Jets offensive tackle Duane Brown speaks to reporters at the team's...

Jets offensive tackle Duane Brown speaks to reporters at the team's training facility in Florham Park, N.J., on Aug. 16, 2022. Credit: AP/Dennis Waszak Jr.

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Jets could get one of their starting offensive linemen back this week, which could lead to another big shake-up up front.

Tackle Duane Brown will return to practice, according to Robert Saleh. Brown has been on injured reserve since Week 3 with a hip issue. The Jets will open up the 21-day window for Brown to be activated on Thursday, but Saleh sounded confident it won’t be long before he is.

“He’s in great shape right now,” Saleh said Wednesday. “I think he’s in a great space mentally. We’ll get him going this week and see where he’s at.”

Saleh considers Brown, 37, one of the Jets’ best five offensive linemen. When Brown is ready to go, odds are he will start at his normal left tackle spot and Mekhi Becton will slide back to right tackle. Saleh hinted at that happening.

Becton started the season at right tackle and has played well on the left side since Brown got hurt. It might be risky moving Becton. But Saleh sees Becton as someone who can play anywhere on the line — even guard.

The Jets have been decimated by injuries on the line, Saleh is adamant about making sure the five best guys are playing.

“Mekhi would be good at right, left, guard,” Saleh said. “Mekhi’s a freakish athlete. I think as he continues to evolve his career, you'd love for him to be a left tackle. Where we are right now you just got to make sure the best five are on the field somehow someway to protect the quarterback and give him some time.”

Becton is a natural left tackle. In the past, he made it known that’s his position. But playing just one game the past two years because of knee injuries changed Becton’s outlook. He said if he has to move back to the right side, he’ll be ready.

“I got to put extra work in, I got to get back to the muscle memory of being on the other side,” Becton said. “I just want to play football. I didn’t play football for two years. I really don’t give a [expletive] where I’m at. I just want to play football.”

It would be more of an undertaking for Brown. He hasn’t played right tackle since college. Brown said he’ll do “whatever we need,” but he has to get through some contact practices first.

“We’ll see,” Brown said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen yet. Whatever happens I’m going to be the best player I can be wherever I am.”

Brown had shoulder surgery in January and missed all of training camp. He struggled in his first two games this season.

Saleh said that Brown wanted to return so badly that “maybe we comprised some of the rehab.” Brown agreed and acknowledged he was “a bit ambitious” in his recovery time.

“I don’t think I was as strong as I could have been,” Brown said. “The time I had off I’ve had a chance to get stronger and just get a bit more adjusted than I was before, coming back and then having a few days of practice going into the game. I wasn’t quite ready yet. I do feel a lot better now.”

The Jets will welcome help. They placed center Connor McGovern (knee) and guard/center Wes Schweitzer (calf) on IR on Tuesday. They have already lost Alijah Vera-Tucker for the season with a torn Achilles tendon.

Only Becton and left guard Laken Tomlinson have started and finished every game. Max Mitchell has started the last five games at right tackle.

It’s possible that Joe Tippmann, who missed the last game with a quad injury, can return this week. Since the Jets play Monday night against the Chargers, the first injury report will be released Thursday.

Tippmann will play center if healthy. If not, Xavier Newman will. Newman was the Jets’ emergency fill-in at center during Sunday’s win over the Giants after McGovern and Schweitzer exited. Chris Glaser, who the Jets signed Wednesday, can play center also.

The Jets also signed tackle Dennis Kelly to the active roster and interior offensive lineman Rodger Saffold to the practice squad. They need bodies.

“It’s very frustrating,” Saleh said. “If we get some continuity going the group we have is good enough.

More Jets

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME