Status of Jets Left Tackle Mekhi Becton Revealed for Panthers Opener

Mekhi Becton

Getty New York Jets left tackle Mekhi Becton watches from the sidelines during a preseason game on August 14, 2021.

Football is finally here on Sunday, September 12, and that means mid-week injury reports are in full swing.

The New York Jets have been subject to a few unfortunate long-term injuries throughout training camp, including players like Carl Lawson, Vinny Curry, Jarrad Davis, Cameron Clark and more.

Prospects like Quinnen Williams, Ashtyn Davis and Kyle Phillips have also been working their way back from 2020 and early 2021 ailments. Williams is expected to be 100% for Week 1 while Davis and Phillips will begin the season on the sidelines.

Aside from the long-term stuff, the Jets day-to-day report is relatively empty for the time being. Two names will be key to monitor heading towards the weekend, however, left tackle Mekhi Becton and slot-receiver Jamison Crowder.

Becton suffered a head injury on August 24, which forced him to enter the NFL’s concussion protocol. Crowder on the other hand tested positive for COVID-19, forcing him onto a different sort of NFL protocol.

The pass-catcher’s status is still up in the air but at least Becton’s eligibility was cleared up on Wednesday, September 8, when the Green & White released their initial Week 1 injury report.

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Becton’s Full Practice Provides Sigh of Relief

Head coach Robert Saleh downplayed Becton’s head injury from the start and for good reason. The Jets left tackle had almost two weeks to pass through the necessary concussion protocols.

Despite this, there’s always a bit of worry when it comes to Becton. The behemoth of a blocker is crucial towards Zach Wilson and this offense and he missed three starts over the course of his rookie campaign. Whenever he was out, it usually meant trouble for ex-QB Sam Darnold.

Fortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case against Carolina as the blindside protector was able to undergo a full practice on Wednesday.

The Jets are better prepared for a Becton absence than last season with both Morgan Moses and George Fant on the roster, but every Jets fan would still prefer the 2020 first-round pick is out there. He’s a force in the run game and a solid wall of a body to maneuver in pass protection.

As for Crowder, players on the COVID list do not show up on the injury report, so don’t get your hopes up just yet. As of now, the wide receiver is still inactive.

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Minor Injuries to Keep an Eye On

The Panthers only have wide receiver Shi Smith listed on their injury report so far, although they do have a possible COVID absence as well in guard John Miller. Cornerback Troy Pride Jr. is also on the injured reserve, with fellow CB A.J. Bouye currently suspended.

For Gang Green, running back La’Mical Perine returned to practice in a limited fashion after a foot injury. He’s currently slated to be the power back in the Jets rotation, should he return in time. Beat reporter DJ Bien-Aime did tweet out that he was practicing on Thursday, September 9.

Backup safety Sharrod Neasman also picked up a hamstring injury, sidelining him on Wednesday. The Week 1 status of the special teams’ asset is unclear at this point.

LAST THURSDAY ADDITION: Keelan Cole with a knee injury, per DJ Bien-Aime. The New York Daily News reporter added that he thinks Cole “will be fine.”

Some notable names that are not present on the injury report are the aforementioned Williams, wide receivers Denzel Mims and Elijah Moore, guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, safety Lamarcus Joyner, quarterback Mike White, backup tackle Chuma Edoga, tight end Ryan Griffin and gunner Justin Hardee.

All of these players had an injury designation during the final preseason outing against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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