Sunday, August 19, 2012

Panic Button Alert: Jets' Hunter a gigantic concern


The fact that right tackle Wayne Hunter was a liability to the New York Jets' offense entering the 2012 season was no secret.

But now it's time to panic.

Hunter, who referred to himself as the team's "weakest link" at the end of the 2011 season, clung to his job this offseason and has been completely backed by his teammates and coaches.

But Hunter has picked up right where he left off, and it's a big deal. It was on display when the Jets faced the New York Giants in preseason action Saturday.

Hunter was responsible for three first-half sacks on quarterback Mark Sanchez. It would have been four if one wasn't negated by a penalty.

He was also pushed around regularly when the Jets ran the ball.

"Either you perform or you don't perform," Hunter said after the game, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. "If I don't, they're going to find someone to bring in and compete and get the job done."

The Jets really don't have a whole lot of options. They brought in Carolina Panther Jeff Otah a couple weeks ago via a trade, but Otah failed his physical and was shipped back to Carolina.

Hunter's backup is Austin Howard, who has reportedly been impressive at camp but is inexperienced.

Gang Green looks to improve on a subpar season offensively, but that won't happen with poor play at right tackle. The Jets are solid from left tackle to right guard, but that won't matter if they don't solve their issues at the right end of the line.

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