The Jets offensive line could potentially get their starting left tackle back on Sunday.
Tackle Duane Brown, who began practicing this week after missing the last four weeks due to injury, says he’s “good to go” when he was asked about his status for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
“It’s very exciting,” Brown said on Friday. “This game means everything to me.
“I came here with high expectations for myself and what I can contribute to the team. Being sidelined for the first four games, it was tough. The chance to get back out with the guys and do my thing means everything to me.”
Duane Brown (Steve Luciano/AP)
Previously, Jets head coach Robert Saleh said Brown would be a game-time decision.
“Everything went good,” Saleh said. “He’s being evaluated today and tomorrow to see how it works out.
“Obviously, the load today will be a little bit less than yesterday, but we will see how it goes during the next couple of days.”
Since training camp, the Jets offensive line has had many moving parts. First, right tackle Mekhi Becton suffered a season-ending injury. Then the Jets signed the 37-year-old Brown to a two-year contract in mid-August to take over at left tackle while moving George Fant back to right tackle.
Following the preseason and before the Jets opener against the Baltimore Ravens, Brown suffered a shoulder injury during practice. That’s when Gang Green moved Fant back to left tackle as he started three games there before injuring his knee in the loss to the Bengals in Week 3. He was later placed on injured reserve.
Alijah Vera-Tucker, who has played at both right and left guard during his time with the Jets, started at left tackle in the 24-20 victory over the Steelers last weekend. He had never played left tackle at the NFL level before.
Prior to trading up in the 2021 NFL Draft to select Vera-Tucker, the Jets were well aware of his versatility. Saleh said Vera-Tucker had been working at left tackle for a few weeks just in case of an emergency situation.
“It was just taking a couple of sets after practice,” Vera-Tucker said. “In my head, it was an emergency thing like what if this happened type of deal. Luckily, it didn’t happen during the game, it happened during the week preparation.
“It was good for me for them to come to me on Tuesday and get me prepared for that. But I was just taking tackle sets, nothing crazy.”
With the Jets moving Vera-Tucker to left tackle against the Steelers, Nate Herbig started at right guard and Conor McDermott came in at right tackle after rookie Max Mitchell, who had started the previous four games, suffered a knee injury.
Mitchell will not play this week against the Dolphins as he will miss several weeks. However, Saleh said Mitchell’s injury is not season-ending, but he could be placed on injured reserve, which would cause him to miss the next four games.
If Brown is activated before Sunday’s game, Vera-Tucker could move back to right guard, where he has played most of the season.
“It’s definitely a little early for it,” Jets center Connor McGovern told the Daily News regarding changes on the offensive line. “It is something any experienced offensive lineman has dealt with in his career.
“A little early than normal for this kind of stuff to go on, but it is what it is.”
With Brown possibly playing against the Browns, everyone else will be available for the Jets outside linebacker Quincy Williams (ankle) and tackle Max Mitchell (knee), as both of them will be out.
KEY DOLPHIN QUESTIONABLE
The Dolphins are coming into their game against the Jets with many injuries. Among them is three-time Pro Bowler Xavien Howard.
In Miami’s most recent game against the Bengals on Sept. 29, Howard left the game in the third quarter because of a groin injury. Howard missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but he was seen during media availability Friday, according to several reports.
Wide receivers Tyreek Hill (quad) and Jaylen Waddle are also listed on the Dolphins injury report. Waddle missed Wednesday’s practice and was limited on Thursday. Hill popped up on the injury report Thursday afternoon.
Tackle Terron Armstead also didn’t practice on Wednesday and Thursday. However, Hill and Waddle also participated in Friday’s practice.
“Generally, when players don’t practice, we don’t play them,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said. “Absolutes are not my cup of tea.
With guys like Armstead and X [Howard] — guys who have played at a high caliber level… they’re exceptions. If X is able to go on Sunday, I won’t treat it like my general philosophy.”