Grading every rep from NY Jets’ first-team OL vs. Panthers

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Connor McGovern, NY Jets, Center

How did the New York Jets’ first-team offensive line perform against Carolina? In their 27-0 preseason win over the Carolina Panthers, the New York Jets went with the following five players as their starting offensive line: LT Billy Turner (#54) LG Laken Tomlinson (#78) C Connor McGovern (#60) RG Wes Schweitzer (#71) RT Max Mitchell […]

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By: Michael Nania

How did the New York Jets’ first-team offensive line perform against Carolina?

In their 27-0 preseason win over the Carolina Panthers, the New York Jets went with the following five players as their starting offensive line:

  • LT Billy Turner (#54)
  • LG Laken Tomlinson (#78)
  • C Connor McGovern (#60)
  • RG Wes Schweitzer (#71)
  • RT Max Mitchell (#61)

Four of the five did not play in the Jets’ preseason opener against Cleveland, save for Mitchell, who desperately needed a bounce-back game after a ghastly performance against the Browns.

For the other players, the Carolina game marked our first opportunity to watch them this year. Every player has something to prove.

Turner has had a rough training camp and is apparently competing with Mitchell for the starting right tackle spot. Tomlinson is cemented as the starting left guard but needs to show improvement off a disappointing 2022 campaign. McGovern seems to have a high likelihood of starting at center in Week 1, but Joe Tippmann continues applying pressure. Schweitzer is poised to be one of the Jets’ key backups.

This unit played the entire first quarter, logging 17 snaps apiece (technically 18 since one play was wiped out by a penalty).

How did the starting offensive line perform? Let’s go play-by-play and grade all five players. On each play, I’ll give each lineman one of the following grades:

  • Great (+2): Outstanding block.
  • Good (+1): Executed assignment.
  • Neutral (0): Didn’t make a particularly notable impact in either direction.
  • Subpar (-1): Beaten although not brutally.
  • Bad (-2): Dominated by opponent.

At the end, we’ll add up the scores and see how everyone performed.

1st & 10: Michael Carter rush for 7 yards

  • Great (+2):
  • Good (+1): Tomlinson, Bawden
  • Neutral (0): Turner, Schweitzer, Mitchell
  • Subpar (-1): McGovern
  • Bad (-2):

Tomlinson does a good job on the pull, picking up a LB and pinning him inside. Bawden pins the edge rusher inside. The blocks by Tomlinson and Bawden are the keys to allowing Carter to get outside and have a one-on-one. There, Carter jukes out Jaycee Horn and gets a nice pickup.

McGovern’s block didn’t impact the play much but he was beaten fairly quickly.

2nd & 3: Michael Carter rush for 1 yard

  • Great (+2): 
  • Good (+1): Tomlinson (GAME TOTAL: +2), Mitchell (+1), McGovern (0)
  • Neutral (0):
  • Subpar (-1): Turner (-1), Conklin (-1), Uzomah (-1)
  • Bad (-2): Schweitzer (-2)

Tomlinson executes a good reach block with assistance from McGovern. Mitchell creates movement on the front side. Other than that, it’s messy. Schweitzer gets cooked and allows the tackle. Turner allows his man to scrape down the line of scrimmage. Both tight ends allow back side pursuit.

3rd & 2: Tyler Conklin reception for 7 yards

  • Great (+2): Schweitzer (0)
  • Good (+1): Turner (0), Mitchell (+2), Tomlinson (+3), McGovern (+1)
  • Neutral (0): Carter (0)
  • Subpar (-1):
  • Bad (-2):

Quick pass. Turner and Mitchell execute cut blocks nicely. Tomlinson and McGovern execute a double team to thwart their man. Schweitzer is left on an island against Derrick Brown and dominates.

1st & 10: Zonovan Knight reception for 3 yards

  • Great (+2):
  • Good (+1):
  • Neutral (0): Mitchell (+2), Turner (0)
  • Subpar (-1): McGovern (0), Schweitzer (-1)
  • Bad (-2): Tomlinson (+1), Conklin (-3), Hardman (-2)

Tomlinson, Conklin, and Hardman block nobody. McGovern makes an effort but takes a poor angle and whiffs, allowing the tackle. Schweitzer is obviously supposed to let his man inside to facilitate the screen, but I feel he allows him to get a little too close to Zach Wilson; I would have preferred to see more resistance.

