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Jets tackle Duane Brown: ‘I still got plenty left’

At age 37 and coming off shoulder surgery, some players might have decided to hang up their cleats and begin a new chapter of their lives.

Jets tackle Duane Brown isn’t one of those players, as he didn’t contemplate retirement despite having a 16-year career and being named to multiple All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams.

So what is Brown’s motivation during the twilight of his career?

“I still got plenty left,” Brown told reporters last week. “I still feel like I can play at a high level. I want to get as healthy as possible.

“Last year, I was playing less than 100%. So I want to get healthy and play at the level that I’m accustomed to. Obviously, with the team that we have, it’s a great shot to win.

“I’ve done everything you can ask for individually in my career, but I want to win and I want to be the best version of myself to contribute to that.”

A week after Mekhi Becton’s season-ending right knee injury during training camp last August, the Jets signed Brown to a two-year, $22M contract as he was expected to solidify the Jets left tackle position. However, he dealt with an injury of his own during the preseason as Brown tore his left rotator cuff and was placed on injured reserve to begin the regular season.

After missing the first four games of the year, Brown finally started at left tackle for the Jets, but he played less than 100% the entire year. He started 12 games at left tackle with the bad rotator cuff and opted not to have surgery until the end of the year, even as he missed the Jets’ season finale loss to the Dolphins. Because of that, the Jets created a team award in his honor, — the “Selfless Warrior” award, as Brown was the first recipient.

“Last year his money was guaranteed, didn’t have to play a down and his money was guaranteed and he didn’t have to subject his body to what he did,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said about Brown playing through injury. “But he stepped on there, he stepped on the field, played as many games as he possibly could with torn rotator cuffs and did a really nice job, so he’s going to fight for it.

“He doesn’t believe he’s entitled to anything. He believes he’s got to earn everything and there’s a reason why he’s played for so long and has had so much success. I mean, look at him, he’s a brick house. He can still play as many years as he’s willing to play.”

Although Brown was the starting left tackle last year, he will have to compete to continue in that role beginning in training camp. During OTAs, Brown has not practiced with the team as he has done individual work with trainers.

Brown evaded the question when asked if he would be ready to practice by the start of training camp, deferring to his doctors and trainers. If Brown is not ready for training camp, Becton could be next in line to start at left tackle.

Becton hasn’t practiced either during OTAs as he continues to rehab from his knee surgery, but he is expected to be ready for training camp. Recently, Becton has made it known on social media that he prefers to play at left tackle.

That could be problematic for the Jets since Brown has played his entire career at left tackle.

“We will see how it plays out,” Brown said. “I have all the respect for Mekhi [Becton], he’s a very talented player. My focus right now is to just get healthy and we will figure that out when the time is right.

“I have not played a game at right tackle since junior, maybe sophomore year at college [Virginia Tech]. So it is not something that I’ve practiced over the years.

“Not to say that I can’t do it, but I’ve been solidified at that spot for a while. But again, that’s not my focus right now as I’m just trying to get healthy and worry about it when we get to it.”

Jets WR Randall Cobb: ‘I can fill some voids’

When the Jets signed wide receiver Randall Cobb, many thought it was a move just to appease quarterback Aaron Rodgers. After all, Cobb is far removed from the Pro Bowl receiver he once was.

Understanding that at 32 years old, he isn’t the player he once was, Cobb believes he can be a positive piece to the Jets offense.

“I think I can fill some voids,” Cobb said. “I know this isn’t the prime of my career, but I still think I have a lot left in the tank if you watch my film and see what I’ve done over the last couple of years, I’m pretty efficient the time that I’m in.

“I’m not playing 90, 100% of the snaps like I used to at one point in my career, but the 40, 50% that I am playing, I am very efficient, especially third down during the red zone, obviously having that understanding and being able to help out in critical moments.

“I’m excited and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

During his last three seasons, two in Green Bay and one in Houston in 2020, Cobb has averaged 33.3 receptions per season with 411 yards and three touchdowns. But Cobb could be a nice security blanket for the Jets offense in limited duty.

Obviously, Cobb and Rodgers have a ton of chemistry from their days as Packers. Cobb will come in and be the Jets fifth receiver in their offense after Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis, Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman.

But the addition of Rodgers wasn’t the only reason Cobb was interested in the Jets.

“For me, the big piece was [Nathaniel] Hackett,” Cobb said. “I played with him in Green Bay in 2021 when I got traded back. My wife is actually from Jersey, she grew up in Long Valley, so this is like 30 minutes from home for her.

“Her having an opportunity to be close to where she grew up was a big piece for us.”

Rodgers expected to practice during next media availability during OTAs

During the first two OTA media availabilities, Rodgers didn’t do a whole lot. But that is expected to change this upcoming week.

Last week, Saleh said Rodgers was expected to fully return to practice last Friday. Judging by the photos the Jets released on their website, Rodgers participated during the team’s sixth OTA practice.

Rodgers suffered a calf strain on May 23 as he just watched his teammates practice from the sidelines. He did the same thing last week as he threw on the side and spent most of practice last Wednesday giving advice to his teammates.

With Rodgers taking it easy, Zach Wilson received first-team reps during practice.

“I think he’s getting more comfortable in the offense,” Saleh said about Wilson. “It’s interesting with the way (Nathaniel) Hackett, he puts a lot of onus on them knowing the defense and understanding what’s going on, so that’s all kind of new for him in terms of, it’s not just progression, it’s understanding from a global standpoint.

“I think he’s taking it all in and doing his best to learn as much as he can every day, so he’s been good. He’s been attacking it for sure.”


Source: Berkshire mont

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