believes the spring is an essential time to building chemistry in the trenches.
"It's one of those things that goes as we go," he said. "That's my thing. It's always good to trust the man to your left and your right and have some experience with him because it's going to go a long way. In the fourth quarter when things are tough, you can lean on your brother to your left and right and things will go up."
Perhaps the lineman he's most familiar with is guard counterpart James Carpenter. Winters said they push each other in the classroom, on the field and in the weight room as they try to become one of the best guard duos in the NFL. Additionally, Winters wants to be the veteran to take young players under his wing just as Mangold and former teammate D'Brickashaw Ferguson did for him.
"I'm not a hoorah guy, but I'm going to lead by example," Winters said. "I'm going to show these guys how we do things and show everything on the field. I definitely feel like I've fallen into that role because I'm the older guy now with James. I understand the responsibilities because I've learned from Nick and Brick."