For those of you who may have been wondering why the Jets gave veteran tackle, WayneHunter a long-term deal during the off-season, wonder no more.
Second year right tackle Vlad Ducasse and reigning “King Ugly” looked helpless for most of the first half filling in at Right Guard for the injured Brandon Moore. Granted, he was playing out of position but he did not fair much better after being shifted to his more familiar Right Tackle position with the Second-Team.
The former second round pick out of the University of Massachusetts got beat on virtually every play and the Jets are fortunate that the only one he hurt was backup center and jumbo package specialist, Rob Turner .
The Jets knew that they were getting into when they used a second round pick on him in the 2010 draft. They knew he was still very raw but also had natural athletic and physical ability coupled with his immense size. The Jets brass also knew that the learning curve would be considerably steeper for Ducasse coming from a Division 1-AA school but they still envisioned him as the heir-apparent to the now retired, Damien Woody.
After the team released Woody prior to the lockout, they slotted Ducasse as the starting Right Tackle, anticipating that he would be able to make the leap to starter in year two under the tutelage of Offensive Line Coach, Bill Callahan. Unfortunately their plans were foiled by the extended work stoppage, which inhibited Ducasse’s growth by depriving him of OTA’s, mini-camp, and much needed tutoring by the Jets coaching staff.
It would be a little bit rash to write off Ducasse after on pre-season game but he does need to improve considerably if the Jets are going to give him first team reps as they supposedly plan on doing. Having said that, Ducasse is still very young and will have time to sit, learn, and grow as Wayne Hunter is slated to be the starting Right Tackle for the foreseeable future. However, giving him first team reps in the pre-season could result in another costly injury and that is something the Jets cannot afford.