Might the New York Jets be without starting left tackle George Fant for the team’s Week 4 Sunday road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers? According to what Jets head coach Robert Saleh said on Monday, it sounds like there is a strong chance that could happen.
“George is dealing with the same knee, he’s going to be day to day,” Saleh said of Fant, who left the team’s Sunday game against the Cincinnati Bengals with a knee issue. “We’ll see how he comes out Wednesday, but he’s dealing with the same thing.”
Fant has seemingly had some problems with his surgically repaired knee as of late and because of that, Saleh was asked on Monday if the starting left tackle might ultimately be held out of the team’s Sunday road game against the Steelers to give the player some time to hopefully get back healthy.
“It could very well lead to that,” Saleh said on Monday. “Again, he’s got today, tomorrow and he’s got the day off Wednesday, which is usually his day off is on Wednesday, to make sure that he’s just rehabbing. And we’ll take it from there. But you’re not wrong in that question there.”
Should Fant be unable to play on Sunday against the steelers, Conor McDermott would likely get the start at left tackle. McDermott took over for Fant on Sunday against the Bengals and he didn’t play overly well as he allowed one sack, one quarterback hit and three hurries in the 27 pass blocking snaps that he played in relief.
Regardless of who starts at left tackle for the Jets on Sunday, that player will face off against Steelers outside linebacker Alex Highsmith, who enters Monday night as the NFL’s leader in sacks for the 2022 regular season. Highsmith has 4.5 sacks in the Steelers’ first three games of the season, and he’s looked great despite missing all the preseason and most of training camp with a rib injury.
While we’re on the subject of Highsmith, our own Alex Kozora reported on Monday that the Steelers outside linebacker dropped into coverage 35.5% of the time against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night. While some of that dropping into coverage was scheme-dictated by what Cleveland did on offense, the idea that the team’s most productive pass rusher with T.J. Watt sidelined was asked to do that more than a third of the time on a defense that is struggling to get after opposing quarterbacks as a whole these past two games is a bit of a head scratcher.
We’ll have to see what the future holds for Fant the remainder of the week and starting on Wednesday when the Jets release their first official injury report. Even if he does wind up playing on Sunday against the Steelers, Highsmith still figures to have the upper hand. The Jets hope to have starting quarterback Zach Wilson back from his knee injury on Sunday so we could see New York’s game plan center around getting the football out quickly in the passing game.