Jets Get Grim Injury Update on $11 Million Starter

Robert Saleh, Jets

Getty New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh on the sideline during an NFL game.

It is still unclear if New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson will be ready to go for the Week 4 road trip versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Another thing that isn’t certain is who will potentially be protecting his blindside. During the Week 3 home tilt versus the Cincinnati Bengals, left tackle George Fant was forced to leave early due to injury.

On Monday, September 26 head coach Robert Saleh provided a very grim update on his status for this week:

“George is dealing with the same knee, he’s going to be day-to-day. We’ll see how he comes out Wednesday but he is dealing with the same thing.”

Bad News on George Fant

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When Saleh said Fant is “dealing with the same knee” he is referencing the offseason surgery his offensive tackle underwent over the summer.

The Jets have managed it by bringing him along slowly and providing him plenty of rest throughout each game week.

A reporter followed up with Saleh and asked if he’d consider giving his big man the week off in hopes the rest could help:

“It could very well lead to that. Again he has today (Monday) and tomorrow plus the day off Wednesday which is the usual day off we give him.”

If Fant is unable to go the Jets would then be forced to call upon veteran reserve Conor McDermott to start at left tackle.

“Well you’re down to your fourth and fifth guys, at this point in the season, you don’t anticipate that,” Saleh told the media on Monday. “I love the way Max Mitchell has stepped in and played. He is doing a really nice job. McDermott came in on short notice [on Sunday versus the Bengals] and did an admirable job. Hopefully, if he has to step up again he has played a lot of games in this league.”

Not an Ideal Situation for Whoever Is Playing QB for Jets

Saleh is correct McDermott checks off the attendance box for playing in a lot of games, 37 to be exact.

However, the quantity doesn’t necessarily meet the quality.

During his 35 snaps, so far this season McDermott has registered a putrid 20.6 pass block grade from PFF.

If you don’t think that is a large enough sample size to judge, let’s go to last year when he allowed four sacks in limited action. McDermott also finished with a 58.3 run block grade in 2021.

The biggest sample size of activity dates back to 2020 when the big man appeared in over 15 contests:

  • 54.2 overall grade
  • 45.4 pass block grade
  • 63.1 run block grade

In other words, he isn’t very good and that doesn’t inspire much confidence if he is forced to play.

Fant is in the last year of his contract featuring an $11 million cap hit for this season. He was taken out of the Bengals game due to injury, but it could have been due to a benching.

The veteran offensive tackle served as a saloon door or perhaps a tour guide showing Bengals pass rushers where to go to get to the quarterback. He performed poorly and that was a big contributor to the Jets losing on Sunday.

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