The New York Jets have finally made a long awaited switch at left guard, naming rookie Brian Winters the starter ahead of fourth year man Vladimir Ducasse. The Jets chose Winters in the third round in this year’s draft, but he was unable to win the starting job in camp due to the amount of time he missed with injury.
Ducasse was a second round pick back in 2010, and he has been a total bust. The team has tried him at right guard, right tackle and left guard, and he has failed at all three positions. Ducasse is one of the most penalized players in the NFL this season, and he is a major reason the Jets lead the league in penalties.
I wrote Tuesday that Ducasse needed to be benched because of his poor play, and it appears that Rex Ryan shared that opinion. Ducasse is responsible for several of the Jets’ 14 sacks allowed this season, and the team has found it difficult to run behind him as well.
Winters played tackle in college, so his lack of experience is a concern. However, he is a very good athlete, and at 6’4″, 320 lbs he has great size for the position. There will be a learning curve for him, but he is lucky enough to play between Pro Bowlers D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold, who will help him develop.
The reality is that Winters really can’t be worse than Ducasse, so there is no reason not to make the switch. The Jets saw Winters as the left guard of the future when they drafted him, and they have decided that time is now. He should be an upgrade over Ducasse, and he should solidify the one weak point on the Jets’ offensive line.
For Ducasse, his tenure with the Jets is over. He will certainly be released after this season, if not sooner. An interesting note here is that Mike Goodson is not yet on the active roster, and the Jets must cut someone to make room. Don’t be surprised if it’s Ducasse.
This is the right move from the Jets, even if it is a week or two late. Winters is ready to play, and he will make the Jets’ offensive line better.