Although none have been bigger, both literally and figuratively, than the loss of their franchise left tackle Mekhi Becton in the season opener vs the Carolina Panthers.
The big man out of Louisville underwent knee surgery and was expected to miss between four and eight weeks. That timeline hasn’t changed as Becton won’t return to the Jets for a few more weeks.
While he has been out of the spotlight recently due to his injury, Becton was back in the news for all the wrong reasons ahead of Halloween.
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A Scathing Report Reveals Deeper Issues
On Friday afternoon Tony Pauline of the Pro Football Network dropped a massive insider story sharing troubling details about the Jets organization and some issues in the locker room.
In his report, he documented that folks with Gang Green “are not happy” with Becton for several reasons.
One source revealed to Pauline that Becton “taps out a lot: he taps out of plays, taps out of games, and does not work very hard.”
In two professional seasons, the second-year stud has missed seven games officially (although he left several games midway through after initially starting them last year) to date and counting (not expected back for a few more weeks) due to a variety of injuries. During the 15 games Becton has played in, he has participated in 77.5 percent of the snaps, per Pro Football Reference.
The Jets were “upset” when their 22-year old star lineman who showed up to training camp “overweight and out of shape.”
Heading into his rookie season Becton was listed at 364 pounds and then ballooned to the 380 range by seasons’ end, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. Then this offseason coach Saleh “hinted” that the left tackle needs to focus on his conditioning.
To add insult to injury, the team “feels he has a long way to go” and he must stop solely relying upon his “God-given ability” if he ever wants to reach his full potential.
We’ve heard it from NFL insiders across the league, Becton has “hall of fame traits” that you simply can’t teach. If he can stay healthy, people inside the Jets building and outside of it believe he can be one of the best-left tackles in the league.
The Most Important Piece to the Puzzle
Becton was the first draft selection made by general manager Joe Douglas when he ran his first draft back in 2020. It filled a massive void at a critical position of need and it was paramount for the Jets to hit a home run.
He has definitely had his fair shares of ups and downs so far in the NFL. Becton unusually made SportsCenter top-10 highlight reels with his impressive pancakes. Then during training camp in the preseason, he was tossed around like a rag doll by some of the NFL’s best pass rushers.
Now the Jets need him to level off and be a pillar of consistency. Becton has to protect rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. That’s why left tackles get paid so much money, they’re the bouncers outside of the club making sure edge rushers don’t sneak in.
Thanks to some great depth they have been able to hold down the fort in his absence thanks to the play of George Fant and Morgan Moses. After some initial choppy waters, the boat has stabilized midway through the 2021 season.
If Becton wants to shut the haters and doubters up, there is only one way to do that. Get on the field, stay on it, and dominate the way he knows how. If he does that, the questions and doubts will naturally fade away into a distant memory.
In the famous words of Captain Planet, the power is yours.