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.




154 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.

a57se
a57se

Interesting idea Brian...

Would Idzik cut a veteran like Colon to keep a draft pick on the 53 man roster.

You could argue that Colon is not a long term solution for the team so that if the choice comes down to him or a rookie, you are deciding in favor of the future.


EDIT: One could argue we did that last year (not exactly the same but the principle is similar) with Winters and Milliner.

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. 

a57se
a57se

@SackDance99 

Why would playing Winters at RG have anything to do with a lack of confidence in Giacomini???

a57se
a57se

@bob 

Do you know how old Suzanne Somers is now?

She's too old for ME!

a57se
a57se

Let me clarify, as the responses show I didn't make myself clear originally and after rereading my post, I concur!


Winters was made the starter over Vlad after 4 games even though he was worse at LG. Picking the future over a veteran.

Milliner was made the starter though he had missed all the OTA's and minicamp two days into training camp. his play was inferior to what Lankster or Walls could have provided. Picking the future over a veteran again.


If we are running out of roster spots and we don't want to cut a draft pick, that priority could show up if the Jets are willing to live with Winters at RG and someone else at LG....

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. 

@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.

a57se
a57se

@juunit @a57se 

Hmmm, I thought he questioned their mechanics which led to ineffective throws on deeper balls (for Hundley) and accuracy issues (Balls floating) on Winston...

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. 

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. 

a57se
a57se

@juunit @a57se 

To elaborate, here is his comment on Winstons' arm:

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

and his comments on hundleys' arm:

 

 The warts on Hundley's arm talent appear when he tries to push the ball down the field. It may be a mechanical issue to do with his footwork and upper body torque, but Hundley's passes appear to float once they pass roughly 15 yards down the field. Instead of fitting the ball into receivers down the sideline or down the seam, his passes too often drift off target.

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."

a57se
a57se

@SackDance99 @a57se 

I was agreeing with you. The whole idea that somehow Winters would benefit Breno by playing RG was just a  misunderstanding of why Winters would play there vs. Aboushi or one of the other inexperienced guys if the Jets were to move on from Willie...the reason for Winters playing there is experience! As in, he would have more than Aboushi so put the least experienced guy between brick and Mangold hoping that Winters is far enough along to not impede Giacomini too much.


Colon played LG for the Steelers  but RG for the Jets for basically the same reasoning...

a57se
a57se

@tsjc68 @a57se 

It boils down to what the Jets are willing to accept at RG and LG...

If they deem Winters/Aboushi/Dozier/whoever...as 'good enough' then I could see Brians' scenario having merit.

I don't think it is that far-fetched considering Idzik's other moves...

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. 

a57se
a57se

@juunit @a57se 

Haha..we had the same thought...in both instances he leaves plenty of room to pin the 'apparent arm strength' issues on mechanics...

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.)

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. 

a57se
a57se

@tsjc68 

I am not equating WIllie Colon with Peterman or Vlad.


a57se
a57se

@tsjc68 @Brendan 

I tried to access an old thread from when Peterman was released by the Jets last year and none of the comments show up...

Apparently Willie Colon was very surprised by Peterman being cut:

Fellow guard Willie Colon admitted he was surprised to see his linemate go.

“I was. I didn’t think it was going to happen,” he said. “To see him go is just kind of, it’s a hurtful feeling but it’s eye-opening. You can never take your role or what you’re doing for granted. You never know what’s upstairs thinking about you.”

“I’ve kind of grown close to Peterman because we were older guys, fresh on the team. We had similar stories, we have war stories, we sit back (and) laugh, we’ve had beers together,” Colon said. “I thought he was doing well.”

a57se
a57se

@juunit @a57se 

Throwing a baseball and throwing a football are two very different things, I know as I used to pitch but couldn't throw a football very well at all.

He even points to Winstons' wind up as being an issue probably related to his baseball playing.

The freeze frame shots of Winston throwing the ball vs. brady throwing the ball is very instructive...

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. 



a57se
a57se

@juunit @a57se 

The articles talk a lot more about the players than just discussing their arm strength...what did you think of the rest of the work?

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. 

a57se
a57se

@tsjc68 @a57se 

Different situation with a similar rationale.

Colon is obviously a better player than Vlad or Peterman so there is no equality in playing ability.

It is the mindset of the GM that we are attempting to discern...

He has seemed to take this tac before of releasing veterans in favor of rookies. We have 12 rookies this year with not enough roster spots for them all. If it comes down to a rookie we'd like to hang onto vs. a veteran, could Colon be the guy? I think it is worthy of discussion...

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @a57se 

Did you read the articles?

Or are you just playing let's bust a57se's balls some more?

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. 

a57se
a57se

@tsjc68 

Perhaps you place too much emphasis on Willie Colons' leadership skills...

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.