A rebuilt offensive line hasn’t shown much improvement through the first four games of the year for the New York Jets. Quarterback Sam Darnold was pressured and took repeated big hits in the Jets 37-28 loss to the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.
Four new starters on the offensive line – three starters brought in via free agency and one in the NFL Draft – have done little as a unit to better the protection for Darnold. A season ago, the Jets offensive line was the weakest part of their team and perhaps the worst line in the league.
On Thursday night, Darnold was hit 10 times and sacked six times.
“We obviously have to do a better job there. We called a ton of passes. We were not very effective in the run game. We were made one-dimensional,” head coach Adam Gase said after the game. “When that happens, we’re going to give up hits on the quarterback. We have to do a better job stepping up and picking up the blitzes when they did pressure with our backs. We just didn’t do a good enough job.”
Darnold finished 23-of-42 for 230 yards. He added a rushing touchdown in the first quarter to give the Jets a 7-0 lead. The 46-yard run by Darnold was the Jets longest run of the season.
One of the areas of concern for the Jets is Mekhi Becton.
Last week in a blowout loss at the Indianapolis Colts, Becton was unable to finish the game due to a shoulder injury. On Thursday night, he again was sidelined, this time in the first half with the same injury.
The left tackle has looked nothing like a rookie and been dominant at times. His injury is a major concern for the Jets ability to keep Darnold upright.
“He went as long as he could. He just didn’t have the strength he wanted or needed,” Gase said.
Becton has arguably been the Jets best player this year on either side of the ball. The first round pick was a focal point of the Jets rebuild of their offensive line.