Ducasse Starting in 2013?

Last Friday I had a little fun on Spreecast, something we’ll try and do more of in coming weeks, but one of the questions what what the Jets might do about the offensive line.  After a lot of rambling by me, I made the point that the Jets are doing something this year in anticipation of next year.

Our buddies at JetNation.com wrote about it over the weekend and I think it’s worth sharing their thoughts on the matter, comparing Ducasse to the failed Adrien Clarke experiment of 2007.

They are obviously grooming offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse to be their starting left guard next season.  The Jets have been rotating Ducasse in for starter Matt Slauson about 10 plays per game.

Ducasse has been a major disappointment since being drafted 61st in 2010 but going into next season both Jets guards are heading towards free agency.  With the team having tight finances they are looking to fill potential holes from within but watching Ducasse often block air instead of the opponent isn’t instilling confidence that he’s not Clarke part II, penny wise pound foolish.

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Their point about the guards is key.  With both Moore and Slauson up for contracts, it stands to reason that the Jets are unlikely to keep both.  With a tight cap expected for the team, their best chance might be to take on some younger (and cheaper) talent on the line.  I’d expect the Jets to look to draft some players, but I’d also expect unless Moore takes a bargain deal, the Jets will work to keep Slauson and move him to the right side of the formation, where he can provide more help to whomever starts at right tackle next season.

Ducasse will likely never be tackle material, his first three years have already proven that.  I know I’ll get killed for it, but the truth is that he’s got some crazy athleticism that can be seen in sparks.  Of course it’s his consistency that’s been such an issue for him.  Still, guard is a much easier position to cover the multitude of sins of lesser players and left guard seems like the wise choice based on the context.

With blockers on either side every play, it’s less of an issue for players to get beat in pass protection.  Mangold and Brick are the two best players on the line, so Ducasse would theoretically be bolstered by their play.

Which then leads us back to the cautionary tale of Adrien Clarke.  Yes, it’s fair to bring him up, but Brick was just in his second year at the spot and needed much more help at that point in his career.  He had that in his first and third years in Kendall and then Faneca, but Clarke was more of a drag in year two.  Brick is not the young player he was back in 2007, so while we see the concern, I’ll want to watch Ducasse and Brick’s work together more closely during the second half of the season to make a declaration on the team’s best plan come the offseason …