2nd & 7: C.J. Uzomah reception for 6 yards

  • Great (+2): Turner (+2), Schweitzer (+1)
  • Good (+1): Tomlinson (+2), McGovern (+1)
  • Neutral (0):
  • Subpar (-1):
  • Bad (-2): Mitchell (0)

Mostly good pass protection on this short dropback. Turner and Schweitzer dominate their one-on-ones; yes, the ball is out quick, but even if this play lasted longer, Turner and Schweitzer are in excellent shape. Tomlinson and McGovern execute the double team.

Mitchell goes for a cut block and whiffs badly.

3rd & 1: Zach Wilson rush for 2 yards

  • Great (+2):
  • Good (+1): Tomlinson (+3), McGovern (+2), Schweitzer (+2), Mitchell (+1)
  • Neutral (0): Turner (+2)
  • Subpar (-1):
  • Bad (-2):

The double team by McGovern and Schweitzer is the primary driving force on this sneak. But also give credit to Mitchell and Tomlinson for preventing their men from blowing up the play.

1st & 10: Zonovan Knight rush for 2 yards

  • Great (+2): McGovern (+4)
  • Good (+1): Schweitzer (+3)
  • Neutral (0): Bawden (+1), Tomlinson (+3), Mitchell (+1)
  • Subpar (-1):
  • Bad (-2): Turner (0), Uzomah (-3)

The main culprit for this run is Turner. He gets stood up on the front side edge, which messes up the entire blocking scheme (why I’m not blaming Bawden or Tomlinson on this play). Then, Turner’s man sheds him and makes the tackle.

McGovern has a great rep as he holds the 1-tech for Schweitzer to come over and pick him up (which Schweitzer does well) and then still peels off to pick up the LB and create vertical movement.

Uzomah doesn’t bother to block the back side edge rusher, who gets a free shot on Zonovan Knight. Perhaps Uzomah was not assigned to block the back-side edge rusher here, so I’m speculating here, but it’s still an ugly look.

2nd & 8: Michael Carter rush for 5 yards

  • Great (+2): Uzomah (-1)
  • Good (+1): Tomlinson (+4), McGovern (+5), Lazard (+1)
  • Neutral (0): Turner (0), Mitchell (+1)
  • Subpar (-1): Schweitzer (+2)
  • Bad (-2): 

Uzomah drives inside and takes out the unblocked LB, creating a cutback lane for Carter. Great job by Carter of seeing this and promptly making the cutback.

Tomlinson and McGovern create good lateral movement. At the second level, Allen Lazard pushes a defensive back inside to open up an outside cut for Carter.

Schweitzer whiffs on his combo block with McGovern and falls to the ground.

3rd & 3: Michael Carter reception for 25 yards

  • Great (+2):
  • Good (+1): Turner (+1), McGovern (+6), Schweitzer (+3), Mitchell (+2)
  • Neutral (0): Tomlinson (+4)
  • Subpar (-1):
  • Bad (-2):

The Jets have been protecting well on these quick passes. Obviously, the offensive line’s job becomes easier when they don’t have to protect for as long, but the linemen still aren’t getting beaten on these plays. They’re keeping the pocket pristine for Zach Wilson.

1st & 10: Pass to Mecole Hardman incomplete. Penalty on Connor McGovern, Tripping, 15 yards.

  • Great (+2):
  • Good (+1): Mitchell (+3), Uzomah (0)
  • Neutral (0): Turner (+1), Tomlinson (+4), Schweitzer (+3)
  • Subpar (-1):
  • Bad (-2): McGovern (+4)

For some strange reason, McGovern momentarily turns his attention to the left side and takes his focus off the man he’s blocking, allowing him to get a free lane at the QB. McGovern trips him to prevent the hit on Wilson, leading to a 15-yard penalty.

Mitchell has a great protection rep. I also think Uzomah does a solid job. Uzomah eventually gets beaten, but for a TE going one-on-one with a defensive end – especially that far away from the QB – he holds up long enough.

Neutral zone infraction occurs on 1st & 25.

1st & 20: Pass to Allen Lazard incomplete.

  • Great (+2):
  • Good (+1): Turner (+2), Tomlinson (+5), McGovern (+5), Schweitzer (+4), Mitchell (+4)
  • Neutral (0): 
  • Subpar (-1):
  • Bad (-2):

Once again, we see all-around good protection on a quick throw. I’ll say it again: the quick release helps, but the execution is so good that there would have been plenty of time and space if Wilson held the ball for another full second.

