The Jets have lost a key piece of their offensive line.
Left guard James Carpenter will be placed on season-ending injured reserve and undergo shoulder surgery, the Daily News has learned. Carpenter had started 58 consecutive games since signing as a free-agent in 2015 before missing last week.
He’s been playing the bulk of this season with a bum shoulder, but tried to tough it out.
“It’s difficult because he doesn’t talk… and he’ll run through a brick wall,” Todd Bowles told the Daily News last week about how he gauged how much pain Carpenter has been in this season. “You have to protect him from himself sometimes… and pull him back because he’s never going to pull himself off the field. You love that part of it for the courageousness, but you don’t like it if it’s a hindrance to him and it’s going to affect the team.
“I know how he plays… and when I watch the film, I can see whether it’s a big difference or whether he’s nicked up and he can get by,” Bowles added. “I can tell the difference between that.”
Bowles named him one of the five team captains this season for his work ethic, toughness and relentlessness on the field.
“Carp is probably one of the 1,2 or 3 hardest workers in this building,” Bowles said. “You can get here in the spring, summer and the fall, Carp is either here lifting, has lifted, laying on the sofa eating. Putting in work. He puts in more work… As quiet as he is, he talks more mess on the field than almost anybody. He brings an attitude and a toughness and just loves to play the game. You got to respect that. And everybody sees that. It’s not so much vocal, but he has intangibles and toughness. He plays how you’re supposed to play the game.”
Carpenter, probably the least quotable starter on the team, is one of the most respected players in the locker room.
“Carp is just a big aggressive dude,” Leonard Williams told the News. “That’s just the way he likes to play all the time in practice and in games. He doesn’t change. I think that’s the reason he’s a captain. He’s so consistent. He’s not a super vocal leader. But just by watching his work ethic and the way he shows up to work every single day consistently is what makes him a good leader.
“He’s not the type of guy to take himself out,” Williams continued. “He’s the type of guy that somebody else is going to have to notice something for him to come out. He’s never going to be like, ‘Oh man, my ankle is hurting. Let me take this play off.’ Someone else is going to have to see him limping and be like, ‘Yo Carp, get out.’”
Spencer Long, who moved from center to left guard last week, will likely take over at left guard for the final month. Jonotthan Harrison started at center. The Jets could also play Dakota Dozier in December.