Roster Battles: Offensive Guards

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Here’s a chance to look at some of the position battles that should play out over training camp in the coming weeks.

The Setup: The offensive line is in the middle of some transition this year.  Breno Giacomini will take over for Austin Howard be at right tackle and there’s some potential upheaval on the interior.  Will Winters and Colon be the starters again?  Can Brian Winters get better?  Will one of the backups like Oday Aboushi, Will Campbell, Ben Ijalana or Dakota Dozier assert their viability as a starter?

The Main Contenders: Willie Colon, Brian Winters, Oday Aboushi

The Darkhorses: Dakota Dozier, Will Campbell, Ben Ijalana, Caleb Schlauderaff

NFL: New York Jets-Training CampThe Analysis:  A year ago the Jets brought in Stephen Peterman.  Peterman was a NFL veteran who had started for the Vikings and was known as a solid though not outstanding lineman.  As camp wound down, the Jets made a surprising move by releasing Peterman and moving Vlad Ducasse into the starters role.  Ducasse of course was later replaced by Brian Winters and Ducasse is now out of town.  The point of this?  John Idzik doesn’t seem to bring in veterans and assumes they will start for his team.  As last year demonstrated with players like Peterman and Antonio Garay and others, Idzik isn’t afraid to take a calculated risk with young players if he feels the gap won’t be too far to bridge in a short time period.  Now recovering from a torn biceps and on a one-year deal, could Willi Colon be this year’s Peterman?

One key to that plan is Brian Winters.  Winters struggled last year as a starter, but seemed to settle in by season end.  His play might be the key to the whole plan of moving on from Colon.

If Rex and Idzik determine that the decline in play from Colon isn’t worth the roster spot and want to get a promising backup into the lineup for the long-term there might be no time like the present.

There was a reason that Jets GM John Idzik stashed Oday Aboushi, Will Campbell and Ben Ijalana on the active roster for the whole of the 2013 season, yet never activated them on gameday.  It’s a sign that Idzik had longer term plans for the trio and wasn’t willing to expose them to the waiver process.

The Jets could theoretically move Winters to right guard (the more crucial spot due to the team’s question marks at right tackle) and backfill whichever youngster steps up in the more comfortable left guard spot between the solid D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold.

So far, the most likely player to make the leap into the starting lineup appears to be Oday Aboushi.  Like Winters, Aboushi is making the transition from tackle, but received some praise from Rex in spring practices. “I’ve been impressed with Aboushi,” Rex told reporters this spring. “More this year already in these [spring] camps than I was at any time last year.”

The Projection:  Conventional wisdom seems to be that Winters will play at left and Colon will play at right, but with roster spots for the Jets many draftees at a premium, I’d not be surprised to see the Jets try their luck with Aboushi at left guard and Winters slide to the right side.




128 comments
@denzilland
@denzilland

The Jets have been trying to fit players around Nick & Brick for the longest. I hope we have the pieces now!

SackDance99
SackDance99

I find fascinating the lack of confidence in Breno ("the team's question marks at right tackle").  Breno, while coming back from injury in 2013, was better than Howard and there's no comparison between 2012 Breno and 2012 Howard...Breno was much better.  Frankly, we can all speculate, but we all have no idea why Winters got reps at RG.  It could be anything from considering moving Colon back to LG, where he played as a Steeler, to possibly flipping the OL if Vick, who is left-handed, becomes the QB (presumably, as veterans, flipping Breno and Brick wouldn't be as big an issue).  Only Rex, Idzik, MM and Devlin know why Winters got reps there, but judging from hearing Rex and Idzik first-hand, I highly doubt that it's because of a lack of confidence in Breno.

bob
bob

Maybe Brian Winters may ask out Susan Summers.  Maybe they go out on a play date.

I thought the saying was if it smells like colon leave it alone.

williamg1
williamg1

Surprised that Hank and his personalities haven't been here to talk up signing Incognito. 

harold
harold

Brian:

What are the concerns at RT? 

I was not aware of any legit concerns with Breno as a quality RT.

marcus81
marcus81

@@denzilland  there's enough players to sort through who can be be a a good starter, Dozier was a top rated talent, could be the most talented Lineman on this team, hope that translates to being a starting pro bowl caliber player

juunit
juunit

How many personalities would you say you have?

SackDance99
SackDance99

@UncleJoesJetFarm Phins look scary?  You have to believe that Finnegan returns to his 2008 form and the safeties can hit, but cover?  Ask a Lions fan about Delmas!

juunit
juunit

@a57se 

I think this man might be blind. He questioned both Winston and Hundley's arm strength when they have two of the strongest arms in the country. 

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Winters should have been kept on over Peterman, who stunk. Colon doesn't stink (unless his injuries have relegated him useless) so it's a stretch as a comparison. And in that scenario they still kept on a veteran OL who was a proven performer....which they don't have now. 


They're not really similar situations when you dig into them. 

Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1 You're crazy, the Jets don't deserve a player like Incognito. He's a class above this entire roster (outside of Damon Harrison, of course). 

