With the Jets game seemingly out of hand Sunday against the Steelers, the Jets replaced their starting Left Guard with Vlad Ducasse. Since then there’s been speculation about whether or not there are longer reaching reasons for letting Ducasse see some time at the spot.
Slauson declined to discuss what happened after the Steelers game, referring questions to the coaches. Head coach Rex Ryan explained it this way when asked if Slauson had been injured: Matt wasnt hurt. “[We were] giving an opportunity to Vlad to play. We do the same thing on defense. You saw Demario Davis in there some, you see Josh Mauga, you see the defensive line rotation. If you have a good football player, you should use him. I think Vlad’s earned that right to play some.”
Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com
There’s two positions in football that seem to be sacrosanct in terms of the allowance of substitution of backups: quarterback and the offensive line. So when a team starts substituting players at those two spots in particular, antennae tend to go up among fans and the media. Rex Ryan seems to be very insistent that it’s not a big deal and it shouldn’t be read into too much and that the Jets were just trying to get Vlad some live action before he might be needed in the role down the road.
If anything, it tells something that we already know, other than Right Tackle the biggest question (and opportunity) to the line’s overall output is now at the Left Guard spot. Austin Howard still needs as much seasoning as possible and there is no sense to replace him for Ducasse. If Ducasse is going to get opportunity to play, it’s going to be at the expense of Slauson … no one else right now … but the Jets want him more equipped than he currently is.