When you look at the Jets offense, it’s easy to find flaws across the board. The offensive line is not an exception to that.
While there is stability on the Jets’ line found in guys like Nick Mangold or D’Brickashaw Ferguson, there are also serious question marks.
Will the Jets re-sign Austin Howard? Will Vladimir Ducasse still be in the NFL next season? Can Brian Winters possibly improve after a rookie season that had far more downs than ups?
When you get right down to it, the offensive line wasn’t average last season. Howard had a nice surprise year, but otherwise, there were disappointments around the table. Even Mangold and Ferguson started showing signs of age, struggling at points throughout the season to maintain their Pro Bowl level of play we’ve seen from them in past years. That’s a high standard to hold each of those players to, but at the very least, we can see that each Mangold and Ferguson are on downward trajectories.
The Jets may try to make some moves to shore up the offensive line, especially at guard. Buck Stanton, who filed a list of this offseason’s top-10 free-agent offensive lineman, may have some suggestions. Here is an excerpt from his piece:
10. Geoff Schwartz
At 28, Schwartz is coming off perhaps his best pro season. After moving into the starting right guard position, he helped the Chiefs offense take flight, evidenced by the fact that Schwartz didn’t give up his spot once others returned from injury. A better run blocker than pass protector, Schwartz also offers versatility. While he’s better at the guard position, he can play tackle if needed; that’s a nice insurance policy to have.
9. Zach Strief
Strief knows something about playing a high-pressure position, as he’s protected Drew Brees’ blindside for the past three seasons. That means he’s gotten a lot of work at fending off opposing pass rushers, given the Saints penchant for throwing the ball. Not only is he very effective at his job on the field, but Strief is also a leader off of it; in 2012, the 30-year-old offensive lineman was named one of New Orleans’ offensive team captains.