If one was to assess John Idzik's first year on the job, I think one of the areas where he would be most open to criticism would be his handling of the left guard position. The Jets did enter last offseason with minimal cap space, but starting caliber guards can be had for relative pennies. Idzik unfortunately did not address the position adequately. The team tried to have Vladimir Ducasse start the year. Ducasse failed, and the Jets were forced to insert their third round pick into the lineup before he was ready.
When I watch Brian Winters try to play in the NFL as a rookie, I think of somebody trying to drink water out of a fire hydrant. Everything was happening faster and with greater intensity than he was used to seeing. It was a real struggle for the rookie. Winters ranked among the top half of the league in pressures allowed pass blocking, no small feet considering he was on the bench for a quarter of the season. He was otherwise frequently pushed around and fooled by defensive fronts.
I don't want to get too hard on Winters, though. Getting a third round rookie to play well is a lot to ask. We'll get to it when we talk about Ducasse, but I actually thought Winters was a tad better, and I do think there is evidence to back this up. The Jets were going to get really bad play at the position no matter what they did so they at least got reps for the guy with upside in the future.
I do think Winters has good potential. But heading into next year I would like to see the Jets find a veteran insurance policy to compete with Winters for the starting job. If Winters improves, great. You have line depth for the first time in forever. If not, you will have the credible alternative that was lacking in 2013.