Looking Ahead: Jets 2013 Offensive Line
Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com
Over the next few days, we’ll take a look at each position on the Jets roster and take a look ahead at what the Jets might expect and might need to address this coming offseason. Up next, the Offensive Line.
Coming Off The Books
RG Brandon Moore — Moore is the longest tenured Jet on the offense. He’s also one of the top Guards in the league. He’s also 32 years old. Overall he’s been an excellent player for the Jets but he’s struggled at the start of the last two seasons with his run blocking. For the Jets, they love Moore, but might not be able to afford to keep him based on their cap concerns. This contract will likely be the last one where he can get above a veteran minimum from someone in the league and I could easily see him as a likely landing spot in Saint Louis since he’d already be familiar with Schotty’s system and current starter Shelley Smith isn’t as good as Moore. Moore’s play is starting to get more shaky, but could still have 2-3 years of good play left in him. I don’t think he’ll be back but the best way to try and keep him would be to attempt to sign Moore with a contract that is advantageous to the Jets in 2013, but gives Moore his due in 2014 right before his play starts to fall off.
LG Matt Slauson — And here’s where things start to get dicey for the Jets. They have two potential losses on the offensive line staring them in the face. Conventional wisdom is that lines can keep a good continuity if they replace one player, but tend to suffer more when there’s multiple changes to the line in a year when not immediately for the better … 2008 comes to mind when Faneca and Woody came as an obvious exception to the rule. Brick ranked 7th among all tackles and now Howard in his first year as a starter after being thrown in at the end of camp ranked 31st among all tackles (so top half of the league’s starters) according to PFF. Mangold is locked but if the Jets had to choose one Guard to make a concerted effort at keeping, you’d have to imagine that the Jets would to do whatever they could to keep Slauson since he’ll be the cheaper of the two and the team is cap strapped. Still, Slauson is nowhere nears as good at run blocking as Moore is and so the Jets will have to make some tough decisions. Keep lines of communication open, attempt to sign Moore first and then talk to Slauson as a secondary option.
On The Books
LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson — Brick had another solid year and played very well for the Jets, despite the team being in a down year. With Austin Howard not needing anywhere near as much help as Hunter did in 2011, Brick was able to play back to his normal levels — a top 10 Tackle in the league based on his pass blocking skill. Maintain level of productivity.
C Nick Mangold — One of the league’s best run-blocking centers, Mangold is a special talent and the Jets are fortunate to have a Center play at his level for the last seven years. Maintain level of productivity.
RT Austin Howard — Howard was a player that many fans wanted to take on a larger role all along based on the rave reviews he drew from the Eagles faithful who saw him play in years past. Howard was a victim of the circumstance in Philly and the Jets have benefited greatly from it. The Jets need as many pieces like him in 2013 that are relatively inexpensive to keep for cap reasons, but have major impact on the team. To have Howard locked up at minimum level money on a pricey offensive line is a godsend. Focus him in offseason on his agility for his pass blocking and pencil him in as 2013 starter at RT.
OL Vlad Ducasse — No one wants to hear what I have to say, but with two Guards about to hit free agency and the Jets strapped for cash, there’s only one scenario where I don’t see Ducasse starting in 2013: the Jets draft a Guard early in the 2013 draft. The Jets won’t be able to afford to get a competent starter via free agency, and they were giving reps to Ducasse all season long behind Slauson.
OL Caleb Schlauderaff — Mike Tannenbaum might have said his name more than anyone else in his last year and his fate might be the same as that of Tannenbaum solely for that reason. The Jets staff seems to see something in Slaud that we’ve not been able to see on the field much because of his spot on the roster. Maybe it’s there but potentially three systems (and three OL coaches?) in three years might not be the best thing for him. We’re sure that the GM will get eyes on his tape and footage and make a call on him. He might be a backup for the interior players this year, but whoever comes in might have some other roleplayer in mind. Unknown.
OL Dennis Landolt — Landolt is a guy that the Jets have had on and off their roster since 2011. The Jets must see something in him, but not enough yet to overly worry about protecting him as he was on and off the roster, and practice squad much of 2012. With the roster turning over at the top, this is likely a make or break spring for Landolt with the Jets.
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