One day after Aaron Rodgers shared some concern about the New York Jets offensive tackle position, one of the players vying for a starting role delivered a graphic analogy about his own frustration Thursday.
Veteran Billy Turner, who played with Rodgers on the Green Bay Packers and signed as a free agent this offseason, has alternated between left and right tackle throughout camp. He doesn’t appear to be happy about the flip-flopping.
“Everything is an adjustment,” Turner said. “It’s like wiping your (butt) with your off hand. From your feet to your hips to your hand to your head, everything is completely different. Everything is the complete opposite. The game is different from right to left, it’s the same technique, you just gotta figure out how to work things out in your brain.”
Billy Turner with an…interesting way to describe switching from left tackle to right tackle via former teammate Josh Sitton pic.twitter.com/QQmLOdPODS
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) August 10, 2023
Mekhi Becton and Max Mitchell have also bounced from side to side during training camp. Duane Brown, the presumed starter at left tackle, remains on the PUP list after offseason shoulder surgery. That and Becton’s slow return from knee surgery have caused uncertainty at tackle.
On Wednesday, Rodgers said the Jets “need a little more consistency on the edge” and stated “we have to figure out who the first five’s going to be,” referring to the starting offensive line.
Coach Robert Saleh agreed Thursday, when he said, “As a coach you want it done yesterday.”
“We want these guys rolling, we want confidence, we want to start humming.”
The offensive line had a rough go of it in a scrimmage against the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday. A scrimmage set for Thursday was canceled due to inclement weather.
Alijah Vera-Tucker open to position switch to help Jets offensive line
After practice, guard Alijah Vera-Tucker let it be known he’s willing to play tackle if that’s best for the Jets. Last season, Vera-Tucker, New York’s top lineman, started games at right guard, right tackle and left tackle after injuries decimated the line. His willingness to put the team first and play exceedingly well in all circumstances drew praise from Saleh and the rest of the team.
“You all know me,” Vera-Tucker said. “I'm going to play wherever the team needs me to play, where they think I fit best. Guard or tackle, I'm going to go out there and do my thing.”
Oh baby: #Jets HC Robert Saleh just left the door WIDE OPEN on Alijah Vera-Tucker (@ALIJAHVT) potentially bouncing from guard to offensive tackle, ‘we’re gonna play our best 5’ + he said in a perfect world they want to keep him at guard, ‘we think he’s an All-Pro’ but said he’d… pic.twitter.com/0KXl9giGwT
— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) August 10, 2023
The Jets prefer AVT on the interior, which has been solid during camp along with center Connor McGovern and left guard Laken Tomlinson. Saleh said as much Thursday but didn’t rule out the position change either.
“We're going to play our best five and if that's how one of them shakes out … it's something we're going to have to talk about,” the coach said.
In that scenario, Wes Schweitzer likely would step in to play guard.
Saleh said he expects Brown will play Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills, though he’s unsure when Brown will begin practicing. It’s questionable that Becton will be ready to hold up for an entire game, meaning Turner or Mitchell could start the opener at right tackle.