The New York Jets signed veteran guards Stephen Peterman and Willie Colon this offseason with the belief that they would be the opening day starters for the team. Peterman was considered a place holder for 3rd round pick Brian Winters, but he still seemed a lock to make the team.
However, Peterman was absolutely awful in preseason action for the Jets, and he was one of the few big names they released in their first round of roster cuts. With Winters missing most of the summer with an ankle injury, Vladimir Ducasse is now the overwhelming favorite to start at left guard in Week 1.
Cutting Peterman is not a mistake by the Jets. Starting Ducasse, however, is a huge one. Ducasse has repeatedly proven that he cannot be an effective player at this level, despite the Jets giving him seemingly endless chances at no less than three positions on the offensive line. Ducasse is a former second round pick who is a huge bust, but the Jets can’t seem to admit that to themselves.
Winters returned to the field Saturday against the New York Giants, and he figures to receive the bulk of the work again in the Jets’ preseason finale. Unless he quickly proves he can handle the starting job, the Jets are going to be in a difficult place with the guard position. One of their primary focuses following Tuesday’s cut deadline should be evaluating veteran guards who are released by other teams. If they can find a player who they believe can hold down the fort at left guard, then they must bring that player in.
I have written numerous times that the Jets need to cut Ducasse, and I continue to stand by that. The decision to hand him a starting job is yet another mistake by Rex Ryan, and it is one that will backfire very quickly. Peterman proved he was not the answer, and the Jets quickly cut him. They need to use the same reasoning with Ducasse.
The offensive line was one of the few things the Jets could count on offensively, but the mess at the left guard spot now throws that into question. The Jets need to get a new plan and they need to do it quickly, or they could lose their only offensive strength.