Jets left tackle Kelvin Beachum’s leadership shouldn’t be ignored
The Reverend is honest, tough, kind and real. He gives credit where credit is due, deflecting any attempts to compliment his play Six words rolled off my lips the other day when I approached Kelvin Beachum: You played really well last week Advertisement The Jets left tackle was solid in his return from an ankle injury that should have kept him out longer than the three games he ultimately missed He protected Sam Darnold’s blindside by not allowing a sack or quarterback hit. He was the wall that he needed to be He played really well. “No,” Beachum said. “We played really well.” Beachum has seen it all in his eight years in this line of work He’s heard it all too in his 93 career starts. The life of an offensive lineman means doing your job and absorbing the body blows… from everyone The Jets offensive line has been much maligned during this forgettable season. It’s ironic that the biggest, smartest and toughest players on the team have effectively become pinatas for a frustrated fan base wondering why everything has gone sideways so far “We call it the Mushroom Club,” Beachum said with a smile. “Everybody just piles on It is what it is. We can’t control that offensive linemen don’t get stats. We don’t get Next Gen stats to see how fast we run and we how much power we put out when we’re blocking an opponent… At the end of the day, offensive linemen play for respect. It’s respect. It’s the admiration of our peers Those we came before us and those who are going to come after us.” It’s no coincidence that Beachum, who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, is a team captain He exudes leadership the moment he walks through the front doors before anyone else (Fun fact: Beachum is the first player to arrive on One Jets Drive each morning to get to work) He’ll take the blame even if he knows he’s not the culprit. Respect is a two-way street in his world He has earned his teammates’ respect because they know that he appreciates them. “If you respect the guys that you’re playing with and you respect how they work and how they prepare,” Beachum said, “You don’t care about what people have to say (or) what’s going to happen at the end of the year I know that I played next to (Brian) Winters. I know he had a son Nash. I know Jenny I spend time with them all the time. I got a lot of respect for Jon. I got a lot of respect for Tom (Compton) I got a lot of respect for Alex (Lewis). I got a lot of respect for Ryan (Kalil) and (Kelechi Osemele) I got a lot of respect for people for what they’ve put on film and the things that they went through and the things that they’ve battled just to be able to play on Sundays I got a lot of respect for (Brandon) Shell. Everything he’s been through. The rook (Chuma Edoga) He’s had some ups and downs. But you respect that he keeps coming back. He keeps coming in every single day He keeps his head down and continues to work.” Beachum is fully aware that the big guys up front can play better He isn’t delusional, but that won’t ever stop him from gleaning the small wins that can be discovered each day “All you can control is what you do on the field, your preparation, us playing together,” Beachum said “Some weeks we’ve played well together. Some weeks we haven’t played so well together We care about each other and we want to support each other. It’s one of those things that we keep pulling each other along and keep picking each other up when we fall down And keep holding each other accountable when we can.” It’s the right attitude during this rough season Beachum probably could have packed it in when he was hurt in Week 5, gone on cruise control during rehab and limped to the finish line Advertisement Obviously, he did the opposite. “He’s a very passionate player,” center Jonotthan Harrison said “That’s the kind of guy he is. Tape it up and get back out there. He’s a tough guy He was super bummed when he initially got the injury. He was in the training room doing whatever extra he could and whatever extra he could on his own to get back on the field ” Beachum is a man of faith. Shortcuts to success don’t exist in his world. Throwing in the towel is unconscionable So is accepting praise for a job well done.