2nd & 20: Zonovan Knight rush for 3 yards

  • Great (+2):
  • Good (+1): Turner (+3)
  • Neutral (0): Tomlinson (+5)
  • Subpar (-1): McGovern (+4), Schweitzer (+3), Conklin (-4)
  • Bad (-2): Mitchell (+2)

Mixed bag for Tomlinson as he creates some movement but gets shed toward the end. McGovern and Schweitzer fail to create much movement on a double team. Conklin fills inside to lead Knight but doesn’t seem to do much of anything except get in the way. It’s been a rough blocking game for Conklin so far, who I thought blocked well last season.

Mitchell ducks into his block and gets completely wrecked. His man comes from the back side to get in on the tackle.

3rd & 17: Pass to Tyler Conklin incomplete

  • Great (+2): McGovern (+6)
  • Good (+1): Turner (+4), Tomlinson (+6), Schweitzer (+4), Mitchell (+3)
  • Neutral (0): 
  • Subpar (-1):
  • Bad (-2):

Turner and Tomlinson handle the stunt nicely on the left side. Perhaps Tomlinson gets pushed a little too deep into the pocket toward the end, but he had a very difficult job on that play. Tomlinson had to set outside, pass the 5-tech out to Turner, and then come all the way back inside to catch up with a speedy outside linebacker sprinting inside. Tomlinson was able to latch on and catch the penetrating defender before he could blow up the play.

Schweitzer passes off his man to McGovern, who dominates the defender and drives him way out of the play. Mitchell uses help from Conklin to push his man up the arc and past the QB.

(Start of second drive) 1st & 10: Michael Carter reception for 9 yards

  • Great (+2): Schweitzer (+6)
  • Good (+1): Turner (+5), Tomlinson (+7), McGovern (+7)
  • Neutral (0): 
  • Subpar (-1): Mitchell (+2)
  • Bad (-2): 

Turner executes a nice cut block. Mitchell misses, although he does slow his man down a little bit. Tomlinson and McGovern shut down their man on a double team. Schweitzer has another great one-on-one rep where he denies multiple moves to win on an island.

2nd & 1: Michael Carter rush for 6 yards

  • Great (+2):
  • Good (+1): Tomlinson (+8), McGovern (+8), Schweitzer (+7), Mitchell (+3), Lazard (+2)
  • Neutral (0): Turner (+5)
  • Subpar (-1):
  • Bad (-2):

Tomlinson works his man outside while McGovern works his man inside, opening up a huge hole for Carter. However, since McGovern has to vacate his area, the LB is able to get into the hole unblocked. It’s up to Carter to make that man miss, and he does just that.

But give credit to Schweitzer and Lazard for helping Carter get it done. Schweitzer and Lazard drive inside and influence the pursuing defenders in one direction, which helps make it clear to Carter which way he should go. Carter spins to get behind the blocks of Schweitzer and Lazard on his way to a positive play.

Mitchell also has a very good block as he flips his hips and seals his man outside.

1st & 10: Zonovan Knight rush for 7 yards

  • Great (+2): McGovern (+10)
  • Good (+1): Schweitzer (+8), Mitchell (+4), Conklin (-3)
  • Neutral (0): Bawden (+1)
  • Subpar (-1): Turner (+4), Tomlinson (+7)
  • Bad (-2): 

This is an excellently blocked play for the most part. It could’ve been a huge gain if just one more defender were accounted for. On the back side, Tomlinson doesn’t do a good enough job of helping Turner pick up the 3-tech, and Turner fails to get across the defender’s face. This allows him to pursue Knight from behind and stop him before he breaks loose.

But thanks to a marvelous reach block by McGovern and a forceful double team by Schweitzer and Mitchell, the right-side B-gap is wide open for Knight. Conklin also does a nice job on the front side edge.

2nd & 3: Zonovan Knight rush for 1 yard


  • Great (+2):
  • Good (+1): Conklin (-2), Turner (5)
  • Neutral (0): Tomlinson (+7), McGovern (+10), Schweitzer (+8), Mitchell (+4)
  • Subpar (-1): Lazard (+1)
  • Bad (-2): Uzomah (-2)

On the front side, Conklin and Turner are able to get between their man and the sideline. Knight should have a one-on-one opportunity in space, but it’s thwarted by Uzomah, who is slow getting to the second level and allows a LB to run by him for a chance to stop Knight in the backfield. Knight breaks the tackle but it slowed up enough for the next man to stop him (though Knight finishes with power to get some yards back).

