How will Jets adjust to Mekhi Becton being unavailable?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Mekhi Becton
Mekhi Becton

It should have been a watershed moment. Zach Wilson rolled out and found Corey Davis for his first career touchdown pass as the Jets sought to come from behind on opening day. However, what should have been excitement over a moment that signified the dawning of a new era soon turned to concern, as behind the play blue chip left tackle Mekhi Becton was down in obvious pain.

After Becton was carted off in obvious distress and Jets fans were left to lament how they can never have anything nice, the immediate prognosis was not looking good. In the end, the news that Becton should be sidelined for about four-to-six weeks with a knee injury was probably about as positive as could be expected. However, the Jets now face a period of adjustment without Becton for the next month or so.

When Becton left the game, George Fant moved over to left tackle while Morgan Moses replaced Fant at right tackle. As long as those two remain healthy, that is likely to remain the case. When Moses was signed by the Jets, many assumed he was going to replace Fant, but it actually seems to have been a move that was made with exactly this kind of situation in mind. To the surprise of many, Fant got the opening day start over Moses, although that may change over the course of the season. While Moses is experienced, Fant’s athleticism arguably makes him a better scheme fit.

Oddly enough, the Jets might initially have better chemistry with this group because they practiced a lot with this configuration in camp.

Becton missed time early on in the offseason with a foot injury and then left guard Alijah Vera-Tucker suffered a pectoral issue. And on the day he returned to finally make the offensive line complete, Becton suffered a concussion and was removed from practice.

Bearing that in mind, it’s perhaps not surprising that the Jets had some chemistry issues in Week 1. The offense had some good success after Becton’s injury on Sunday, but the Panthers generated a lot of pressure during that period as the Jets were passing the ball most of the time while still trailing. A lot of that was interior pressure, though, as Fant and Moses actually held up quite well.

We didn’t get much of a chance to see the Jets run the ball without Becton, but there was one play where Moses – an accomplished run blocker – set the edge well to spring Ty Johnson for a 12-yard gain. On the left side, Fant isn’t as big and strong as Becton but is athletic enough to carry out the required assignments for that role.

If there are further injuries, the Jets have former third round pick Chuma Edoga available to fill in at either tackle position. However, he missed the preseason so he hasn’t had any live reps in this system. Conor McDermott is on injured reserve but it’s unclear if he’d be able to return before Becton anyway. Finally, Isaiah Williams and Grant Hermanns are on the practice squad, but the Jets would hope to not have to resort to using them.

When Becton returns, he should move straight back into the starting lineup, although if they play well without him, this will afford the Jets the luxury of delaying this until he’s completely back to 100 percent. Of course, when he does return the Jets might face some more troubles in terms of assimilating him back into the lineup, but that should be a lot easier if the unit has developed better chemistry as a group by then.

If everyone stays healthy, it will be interesting to see whether it's Fant or Moses who makes way for Becton when he returns. Based on the opener, Fant was ahead of Moses at right tackle. However, if Moses is going to play right tackle with Becton out, the Jets might be reluctant to move Fant back to the right side because they’ll want to minimize disruption. No doubt how these two perform in Becton’s absence will be a major factor in that decision, too.

In the longer term, Becton has had three separate issues that have caused him to miss time since the end of last season, and concerns over his durability will persist. He has obvious athletic gifts and was a difference maker in his rookie year despite the fact that he still needs to refine some of his techniques, so he has a strong chance to become a decorated player over the course of his career. The Jets will hope that these disruptions to his progress don’t prevent him from reaching his full potential.