Bent
Bent moderator

@harold Penalties and a slight change in system maybe, but mostly just the fact that nobody in the media has heard of him and therefore they assume he isn't very good.

@denzilland
@denzilland

I like Dozier, with him Winter & Aboushi we have younth, athletic talent & depth on the O-Line. Something we haven't had in a long time. Like the experts say it all starts up front.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se (insert snarky comment about reading comprehension) 

tsjc68
tsjc68

@a57se

I get your argument, but I think it doesn't quite fit due to Willie Colon being a much, much better "veteran" than the collection of Vlad Ducasse, Ellis Lankster, Darrin Walls et. al. 

SackDance99
SackDance99

@a57se IMO, Winters beat out Vlad, not because of a youth movement, but because Winters knew what he was supposed to do in the offense better than Vlad did.  Sure, Vlad, when he got it right, could execute better, but OLs strive for consistency and knowing what to do, even if you struggle to do it right, can be game-planned for.  Having no idea what your LG will do on any given play can't be game-planned for.

williamg1
williamg1

@Brendan @a57se I think 57 meant the decision to keep Campbell and/or Aboushi on the 53, instead of the risk associated with trying to stash them on the practice squad. 

williamg1
williamg1

@Bent @harold I think its one of those things where both players are comparable, but one player is on the a perceived ascension. But that player left, so they view the new guy as an automatic downgrade. 

harold
harold

@Bent

Thanks for the response.

I was just just curious why Brian would be concerned since he should be more informed than general media.

Disgruntled Jets Fan
Disgruntled Jets Fan

@UncleJoesJetFarm @juunit No one said you have multiple personalities - that's Hank. You just keep changing usernames despite the site rules.  The personality remains disappointingly the same.

Brendan
Brendan

@UncleJoesJetFarm If he read the blog he'd probably stop acting like the team is in cap hell every year since we mock him mercilessly for it. 

juunit
juunit

@a57se @juunit 

Winston: "Winston doesn't appear to have a great arm, but it's difficult to evaluate his arm talent because of his sloppy mechanics."

Hundley: "... but when Hundley did try to find his receivers downfield there were major warning signs about his arm strength and accuracy."

Ron Alexander
Ron Alexander

@SackDance99 @a57se That and Vlads ridiculous inability to avoid committing penalty's. Geez, how many false starts did he commit last year?  

Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1 The edit makes it seem like he's looking at it from the perspective of Winters. But even with those two, I'd say the same thing. 


Campbell/Aboushi are projects that were taken knowing they would require time to develop. Peterman was an old, broken-down player who, once the team saw him in action and saw Colon in action, knew he wasn't worth holding onto.The fact that no other NFL team picked him up after that kind of reinforces the idea that the team made the right choice. 

Brendan
Brendan

@williamg1 You left out the part of glorifying the guy that left. 


Howard was a good RT, but he wasn't elite and he had flaws in his game just like Breno. If he was such a world-beater at RT he'd probably be starting there this year. 

Brendan
Brendan

@harold He got two or three personal fouls in 2012 so people question whether he can continue to not get personal fouls, even though he got no personal fouls in 2013. 


He also is susceptible to the holding penalty because his arms aren't long and if he screws up his footwork he's left lunging and grabbing. 

SackDance99
SackDance99

@a57se If I had to speculate why Colon was put on the right side, I'd would say it was to split up the inexperienced players, so each played next to a vet.  Howard was still just a 2nd year starter in 2013 and had never been in a WCO and was going back to more of a zone-blocking system  If you put Winters or Vlad next to him, then potentially the Jets would have had an inexperienced right side for the right-handed rookie QB...a disaster waiting to happen.  With Breno being a vet and used to zone blocking (as practiced by Seattle, which has a lot of power runs, too), I'd suspect that no matter what side Winters (or Aboushi) plays on, he'd be sandwiched between 2 vets.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@a57se @Ceifus Hornswoggle

Fat titties turn to teardrops

As fat ass turns to flab

Sores that was open wounds

Eventually turn to scab

Trees bright and green turn yellow, brown

Autumn caught 'em

See, all them leaves must fall down

Growing old

SackDance99
SackDance99

@a57se @Ceifus Hornswoggle To quote Weeb, older women "don't tell, don't swell (get pregnant for you youngsters) and appreciate it like hell."  Namath most famously did not follow Weeb's advice.

tsjc68
tsjc68

Again, your logic makes sense if you equate Willie Colon the veteran as being equal to Stephen Peterman the vet or Vlad Ducasse the vet or Darrin Walls the vet or Ben Obomanu the vet.

I don't, I think the team's esteem for Willie was always higher, being that he was a better player before being here AND had a championship pedigree AND was a Bronx native AND had an attitude embodying competition and winning and success and playing with an edge and a chip on your shoulder.

And these names might drive you into apoplexia, but I'd compare him to David Garrard and Michael Vick: a vet the org really likes having around and will bend over backwards to acquire/keep/reacquire, because of not just what he can (or does) provide on the field but for whom he is off the field in the locker room and in meetings.

