It appears Patriots head coach Bill Belichick doesn’t believe New England will be dealt as favorable a matchup as some seem to believe entering their game against the New York Jets.
The Jets, who allowed rookie quarterback Zach Wilson to get sacked six times during his regular-season debut, will be without arguably their best player in offensive tackle Mekhi Becton. Becton suffered a knee injury which reportedly will sideline him for four to six weeks.
And while Belichick was complimentary of Becton, he’s certainly not salivating at the thought of the Jets being without him in Week 2. … Well, at least publicly.
“I mean he’s a good player, obviously, but (Morgan) Moses has been a starting tackle in this league for a number of years, so flipping (George) Fant over and bringing Moses in, I mean Moses has a pretty good track record as a tackle in this league, too, so Fant’s a guy that made the switch,” Belichick said Wednesday.
“I think they’re still pretty good at that position, and they have (Chuma) Edoga, too, so I mean that’s really, I’d say, that’s probably one of the deepest positions on their rosters is tackle even without Becton,” Belichick said. “Obviously he’s an outstanding player. Outstanding young prospect, but even without him, they’ve got pretty good depth there.”
Next-man-up mentality? Sure. Will the drop off between Becton and Fant be overwhelming? Maybe not. But we probably should pump the brakes on anointing this group as something special, as Belichick tends to do in the pregame press conferences. They were average at best with Becton and probably will be below-average without him.
The reality is that the Jets allowed their rookie quarterback to get hit 10 times in the opening game. Wilson was consistently under pressure, and it probably could have been a lot worse if not for his scrambling ability — something Belichick touched on, as well.
The offensive line wasn’t any better in the run game, either. New York registered a mere 2.6 yards per carry en route to a woeful 45 rushing yards.
For what it’s worth, Fant played 139 snaps at left tackle for the Jets in 2020. Moses, who was signed this offseason to add depth at the tackle position, played 98% of snaps at right tackle for the Washington Football Team in 2020.
Patriots-Jets is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.