Jets offensive line coach Frank Pollack may have the toughest job of anyone in the organization this season.
Pollack must get a group that features four possible new starters, including first-round pick Mekhi Becton, to build chemistry and cohesion by Week 1 after an offseason with no on-field workouts.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Pollack said. “It’s the same challenge everyone’s got, though, around the league. We’re on equal footing from that regard. If we have to do stuff from an extra standpoint whether it’s before practice, after practice, whether it’s walk-throughs, meetings, that’s what we’re going to have to do.”
Pollack, who is in his second season with the Jets, has already done some things to speed up the bonding process on the line during their virtual offseason meetings.
“We spent time at the beginning of the meeting and at the end just trying to get to know everybody, letting guys yuk it up a little bit if you will, kind of have fun virtually and interact that way,” Pollack said. “Guys at least virtually with the video can get to know guys the best you can when you’re not there live. It wasn’t 100 percent just football, just talking about life, families and yukking it up with each other like we would in a normal meeting environment.”
The offensive line was one of the Jets’ biggest weaknesses last season and a focal point this offseson for general manager Joe Douglas. The Jets added tackle George Fant, center Connor McGovern and guard Greg Van Roten in free agency. They also re-signed Alex Lewis, last year’s starter at left guard. Then, Douglas drafted Becton with the No. 11-overall pick.
The group needed an overhaul. Last year’s unit was one of the worst in the NFL. The Jets averaged just 0.7 rushing yards before contact per attempt, the lowest mark in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. They also allowed pressure in 2.5 seconds or less on 27.5 percent of their dropbacks, the second-highest in the NFL.
Pollack is going to have plenty of pressure on him to get results out of the revamped line. The spotlight will be strongest on Becton, the 6-foot-7, 360-pound mountain of a man the Jets hope can play left tackle for the next decade.
“For any rookie, no matter what his size or what school he played at or what competition level he was at, it will be a jump to the NFL,” Pollack said of Becton. “Guys have been working at their craft at this level for a few years. He’s done a nice job. … By no means, would I label him raw, but he still has a lot to learn like every rookie. We’re real excited to get to work with him on the field when we’re able to do so.”
Becton’s nasty streak is evident in his college tape and has Pollack excited to work with him.
“You want nasty guys on the field and gentlemen off. He’s a guy that kind of fits that mold,” Pollack said. “It’s a lot easier to pull the reins back on someone than it is to kind of push them to be more physical. It’s something that’s innate within them and you can definitely promote it and demand it, but it’s really something within that the player’s got to bring. It kind of goes along the lines of effort. … He definitely fits that bill. He’s a lot of fun to watch on tape. I’m looking forward to coaching him.”… It’s a physical game and he definitely plays physical.”