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‘I feel like we can do some great things’ – Boston Herald


After a Pro Bowl season last year with the Seattle Seahawks, Duane Brown had opportunities to join an established, contending team this offseason.

So why did the veteran left tackle decide to sign a two-year, $22 million contract with the rebuilding New York Jets?

“They have a lot of young talent, a lot of potential,” Brown said during his introductory press conference Tuesday. “Myself and Coach [Robert] Saleh worked together in Houston early in our careers and I just watched him when he was in San Francisco and I was in Seattle and I always had a lot of respect for him.

“When he came here, guys on the team just talked about how great he was and how hard they wanted to play for him. I like the culture he was building and there’s a lot of potential.

“What I bring in terms of my ability and a veteran presence, I feel like we can do some great things.”

Whatever the reasoning behind Brown’s decision to sign with the Jets, the team desperately needs him. Starting right tackle Mekhi Becton will likely miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury. The former 11th overall pick from the 2020 draft also missed 16 games last year because of a knee injury he suffered against the Carolina Panthers in the season opener.

After signing Brown, the Jets shuffled the deck on the O-line. George Fant, who was supposed to play left tackle this season, moves to right tackle because Brown doesn’t have much experience on the right side.

This isn’t the first time Fant has played on the right side of the offensive line opposite Brown. The two played together (2016-19) with the Seahawks. Brown was the Seahawks’ left tackle, while Fant played a variety of positions, including right tackle. The 15-year veteran also reunites with Jets offensive line coach John Benton, who was Brown’s position coach for six seasons (2008-13) in Houston.

That along with being familiar with the offensive system and having familiar faces on the team also played a role in Brown signing with the Jets.

“I played in this system for the first seven years of my career,” Brown said. “I loved it as I think it really fits my traits perfectly. George Fant here, D.J. Reed as well, both of them talked about how much they liked the environment.

“I think it was a great fit to come here and make it kind of seamless.”

Brown officially signed his contract Monday morning as he was on the field for practice. However, Brown has only participated in individual conditioning drills the last two days while working himself back into game shape. The Jets hope Brown will practice with the rest of the team on Thursday after the day off Wednesday.

While he was waiting to sign with a team, Brown continued to stay in shape as he says he is currently at 316 pounds, which is around what he was listed at (315) on the Seahawks roster last season. He talked to Seattle about a possible return, but after the team traded quarterback Russell Wilson and released linebacker Bobby Wagner, the Seahawks decided to go younger.

Despite his age, Brown continued to play at a high level for the Seahawks last season and earned his fifth-career Pro Bowl berth. Pro Football Focus gave Brown a grade of 71.5. While that’s solid, it was the lowest grade since his rookie season in 2008. In 2020, Brown earned an exceptional 87.3 grade from PFF.

Although he is older than all players on Gang Green’s roster not named Joe Flacco, Brown feels like there are many positives to being an experienced player.

“You see everything,” Brown said. “This is my 15th year, I’ve played against every scheme defensively and you’ve seen everything.

“Things kind of slow down for me from that aspect. The things that you don’t have as far as being able to bench 500-plus pounds or move like a cat, you can still identify things and be in position.

“That’s the kind of stuff I pass on to the young guys.”

Brown should help fortify the Jets’ offensive line, which looks a bit different than last season. Along with signing Brown and moving Fant to right tackle, left guard Laken Tomlinson also came over from San Francisco.

Last year, the Jets allowed 53 sacks, which was the fourth most in the NFL. With the additions of himself, Tomlinson and an emerging Alijah Vera-Tucker, Brown believes the Jets can have one of the better offensive lines in the league.

“Laken Tomlinson, I got a chance to play with him at the Pro Bowl last season and that was my first time meeting him and we built like a quick rapport, so this works out perfectly,” Brown said.

“Vera-Tucker, a young kid with a lot of ability. He’s athletic, has great hands. There’s a great mixture of youth and veteran guys that have a ton of ability that can put it together.

“The scheme is all about continuity and everyone being together. I think we have a chance to be great.”



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