Good health is at the top of every NFL team’s wish list heading into the regular season.
That collective gasp, you hear this weekend, will be teams holding their breath they’ll get through another preseason game without injuries to their key players.
Take away the on-again and off-again backup quarterback carousel and Jets’ training camp was somewhat quiet.
There is, however, a storyline which has risen to the surface for the Jets as they prepare to face the Giants in their annual third week of preseason clash, this Saturday night at MetLife Stadium.
Right tackle Breno Giacomini has been sidelined since the start of training camp with a sore back, the Jets placed him on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Giacomini’s injury has prevented him from practicing or playing in any preseason games. This has left the Jets with a large question mark on their offensive line with the regular season opener two weeks away.
Head coach Todd Bowles acknowledged that Giacomini still isn’t ready to play and could miss the start of the season.
“I honestly have no idea,” said Bowles. “It’s getting close and he’s not practicing yet. So we’ll see.”
Bowles does have in-house options to consider using in place of Giacomini. Ben Ijalana and Brent Qvale have split time at right tackle in training camp and the first two preseason games.
This week’s game against the Giants formidable defensive duel of Jason Pierre-Paul and Oliver Vernon could go a long way in giving Bowles the data he’ll need to decide on going with Ijalana or Qvale.
“They’ve been going back and forth,” Bowles said. “This game on Saturday will be big. They’ve got two premier defensive ends over there. It’ll be good to see them against those type of people.”
The Jets could look towards the free agent market for help, however, the pickings are very slim and they’d have to get quickly adjusted to a new system. That’s asking a lot for a team looking to establish chemistry and rhythm on offense.
The best case scenario for the Jets here is that Giacomini gets back as soon as possible, he’s the most familiar with the offense.
The Jets will have a new tackle, Ryan Clady, on the left side of the line this season. Bowles wasn’t expecting to search for a replacement on the right side, but it’s beginning to look as if he’ll have no choice.
And that’s enough reason to be concerned.