The New York Jets did not bring in a defensive tackle from outside the organization following Sheldon Rankins’ injury in Week 9.
That raised the question of how they might fill his role in the coming weeks, and the initial game plan calls for an increase in the practice team. On Saturday, November 19th Jets revealed that they would use their two weekly promotions for DT Tanzel Smart and OT Conor McDermott.
McDermott has been a Standard Jets mover in the past few games, but the bigger story here is Smart – who finally gets his chance to appear in a game under head coach Robert Saleh. However, Smart logged three games with Gang Green before that regime took over in 2020 and another 31 with the Los Angeles Rams from 2017 to 2019.
He’s also impressed in the last couple of preseasons, earning a permanent role on the Jets’ practice team. According to Jets X-Factor’s altitude news remarked Michael Nania that Smart “ranked third in the NFL among the DTs with 9 [quarterback] Print” this summer.
He also retweeted some of Smart’s best moments from Jet’s X Factor film analyst Joe Blewett. The first – against the Green Bay Packers – showed the quick and powerful start of the D tackle.
“‘The QB stumbled’ without giving credit to anyone is the problem if you just watch and draw conclusions,” Blewett said at the time. “In reality, Tanzel Smart was off the ball so quickly and exploded into the RG’s chest that he had to anchor himself as quickly as possible and step on the QB’s foot. A damn fine play.”
The second came against the Philadelphia Eagles. Blewett relayed, “Tanzel Smart played last preseason and [is] play a lot of games again this pre-season. Powerful steps into the crack [move] tilts the LG, Smart senses this and turns away from it, causing the LG to kneel.”
The film analyst even added that Smart “has to get through the last 53.” Now he’s finally getting a chance to prove himself in a massive game against the Pats.
With right guard Nate Herbig injured, some thought the Jets might issue a raise for a replacement inside lineman like recently signed Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. Considering he was only brought back a few days before the game, that was always unlikely.
They end up throwing McDermott into the mix, although the journeyman blocker has never played guard in the past. That year, his only snaps came in left and right tackles.
In a pinch, it is more likely that veteran Mike Remmers will switch to guard inside. The longtime NFL blocker has some experience in both guard positions. Most recently, he played three games at LG or RG with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020, but also started 16 games in 2018 in Herbig’s position at Minnesota.
Despite this, Dan Feeney is likely still the first man inside behind Laken Tomlinson, Connor McGovern and Herbig in Week 11. Hopefully the combination of Feeney and Remmers will be enough to get the job done should injuries crop up – “LDT” should be available in week 12.
A few ex-Jets resurfaced around the NFL in Week 11. One of those was defensive end Jabari Zuniga, who was selected in the 2020 third-round with New York.
NFL reporter Aaron Wilson informed that the New Orleans Saints would raise Zuniga alongside veteran running back David Johnson this weekend.
Wilson also pointed this out that former NYJ UDFA Michael Dwumfour was activated from the Houston Texans’ injured reserve on Nov. 19. Both new D-Lineman prospects should get an opportunity in week 11.