The most highly anticipated New York Jets training camp battle is over before it ever truly began.
Head coach Robert Saleh made it clear during his first media availability that there would be no competition at offensive tackle. Mekhi Becton is moving to the right side and George Fant is staying at left tackle.
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The Worst Kept Secret in the NFL
NFL analyst Will Parkinson described it as a “pretty bad kept secret for like 6 months now” that ultimately Fant would be on the blindside and Becton would be changing positions.
After Becton was lost for the season in Week 1, Fant flipped over to left tackle and started there for the rest of the season.
Once we reached the offseason it seemed clear that Fant played better on the blindside and the coaching staff wanted to reward him for delivering in 2021. Now Becton will have to flip to right tackle, a position he hasn’t played since college.
Saleh said they didn’t want the two flipping around during camp and wanted to do what was best for the team:
“We just sat down and talked about it. We don’t want those guys jumping back and forth. We made a decision that was best for the team. George had a fantastic year last year at left tackle. Mekhi is a gifted young man that can do both. That doesn’t mean that Mekhi’s left tackle days are over but right now he is young enough like AVT (Alijah Vera-Tucker) to make that transition. We really like those two next to each other. We’ve got a really cool group.”
Right Decision Was Made
While some fans might complain that we didn’t actually get to see this competition play out on the football field, this was the best decision for the team.
There are only so many practices and reps before we get to the regular season. Gang Green can’t have their two tackles jumping all over the place and then the loser has a small time to adjust to their new position ahead of the season.
With Saleh having a very clear and decisive plan, now everyone can best prepare themselves for the future.
In his media availability Saleh explained why the youth movement of AVT and Becton on one side will complement the veteran combination on the other with Fant and Laken Tomlinson.
This is a unit that Saleh said several times during his presser is “pretty damn good.”
It will either be the foundation of success that sends this offense to a different stratosphere. Or if injuries befall the unit, it could lead the green and white back into the doldrums of mediocrity.
What you can confidently say about this group is the talent is arguably better than anything the Jets have had in over a decade. The potential is there and now it’s time to cash that in and turn it into production.