Rex Ryan 'not ready to' commit to Wayne Hunter as his starting right tackle

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Hunter and Sanchez didn't have much to celebrate this weekend. (US Presswire)

The big goat of Week 2's preseason action around the NFL was, pretty clearly, Jets right tackle Wayne Hunter. Masquerading as a turnstile in a football uniform, he was routinely abused by the Giants defensive line.

Rex Ryan was asked about Hunter's performance in light of Mark Sanchez spending the first half of Saturday's action on his back, and declined to commit to using Hunter as his starting right tackle going forward.

"I'm going to say this. We're committing to putting a good football team on the field," Ryan said, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. "Competition not just at the right tackle spot, but there's competition throughout. We're loaded in some spots and the competition is elevating peoples' play.

"But to sit back and say this guy's definitely the starter, I'm not ready to do that. I like to see guys compete and earn their jobs out there."

The Jets stance on Hunter has fluctuated pretty wildly leading up to the season. When the Jets hired Dave DeGuglielmo as offensive line coach following the departure of Bill Callahan to the Cowboys, the fiesty coach had some brave words for Hunter.

"This guy is the starting right tackle," DeGuglielmo said at the time. "Until they tell me otherwise, until they ship him out of this building or until they shoot me dead in my office, that son-of-a-gun is going to be the starting right tackle. And he's going to play well."

We cannot confirm that DeGuglielmo has been shot or Hunter has been shipped out, but we'll assume that everyone's just kind of backing off their stance on the tackle. He did not appear to have any of the things that DeGuglielmo praised -- "upside," "movement skills," "explosiveness," "great energy," or "great skills" -- at the time.

And besides, the Jets recently tried to trade for Jeff Otah, who couldn't even pass his physical; if you think the Jets thought they were getting a steal for a guy by only giving a seventh-round pick, you're more delusional than DeGugs.

But this leads to a bigger question: why haven't they called anyone else? Kareem McKenzie, in so far as I or anyone else knows, is just hanging out there in free agency, a year after manning the line for the Giants, who won the freaking Super Bowl.

The reality is that Hunter keeps getting semi-votes of non-confidence because the Jets failed to truly address the position this offseason, which is a nice microcosm for what they did when building their offensive roster.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

 
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