Offensive tackle Mekhi Becton is likely out for the season, and that’s a big loss for the Jets offense. He was going to be a key component helping to power what was looking like one of the league’s most underrated running games.
Anything that happens with Becton, of course, is huge. He’s listed at 6-foot-7 and 363 pounds. When healthy and in shape, he can be a road-grading force as a run blocker – an ideal guy to run behind in short-yardage situations.
But Becton missed all but one game last year because of a knee injury, and it’s looking like he’ll miss all of this season as well after fracturing his kneecap. That likely will cause the Jets to sign a notable free agent. They’ve been talking with Duane Brown (who doesn’t have Becton’s size but is a lot more experienced and accomplished).
The Jets (in my opinion) potentially could have a sneaky good running game. They drafted Breece Hall, who should be an above-average running back right out of the box. And they’ve got Mike LaFleur drawing up the plays, borrowing some of the concepts that worked well when he was with the 49ers.
Even without Becton, the Jets have some notable blockers. They traded up to select Alijah Vera-Tucker a year ago, and he looks like he’s going to be one of the game’s top half-dozen guards for years. And they signed Laken Tomlinson to free-agent deal; he made the Pro Bowl last year for San Francisco.
Even last year (playing without Becton) the running game came on nicely late in the year. In their final eight games, they ran for 980 yards and 8 TDs. That’s 363 more yards and 3 more TDs than they managed in their first eight games (and with their yards-per-carry average improving from 3.7 to 5.2).
Using standard scoring, New York had the most improved running game in the league when looking at first eight games versus last eight games.
Admittedly, I’m playing around with the numbers some here. With the schedule now having 17 games, I’m leaving out that 9th game for each team. And New York’s second half was fueled by two huge games against bad run defenses (Houston, Jacksonville).
But Jets seem to have an up-and-coming running game. I would have preferred to see it with a healthy Becton moving people off the line of scrimmage.
|RUSHING, FIRST VS. SECOND HALVES|
|Team||First 8 G||Last 8 G||Diff|