Center Connor McGovern thinks Jets have the talent to protect QB Zach Wilson
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Connor McGovern has personally seen how Von Miller can turn a game day into a rather miserable day for a quarterback and his bodyguards up front.
The center for the Jets was Miller’s teammate from 2017 through 2019 with the Denver Broncos. Miller collected 32 1/2 of his franchise-record 109 sacks over that stretch, including 14 1/2 in 2018.
But McGovern also knows the Broncos’ edge-rushing force can be blocked.
The 0-2 Jets will play at 2-0 Denver Sunday. They will need to keep Miller off Zach Wilson’s back (and front and sides).
Miller is off to a three-sack start.
"He’s a guy that he’ll evolve as the game goes on," McGovern said after Friday’s practice. "He’s studying. He’s learning what . . . the guy he’s going against is doing, and trying to find ways to win. He’s very smart, and he’s really good at what he does.
"But as long as you have sound technique, you can have a good day [against him]. There have been a lot of tackles who have been successful against him. Not everybody gives up a ton of sacks on Von, but he’s a hell of a player and you’ve got to respect him for sure."
The Broncos’ force on the other edge, Bradley Chubb, needed ankle surgery and went on injured reserve Wednesday. Miller missed last season after also undergoing ankle surgery.
McGovern, who will be playing his first game at Denver since leaving for the Jets last year, said the eight-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker and former Super Bowl MVP can move around the line but is "most comfortable out on that edge, rushing the tackle."
Both left tackle George Fant and right tackle Morgan Moses should see him up close.
"He’s been wreaking havoc for many, many, many years," coach Robert Saleh said, "and I expect the way he looks right now, he’s got a lot of years left."
Saleh’s offensive line held up its end much better in last Sunday’s 25-6 loss to New England than in the opening 19-14 loss at Carolina. Sacks went down (six to four, with two coming in the final two minutes) and rushing yardage went up (45 to 152).
"It’s something we knew we could do," McGovern said. " . . . When we watched the tape, we can play even better than that. It definitely gives you confidence."
Despite their slow start, the Jets are "showing no signs of quit," according to Saleh.
"I think morale’s really high, especially for being 0-2," McGovern said. "I think everybody here sees the potential of what this team can be . . . We’re a young team that’s getting better every week."
Notes & quotes: Running back Tevin Coleman (non-COVID illness) is out for this game. Receiver Jamison Crowder (groin) is doubtful. Defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers (calf) is questionable. Saleh said receiver Denzel Mims will be a "game-time decision" as to whether he’ll be active. He was inactive last Sunday.