The Jets' handling of first-rounder Mekhi Becton is classic Jets

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Little was expected of the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football this week, even against a Denver Broncos team missing its starting quarterback. They still found a way to show how hapless they really are, including losing 37-28 after briefly holding a fourth-quarter lead.

It wasn’t another lowlight (Sam Darnold actually did something cool!) or string of penalties (there were those, of course) that did the job. Instead, it was the team’s handling of its 2020 first-rounder, offensive tackle Mekhi Becton.

Mekhi Becton looks on during warmups before a game this season.
Mekhi Becton clearly had a problem with his shoulder. He still played. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Jets play Mekhi Becton despite clear shoulder injury

The rookie had been pronounced questionable with a shoulder injury entering Thursday after being limited in practice all week. Thursday morning, it was reported that Becton would not start, but would dress in case of an emergency.

That “emergency” came four plays into the game. Chuma Edoga, who started at left tackle in Becton’s place, injured his shoulder. Enter Becton.

From the start, Becton did not look right. The 11th overall pick out of Louisville grabbed at his shoulder after plays and continued to do so on the bench.

The Jets eventually pulled Becton from the game, putting backup guard Conor McDermott in at left tackle.

So, what did we learn from a team using one of its most important building blocks — Darnold’s blindside protector — as emergency depth despite an injury?

At the very least, we found out what is considered an emergency with the Jets: an 0-3 team awaiting yet another rebuild losing a left tackle in a game against another 0-3 team. That isn’t an emergency for the Jets so much as it’s an emergency for head coach Adam Gase, but it’s Gase that is making the decisions, for now.

It was reported on Thursday morning that Gase wasn’t coaching for his job against the Broncos, but there might not be a coach on a hotter seat than Gase right now. It is in the Jets’ long-term interest to make sure Becton avoids exacerbating an injury, but, in all likelihood, Gase won’t be around to experience that benefit.

So Becton played, and faced even more injury risk. Because this is the Jets.

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