Among many question marks for the Jets entering the 2014 season is the offensive line. As the Jets prepare for their first preseason game tomorrow night against the Indianapolis Colts Rex Ryan and his staff realizes this is still a work in progress.
Right now the depth chart reflects this with D’Brickashaw Ferguson at LT backed up by Ben Ijalana who has no regular-season experience on the line and Patrick Ford. At LG is Brian Winters backed up right now by Oday Aboushi. The Jets have been talking up Aboushi, giving him reps with the starters at both guard spots. The thought here is that Aboushi will be a “swing” backup, capable of filling in if Colon gets hurt or if Winters doesn’t improve after his rough rookie season.
The only constant of the group, Pro-Bowl Center Nick Mangold is backed up by Dalton Freeman and Caleb Schlauderaff. On the right side of the line is RG Colon backed up by Dakota Dozier and William Campbell and at the RT position is Breno Giacomini backed up by Markus Zusevics and Brent Qvale. Ryan all but handed right guard Willie Colon a starting job, saying, “If he stays healthy, I have a tough time not seeing him in the lineup.” Colon has a long injury history (most recently, knee and biceps surgery in the offseason).
During the Green and White scrimmage last Saturday night the offense was not in peak form to put it mildly. Both starting guards Winters and Colon started but were not in top form and the line’s play showed it. The first play from scrimmage went for a two-yard loss and very little offense was generated the entire evening. Geno Smith saw pressure all night, as the first team offensive line could not hold their own against one of the top defensive lines in the league.
In practices this week Markus Zusevics was limited with a knee issue and Brent Qvale was out due to a concussion. Seth Walder of the NY Daily News noted that the Jets used RG Willie Colon at RT with the first team, and Oday Aboushi who was drafted at RT at the same spot with the second team.
The Jets also signed veteran tackle Bruce Campbell this week, addressing a growing concern — depth at the tackle position. Campbell (6’7″, 314) is a 26-year-old tackle out of Maryland who was selected by Oakland in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. He played 14 games for the Raiders in 2010-11 before being traded to Carolina in 2012. He then played five games for the Panthers in 2012 but was waived a year ago. He was invited as a tryout player to the June full-squad minicamp.