Every once and a while NYJOTP likes to broaden its horizons and share with you, a piece/article we find of interest. Coming up is a guest post by Samuel Barley, enjoy his insight on the Wayne Hunter/Austin Howard news that broke yesterday.
Jet fans finally got they're collective wish. Wayne Hunters ongoing ineffectiveness, and sub par performances as the teams starting right tackle finally proved to much for the Jets coaches/front office resulting in his demotion to the bench.
Austin Howard will replace Hunter in the starting line up on Sunday. Don't be fooled into thinking that the move will bring an the end of the offensive line woes. Whilst the news is welcoming, I greet it with an air of precaution/nervousness due to the fact that on paper the move looks good but in reality, will it pan out the way we all hope it will?
For me, Wayne Hunter should never have been that guy, who's primary job is to defend our quarterback. This was evidently highlighted once again with his performance against the Giants, and yes it was pre-season but even so, I simply don't want him in my team as a starter, hence the decision the Jets took as they pursued Jeff Otah earlier in the year. (failed to pass his conditioning test, voiding the trade).
With Hunter in the line up, I genuinely feared for Mark Sanchez's health, and before snaps I knew in my mind that Sanchez would either get sacked or rushed. Judging by my twitter feed, I'm sure your aware of the collective anger Jets fans vented in the direction of Wayne Hunter (good job he's not on twitter) and I feel bad for him, outside of football I imagine him to a genuine, nice guy but he has as much business starting for the Jets as I do, by no means do I dislike Wayne Hunter as a person, I just doubt his ability to be a competent starting right tackle within NFL.
Hunter on losing his starting job.
“Everybody knows, the whole [of] New York City knows that I’ve been struggling the last year, and the last game I didn’t do much better,” Hunter said. “So, I wasn’t surprised. I was waiting for it to be honest with you. I knew I was struggling. Everything was kind of going south for me.” (quote via New York Post)
I mentioned earlier that the decision to put Austin Howard in as starter didn't fore fill me with confidence and there is a simple reason why...I'm just unaware of his skill set having seen hardly any game footage of him in action. For all I know he could come out week one and play the best game of football (as far as that is possible for an offensive lineman) I've ever seen. During his brief time within the NFL he has appeared in just four regular season games, starting one. Admittedly he previously played for the Eagles and Ravens who have much better offensive lines than the Jets so it is possible he is a quality player, who's been waiting for his moment/opportunity to step out of the shadows of his former teammates. You'd usually find that good players stand out during practice however, we do find those diamonds in the rough/late bloomers but they are rare. All that aside, if any fans could do with a bit of luck its us, the Jets fans.
Essentially I believe, (and hope like many of you) at this stage, and taking into account the limited knowledge I have on Howard's ability, that we have simply gone from expressing any ongoing concern/worry ahead of every snap under Hunters tenure, to there being a chance, that we now have a solid right tackle as a starter. There is little time to assess Howard's ability at this moment in time, but we won't have long to wait, as Howard will face a baptism of fire during (should he retain his starting role) during week one of the regular season in the form of Mario Williams.
Howard tweets his delight at landing the starting role.
In short Wayne Hunter needed to go, and why this decision wasn't made earlier in camp or pre-season by the Jets coaches/front office leaves me baffled, why not take the chance on an undrafted rookie or veteran right tackle in free agency, rather than let Wayne Hunter anywhere near the Jets starting offensive line. Don't rejoice just yet, or blow my head off for this, as we're far from out of the danger zone, we could be, but there are no guarantees, take a step back and realise that there are troubled times ahead for us Jet fans, lets embrace them together, we might have to take a lot of flack from the other NFL fans this year. I believe in my guys, but I'm also prepared for the worst should it come to pass, lets go Jets.