The Jets are making a change to their starting offense this week, but it’s not at quarterback.The team booted Wayne Hunter late in the summer 2012 and many players have had to sit due to injuries, but as best I can recall, Rex Ryan has never benched an offensive lineman in-season based on performance.
The Jets will start rookie Brian Winters at left guard and bench Vlad Ducasse, a source confirmed.
The Summer of Vlad has quickly turned into the Fall of Bad. Pro Football Focus ranks Vlad as the 66th best guard in the league so far this year ... quite an accomplishment since there's only 64 starting spots in the league. Vlad played an amazing Week 2 game against the Patriots and Vince Wilfork in particular, but each of his three other games have gone poorly -- with his games in the last two weeks particularly being his absolute worst. Since Wilfork, teams have keyed on him and it has gone dreadfully for the Jets at the point of attack on pass plays. Since the start of the season, the only aspect of any one game in which Ducasse graded out positively came in his run-blocking against the Patriots. Other than that, it's all been neutral or bad.
Solely based on the haul (not considering any trades) of Kyle Wilson, Vlad Ducasse, Joe McKnight and John Conner from the 2010 NFL Draft class could be one of the worst that the Jets have ever put together when talking about productive longevity with the team. Letting both Wilson and Ducasse walk after this season will shock no one.
We really thought that Vlad would be able to handle the duty because he'd be buttressed by both D' Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold, but that has not proven to be the case. We like Winters a lot and think he could be a long-term starter with this team as a guard, but this is a risky move by Ryan. Winters played tackle in college and is transitioning to the interior. He has a nasty streak to him and showed some flash at during Senior Bowl practices, bowling over defensive linemen on seemingly every play and did some of the same at Jets training camp. Winters saw snaps with the first team when veteran Stephen Peterman was unable to play due to injuries, so has worked with the first team before.
Still, Winters did not look good in the preseason games, specifically the Giants game, so this could get worse before it gets better.
To learn more about Brian Winters, see these articles: