This isn't the way Vladimir Ducasse envisioned his Jets career unfolding. After three seasons in the NFL and with only one start under his belt, the former second-round draft pick knows his time is running out.
"When you get drafted, you're happy, happy, happy," said Ducasse, a Haitian-born offensive lineman from the University of Massachusetts who was taken 61st overall in 2010. "Then as the year went on, you say, 'All right, it's about that time I start getting on that field.' "
But he rarely has, and as he heads into his fourth NFL season, he knows he's running out of opportunities. With the free-agent acquisitions of guards Stephen Peterman and Willie Colon and the third-round selection of Brian Winters, Ducasse could be the odd man out.
Asked if he thinks he deserves to start this season, he replied, "I mean, yeah. It's one of those things where we're all competing left and right -- all over. I'm going out there every day showing them that I'm getting to that level where I deserve to be in question to start."
With Winters slowed by an ankle injury, Ducasse has gotten more reps at guard and tackle in training camp. Learning two positions is a challenge, he said, but Ducasse said he feels more comfortable than in previous years.
"Is he a starter? We'll see," coach Rex Ryan said. " . . . You don't have him doing those situations if there's not a comfort level there [where] you think this guy can contribute . . . I think he's doing a good job."
But there still is work to be done, Ducasse said. "I have more to show," he said. "[Watching] Peterman and Will, that definitely helped me. Just seeing how they play, how they approach practice, that makes me say, you know what? I can take my game to the next level."
Lions LB Travis Lewis was fined $15,750 for his horse-collar tackle of Jets RB John Griffin, who suffered a broken leg on the play during the preseason opener for both teams Aug. 9.