In a strategic move on the final day of his 21-day practice window, the New York Jets have officially activated left tackle Duane Brown from injured reserve, securing his spot on the 53-man roster. At 38, Brown faced the possibility of remaining on IR for the rest of the season if the Jets hadn’t taken this decisive step. The looming question now centers on the role Brown might play in the NFL’s inaugural Black Friday game against the Miami Dolphins.
The Jets are grappling with significant challenges on the offensive line, having fielded a league-leading 11 players in 10 games. Mekhi Becton, who took over at left tackle in Brown’s absence, sprained his ankle, casting uncertainty on his availability. Rookie Carter Warren stepped in at left tackle during the previous week’s game.
Mekhi Becton, listed as questionable after missing Thursday’s practice, faces doubt about his status after a downgrade from limited practice on Wednesday. On the other hand, Duane Brown, also listed as questionable, has been marked as a full participant over the last three weeks.
Brown, who commenced the season starting the first two games, was notably involved in the season’s most infamous play — the sack that led to Aaron Rodgers’ torn Achilles in the opener. He landed on IR in Week 3, initially cited for a hip injury, although he personally referred to it as a groin injury. Sources suggest Brown expressed uncertainty to teammates earlier in the week about his readiness for the Dolphins game.
Jets’ Coach Robert Saleh outlined the plan to assess Brown’s condition during the week, emphasizing a cautious approach to gauge his physical readiness without undue pressure. The five-time Pro Bowl selection is determined to bounce back after a subpar performance against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2, his most recent appearance.
Acknowledging his less-than-stellar performance, Brown told ESPN last week, “I mean, it wasn’t one of my better games, but I always keep things in perspective as far as production.” He attributed the performance dip to not being nearly 100 percent and expressed the desire to deliver an improved version of himself.
Brown had returned to action prematurely after off-season surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, an injury sustained in the 2022 preseason. Despite signing a two-year, $20 million contract with the Jets, he played through the pain after spending the first four games on IR.
The Jets, contending with ongoing offensive line challenges, made additional moves on Thursday, signing Xavier Newman from the practice squad, likely to start at right guard. This follows the release of Chris Glaser, who started at right guard last week, marking the deployment of six different starters at the position.
The reconfigured offensive line faces the crucial task of protecting quarterback Tim Boyle, set to make his starting debut for the Jets, replacing Zach Wilson, who was benched after nine starts following Rodgers’ injury. As the Black Friday showdown approaches, all eyes are on the Jets’ dynamic lineup changes and Duane Brown’s potential impact in fortifying their offensive front.