In addition, Uzomah hardly bothers to block the second defender he meets. Uzomah slaps at the defender but doesn’t make a full effort to pick him up. He runs right by Uzomah.

Lazard allows his man to get involved in the play late with a free shot on Knight.

3rd & 2: Pass to Zonovan Knight incomplete

  • Great (+2):
  • Good (+1): Tomlinson (+8), McGovern (+11)
  • Neutral (0): Turner (+5), Schweitzer (+8), Mitchell (+4)
  • Subpar (-1):
  • Bad (-2): 

This ball was out too quick for me to make a call on Turner, Schweitzer, and Mitchell, but I liked Tomlinson’s blitz pickup and the movement McGovern created on his man.

Final scoreboard

First-team offensive line:

  • LT Billy Turner: +5 (-2 Run / +7 Pass)
  • LG Laken Tomlinson: +8 (+4 Run / +4 Pass)
  • C Connor McGovern: +11 (+6 Run / +5 Pass)
  • RG Wes Schweitzer: +8 (0 Run / +8 Pass)
  • RT Max Mitchell: +4 (+2 Run / +2 Pass)

Other players (with first-team OL in game):

  • TE Tyler Conklin: -2 (0 Run / -2 Pass)
  • TE C.J. Uzomah: -2 (-3 Run / +1 Pass)
  • FB Nick Bawden: +1 (+1 Run)
  • WR Allen Lazard: +1 (+1 Run)
  • WR Mecole Hardman: -2 (-2 Run)

Understand the limitations of this grading system. Without using it for the entire NFL, we don’t know what “good”, “average”, or “bad” looks like in the system. I doubt a score of zero represents average, as even the league’s worst linemen probably execute their assignments more often than not. Offensive linemen win against defensive linemen far more often than not. Furthermore, it’s likely that the baseline scores for pass-blocking and run-blocking would be different.

It’s also completely subjective. You might have disagreed with me on a lot of my scores. And that’s perfectly fine. Evaluating offensive line play is often a matter of opinion since nobody except the players and coaches themselves can say with certainty what a player’s assignment is on each given play.

So, just because I scored every Jets offensive lineman with a positive score, it doesn’t necessarily mean they were all good. These grades merely represent my opinion on how the Jets’ starting offensive linemen compared against one another in this game. It’s a methodology I quickly concocted as a fun tool to complement this film breakdown. Perhaps I will use it more often in the future.

With that being said, I do think the Jets’ first-team offensive linemen played quite well against Carolina. If I were to put labels on them, I’d say Turner and Mitchell were approximately average, Tomlinson and Schweitzer were good, and McGovern was very good.

The Jets consistently generated good push in the running game. While they were never able to nail a perfectly-blocked play to facilitate a home run, they were winning enough battles to consistently gain positive chunks of yardage and stay ahead of the chains.

In the passing game, the Jets made life easier for their offensive line by consistently calling screens and quick passes. However, the starting linemen still did a good job in protection even when accounting for that. They were winning their reps soundly enough to the point where they could have held up longer if they needed to.

Turner looked like what the Jets signed him to be: a solid backup. It would not be ideal for him to start, but the level of play he showed in this game would be ideal out of a secondary option.

Tomlinson played well. It wasn’t anything eye-popping, but he usually executed his assignment in both phases. The Jets would be thrilled if he can give them the same level of play in the regular season.

Receiving pressure from Tippmann, McGovern made a strong effort to defend his starting role. McGovern himself has told the media that the Jets’ selection of Tippmann has “brought out the best in him”, and you could see it in his brief outing against Carolina.

Schweitzer, similar to Turner, played like the solid backup he was signed to be. His run blocking was erratic, but his pass protection was excellent.

While Mitchell played much better than he did against Cleveland, he was still my lowest-graded player in the starting lineup. In a unit that includes Turner and Schweitzer, that’s not ideal.

Mitchell was more consistent overall, but his lows continue to be very low. He again had a handful of ugly reps that can single-handedly destroy a play. If that’s happening against preseason competition, it’s unlikely to get any better against the starting defenses of the Bills, Cowboys, and Patriots. I still don’t think he looks like a player who is ready to be the Jets’ Week 1 starting right tackle.

All in all, this game was a step in the right direction for all five starting linemen. With that being said, the Jets’ offensive line still has plenty of work to do.

Next Article: Joe Tippmann continues progressing in NY Jets’ preseason win 

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