The fact that we've been eager to push aside vets for young guys we anoint as the future doesn't mean ALL vets are on equally thin ice.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@Brendan @williamg1

Peterman was just camp insurance in case all five of Colon/Vlad/Winters/Aboushi/Campbell proved to be either injured or unplayable. 


Once Vlad and Willie made it through Cortland intact and healthy (and Winters showed an ability to know which block to pick up, if not execute) the team no longer felt it needed to carry the Peterman insurance policy (which was reinforced by the fact that Peterman sucked anyway.)

williamg1
williamg1

@Brendan @williamg1 


If the Jets resigned Howard: "The Jets Overpaid When There Were Superbowl Quality Players Available."

tsjc68
tsjc68

@Brendan @williamg1

Antonio Cromartie sucked and was a massive liability, until he left, at which point he became a crucial loss of a valuable veteran that we just can't overcome.

harold
harold

@Brendan

But is he a queston mark? 

And how would Winters would be a help, exactly?

Just seems unwarranted.

bklyndude
bklyndude

@UncleJoesJetFarm @Brendan

If a professional sports writer disseminates incorrect information on purpose, that makes him an  A**HOLE......not a bad boy.

He's interested in having people read this stuff and think he has inside information that makes him worth reading.  Think about it, when is the last time he reported anything worthwhile ?

There are people on this blog that can't figure that out.

juunit
juunit

@a57se @juunit 

Winston was drafted by the Texas Rangers as a pitcher and throws a 90+ MPH fastball. There's really no need for wiggle room. He has a cannon. 

harold
harold

@williamg1 @Brendan

Sad but true

harold
harold

@tsjc68

Ridiculous but true.

Bent
Bent moderator

@harold Maybe from the standpoint of not putting two new guys (Aboushi and Breno) next to each other it makes a little sense, but ultimately Colon will hopefully be there, rendering this moot.

Brendan
Brendan

@harold Not so much a question mark as a guy who has some known holes in his game that weren't big enough to derail a SB run for his team. 


Winters matters very little to Breno's play and can only help in terms of not being so bad that the entire line looks bad as a result. 

tsjc68
tsjc68

@a57se @tsjc68

But when you (and Bassett) say that "I could see the team cut Willie Colon and just roll with the kids right now, since we've done things like that in the past" then you ARE equating Colon with Peterman and Vlad, whether you like it or not.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Good thing there's not a history of NFL QB's with cannon arms getting drafted by MLB teams. 



Brendan
Brendan

@a57se There should be no question about Winston's arm strength. He could do a whirly-bird windup and throw sidearm, the guy has a howitzer. 


To use one of Rex's favorite sayings, he could throw a strawberry through a battleship. 

juunit
juunit

@a57se @juunit 

I skimmed during lunch, but eh. Like with Hundley, he said that he liked to get the ball out quick, but that's the total opposite of reality. Granted, I think a lot of Hundley holding the ball too long is having nobody open because his best receiver two years ago was a UDFA TE and this most recent season was Shaq Evans, who I feel was overdrafted in the 4th. But having watched all his games, I definitely do not agree that he gets the ball out fast. There are quite a few plays where he stands in the pocket with it for way too long.

As for Winston, I agree that he doesn't have perfect mechanics. But, the ball still goes where it has to. And honestly, the fact that his mechanics aren't the best is proof of the strength of his arm, not the other way around. Good mechanics = momentum behind the ball. Bad mechanics mean being more reliant on the strength of his arm. 

tsjc68
tsjc68

@a57se @tsjc68

Different situation with a similar rationale.


Correct, that's exactly what I'm saying.


That you and Bassett are correct in saying that the current GM and coaching braintrust have a proclivity for pushing aside veterans nearing the end of their contracts to give playing time to youngsters they like in an effort to get them to sink or swim (and hopefully swim), but that while the rationale is established (and I don't disagree), it doesn't apply to this instance since Willie Colon is not your garden variety "veteran nearing the end of his contract".


That I agree with your reasoning and Bassett's reasoning but think it falls flat when you apply it to the specifics of Willie Colon vs. Winters/Aboushi/Dozier.  Because Willie Colon is one of the stalwarts of the locker room.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se It's only worth discussing if Colon is still hurt/not healthy. If he's healthy, he's starting and it's a moot point. 

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se I read the Winston article, not the Hundley, which is why I'm only commenting on the Winston article. 

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Am I wrong, though? If Colon is hurt, he's a legitimate candidate to be cut. 


If Colon isn't hurt, and plays the full preseason without issue, he's a legitimate starting OL in the league. And you guys seem to ignore how much of a leader he is in that locker room. He basically inherited Brandon Moore's spot, in more ways than one. 


The team isn't cutting Colon, a cheap and still very effective OL unless he's hurt. Even if he's healthy, he costs the team almost nothing and would be a starting-level player as a backup, ready to step in if/when the young players falter. 


Colon costs the team very little (at-most, $2 million, but if he's on the bench he doesn't get $500k in in-game bonuses if he's not playing). At-best he's a steady, veteran starter like he was last year.