Duane Brown will miss season opener against Ravens; versatile rookie Max Mitchell will start at right tackle

The Jets already had two significant injuries (Zach Wilson and Mekhi Becton) before they played a single game.

Now Gang Green can potentially add Duane Brown’s name to that list.


Brown will miss Sunday’s game due to a shoulder injury he suffered earlier this week. He did not practice with the team this week and it’s a possibility the Jets could place him on injured reserve. An IR stint means Brown would be sidelined for at least four games.

“We are still gathering information as it pertains to the rest of the evening,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “We should get some more and we will decide what will happen next week and the following weeks after.”


Jets offensive tackle Duane Brown will miss season opener against Ravens and might have to go on injured reserve. (Dennis Waszak Jr./AP)

With Brown out possibly an extended period of time, George Fant will move back to left tackle where he played most of last season. Rookie fourth-round draft pick Max Mitchell will now play at right tackle.

This has been an eventful month plus for Fant as he was slated to start at left tackle as the Jets moved Becton to the right side. Then Becton suffered a season-ending knee injury during training camp and the team signed the veteran Brown to a two-year, $22 million contract. That forced Fant back over to the right side because of his experience at the spot.

Last season for the Jets at left tackle, Fant arguably had his best season in the league as he recorded a 71.1 grade from Pro Football Focus, which was the second highest of his career. After playing 889 snaps, Fant allowed just one sack and had four total penalties.

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“I’m sure it is frustrating for George because everyone wants to just settle into their job,” Fant said. “Credit to George, who’s an uber athlete, has great versatility.

“His whole career, he has always been a team guy first. He’s a phenomenal teammate. For him to sacrifice from going left, right, left, right, it is not easy for him but at the same time, he’s so gifted and so athletic to be able to do that. Him going to the left side this week, he is making it very easy for this transition.”

Mitchell will be thrown into the fire against a Ravens defensive front line that’s led by Calais Campbell, a former All-Pro and a six-time Pro Bowler. Baltimore led the NFL in rushing defense a season ago, allowing 84.5 yards per game on the ground.

Although this will be his first NFL start, Mitchell does have experience at left tackle. At University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Mitchell played snaps at both tackle positions before starting exclusively at right tackle his senior year. He also has experience at left guard.

In his junior season, Mitchell was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference second team and made it to the first team his senior year. His versatility was what initially attracted him to the Jets during February’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.


“We think his acceleration is going to go even faster because there’s nothing like getting reps in the NFL and getting baptized early in your career,” Saleh said about Mitchell.

“We have a lot of faith in him. He’s a fantastic athlete, he’s very smart. He just has to learn the nuances of the NFL game and the game within the game.”

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