Well, chalk this up in the “I didn’t see that one coming category” during New York Jets training camp this summer.
There’s this phrase you often hear if you’re around football long enough called “coach speak.” That can be interpreted in a lot of different ways, but one of the main uses is when coaches say something for the sake of saying something.
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We Thought We Got a Lot of ‘Coach Speak’
When head coach Robert Saleh said shortly after the team signed veteran offensive tackle Morgan Moses that it would be an open competition at right tackle, a lot of us rolled our eyes.
Of course, that’s what you have to say because you’re a coach and that’s your job, but let’s get real, we thought there was no way this was a legitimate competition.
George Fant is currently on a five-game start streak in a row. Moses has started 96 consecutive games over the last six years for the Washington Football Team.
One look at those stats alone seemed to indicate this was a faux competition.
If that wasn’t enough, Fant was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on July 27. It was later confirmed that he actually contracted COVID and that forced him to miss eight training camp practices.
In a wide-open competition, Moses had the benefit of more experience and more reps (got all the first-team opportunities while Fant was out). This thing seemed over before it even started. Then it wasn’t.
This Is a Wide Open Competition
On the unofficial depth chart that was dropped ahead of the first preseason game vs the New York Giants, Fant and Moses were listed as co-starters at right tackle.
Despite the experience and rep advantage, Fant has impressed the coaching staff and even some media members during training camp thus far in his limited opportunities.
“Oh that battle between those two is competitive,” head coach Robert Saleh on Fant vs. Moses. “These are two professionals and I just love the fact that they talk all the time about technique and they help each other out. I think that’s pretty cool. They exemplify professionalism and that has been fun to watch.”
Fant has been the forgotten man in the offensive line room. He was quickly cast aside after Moses was added as maybe a swing tackle, jumbo tight end, or heck maybe could even slide into the right guard competition.
Despite all the noise that was going on in the media, Fant kept his head down and went to work. Initially, when the Jets made the offensive coaching staff change to this new wide zone scheme this offseason, a lot of us were excited about the former basketball star.
This new scheme was set to take advantage of his athletic traits and take an average player to another level in 2021. As soon as Moses was signed we forgot about all that and went goo-goo ga-ga for the latest and the greatest thing. That prisoner of the moment mentality, unfortunately, happens too often in today’s society.
A lot of folks have asked the next logical question, when will a decision be made on who is going to start?
Saleh doesn’t think there has to be a timetable and he’s fine waiting it out until one separates himself from the pack.
“As far as making a decision [on who starts], we have all the time in the world,” Saleh on the Fant vs. Moses battle in camp. “There’s a lot of continuity with the other four offensive linemen and Moses/Fant are getting runs with the 1’s.”
Regardless of whether it’s Fant or Moses who emerges from the tunnel Week 1 vs the Carolina Panthers, we all have to give a tremendous amount of respect to the former Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle.
Everyone left Fant for dead when Moses was signed and he just kept plugging away. One way or another the Jets will be in a good spot because the “loser” of this competition will provide invaluable depth at a position that you can never have enough depth.
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