Not only does Sam Darnold have to face a team on Monday night that leads the league in scoring defense, total defense, third-down defense and quarterback rating.
He might have to do it with a makeshift offensive line.
The Jets are riding high after their first win of the season last week over the Cowboys. Darnold came away with AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors in his first game back from mononucleosis and looked every bit the franchise quarterback he was drafted to be.
While Darnold has taken on this week with "swagger," saying in a press conference that the Jets offense would find the weakness in the Patriots defense on Monday night and hammer away at it, the Jets have been trying to figure out how they'll protect him.
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum is dealing with an ankle injury, which could thrust third-round rookie into the starting left tackle role. Edoga played right tackle for two weeks as he beat out Brandon Shell for that particular gig. Now, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Edoga will head over to the left side with Shell forced back into action due to Beachum's injury.
Edoga was primarily a right tackle during his collegiate career at USC, playing just two games on the left side back in 2016. Many offensive linemen have difficulty flipping sides on the line because the footwork is reversed, but Edoga came into last year's draft viewed as a very good athlete -- he also had a strong Senior Bowl week -- and so maybe the transition will be smooth for him.
Still. First start at left tackle. Against a team that's second in the league in sacks. Not ideal.
Starting left guard Kelechi Osemele -- who last played against the Patriots in Week 3 -- remains out with a shoulder injury. (The Jets fined him for missing Saturday's practice because they believe he can play through the pain, per Mehta, and Osemele will file a grievance.) Meanwhile, center Ryan Kalil is questionable with a shoulder issue, which means the team may have to play Jonotthan Harrison, who was beaten out by Kalil for the starting job when Kalil came out of retirement this offseason. Kalil is currently Pro Football Focus' 30th-graded center.
Against the Jets in Week 3, the Patriots rattled quarterback Luke Falk with varied pass-rush plans, but the offensive line didn't do much to help out their young fill-in starter.
They couldn't handle pressures the Patriots brought early on, whether it was with five, six or even seven rushers, and there were times when the entire group looked as confused as Falk did. Later in the game, the Patriots had no issue generating pressure with just four rushers as their twists and stunts worked consistently.
The Jets might be feeling good about their chances of keeping pace with a Patriots offense that's dealing with its share of injuries as well, but it could be a long night for Darnold if his offensive line isn't ready to go against what's been a historically-productive defense to this point in the 2019 season.
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