“What do you want me to do?”
That could easily have been Alijah Vera-Tucker’s reaction when the Jets coach asked him if he had moved from right guard to left tackle during a practice a few weeks ago.
But that wasn’t Vera-Tucker’s reaction. far cry.
Vera Tucker, 23, didn’t blink an eye, from the moment she left the USC campus and arrived at the Jets’ Florham Park campus, she became a rock at the Jets’ guard two seasons after being drafted.
So, I faithfully practice left tackle in case of emergency.
…and last week there was an emergency in Pittsburgh. There, with the Lombardi Trophy in the lobby trophy case, there were as many healthy and capable tackles on the roster as Vera Tucker started with a left tackle against the Steelers.
“It was definitely a big surprise,” Vera Tucker told The Post on Thursday of his initial reaction to the potential move from a position that puts him on the path to becoming a Pro Bowler. And when someone tells you to tackle it, it’s definitely not, you definitely have to jump, but they’re confident in me and they’re confident in asking me questions. had a
It’s no breaking news that the Jets’ tackle position has become a black hole this season. Mekhi Becton missed the season after injuring his knee during training camp. Free agent signer Duane Brown suffered a shoulder injury before the season started. George Fant has been placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. And now, rookie right tackle Max Mitchell is out Sunday in Pittsburgh with a knee injury.
Brown, who is eligible to go off the injured reserve, has had some practice this week and has a slim chance of playing against the Dolphins on Sunday. In that case, Bella Tucker could move to Wright’s tackle.
When asked if he knew his position against the Dolphins on Thursday, Vera Tucker said, “That hasn’t been decided yet.”
3 days before the game date.
It’s no surprise to anyone at the Jets that Vera-Tucker is making such a seamless progress. After all, this is the same player who successfully started his entire rookie year at left guard, having only moved to right guard when veteran right guard Raiken Tomlinson was signed in the offseason. .
Jets offensive coordinator Mike Ruffler said Thursday: “The AVT act like they’ve been in the league for five years.
“I haven’t heard much from him,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “He keeps his head down and does his job. He speaks for himself in the way he plays.”
A move to left tackle?
“It’s the ultimate team sport, but the first reaction is, ‘Oh, he’s very good at our right guard,'” Flacco said. “But then how do you get the best players out on the field? And it’s impressive to have a guy who doesn’t seem to blink. The first trend is, ‘Are you serious?’ I’m playing very well on guard, do you want me in the left tackle? What if I’m exposed? ””
All Vera-Tucker has done is show that he is a better, more versatile and valuable player than he was before.
“I’m not an aggressive lineman, but I know the game — and it’s special,” Michael Carter told Vera Tucker’s Position Switch post. It’s a talent, I can point to him every good thing I’ve ever said about someone, but it’s still not enough. The discipline we have is unprecedented and unparalleled.”
Quarterback Zach Wilson said, “That guy is a baller just to take on that challenge.”
Center Conor McGovern knows better than anyone how difficult a move Vera Tucker made.
“For a man playing at the Pro Bowl level to be selfless enough [and] I don’t think people realize how different each position in the offensive line is, so it’s very impressive to go there and move.
“A lot of people don’t understand what he did and how hard it was,” Raffler said. “I can’t say enough good things about him. will
When LaFleur’s comments were passed on to Vera-Tucker, he smiled and said: My career needs him a TD at some point. You may have to contact LaFleur. ”
That’s the least the coaching staff can do for him.
Vera-Tucker feels respected and loved by her teammates and coaches.
“A lot of people have come to me and congratulated me on what I can do there,” he said. not.”
The Jets are foolish to take Vera Tucker for granted.