Do We Have a Guard Controversy At Hand?

HOUSTON - AUGUST 15: Quarterback Greg McElroy #14 of the New York Jets looks for a receiver as offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse #62 blocks outside linebacker Jesse Nading #72 of the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on August 15, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

An interesting tidbit from today at training camp is that Matt Slauson and Vladimir Ducasse have been alternating first team reps at left guard. Now, this may be due in part to some of the injuries Slauson sustained last season, and they could just have him on a pitch count. But could it be something more?

Next year, both Slauson and RG Brandon Moore are free agents. With Moore getting up there in age, his normally rock solid play has the potential to decline at any moment. Slauson has developed from a dependable backup to a solid, if unspectacular, LG. He could be seeing good money in free agency, making it difficult to retain him, especially since the Jets have so many other free agents to re-sign. So, could the Jets be grooming Ducasse to replace one of the two guards, should they be unable, or unwilling to retain both?

It seems like a good idea to me. We know a few things about Ducasse. The first is that he is atrocious in space, and needs help in pass protection. He's also a mauler in the run game. So, the best place to put him on the line is at the guard position, where he can be assisted by our Pro Bowl left tackle and center on either side. Put him at the LG and run the ball behind him, using his massive frame to clear the path. Instead of trying to force him in at RT, where he clearly can't hack it, why not use him where he has much more potential and which may be an area of need in the next year?

Update: Slauson has seemingly confirmed that there is a LG competition at hand. He said, and I'm paraphrasing, that if it seems like there's a competition, it's because there is.

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