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Will Vladimir Ducasse Start at Right Tackle for the New York Jets in 2011?

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Damien Woody's release was somewhat expected, but it does bring up an interesting issue for the Jets heading into 2011. The team must now find a new starter at right tackle. Woody had been extremely reliable before his 2010 injuries.

Early money might go to Vladimir Ducasse. The lineman struggled mightily in training camp and preseason. His most memorable moment might have been blowing an assignment against the Redskins in preseason that got Mark Sanchez drilled. Rex Ryan was as much to blame as anybody for having Ducasse in the game. Ryan seemed like he was trying to prove to the media Ducasse was part of the competition for the guard spot after Matt Slauson saw most first team reps during preseason.

Ducasse did seem to get better as the year went on, though. It is difficult to take too much away from a game against an injury depleted Buffalo team, but he looked much more comfortable when he saw action in Week 17.

While he was a project with limited football playing experience at a small college, Ducasse has big potential. He is big, strong, and athletic. I have heard stories that the team was actually thinking of using its first round pick on him until Kyle Wilson fell. After a year with one of the best line coaches in the game, Bill Callahan, he might be ready.

I think the Jets deserve the benefit of the doubt if they are ready to give the job to Ducasse. They were vindicated a year ago letting veterans Alan Faneca and Marques Douglas go. Matt Slauson and Mike Devito were ready to take bigger roles. The coaching staff sees these guys in practice every day.

I expect a veteran around for insurance to push Ducasse, probably Wayne Hunter, which will provide a safety net.