Minus Brick in the wall, Jets' offensive line hopes to answer critics

Breaking down the New York Jets' roster, unit by unit, in preparation for training camp:

Position: Offensive line

Projected starters: LT Ryan Clady, LG James Carpenter, C Nick Mangold, RG Brian Winters, RT Breno Giacomini.

Projected reserves: Brent Qvale, Ben Ijalana, Brandon Shell, Wesley Johnson.

Notables on the bubble: Jarvis Harrison, Dakota Dozier.

Top storyline: The Jets are hoping to squeeze another year out of this group, which needs an infusion of young talent. They haven't used a first- or second-round pick on an offensive lineman since Vlad Ducasse in 2010, and that didn't work out too well. They have intriguing young players waiting in the wings -- namely Shell, a right tackle taken in the fifth round -- but they might not be ready for another year. Pro Football Focus rates the Jets' line as 24th in the league, noting it doesn't have a high ceiling. Indeed, the only player on the ascent is Carpenter, who stabilized left guard after an underwhelming career in Seattle. Coming off a shaky season, Giacomini could be vulnerable if he continues to regress. The leader remains Mangold, 32, projected as the oldest starting center in the league. He galvanizes the unit with his smarts and savvy.

Player to watch: Clady has the task of replacing the retired D'Brickashaw Ferguson, one of the league's most durable players over the past decade. Durability isn't Clady's calling card; he has missed 30 of the past 48 games due to foot and knee injuries. When he plays, he's very good, having made the Pro Bowl in each of the past three years when he started every game. If healthy, he'll be an upgrade over Ferguson, whose play declined last season. It'll be an adjustment for Clady, who goes from the Denver Broncos' zone-blocking scheme to the Jets' man-blocking system. If his surgically repaired body parts don't hold up, the Jets are in trouble.

Training camp will be a success if ...: Let's put it this way: It won't be a success if people are ruing the day that Ferguson retired at the age of 30. There's a lot of pressure on Clady to live up to a standard of consistency set by Ferguson, who never missed a play due to injury in 10 years.

Wild card: With four starters returning, the line should have a strong sense of continuity, and that will be critical as they start the season. Why? Because five of the first seven opponents fielded top-11 defenses last season (yards allowed). You'd better buckle up those chin straps, men, because it's going to get tough early.

By the numbers: The Jets were a middle-of-the-pack rushing team (4.17 yards per carry), in part, because of Chris Ivory's ability to break tackles. In fact, the Jets ranked fourth in yards after contact (1.89 yards per rush), but they were only 23rd in yards before contact (2.28). Ivory is gone. His replacement, Matt Forte, isn't a big yards-after-contact runner, meaning the run blocking will have to be sharper than it was in 2015.